Monday, January 30, 2006

Power of One.

Interesting Letter to Fiji Times Editor.

Power of landowners

WE see much written in the press about the power of the landowner when they block development or take extreme action.

I have first-hand experience in my family about how powerless landowners are unless they are prepared to take direct action.

A couple have moved on to a piece of reserve land where my family have lived and farmed for 50 years. They are Fijian but from another province. They have no right to live on our reserve. They claim to have a lease but according to the NLTB it is not the case.

They have cleared the land and are planting. They have polluted the water in which my family use to drink and bath. They have threatened women members of my family.

The police have been called but merely told us to keep the peace. I am told that the court has no jurisdiction here. The NLTB said it is reserved land and no lease has been issued but does nothing to enforce it.

What recourse has my family in this situation? We have no wish to resort to direct action but who else will enforce the law?

What recourse have we against these trespassers who steal our land and foul our water?

Doctor FS Dewa

Club Em Designs

Stuck in Fiji Mud would like to share excerpts of a new book, from a former Legal officer for the Fiji Government.



“While those who lusted for undeserved power, and their many misguided followers, were embarked upon a malignant enterprise against their homeland and its leaders, most successors to ancient warriors and the ethically naked but finely attired retailers of divine wisdom sank deeper into the ashes of their own vice”

“…the merchants of malice continue to ply their wicked trade at every opportunity by maligning a whole race that is innocent of any wrongdoing against Fijian custom, tradition or their land”

“Instead of celebrating the richness of our diverse cultures, our distinguishing features became cruel dividing walls to keep us apart in ministering to the affairs of our common home.”

“The marchers claimed to express their extreme disapproval that the Prime Minister is an Indo-Fijian … one may well ask how they reconcile their repugnant racist sentiment on the weekday with their purported devotion to the Biblical precept of the brotherhood of Man on Sunday.”

“The forebears of the Punjas, Motibhais, Vinod Patels and other large businesses took several generations to reach their present elevated state and a great deal of self-denial and self-exploitation was involved along the way. There is no short cut to success_ -for Fijians and others alike.”

“A soufflĂ© doesn’t rise twice; neither will the National Bank.”

“Why are Indo-Fijians supposed to be good at managing businesses but are not to be allowed to manage the biggest business of all; the government of the country? Why? Oh why?”

“Might we not lose more judges who find the CJ's modus operandi unacceptable, as shown up in Judge Anthony Gates's ruling last week in a matter when Sir Timoci tried to have a case in which he is a defendant assigned to a judge of his selection?”

“And lastly, if, after a day of rest, one should feel energised for recreation of an amorous kind, he or she must heed the cautionary chorus: ‘Never on a Sunday’.”


Sir Vijay R Singh

“I would rather die for speaking out than to live and be silent.”
Fan Zhongyan 988-1052


In this anthology of articles that he wrote for various publications during the decade of 1995 – 2005, Sir Vijay R Singh demonstrates a rare ability to say boldly and eloquently what was happening behind the scenes, below the surface, and beyond the obvious.

Born into a poor sugarcane farming family in Ba, he has maintained a life-long empathy for farmers and workers, regardless of the many successes he was to later achieve. That explains his presidency of the Fiji Kisan Sangh for two decades and his appointment as the first Chief Executive of the newly established Sugar Cane Growers Council in 1985.

Sir Vijay read law in London and entered private practice in Fiji in 1954.

He was elected to the Legislative Council in 1959 on personal merits (no party politics then), and, six years later, teamed Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara to form The Alliance – a political party whose fundamental ideology was to bridge the racial divide working together for the common good of all. He was president of the Indian Alliance from its founding in 1969 until he became the Speaker of the House in 1975.

Sir Vijay was one of the brightest stars in Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s Cabinet, and during an illustrious career in public life he chalked up a formidable array of achievements in politics, law and community service.

Parliament lost one of its most effective and eloquent parliamentary performers when, in the mid-1970s, Sir Vijay was elected Speaker, a post that was excellent preparation for the presidency of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, to which he was elected in 1979.

Sir Vijay was knighted in 1976, the first Indo-Fijian so honoured.

In this compendium of critical essays, he focuses on events and issues that have had a momentous impact on life in Fiji over the past two decades. As one who has been at the centre of power, he brings rare insight into the functioning of government apparatus. His style is lucid and elegant, incisive and intellectually stimulating.

Much of what he said years ago is as relevant today as it was then. For everyone interested in Fiji, this is a ‘must read’ book.


The idea of this book developed as a substitute – at least for the time being - for the memoirs that some friends and well-wishers had urged me to write, particularly Dr Satendra Nandan, Vijendra Kumar, Dr. Brij Lal and my wife.

For the moment, an autobiography seems like too hard an undertaking but I hope that this book will give a glimpse, incomplete and hazy though it might be, of my life and times.

I am grateful to Dionisia Tabureci of Island Business, Suva, for her efforts in retrieving the essays published in that magazine in 1996 from its archives.

I am particularly appreciative of the invaluable assistance of Vijendra Kumar, former editor of the Fiji Times and now resident of Brisbane, Australia, in editing the essays, and his advice and assistance in other ways. I also thank Praveen Chandra of Brisbane for his technical expertise in making the manuscript ready for the printers.

I acknowledge my debt to my parents and to my uncle Hari Shankar who together laid the foundations for the person I became; and to the many political colleagues and personal friends -- many of whom have long since departed – for helping to mould my role and influence in public affairs.

I wish to thank those who responded to my articles at the time of their publication; I have quoted some of them as footnotes to the relevant article.

And lastly, an acknowledgement of another kind. I had long admired the Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga for his many fine personal qualities and his courageous commitment to principles after the 1987 coups. To write adversely of his conduct after the events of May 19, 2000 was a painful experience, but a task I felt I could not evade.

Vijay R Singh
Brisbane, Australia


AS I PONDER every week on what next to write about the condition of Fiji and future prospects of its more vulnerable sections, particularly of the Fiji-Indians, I am driven to the realisation that much that is relevant to my efforts has been said before. In an address to Alliance members and ministers as we approached independence in 1970, I had quoted from Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore’s poem Gitanjali to express my vision of the future:

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free,

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic wall,

Where words come out from the dept of truth,

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection,

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,

Where the mind is led forward by Thee

Into ever widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."

And some years later His Holiness Pope John visited us and declared, "Fiji: The Way the World Should Be."

We seemed to be getting there, for sure.

But in 1987, and more grievously in May 2000, the prejudice against Indo-Fijians combined with passion for power on the part of some moved them to commit treason and to hold prisoner not only their Government but their humanity, reason and religion, as well.

On each occasion, most customary and chosen leaders purported to have been unaware of their people's aspirations and disposition until the coup makers told them so; whereupon they readily agreed to the “cause” and gave earnest encouragement to evil deeds.

But in so doing, they ignored the wise counsel of Khalil Gibran:

"Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift,

Or else be held at standstill in mid seas.

For reason, ruling alone is a force confining.

And passion, unattended, is a flame that burns its own destruction.

Therefore, let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion,

That it may sing:

And let it direct your passion with reason

That your passion may live through its own daily resurrection

And, like the phoenix, rise above its own ashes."

While those who lusted for undeserved power -and their many misguided masters and followers --were embarked upon a malignant enterprise against their homeland and its chosen leaders by holding government parliamentarians hostage, most successors to ancient warrior-chiefs and the ethically naked but finely attired retailers of divine wisdom, sank deeper into the swamp of their own vices.

These men of the cloth sought reflected glory in glorifying the inhumanity of their sinful flock of hostage takers; but in their uncompassionate hearts, could not find the will to spare a moment to cast a comforting glance at the hapless and innocent hostages who languished but a few yards away in the parliamentary complex.

They joined together to desecrate the national motto: Fear God and Honour the Chief; they violated the solemn promise. And their political outriders, far and wide, high and low, military and civilian, hastened to proclaim their support for the newly invented “cause” as defined by army officer Sitiveni Rabuka (1987) and failed businessman George Speight (2000), while occasionally proclaiming not to support the means, but had not the courage to condemn and resist their evil enterprise.

Some enacted the charade of seeking forgiveness of their victims, claiming that this was their custom and tradition, but without showing a semblance of remorse for their wicked ways.

Such pretence of piety will not heal the trauma of the hostages and their loved ones for their 56-day stopover into hell. Or wash away the tears of Filipo Seavula's young wife, suddenly made widow in a violent act of treason, or her young orphaned son, or diminish the daily agony of parents, suddenly made jobless, as they strive to feed their hungry children.

Some of the victims may, in a show of simulated or genuine generosity of spirit, feign forgiveness.

As for me,

"I am no Homer's Hero, you all know,

I profess not Generosity to a Foe.

My Generosity is to my Friends,

That for their Friendship I may make amends.

The Generous to Enemies promotes their ends,

And becomes the Enemy, and Betrayer of his Friends."

Because, as Martin Luther King Jr said:

"I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of goodwill".

Undeserved forgiveness is unforgivable encouragement of evil.

But all who gloat at the triumph of lawlessness and its perceived prizes might do well to heed Bob Dylan's 1963 lyrics in his Song for the Rocks in the Stream:

"The line it is drawn; the curse it is cast

The slow one now will later be fast

As the present now will later be past

The old order is rapidly fading

And the first one now will later be last

For the times, they are a-changing."

The already sidelined and discriminated and soon to be displaced Indo-Fijians now know that their ethnic Fijian friends and neighbours, "they are a-changing, and the line is drawn and the curse is cast."

But however distressed and disillusioned, the Indians will behave as they always have -- with the same patience, fortitude and indomitable spirit that their forefathers showed in the long night of the Girmit' -- "With a mind without fear and head held high."

Dr. Subramaniam rightly said: "You may make us second class citizens but you cannot make us second class people." Or, as Khalil Gibran had said with touching eloquence:

"You can muffle the drum, You can loosen the strings of the lyre,
But who shall command the skylark Not to sing."
And so, I must, like the skylark, continue to sing, and serve by Speaking Out.


April 1999.

WE LIVE IN extraordinarily interesting times. History and reputations are being made, revised and unmade.

Labour/FA/Panu, after adopting a common manifesto, have fielded seemingly competing candidates. Mahendra Chaudhry, the skilful tactician, hasn't explained whether this signifies disagreement or manipulation of the preferential voting system to keep hoped for victory within the family.

More intriguing is SVT/NFP/GUP coalition. It is firmly united in its determination to win, and little else. A manifesto should have glued them together but they couldn't agree on one. As it is, Rabuka, Reddy and Pickering have separate route maps to the Promised Land. Their kinship, is therefore, based not on common outlook but on common adversaries.

Aided by international experts at thought manipulation, NFP denigrates its former friend turned nemesis Mahendra Chaudhry for giving Labour's spare preferences to VLV, the dreaded Christians. They might ban golf, gardening and much else on Sundays.

NFP politely overlooks that its ally SVT has given its preferences to Butadroka's party, the one that wants Indo-Fijians deported, and, for good measure, to VLV, as well. (Fiji Times 30/4/99 pp 7/13).

Rather than giving security of tenure to NLTB tenants, Rabuka has already moved a Bill in parliament to give to NLTB several hundred thousand acres of publicly owned (Crown) land settled by several thousand tenants, mostly Indo-Fijians. And crown land tenants had thought they had absolute security of tenure.

Also very odd is the fact that, after allocating open seats among themselves, the SVT/NFP/GUP are running separate candidates, just like the Peoples Coalition. But oddities of manipulation have descended to the bizarre. SVT has urged voters to vote below the line and prefer its candidate Sovea Tabua to NFP’s James Raman. SVT's formal preference for Raman is thereby cancelled. (see ad. DP 1/5/99 p11)

Some folks can't leave a good thing alone. Neophyte politician Dr Wadan Narsey dusted up NFPs ancient logic that only an exclusively racial electorate could elect its representative, notwithstanding the conflict between this contrived criterion and its advocacy of common roll.

More extraordinary was Jai Ram Reddy's endorsement of Dr. Narsey and his cruel dismissal of NFP's many former friends as “token” representatives of their communities: Ratu Julian Toganivalu, Apisai Tora, Ratu Mosese Tuisawau, Rev Peter Davis, Joeli Kalou, Ratu S Katonivere, Arthur Jennings, Koresi Matatolu, Ratu Osea Gavidi, Edmund March, Ratu Napolioni Dawai, Dr Timoci Bavadra, Dr Tupeni Baba, Jo Nacola and others.

Reddy says they were all fakes; brass; not the genuine 24-carat gold that Rabuka and Pickering are. In so doing, Reddy validated Rabuka's excuse for the coup on the ground that Bavadra's NFP/Labour coalition government was Indian-dominated. An argument that Reddy had consistently refuted for 10 years by pointing out that Bavadra's cabinet had equal numbers of Indians and Fijians and a general elector, too. Reddy's dismissal of his former leader and colleagues as merely “token” representatives of their people belatedly confirms his new leader's old excuse.

But Rabuka was also was revising history. No sooner had Reddy endorsed his old reason for the coup, Rabuka had come up with a new one -- that he had been “used” and “manipulated” by others to do their bidding, that the old excuse wasn't valid any more.

According to NFP's ancient and recently reconfirmed doctrine that only a communal electorate is capable of selecting its genuine representatives, both Reddy and Rabuka will now be “token” representatives, not the authentic stuff they were, as they are candidates for multiracial, and not communal, constituencies.

While Dr Narsey was needlessly belittling “ghost” and “token” leaders of another era, his present leader had such a “ghost”, “token” and “honoured” leader arrive from Australia (former Indian Alliance MP Kishore Govind OBE) to lend NFP a helping hand in Ba, the “ghost's” former stronghold.

Weird also is the unique spectacle of the certified coup leader urging people to vote freely, while his former victim reminds them of the coup, strife in Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, thus intending to induce electors against voting freely and fearlessly.

A most disturbing aspect of democracy in practice, all this.

NFP says that its 30-year old policy of confrontational politics was wrong. Wrong too, it says, was its befriending of “token” Fijian and General voter representatives, the likes of those mentioned above.

That it should have been, by its own admission, wrong for so long about so many things and so many people gives the public little comfort that NFP is right this time in its judgments about its latest friends, Rabuka and Pickering.

NFP's claim that Rabuka and Pickering lead “mainstream” parties is certainly of uncertain force. Even the dim-eyed can see that battalions of Fijian chiefs and commoners alike are opposed to Rabuka's SVT. Indeed, never in history has a mainstream Fijian party enjoyed such diversely talented and extensively organised opposition.

As for Pickering's United General Party, even the blind can see that it is anything but united. Indeed, the Generals have more dissident groups than they have seats, which is a record of some kind.

Film actor Mickey Rooney -- like the NFP -- had always declared his love of the moment to be the answer for his everlasting bliss. Sadly, his repeated misjudgments led to 11 divorces, handily outstripping the much married and divorced Elizabeth Taylor's record.

Obvious truths and history give rise to a compelling thought -- might not the error-prone NFP be wrong again in its present passion for Rabuka and Pickering and aversion to Mahendra Chaudhry and others?

Might it be that NFP suffers from the Mickey Rooney syndrome?


Dr Wadan Narsey responded to the above article in Fiji Times’ open column.

Benefits of Coalition

[...Your columnist Sir Vijay Singh interprets the words “token Fijian leaders” as an insulting reference to leaders who were Fijians. That was not the intention in my original advertisement, in my use of the word “token”.

I am fully aware and acknowledge the enormous contributions made by indigenous Fijians such as Ratu Julian Toganivalu, Dr Bavadra and many other Fijian leaders, who had the courage to work with the Indian community.

But Sir Vijay knows (even if he ignores) that I was merely pointing out that the indigenous Fijian community did not see them as “Fijian leaders”. They were seen as Fijians who were sympathetic to Indians, and voted in on the basis of Indian votes, but without widespread Fijian support.]

Sir Vijay would seem to argue that just because some Fijians are elected “democratically” they should be treated as “Fijian leaders.” Unfortunately, in the real world, Fijians and their real leaders in 1987 did not think so, whatever may have been the commitment of the Bavadra government to Fijians.

It is puzzling that Sir Vijay still refuses to acknowledge the strengths and benefits of the SVT/NFP co-operation and coalition. Sir Vijay chooses to ignore the historical fact that whatever may have been the faults of the SVT government and their [sic] leader, they have revised the constitution to make it fair and genuinely democratic.

Not only that, but the new constitution also gives guarantees of fair representation of both Indian and Fijian political representatives in cabinet. It is disappointing that Sir Vijay refuses to acknowledge that Mr Jai Ram Reddy and the NFP are in coalition with Mr Rebuke and the SVT because they want to work together with the largest Fijian party and its leader. Does it matter how long it took to realize this lesson?

It is more disappointing given that Sir Vijay himself for more than 30 years , chose to work closely with Ratu Mara \, the Alliance party and the Fijian community, and is surely well aware of he benefits of such co-operation.

My reference to “political ghosts” was not meant to belittle Sir Vijay, but merely to point out a connection the politics of the past era.

Many people are wondering whether his acid attacks on NFP (Reddy) and SVT (Rabuka) are fair and balanced comments. Or is Sir Vijay providing assistance to some current opponents of NFP and SVT who just happen (coincidence?) to be relatives of old Alliance friends of Sir Vijay?

As an economist, who is continuously berated by his colleagues for not being a politician, I take it as a compliment to be called a “neophyte optician” by Sir Vijay Singh

Dr Wadan Narsey.” ...]

I replied as follows:

“I am glad to accept Dr Wadan Narsey’s explanation that he didn’t intend to insult anyone when he referred to “token” leaders not elected exclusively by voters of their own race.

But then how do I interpret Dr Narsey’s innuendo that my observations are not objective but are “assistance to some current opponents of NFP and SVT who just happen (coincidence?) to be relatives of the old Alliance friends of Sir Vijay”?

It just so happens that most of friends of the Alliance days are supporters of the NFP. Mr Y P Reddy, a valued ally of those days, is indeed the chairman of the NFP selection committee. Dijendra Singh of Ba, ally, friend and a relation is campaigning for the NFP, including Mr Reddy in Nadi. Diwan Shankar, my first cousin, is the NFP candidate against Mahendra Chaudhry. Old Alliance friends like Maan Singh and Azam Khalil are also NFP candidates, as is Dhirendra Kumar of Ra whose father was my ardent political supporter.

I respect their right to follow their judgment and have not sought to influence any one of them to change their affiliation.

It is unbecoming of Dr Narsey to suggest that my views are tailored to suit some unknown relatives of some unnamed old friend of whose identity I have not the slightest idea.

His accusation of bias has less substance than soup made out of the shadow of a chicken that died of starvation.

Sir Vijay R. Singh”


17 October 2000

DESPITE THE CHIEF JUSTICE Sir Timoci Tuivaga's explanations, judges, lawyers and lay persons at home and abroad remain profoundly perturbed at his enthusiastic engagement in politically charged extra-judicial business.

Judicial independence is far too important a public interest issue not to be publicly discussed when the occasion demands, lest silence induced by tact or timidity be misconstrued as acceptance of the unacceptable. A judge who strays beyond his judicial functions cannot escape public scrutiny and criticisms of his extra-judicial activities.

In 1987, all superior court judges had courageously demonstrated their commitment to uphold the constitution and the rule of law and endured harassment of all kinds. Judge Kishore Govind was imprisoned at Naboro and Judge Rooney held under house arrest for days. All eventually resigned rather than serve under a military regime. Sir Timoci Tuivaga CJ was one such judge but although he was later recalled to the bench, we lost most of the others for good. They deservedly stood high in universal pubic esteem.

But sadly, the CJ's recent conduct has caused much dismay. Sir Timoci advised the President on the Constitution's provisions that he could invoke to dismiss the Coalition government. The President acted accordingly.

At issue is not the correctness of the advice -- although that, too, is highly questionable -- but the propriety of judges acting at all as the President's legal counsel. The entirety of the legal profession in the public and private sector, and talent abroad, was available to the President.

The severely denounced decision of Australian Chief Justice Garfield Barwick to advise Governor General John Kerr how to dismiss Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975 should have been a salutary signal to any judge not to follow a disreputable precedent. But the Chief Justice did just that, and he cannot evade the consequential commotion.

An even graver grievance concerns the CJ's drafting of a decree for the military to promulgate that purported to re-establish the judiciary, and in the process, also to abolish the Supreme Court. This was far from being a benevolent involvement, as Sir Timoci would like us to believe, because implicit in his drafting of the decree were hazardous assumptions of great constitutional and political significance.

Firstly, that the military had at that point in time acquired the authority in law to rule by decree, and secondly and accordingly, the judiciary and the constitution from which it drew its authority, went out the window together when the military claimed to have 'wholly removed' the constitution.

Also, for about a hundred years the Privy Council in London had been our final court of appeal and, after the establishment of the Fiji Court of Appeal, the highest of our three superior courts structure. Until, of course, a lieutenant colonel deposed the Queen in 1987 and thereby severed our access to Her Majesty's Privy Council.

To fill the void, the Supreme Court of Fiji was created but the decree Sir Timoci helpfully draft abolished the that Court. Neither the military nor the CJ has claimed paternity of this eccentricity -- that amputation of the highest of our courts was essential surgery to successfully address our afflictions, the foremost of which then were the safe release of the hostages and the restoration of law and order.

The military, for its part, sought to distance itself from this most peculiar prescription for the treatment of our ills. It published a statement two days after the decree, assuring all that "the judiciary has not been tampered with" (Sunday Times 11 June p.25).

Weighty questions inevitably arise. Did the military make the incorrect statement because it did not know that the CJ drafted decree had in fact abolished the Supreme Court? And that thereupon Lord Cooke, Sir Gerard Brennan, Sir Moti Tikaram, Sir Keith (correction Anthony) Mason and Mr Justice Toohey had been summarily dismissed? Also, that the CJ had installed himself as a judge of the Court of Appeal?

The military's unawareness of these and other aspects of the decree may explain its incorrect statement, but that excuse will inevitably transport the CJ to even a lower and more perilous perch. Was he less than frank with Commodore Frank Bainimarama and kept him in the dark of the decree's important provisions?

Whose agenda required the Supreme Court's abolition -- the military's or Sir Timoci's opposition to the Court, and why? If the military's, why did the CJ not seek the Law Society's support to preserve the long established judicial system, instead of completely ignoring the legal profession while he collaborated with the military?

Did Sir Timoci's adventures cause or contribute to the resignations of Justices Jai Ram Reddy as President of the Court of Appeal and Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi as a High Court judge? And might we not lose more judges who find the CJ's modus operandi unacceptable, as shown up in Judge Anthony Gates's ruling last week in a matter when Sir Timoci tried to have a case in which he is a defendant assigned to a judge of his selection?

And crucially, what, in Sir Timoci's view, is the source of his present claim to be the Chief Justice? Is it the Constitution that he was sworn to uphold, or the military decree that he obligingly drafted to restore his and other judicial offices? The two propositions are mutually exclusive; they cannot reside under the same roof at the same time. Sir Timoci cannot escape these and other disquieting questions -- all products of his questionable conduct in office.

In his typically understated fashion, Peter Knight, then Law Society President, had observed: "The Chief Justice had other options open to him." Expediency, arbitrary decision-making, acting as the executive's legal counsel and the military's legal draftsman were not in Mr Knight's contemplation.

The Judiciary stands much diminished; thanks to the Chief Justice and some of his colleagues.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Emerging Trends of Enlightenment.

International Music Fesivital is one the emerging activities which Fiji needs to take to a new level. Along with the infantile film industry, only pro-active events that promotes local creativity is welcomed by Stuck in Fiji Mud.
However one concern is that simply by establishing organizations does not mean that the craft itself is actively promoted.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Regurgitating Muddy Influence in Fiji.

The reports of a influential political figure being linked to the
of overthrowing Commander Bainimarama during post-2000 Coup emergency is not surprising.
That mutual ill-feeling has carried over to the present loggerheads with Army commander.

Demands by the Assembly of Christian Churches should first consider the line between church and Politics, which should not be crossed by member churches. That provision includes public statements on political divisive issues, as has been the record of Fiji Methodist Church.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Moving Un-obstructed Days.

Stuck in Fiji Mud welcomes Dr Ratuva's honest assesment of Fiji's political situation and would anticipating more.

Fiji's water situation is getting to a point beyond embarassing.

So is the trade imbalance statistics despite the usual lip service of navel gazing.The under currents of resent between Qarase's cabinet and Fiji Army Commander is simmering again.

Officers, gentlemen and coups: Civil-military crisis in Fiji
By Dr Steven Ratuva

Dr Steven Ratuva
The recent “showdown” between the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and former Land Forces Commander, Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, fundamentally boiled down to an issue which has been the centre of contention in many countries: Where do we draw the line between civil state governance and the professional military?

Fiji is not alone in this. Military forces in almost every post-colonial state in the world have been faced with the dilemma of trying to make this separation clear and operational. Chile struggled for a long time since the military coup in 1972 to professionalise the military and bring it under civilian state governance. Since liberation in 1994 the South African military, which was nurtured under a repressive apartheid system, had to go through fundamental ideological transformation to fit into the new democratic mode.

Countries like Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, etc. with histories of military coups have attempted, with certain degrees of success, to ensure harmonious institutional relations between the civilian government and the military. On the other extreme, some countries like Myanmar (Burma) and Pakistan, which have been under direct military rule, are still struggling to come to terms with democratic civilian governance.

Why is Fiji still faced with this dilemma? Why is the line between democratic governance and the military institution still contested?

A transforming military

The 2000 coup was a turning point in the evolution of the Fiji military. Since its establishment in the 1800s the military’s role has largely been for the purpose of “internal security”. It was used by the colonial state during the early years of British colonial rule for the purpose of “pacification” to maintain its dominance and by independence “ownership,” so to speak, shifted to the new ruling indigenous Fijian establishment.

The ruling indigenous Fijian elites saw the military as its security apparatus to defend their interests and even within the military there was an embedded assumption that the military was a guardian of Fijian rights. This was expressed in a violent form a month after the April 1987 election when the military, under then Lt-Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka, intervened on behalf of the indigenous Fijian establishment after the defeat of the Alliance Party, the major indigenous Fijian political party, in power since independence in 1970.

Since the 1987 military coups the military went through phases of transformation, including change in leadership. Brigadier Ratu Epeli Ganilau took over from Major General Sitiveni Rabuka and Commodore Bainimarama took over from Ganilau. Bainimarama’s appointment was seen as an attempt to de-politicise the military.

By allowing the Fiji military to be used to serve ethno-nationalist political interests, Rabuka had transformed it into a “political army.” This was a moral burden which the military had to unpack and exorcise, and it did so with efficiency and professionalism during the 2000 coup. Ethno-nationalist political agitators who hoped to use the military again as a political tool like in 1987 failed and the consequences were disastrous for them.

The military by then had, to some degree, evolved ideologically into a non-partisan, non-ethnic praetorian institution under the leadership of Frank Bainimarama. To many Frank became a hero and saviour, whose courageous and steadfast stance saved the country from sliding down the abyss of chaos.

However, this is where the problem started. The newly-elected government under Prime Minister Qarase, had an ethno-nationalist stance and was perceived by the military to be sympathetic to the coup perpetrators, even to the extent of forming a coalition with their party, the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua (CAMV).

This directly undermined Frank’s desire to cleanse the country of coup makers to ensure that a coup culture does not emerge in the future. This directly led to confrontation, tit for tat verbal exchange over security and governance issues and consequently leading to a “cold war” of sorts between the military and the government.

The government could not keep up with the tempo and resorted to self-inflicting punishment by replacing the CEO and Minister for Home Affairs. This was victory for Frank who may have assumed that since he saved the country from chaos in 2000 and since he gave Qarase the “mandate” to rule Fiji as interim PM, he still had the moral right to share - and if possible impose - his views on leadership with the government.

The tension worsened with the introduction of the Reconciliation and Unity Bill, which the government had hoped would settle the post-coup reconstruction and reconciliation processes once and for all, even if it meant providing amnesty to coup perpetrators like George Speight.

Then came the differences over the court martial in which a number of former soldiers were being tried for their part in the November 2 2000 mutiny, at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva. The delay with which the government dealt with the appointment of the Judge Advocate convinced Frank that a conspiracy to sabotage the trials was in the air.

Coup threat

At this point the built up tension was on the verge of exploding. Frank threatened to “remove” the government - or in other words, stage a coup. This sent shockwaves throughout the country and beyond. Worst still, it would have shocked his own senior officers and rank and file soldiers who have been conditioned to believe that the military was no longer in the business of staging coups.

Coming from someone who had been hailed a “coup breaker” the threat did not seem to make sense to many. Staging a coup to avoid future coups appeared to be an illogical proposition to say the least. A coup, however noble the intentions were, was still a coup and a coup was tantamount to the illegal overthrow of a democratically elected government, no matter how “corrupt”, “racist” or unpopular the government may have been.

Frank versus John

This is the backdrop to the standoff with John Baledrokadroka. John is a young and highly-trained officer with a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Studies from the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) in Canberra, where I met him while I was an invited visiting lecturer on security studies there while working at the Australian National University. Some senior officers went through the comprehensive training regime at CDSS, an internationally-reputable senior officer training institution.

Their training in the art and dynamics of the modern military, state security and civil-military relations and their extensive international operational experience would have shaped their views and dispositions on the role of the military in a modern state.

That in an ideal situation, there should be a respectable line of demarcation between the civilian authority and the professional military. Part of the re-professionalisation process within the military since 2000 was precisely to achieve this, to ensure that the military was not going to be used again for any political purpose as was the case in 1987.

For the new breed of professional officers, the last thing they would want to hear was the word “coup”, especially when it would compromise the political neutrality of the military as well as being outright illegal and treasonous. Given this situation, Frank’s take over threat was the last straw for someone like John. Frank, they would have imagined, had crossed the line and in the process may have compromised the professional status of the military.

Support for Frank during the 2000 coup came from officers like John who led the assault which freed the military camp from the mutineers. John was a very articulate soldier who was not afraid to express his views publicly via the letters to the editor column regarding his analysis of politics in Fiji and disdain of ethno-nationalist ideologies and bad governance.

His attempt to restrain Frank led to a showdown and ultimately his downfall. A coup, no matter what the justification was, would have destroyed the integrity of the military once and for all, tarnished Frank’s good reputation as hero of 2000 and destroyed the country in unimaginable ways.

Moreover, the question is whether Frank’s takeover threat was serious or whether it was simply a psychological coercion strategy to put pressure on the government. As I told foreign journalists who interviewed me, I did not believe that a coup was going to take place because I trusted that Frank and his senior officers were fully aware of the implications. But nevertheless the threat itself was enough to cause mayhem.

If Frank was serious and actually hoped to carry out a coup, would he be able to mobilise the support and loyalty of his officers? Torn between the twin serious crimes of treason and mutiny, what would his senior offices choose? Would we be staring at a situation worse than 2000? Fortunately the situation in the military stabilised quickly and Frank quickly reasserted control.

Another question is whether John was influenced by outside political forces. This is still being investigated. Perhaps he may have been in discussion with various people about politics in Fiji as any other person would do but that does not take away the fact that John had a very deep commitment towards values of good governance, apolitical military and professionalism which I believe would have been the biggest ideological and intellectual force behind his resolve.

Both Frank and John believed deeply in the reprofessionalisation of the military, re-democratisation of the country and rounding up and punishment of the 2000 coup perpetrators but their differences revolved around their different approaches.

Frank advocated a more politically proactive approach involving putting pressure on the government to speed up the prosecution process. John believed in achieving the same end but using strictly apolitical means. This was where the two good friends diverged and, sadly, parted company.

Other senior officers would no doubt support Frank’s commendable effort in bringing the coup perpetrators to justice but some may not fully endorse some of his overtly political approaches in private, but will continue to show loyalty anyway.

Resolving the dispute

The best way to resolve the ongoing dispute is to engage in deep and mutual dialogue not only about issues but also about our institutions of governance, governance processes and the lines of responsibilities, especially between the civil state and the military. One should not assume that the lines are obvious and people know where they are.

Government should develop a more consultative approach to policy formulation and the military should be mindful of the way it engages with the government so that it does not unnecessarily impinge on the process of political governance. Inability to create and maintain this balance can lead to instability.

As part of the broader consultative approach we really need to put in place a broad-based security partnership process consisting of the military, police, ministers, civil servants, civil society organisations, research institutions, community representatives, worker representatives, youth and women representatives and political parties to engage in dialogue about security matters.

At the moment the National Security Council only consists of members of Cabinet. Security is everyone’s business, not just of government ministers and so everyone must be involved in particular ways.

For Frank, it would be of great help to him if he engages his senior officers more through mutual consultations and frank discussions on important issues. This would iron out potential differences with his officers and consolidate solidarity within the army considerably. It must not be seen to be aligning itself with a particular political party.

Political parties should be more sensitive and must stop unscrupulously riding on the back of the crisis for opportunistic political gain, either in support of the military or government because in doing so they simply worsen the crisis. They must instead use their potential to look for solutions.

The dialogue between Frank, Qarase and the Acting President, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was exemplary of how cool-headedness and reason can overcome emotion, although there is a view that the compromise may have shifted the constitutionally prescribed lines of accountability between the military and the government and in the process strengthened the commander’s position significantly. However, if this leads to stability then this may be appropriate in the short term, but in the long run, we really need to carry out serious re-examination of our governance institutions and processes to ensure that the government can carry on with the business of governing without duress, the military can carry on with the business of maintaining security in a professional way as it has been superbly doing and citizens can carry on with their daily lives in peace.

After all when things go wrong the country as a whole suffers. As the African idiom philosophically pronounces: “When two big elephants fight, the grass suffers.”

Dr Steven Ratuva is a political sociologist at the University of the South Pacific.

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Resistance to Change, is Futile.

Fiji Landowners have been deliberately left out of negotiations by the Native Lands Trust Board for so long. This has to change immediately.

Stuck in Fiji Mud will champion the rights of landowner's to negotiate on their own merits and will continue to denounce efforts by proxy organizations that have perpetually short-changed landowners.

Club Em Designs

Monday, January 23, 2006

Morbid Un-exposed Doctrine.

Chiefs by name

This is a reply to a letter by Ashwin Lal (F/T 23/1). The letter is cheeky and arrogant and shows disrespect for the GCC.

He says "perhaps members of the GCC will be better off spending time on figuring out their identities". He should know that chiefs are born with the right to be called chiefs and no one can take that away from them. No one.

They are not just chiefs by name. We Fijians look up to the GCC as an institution that portrays order and goodwill even though sometimes things do not always seem to be in that order.

But we must remember that they are humans and not gods. Ashwin should remember that it was the chiefs who ceded Fiji to Great Britain which in turn allowed the indentured laborers from India to come and work in Fiji.

For Fijians, there are two things we value most the vanua and the church. For the vanua, the cornerstones which bind us together are our chiefs.

For the church, Jesus is the central figure.

Apisalome Baleinatauba

Messr Apisalome Balenatauba is the iconic example of Fijian individuals who are entrenched within the traditional chiefly hierachy, which he tauts without considering the sad truth.
He defends the obsolete institution without ascertaining their worth in this new global village.
G.C.C may be chiefs by name; certainely not Chiefs by nature.
Due to the facts that, the members of Great Council of Chiefs; are unelected, hardly pay taxes because most of them are unemployed and have no intentions of bettering the lives of their people.

Not all Fijians value the Great Council of Chiefs because they have become unapproachable and out-of-touch with reality. The G.C.C lacks a cohesive plan for all Fiji citizens and could not mend the loggerheads between the Fiji Government and Fiji Army Commander. Messr Balenatuba then brings in the concept of church; which technically doesn't recognizes traditional titles.

Mis-information peddled by vitrolic individuals who are grasping at straws by defending the ancient feudal system in Fiji; that has chained people of Fiji to social obscurity. That is the M.U.D which Fiji is stuck in.

Stuck in Fiji Mud will bring checks and balances into Fiji's cultural framework; despite resistance from archaic minds.

Here's another provocative letter to Fiji Times Letter to the Editor.

Right of the child

I would like to thank Mr Tominiko for his comments (FT 22/1) but I get the impression that he thinks I am both an expatriate and a representative of the European Union.

I am neither.

As a concerned Fijian citizen, it grieves me that many parents are finding it difficult to send their children to school.

I agree with him. Fiji is a developing country. The education system is certainly struggling to meet the challenges of the present socio-economic situation. Having taught both in Australia and Fiji for over 20 years, I would disagree, however, that Fiji's education system is unique.

The main concern I raise is that it is farcical that Fiji has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child when, in fact, there is such little regard for it.

It can be said 'paper will always take ink'; a convention demands conviction.

Possibly, education is just as restrictive today as it was in its colonial past. The difference being, however, is the signing of the Convention.

Children are still being turned away from school because their parents cannot meet the ever increasing cost of education.

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, education should be accessible and free to all primary aged children.

There are many children whose rights are being violated but no one seems to be doing a thing about it.

Julie Sutherland

Club Em Designs

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Monotonous Un-substantiated Denial's.

The onion of facts is slowly peeling in the revealing of the rotten core within the Fiji Civil Service in their gross manipulation of poor reporting mechanisms within the system.

Yet the Prime Minister prays a miracle in the upcoming elections in Benny Hinn's crusade and is desperate for divine intervention, signifying admittance of past sins.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's daily attendance to evangelist Benny Hinn's miracle crusade, is a sign of desperation. Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei Party spokeswoman, Ema Druavesi said Mr Qarase is doing all he can to win this years general election.
Ms Druavesi said yesterday the Qarase- led government are supporting Pastor Hinn, simply because they want to get blessed before the elections. It's something people should know.

They will hide it because it's something secret she said. Ms Druavesi said, it is dangerous when people want to get involve into God's work when they have a totally different motive altogether.

How can they (Government) be blessed when corruption is on a high in the country?Pastor Benny Hinn should tell them to be clean first before they get blessed.

She said it was unfair for the Government, airport security organizers to ban the media from interviewing or take pictures of Pastor Hinn, when he arrived at Nausori Airport last Thursday night. Why the tight security? When most people in this country want to see him.

No matter what new mechanisms are designed to improve performance old habits will continue to prevail.
All the marketing incentives spent by Fiji Visitors Bureau then becomes a waste, if the political reforms are not undertaken. An example of old
habits is the mono-racial political coalition for Fijian parties only underlines the hypocrisy.

Club Em Designs

Friday, January 20, 2006

Un-ending Posturing in Fiji's Ministry of Education.

The decline in quality in Education and the trend of hollow excuses offered by Fiji Education Ministry is unacceptable and further highlights the flawed superiority complex, which is prevalent in civil servants who have forgotten their moral responsibilities.

Unfortunately the Fiji public are being short changed in Teachers; when the demand is sorely needed in rural schools. Strategic Planning has taken in a back seat in Ministry of Education due to arrogant attitudes, entrenched mindsets and incompetence at all levels in administration.

Fiji Times Editorial decries the status-quo in the quality of Education.

Hire more teachers
(Saturday, January 21, 2006)

QUALITY education is a vital component in ensuring a secure future for Fiji. It is the most basic necessity after food, clothing, and shelter and, more importantly, it is the life-line that can lift people out of poverty.

This point could not have been better expressed when the former US President Lyndon Johnson, during the War on Poverty in the 1960s, said: "Poverty has many roots, but the tap root is ignorance."

Thus it came as no surprise when the Government announced last year that it had once again increased its budgetary allocation for education. Consequently, $301million has been set aside for education - the sector hailed as the cornerstone of the Government's scheme for greater prosperity for Fiji.

The increase is justified because statistics for the last five years has shown that the number of students enrolled each year, at primary and secondary level, are increasing and so is the demand for teachers.

Sadly though, it appears that someone in Government's corridors does not see the logic in increasing the number of teaching posts. Someone has failed to recognise that in order to ensure quality education, one must ensure that there is a reasonable teacher:student ratio.

Given the increase in student numbers it simply corresponds that one needs to hire more teachers.

Instead, hundreds of students are suffering in class because of being deprived of the reasonable attention that they rightly deserve, despite there being many qualified people who could easily ease the situation if allowed to do so.

Why then are hundreds of teachers, standing in queues outside Marela House? Many of these graduates even profess to have not secured employment despite pursuit of a job since graduating three years ago.

This is unfair to say the least. Hundreds of youths each year are lured into training for one of the most honorable professions and yet only an average of 80 jobs are available annually.

The Education Ministry needs to explain to the nation why this is so instead of blackmailing graduates not to talk to the media.

The situation though gives rise to the question of whether we are really investing enough in this sector? Where are the extra millions going? The distribution of the education fund leaves much to be desired.

While the Government must be credited for its enlightenment in increasing the education budget, it is obvious that much more needs to be done and chief among them is the need to recruit more teachers.

Back to Top of Article

Club Em Designs

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lip Service in Fiji.

Fiji Labour Party in Parliament.
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The relevation by this Fiji Sun article on the Affirmative Action scheme, which has been the tip of the ice berg in corruption issues within Fiji Public Service.

In the lead up towards the General Elections some predominately nationalistic political parties in Fiji, are jumping on the band wagon of racial inclusivity.

Fiji University is going beyond their shores of Fiji in seeking the best academic minds and only adds to their team, bristling with experience.

Developing another Agriculture Centre of Excellence is another milesone for Fiji. It is thelip service by Politicians that accompanies the intial opening that concerns Stuck in Fij Mud.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Muddy Horizons.

Fiji Military have isolated the C.E.O of Home Affairs Ministry as the main instigator for the dismissed officer's attempt toseize control of the military. This was done of course, with the blessing of the P.M's office.

Army complaint against CEO before PSC
Fiji Live Thursday January 19, 2006

The Public Service Commission will today deliberate on allegations made by the military against Home Affairs chief executive officer Dr Lesi Korovavala.

The RFMF has lodged a letter of complaint to PSC accusing Korovavala of having influenced ousted Land Force commander Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka to challenge army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama's leadership.

The military says they want Korovavala removed as Home Affairs CEO and say they have proof to back up their allegations against him.

It is understood that Korovavala's removal was also one of the conditions put forward by Commodore Bainimarama during his meeting with Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Acting President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi on Monday.

PSC chairman Stuart Huggett confirmed receiving a letter from Korovavala in which he strongly denies that allegations.

Army spokesman Captain Neumi Leweni says the military would not be satisfied unless Korovavala was removed.

Differences between the commander and the Home Affairs Ministry resulted in the transfer of Korovavala's predecessor Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau.

Even Qarase is reeling from the onslaught of multiple angle ambush of accusations and law suits. All stemming from the controversial R.T.U Bill designed by the S.D.L party and the teflon-coated Attorney General.

Ministry of Education is also recently been under severe public scrutiny regarding the archaic conditions for Grant in Aid teachers program, which has been overworked and underfunded while the influential individuals in authority remain out of touch, un-approachable and un-informed.
Clearly the lack of investment in the Education and Languages is due to the lack of strategic planning.

Fiji Government would rather spend 20 million of the Fiji Trust Fund( Which belongs to all Fijians) for the obscene new building that benefits only the elite segment who contribute very little to the economy but take alot out.

Stuck in Fiji Mud will continue to highlight this flawed model of organization wealth distribution, which is a farce orchestrated by greedy middle men.

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Changing entrenched mindsets.

In the recent whistle-blowing incident by a worker in Fiji Elections Office, demonstrating that the transparency factor of this organization, is clearly lacking.

Stuck in Fiji Mud believes there are grounds for a closer scrutiny of the operations by an independent international group to remove any cloud of suspicion.

The casual excuses offered by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission is rather concerning.

Stuck in Fiji Mud maintains the need for the Trust foundation model be incorporated into the existing family units called "Mataqali" to facilitate their legal existence.

There is even division within the Native Lands Trust Board on their legal authority, whether it impinges on the unalienable constitutional rights of the Fiji Citizen.

Club Em Designs

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pains of Democracy.

Fiji Prime Minister and Fiji Army Commander have arrived to an amicable solution during their high powered meeting.
However it is evident that bad blood stil exists as demonstrated by the vile comments from Kadavu Provincial Council Chairmain.

Clearly Messr Josateki Nawalowalo has the intention of entering Politics and should resign from the Provicial Council and the Fiji Yaqona Growers Association, he is Chairman of.

Rhetoric that is re-prehensible and only underlines the problems of block voting without justification and also reflects the Provincial Council's intention in being in Politics. This argurement has been reiterated by the Executive Director of a Fiji based N.G.O, Citizens Constitutional Forum(CCF).

Fijian Holdings, the investment arm of the 14 Provinces of Fiji are quite accustomed in touting their mediocre profits. This entity must be investigated, for their role in 2000 Coup. It has been documented that Fiji Holdings Board room; was used in the pre-liminary meetings for the coup. Fiji Police must now get off their backsides and investigate, with vigor.

Placing scrutiny on the Fiji media for their coverage and investigating statements by Politicians as suggested by the Police Commissioner; is a witch hunt that takes away vital and scarce resources meant for the 2000 Coup investigations.
Stuck in Fiji Mud wonders what side of Justice the Police are located; when they are continually perceived as; jumping from one case to the next.

As the recent actions of the Fiji Police resembles the proverb: "The squeakiest wheel, gets the most oil!"

C.E.O of the Fisheries Department has been fired along with C.E.O of Civil Aviation Authority who have been abusing their office.

Stuck in Fiji mud welcomes the rolling of heads; to uphold the rule of law and ponders if, criminal charges will follow.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, January 15, 2006

One way forward for Fiji.

Fiji Prime Minister is defending himself against accusations in colluding with dismissed Army Officer in seeking to take control of the Fiji military.

This is confirmed by a Fiji Sun and Fiji Times article quoting Commander Bainimarama's stance that there was monitoring of phone conversations between the dismissed officer and officials within P.M office.

That incident paved the way for a high level meeting between Prime Minister and the Commander at the President's residence.
It is also a shame that some Provincial Councils want to interfere in the national discourse, even though of their dubious involvement during the 2000 Coup.

Commander Bainimarama's testicular fortitude in his commitment to tying up the loose ends of the 2000 coup; should be commended by all.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, January 12, 2006

All Quiet on the Western Front.

Fiji Army Queen Elizabeth Barracks- Main Gate

Fiji Army Commander is still has the confidence of the Army and the rumour mongering of another Coup, spread by Elements of Danger linked to the 2000 Coup.

Mis-information is clearly being employed to shatter the respect of Fiji citizens to Army Commander Bainimarama. As potrayed by the Commander's words describing the flawed intergrity in character of some lawyers in Fiji.

Bainimarama says lawyers out to remove him

The removal of Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has been the agenda of three lawyers who publicly stated his outbursts against the Government were illegal under the 1997 Constitution.
Rebel in Waiting
Commodore Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun last night that lawyer Niko Nawaikula should be charged for his involvement in the May 19, 2000, political crisis since he drafted the controversial land document, Deed of Cession, with his mentor and former Native Land Trust Board general manager the late Maika Qarikau.

“He is a lawyer with no credibility,” he said. “These are the people who were in Parliament supporting George Speight’s coup and all the illegal activities that were taking place.” The other two lawyers are Apaitia Seru and Tevita Fa.

Commodore Bainimarama said the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, which Mr Nawaikula represents in Parliament, was formed for the coup.
“The CAMV party is made up of George Speight followers, the very people who fought against the army when they tried to restore law and order in the country. It is a pity that these people have hidden themselves under a political party like CAMV to voice their agenda.”

He said that Mr Seru, a former attorney-general of the Sitiveni Rabuka-led government, is another strong George Speight supporter. “Apaitia and his wife, Lolohea, lived in Parliament during the May 2000 crisis, supporting all those illegal activities,” said Commodore Bainimarama.

“So what credibility do Nawaikula and Seru have to talk on legal and illegal issues when they themselves supported illegal activities? “How on earth can they champion democracy when they themselves supported the illegal overthrow of a democratically-elected government? He said Mr Fa was the legal representative of the Fiji Peacekeepers Association which wanted him removed as army commander.

“The association has been accusing me for holding some money for their compensation, which is not true. They have been working hard to kick me out.”

Commodore Bainimarama said the devious works of the lawyers were well known to the army and also to the members of the public. The three lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Now the Commander can add the Fiji Times Editor to his list by virtue of his scathing editorial that smells more like political grandstanding by proxy.

It is widely known that Messr Samisoni Kakaivalu is echoing the sentiments of his cronies in S.D.L and minimising their corrupt track record.

Army outburst

OUR self-righteous military commander has finally made headlines in a Sydney daily newspaper (and very negative ones).

It makes it much tougher for organisations such as the Fiji consulate, Fiji Visitors Bureau and little people such as me to promote or a strike business deals with Australian investors.

Having reached the highest office in the military, I don't think we need to explain to him how the economy works, who pays his salary, and investor confidence.

I'm flabbergasted.

Usaia Waqatairewa

In this time-line of events leading up to the loggerheads between Ministry of Home Affairs and Fiji Army Commander, the absence of strong leadership by the Prime Minister Qarase is most disturbing.

With the sudden upsurge in security in Fiji;
Stuck in Fiji Mud wonders if there will be any left to guard the entourage of Evangelist Benny Hinn during his visit to Fiji; which has been clouded with controversy.

Of all the water in Fiji, some folks are still in need despite the promises of Politicians and the sluggishwork of the monolith Public Works Department.

Creative Accounting is the key to conflicts of wealth-distribution that Fiji Landowners have been gripping about. Stuck in Fiji Mud acknowledges the
move by Motibhai's is forming economic partnerships with the Taukei, opening up a new business model.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Official Rhetoric.

Sitiveni Rabuka a bungled politician and the originator of Fiji's culture of coups by leading Fiji 1st coup in 1987- Should the last one person consulted on democratic issues.

Rebels manning the Parliament Main gate- during the 2000 Coup. It is these soldiers who know the real identities of the Coup financiers.
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It is reprehensible that Fiji media fail to conduct their own in-depth academic research and most of their articles are basically constructed on the scraps of hear say.
Especially during their sensationalism induced coverage of Fiji Army Commander's recent comments; which has shaken the core of influential individuals, fearing another coup in Fiji.
Stuck in Fiji Mud stands firmly by the Commander's intentions to clean up the loose ends of the 2000 Coup.

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Fiji President is reported to be soon retiring from his position and it is expected to filled by his Deputy, another individual from Chefly stables reinforced with Academic credentials and experience in the Legal field.

Stuck in Fiji Mud is concerned on the following Fiji Sun article on the progress of Fiji General Elections and the issues raised by a N.G.O unhappy with the racial quotient of election enumerators officiating the registration process.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum is unhappy with the inconsistent registration of voters for the 2006 general elections. The CCF asks for a fair distribution of Indian and Fijian employees as enumerators.

According to the CCF, the number of Fijians registered up to December 2005 was 254823, against 165428 Indo-Fijians, a difference of almost 90000 persons. CCF says 434865 voters have been registered so far. “Since there has been no census, which is due at this time but has been postponed, we do not know how many more citizens are eligible to be registered as voters,” CCF executive director Akuila Yabaki says.

According to CCF numbers 468,630 citizens were registered in the 2001 election, 239,064 Fijians and 209,056 Indo-Fijians. And the registration of voters up to December 2005 showed an increase of Fijian registration to 254,823 but a decrease of Indo-Fijians registration by 44,428.

“We believe this is a reflection of the disproportionate number of Fijian enumerators employed by the Elections Office compared to Indo-Fijians,” Mr Yabaki says.

He demands that the Elections office tells the public how many Fijian enumerators have been employed compared to Indo-Fijians. “We have heard informally from Elections Office sources that there are more than 200 Fijian enumerators compared to only 20 Indians.” The CCF has also gathered that many of these Fijians were either relatives or friends of senior officers who recruited them.

The subject of skilled migration is hitting the pockets of leading business in Fiji and it is a pity that the rate of turn over will not cease simply because of poor extrinisic working conditions that are not being rectified by the top management.

Have books will Study!
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That's not only the costs increasing in Fiji. Education expenses is sky rocketing and the the in-direct costs of Road Accidents is another hole in the money bucket.

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Where's the Cheese?

Fiji Government with all their woes continue to pick fights with organizations based on frivolous grounds. International labor Organization has proven their ability in fighting for the rights of workers and should not be questioned by an Industrial Relations turn-coat.

Minister of Industrial Relations, Messr Kenneth Zinck a former unionist himself should now be labeled as an opportunistic individual whose morals have been eroded to nothing; at the expense of worker's rights.

It is pleasant to note that despite all the political saber rattling in Fiji. Some folks are just relaxing and kicking back. Like these students from Wisconsin, who are experiencing Village life in Fiji.

Club Em Designs

Monday, January 09, 2006

Smokescreen by Political Opportunists in Fiji.

The lease of Native Islands to overseas investors for stress-relieving vacation is an ideal business model for Fijian Landowners independent of Native Lands Trust Board.
Fiji Government is not only in trouble with the Fiji Army Commander but also with the many teachers without a sustainable career outlook due to the lack of funding of Education policies.

Fiji Vice-President's call for compulsory language in Fiji Education curriculum is not going to solve the problem of extinction of native languages.
Stuck in Fiji Mud believes when there is no comprehensive Government policies to enhance the local content in Fiji Media, as opposed to the Media's overly use of overseas programs without any penalties.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mis-interpreting Laws in Fiji.

Fiji's Minister for Justice has a bad tendency to mis-interpret Fiji's constitution for his own agenda.
Clearly as set out in Fiji's 1997 constitution Bill of Rights which the Fiji Government is accountable to. Not legal 'hearsay' from the crooked Attorney General of Fiji.

A quote from the Bill of Rights Article#27 is as follows:

Arrested or detained persons
27. -(1) Every person who is arrested or detained has the right:

(a) to be informed promptly in a language that he or she understands of the reason for his or her arrest or detention and of the nature of any charge that may be brought;

(b) to be promptly released if not charged;

(c) to consult with a legal practitioner of his or her choice in private in the place where he or she is detained, to be informed of that right promptly and, if he or she does not have sufficient means to engage a legal practitioner and the interests of justice require legal representation to be available, to be given the services of a legal practitioner under a scheme for legal aid;

(d) to be given the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by:

(i) his or her spouse, partner or next-of-kin; and
(ii) a religious counsellor or social worker;
(e) to challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention before a court of law and to be released if the detention is unlawful; and

(f) to be treated with humanity and with respect for his or her inherent dignity.

Stuck in Fiji Mud is adamant that any impingement of these rights by the State is Un-constitutional.

Article #28 Subsection(d) titled: "Rights of Charged Persons" further pursues the legal aid framework.

(d) to defend himself or herself in person or to be represented, at his or her own expense, by a legal practitioner of his or her choice or, if the interests of justice so require, to be given the services of a legal practitioner under a scheme for legal aid.

Fiji Army Commander has stepped up his verbal attacks on the layer of old farts within Fiji Government who are manipulating democracy for their own twisted agendas.

C.E.O of Public Enterprise Unit must get on with the objectives of reform in the top-heavy Public Service Commission and refrain from excessive public relations exercise and the worn excuses.
Fiji's trade negotiations is also facing a bleak future.
Maybe it's an indication that too much diplomatic negotiations without creating new products for Fiji's export market is a flawed strategy created by un-pragmatic officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Fiji Electoral Commission's call for a change in Political boundaries is a welcome move that requires a lot of scrutiny and transparency by all stakeholders in Fiji.

Club Em Designs