Sunday, August 30, 2015

Great Joint Statement from SODELPA Leaders in Response to Wild Allegations by Bainimarama

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LEADER OF OPPOSITION RO TEIMUMU KEPA & PRESIDENT OF SODELPA RATU NAIQAMA LALABALAVU ISSUE STRONGEST STATEMENT YET AGAINST BAINIMARAMA , HIS GOVERNMENT AND ITS POLICIES.
Lautoka 31:8:2015
Ro Teimumu Kepa , leader of the Opposition & Gone Marama Bale Na Roko Tui Dreketi & Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu , President of Sodelpa & Turaga Tui Cakau today issued a joint statement in the strongest term yet accusing Bainimarama of being a coupster and tresonist but hiding behind the safety of the immunity provisions of the 2013 Constitution,..." In 2006 Frank Bainimarama was himself on the verge of being arrested and charged with sedition. To escape the consequences of this he committed treason and carried out his coup. Now he warns the citizens of Fiji not to break the law, but refuses to answer for his own lawless behaviour."
The statement has come up almost immediately after Ratu Naiqama demanded dialogue as he expressed concern on the multiple arrests of native Fijians in Ra & Nadroga .
The joint statement is significant in that it is being issued by the Heads of Two of the three Tribal Confederacies of Fiji, namely Burebasaga & Tovata. The statements therefore transcend their political role encompassing their mandates as head on Fijis Indigenous community or the Vanua expressing concern on the mistreatment of the native population on matters dear to them including land and cultural identity.
Below is the full extent of their statement.

SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa today issued a joint statement in response to allegations against the party made by Prime Minister Bainimarama at the commissioning of the Government vessel MV Cagivou.
The SODELPA leaders said the Prime Minister’s utterances are prime examples of the hypocrisy of his leadership and government. The Leaders said his threats are becoming more pronounced and aggressive and have a similar tone to those he made during the lead up to the 2006 coup he launched against a democratically elected government.
According to Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu the difference this time is that Government strategy is orchestrated by QORVIS, the US based PR Company that is paid $1 million a year from taxpayer’s funds. The Fiji Sun is also a key strategic player in the Government’s plans, along with other organizations. The Fiji First government is using them to portray Mr. Bainimarama’s military take-over not as a coup but as some sort of reformist initiative. That approach is a fraud on the nation.
Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu remind the government that a coup is a coup and treason is treason.
The SODELPA leaders said the level of the Prime Minister’s hypocrisy is so excessive, it is important to respond to each of his misrepresentations.
PM: Sedition: He is reported to have said quote ‘if you encourage sedition, you are committing an offence’ unquote.
SODELPA: In 2006 Frank Bainimarama was himself on the verge of being arrested and charged with sedition. To escape the consequences of this he committed treason and carried out his coup. Now he warns the citizens of Fiji not to break the law, but refuses to answer for his own lawless behaviour.
PM: Violence: He is reported to have said quote ‘if you urge violence against anyone in Fiji, you commit a serious offence’
SODELPA: Under Frank Bainimarama’s leadership following the 2000 and 2006 coups there have been deaths and brutal murders of civilians and soldiers as well as human rights violations against innocent citizens. He is warning against anyone urging violence. But he led a regime that survived on violence, threats and repression. He has many questions to answer himself about specific acts of violence and torment. He has attempted to protect himself from fronting up to courts of law to answer for his role.
PM: The Law: He is reported to have said quote ‘the hand of the law is very long and rest assured the authorities in Fiji will not rest until you are bought to justice’ unquote
SODELPA Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu agree totally with Prime Minister Bainimarama. The arm of the law is indeed very long. This is what keeps him awake at night. While he is threatening other citizens with being brought to justice, he hides behind immunity provisions in Chapter 10 page 147 of the constitution. The SODELPA leaders accuse Prime Minister Bainimarama of lacking integrity and the moral courage to do as he expects all others to do. When it comes to ‘equality under the law’, he exempts himself. But Ratu Naiqama and Ro Teimumu reiterate that the arm of the law is very long. “We want to assure everyone that in this globalised day and age, it will also reach the Prime Minister and all his treasonous accomplices. They will have to face up to the serious wrongs they have committed.”
PM: Dividing Fiji: The Prime Minister urges people not to be fooled by those trying to divide Fiji and asks citizens to report any illegal activity to the Police. He says if people know anyone who is involved, they should tell them they risk spending many years in jail.
SODELPA: This kind of fear mongering and urging family and friends to spy and report on each other is typical of the tactics of Adolf Hitler and his Gestapo and Josef Stalin and his KGB in imposing control on their people. This thinking by the Prime Minister is a confirmation of his desire to deny people their rights to personal liberty, freedom from degrading treatment, freedom of speech, expression and publication as outlined in the Bill of Rights in his 2013 constitution. By implementing such a policy he would be dividing the people to serve his own ends.
PM: Enemies: He is reported to have said quote ‘ They want to impose their will on everyone else, they are enemies of the state, and enemies of the Fijian people, enemies of Investment, enemies of modern Fiji, they are enemies of prosperity for all, and we are going to track them down and bring them to justice’ unquote
SODELPA: The prime imposition on our people is what was done in 2006 by Prime Minister Bainimarama. It continues to the present. The real enemies of the state are those who broke their sworn oaths to defend us, and instead turned their weapons on us. The real enemies of investment are the officials who indulge in favouritism, nepotism and corruption to support favoured investors over others; the real enemies of modern Fiji are officials who are aware of the wrongs and injustices being done to the people and the country but remain silent out of fear; the real enemies of our prosperity are the Prime Minister and Finance Minister who, in their arrogance, think it is acceptable to spend $100 million of taxpayers money without proper records and documentation. They apparently believe this is as transparent and accountable as they need be.
PM: Attack on Democracy: He is reported to have said quote ‘Attacks on democracy will not be tolerated, the lives of Fijians could only be improved via working together as a nation and one Fiji. Unquote
SODELPA: It is fitting that our final response is in relation to his claims of attacks on our democracy. He admits that the lives and future well-being of all our people can only be improved via working together. This is the policy approach SODELPA has repeatedly put to the Fiji First government since the opening of parliament in October 2014. The Prime Minister himself has repeatedly rejected overtures from SODELPA and the National Federation Party for an inclusive collaborative approach. The recent offer by Ratu Naiqama of an olive branch to find a solution to the current issues in Ra, Ba and Nadroga is another example in that he says he wants to do this, but is incapable of it. His preference as is to continue to operate as he has done since 2006. He sees Parliament as a continuation of his dictatorship while it provides a fa├žade of democracy that does not exist.
PM: Elected Government by the people: He is reported to have said quote ‘the said Government was chosen by the Fijian people in the elections last year and this made it the only lawful government, and to challenge it is to defy the will of the Fijian people. It is an attack on democracy and it will not be tolerated’ unquote
SODELPA: This is the ‘mother of all hypocritical remarks’ made by the Prime Minister. It demonstrates the level of dysfunctionality in his thinking and the unreality of the world he occupies. In 2006 the people elected the SDL government, so it was the lawfully elected government of the people. And yet he attacked it illegally with military force. But he is afraid to subject himself to the law for his actions.
Our decision to contest the 2014 general elections under the imposed 2013 constitution was never an endorsement of it and we expressed these views in a signed letter to the President after we were sworn in. We decided that contesting the elections was an important first step away from military dictatorship which had prevailed for eight years, and that would help us begin our return to accountable and transparent governance.
There is still a long way to go. Democratic freedom does not come easily. Many of us have paid and are still paying a very high price for the journey we have embarked on. There will be many more hurdles to overcome before we can achieve true democracy. We in SODELPA are committed to achieving this.
For now, we call on all law-abiding citizens, not to be moved from doing what is right and just. Speak out as loudly as you can about all of the wrongs this government and QORVIS are sweeping under the carpet.
We do not condone or support any acts of violence against anyone. We support everyone’s right to life and right to personal liberty as well as freedom from cruel and degrading treatment. We stand for all the other rights that protect our citizens. We call on the Prime Minister to stop making his outrageous allegations and let the Police do the job they are constitutionally obliged to do. He should instead concentrate on fixing our failing economy and sugar industry.
Authorized By:
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu President, Social Liberal Democratic Party
Ro Teimumu Kepa
Leader of the Opposition
Social Liberal Democratic Party

Saturday, August 29, 2015

STATEMENTBY FIJI OPPOSITION - KHAIYUM TO RESIGN!

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Ratu Isoa Tikoca


TODAY in a point of order, I called for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Finance, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. While I delivered my Point of Order, my mic was turned off. I took my seat after finishing delivering my appeal for the Minister of Finance to vacate his office
This was following a order by the Speaker of the House on the 27/08/15 for the House to sit privately, strangers be ejected and Hansard not publish the secret discussions about the state of Fiji’s Economy.
In my point of order, made to parliamentarians today, I demanded an explanation into public utterances made in the media by the Minister and his Permanent Secretary on Global Bonds and Loans.
The fact is in the 2015 Budget estimate a deficit of $363.5 million was projected, but this relies on the sale of state assets of $507.3 million and there is no sign of that happening for the 2nd year in a row. So our deficit will increase to $870.8 million. That’s just $129 million short of a billion dollars. So add to that the $US250 million that the PS Finance spoke of in June that is due next year, then we are looking at a $1.4 billion debt for all of the Governments excesses over the past few years that our young people today will have to pay.
There is also the $150 million in un-presented cheques and the unaccounted for the $100 million expenditure.
Going into the 2016 Budget discussions, we cannot have the office of the Minister of Finance filled by a man who cannot give real solutions to our economic woes. A man who can’t face the Nation and openly talk about the reality of the Economy – and has instead ordered the representatives of the People to NOT INFORM the People of the facts.
Authorized By Hon. Ratu Isoa Tikoca

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fiji Finance Minister Khaiyum Guilty of "Economic Lunacy"

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“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: The bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”
I said it before and will say it again, Khaiyum as Fiji Finance Minister is inviting economic lunacy to descend on Fiji. And yesterday's clandestine announcement to seek Parliamentary approval for bridging loan to cover interest as well as current expenditure is naked proof of his economic incompetence! No wonder the Opposition saw the need to seek his resignation from his Finance role!
Khaiyum is no economist and has no inkling of what the key drivers of the Fiji economy. Yes he will have the advice of the Reserve Bank and Finance officials, you still need the nous and training, let alone patience to decipher that advice and make the call on the appropriate action. Mind you, even now, Finance ministry officials still have no idea of the missing $100m! For someone with ulterior motives of hiding information and deceiving the public about the true picture of the economy, Khaiyum has no interest in being transparent or consultative. It is no wonder he sought the complicity of the Fiji Parliament and with the superior numbers of his FijiFirst party in his conniving scheme to obtain additional loan of $200m. As raised by Ratu Isoa Tikoca and others, where is the missing $100m and the wasteful expenditure in having a standing army that could easily cover off the need for a loan?
It is clear Khaiyum has placed so much on thinking his planned asset sales will generate the required revenue to fund expenditure. A good and smart economic manager would also consider the effect of no asset sales. He is so caught up in his own fantasy world to just ignore it away. Such is the tendency of economic lunatics because the option is so obvious that he probably just walked right past it! Fanned with the arrogant air he has gleefully acquired, any advice by officials will be just shafted away.
What is also troublesome is the role of the ANZ Bank in facilitating the rescue package and no doubt being paid a fee for it. As a corporate entity, they have no moral scruples whatsoever in brokering any deal as they seemed to have cornered this market since Bainimarama's coup in 2006! As a bank, their actions and role must be investigated when real democracy returns.
We can be sure that the economic situation in Fiji can only worsen unless political stability and a true sense of freedom returns. Yet the actions of the military and police recently will only paint the picture of a police state. Bainimarama's rejection of the Tui Cakau's call for dialogue over itaukei discontent will ensure instability festers and prolonged. But that is precisely what keeps Khaiyum and Bainimarama in power! It provides them with the excuse to deploy armed soldiers in riot gear to intimidate innocent citizens. Those same soldiers who readily fled from Syrian rebels in the Sinai!
Fiji and its people will continue to be imprisoned inside Khaiyum's economic lunacy prism until those close to him actively reject his and Bainimarama's style of government and realise that Fiji will only flourish when the full potential of its people and the benefits of the natural resources of the country are harnessed in an environment of genuine democracy,freedom and respect for law and order.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Missing $100m from the Fiji Government Accounts!

What is holding the Fiji Sun from asking Bainimarama and Khaiyum about the missing taxpayers $100m?


Note the old "distraction" trick employed by all corrupt and authoritarian regimes: - "Manufacture another Crisis"
That's why the media is now seduced away to the:
1. Trumped up charges for sedition for the Ra and Ba Fijians
2. Split within the SODELPA parliamentary wing
Time all Fijians stand up to the corrupt government to effect a regime change!
Deputy Auditor-General Atunaisa Nadakuitavuki having discussions with his staff members during the Public Accounts Committee meeting at the Government Buildings in Suva yesterday. Picture:...
FIJITIMES.COM

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Entitlement Culture & Militarism Ushered in by Bainimarama

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"If someone has a sense of entitlement, that means the person believes he deserves certain privileges — and he's arrogant about it."

The term "culture of entitlement" suggests that some people have highly unreasonable expectations about what they are entitled to by virtue of their circumstance or power they have.

The ongoing conduct and behaviour of Fiji PM, Bainimarama, and his FijiFirst Party in government is a good example on how a culture of entitlement and arrogance now permeates government and sections of Fiji society. And it seem to just build on what started following the 2006 Coup.

Recent disclosures in Parliament of how State resources and processes were taken over and redirected at the whim of ministers in contravention of civil service rules and procedures are clear examples. The flagrant and fraudulent use of the PM's credit card for personal use without proper documentation is a mark of arrogance and extreme disregard for proper accountability. Bainimarama's decision to unilaterally change Fiji's common name to Fijians and suspend the Great Council of Chiefs all point to a sense he is entitled to do so and never mind any opposition.

Even more disturbing, is the ready refusal by civil servants under FijiFirst ministers to furnish documentation and seek proper authorisation for casual spending within departments. Such behaviour is merely rubbing off on those who work to and under poliitical masters and if the PSC is weak, arresting the trend will only get difficult over time. Numerous other examples exist before and after the 2006 Coup. This arrogant behaviour is of course flooding through the FijiFirst government.
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Speaker Jiko Luveni's incompetent leadership of the Fiji Parliament bears all the hallmark of naked arrogance flowing from the belief she has the ready power to apply it at will at the opponents of government. Now the decision to further reduce the sitting days of parliament so the Speaker can take more overseas trips or open schools etc.. point to a sorry state of affairs for a key institution of State. Might as well change the title of Speaker to "Speaker of other Things" and not "Parliament" as it will only be sitting for 4 weeks of the 52 from next year!!

In a similar manner, Khaiyum's unilateral decision to grant or withdraw licenses or board membership reflects a sense of entitlement and arrogance in going about the conduct of government.

Human psychology being what it is, the aping of the culture of entitlement, can be expected to spread outwards into Fiji society and in someway it has already. The arrogant and brutish behaviour of some military personnel immediately following the 2006 Coup can be seen in how they relate to others in their own villages and wider society, let alone the tortures and murders they were part of. Given this flow on effect, the widespread adoption of Cadet Training in schools could well have a detrimental effect on young people if it serve to propagate the culture of entitlement and arrogance now rampant in the Fiji military.

The more dangerous impact is when such culture and behaviour are identified as necessary ingredients to acquire opportunities and secure benefits, especially from the State. This is the infectious nature of bad and corrupt behaviour when it is tolerated and sanctioned by those at the apex of power in Fiji. Unless something drastic is done, there is a real danger, this culture will get more pronounced and accepted as normal and even desirable!


Curbing the culture of entitlement points to drastically cutting back on its acceptance. This will require de-emphasising the military as a worthwhile career and devaluing its attraction as a course of education or training compared to a formal pathway towards tertiary education. Qualifying with a university degree or diploma must be valued and worth more than looking good in military uniforms with shining buttons and multiple array medals! But all this will probably be non starters as long as there is a military led government as there is currently in Fiji. That is why the people of Fiji must think very hard at the government they want come the next election. Otherwise we might as well start getting military-type uniforms sewn to join the rest of the platoon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fiji Military - Decline of a Once Revered Institution


On this day, 23 June, in 1944, on Mawaraka in the Solomons, my grandfather, Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, died a glorious death fighting for his King and country under the banner of the Fiji Military. For the bravery and courage he showed on the day, he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Commonwealth forces.

Tua Suka was born on Yacata, Cakaudrove, on 1 January 1918, and joined the Fiji Infantry Regiment during World War II. By mid-1944 he was a Corporal in the 3rd Battalion, which took part in the Bougainville campaign. While attempting to rescue members of his platoon, he was shot by the Japanese at Mawaraka, which led to his being awarded the Victoria Cross.

The citation reads:

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:—

No. 4469 Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, Fiji Military Forces.

On June 23rd, 1944, at Mawaraka, Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands, Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu crawled forward to rescue some men who had been wounded when their platoon was ambushed and some of the leading elements had become casualties.

After two wounded men had been successfully recovered this N.C.O., who was in command of the rear section, volunteered to go on farther alone to try and rescue another one, in spite of machine gun and mortar fire, but on the way back he himself was seriously wounded in the groin and thighs and fell to the ground, unable to move any farther.

Several attempts were then made to rescue Corporal Sukanaivalu but without success owing to heavy fire being encountered on each occasion and further casualties caused.

This gallant N.C.O. then called to his men not to try and get to him as he was in a very exposed position, but they replied that they would never leave him to fall alive into the hands of the enemy.

Realising that his men would not withdraw as long as they could see that he was still alive and knowing that they were themselves all in danger of being killed or captured as long as they remained where they were, Corporal Sukanaivalu, well aware of the consequences, raised himself up in front of the Japanese machine gun and was riddled with bullets.

This brave Fiji soldier, after rescuing two wounded men with the greatest heroism and being gravely wounded himself, deliberately sacrificed his own life because he knew that it was the only way in which the remainder of his platoon could be induced to retire from a situation in which they must have been annihilated had they not withdrawn.”

Sukanaivalu plaque on Yacata


On my home island of Yacata, Tua Suka’s bravery has been retold over the years, especially among his family members, some of whom including his namesake, Sefanaia Sukanaivalu Nailatimate, later joined the Fiji army. Other relatives including, a grandson, are now currently serving members of the Fiji military. In 2013, a plaque commemorating his gallantry sacrifice was erected in the school grounds named in his honour on Yacata.

Yet the once revered reputation of the Fiji military of the days of Tua Suka are now in tatters and the decline will continue unless real and dramatic changes occur at its leadership helm.

The ongoing interest in, and foray into, national politics by the Fiji military lies at the heart of its problem. That interest is fuelled by a tragic misunderstanding of its role which in turn provided its misguided and corrupt leadership a potent tool to forcibly insert itself into the national politics of Fiji. In so doing, the military has since become intoxicated with the allure and incessant rewards of power, making it impossible to disentangle itself. Like being caught in quicksand, the more it pigs out on its political agenda, the deeper it sinks into the evil clutches of power. Sadly for Fiji, that political episode has now taken up over a quarter of century of life time and does not look to be receding.

What then was Tua Suka and his brave comrades of the time fighting for? Men of his generation had a profound belief of service to their country, their chiefs and people. As a Bati clan on my island, we all took his ultimate sacrifice as a given, something that is often drilled into us by our clan elders. Our role, as is traditional to all Bati, is to safeguard the lives of the people and uphold the chief’s authority. That same belief and loyalty led to my ancestors refusing to join the Tongan warmonger and Enele Ma’afu lieutenant, Wainiqolo, on his failed quest to defeat Tui Cakau at the battle of Wairiki, Taveuni, in September 1862. As a mark of loyalty to our paramount chief, the Victoria Cross medal was in fact handed to the Tui Cakau family for safe keeping over the years.
 
Sefanaia Sukanaivalu in civilian
It is the role of the Bati to carry out the chief’s authority on behalf of the people. At the national level, the military performs no different a role on behalf of the elected government of the day. It is not for the military to question or debate the policy or direction set by government. Therein lie the nub of the problem that now besets the current military in Fiji and only a radical resetting of its role can it reclaim its once revered status.

"There are no bad regiments, there are only bad officers." (Field Marshall Lord Slim)

Leadership of the Fiji military calls out for a significant overhaul and yet there is now an embedded culture of denial and refusal as a result of having tasted political power. This culture will only worsen as military recruitment now pays more than a tertiary graduate. As well, the skewed loyalty chain ingrained into new recruits will only cement the role of the military as a “political arbiter”. The increasing obsession for cadet training in the school programme of some of the main schools in Fiji, under the supervision and support of the Fiji military, will only serve to promote the same regressive militaristic mindset.

To effect the radical changes required of the Fiji military, starting from its culture, may need revisiting the 2004 Defence White Paper. Relevant questions were asked in that review whose conclusion was emphatic in that “..Fiji does not face an external military threat but the principle challenge was domestic instability.

It is more than ironic that, in near 30 years, it is the Military that has been the cause of domestic instability in Fiji.

A number of key questions in relation to the future of the Fiji military were raised in that review and these need to be considered and implemented on the return of a non-military aligned government. They included the following: 

  • Does Fiji need a military for defence purposes?
  • If not, how will the non-military functions (navy, engineers, and youth training) be redeployed?
  • If it does need a military, what for?
  • As a backstop to assist the Fiji Police Force (FPF) maintain order?
  • For peacekeeping? And if so, at what level?
Given that the misguided and tragic forays of the Fiji military into the national politics of Fiji has resulted in untold national catastrophe, it is only fair and democratic that the whole population have a say in determining its future. This can be achieved by away of a referendum where citizens can have their say once and for all, over an institution that has terrorized them and inflicted untold hardship on the citizens of Fiji.
 
Laisa Vulakoro beside uncle Sukanaivalu plaque on Yacata

I for one will be fully supportive of this as it will be one sure way of restoring my grandfather, Sefanaia Sukanaivalu VC, and his legacy and belief in a military that serves the people and is subservient to those elected to represent them. Then, only then, can the Fiji military be cleansed of its sins as a blighted institution led astray by its misguided and politically ambitious leadership to achieve personal and sectional interests.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

FLAG CHANGE - SHARE IT TO AS MANY AS POSSIBLE!



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Prosecute and Jail the Treasonists to Prevent Coups in Fiji

Sai's Comments:

Teleni and his lot are simply missing the point and must be speaking through their heads! 


The way to prevent coups is to Devalue its Worth so it is not seen as a badge of honour by those who carry it out and those who aspire to it.

Coups in Fiji have sadly become a solution for some badly led and greedy soldiers to resolve their personal problems and advance bloated political ambitions. Even worse, when those who carry it out get rewarded for it and indeed have then gone on to secure by crook a type of legal mandate to legitimise their treasonous actions. 

So Teleni; you and your lot, need to be pontificating about your National Security and Defence Strategy from prison for your involvement in the 2006 Coup! You are No Different to George Speight and others who carried out the 2000 coup other than that they failed!

Unless all those involved in perpetrating the coup of 2006 are prosecuted and jailed, coups will still be regarded as an attractive option to advance selfish and treasonous ambitions.

Then and only then can future coups be prevented. To say or act otherwise is living and thriving in Cloud Cuckoo Land"



Defence strategy to prevent future coups - Teleni
By Semi Turaga
Friday 12/06/2015

Chairman of the National Security and Defence Review committee Esala Teleni
Fiji’s National Security and Defence Strategy will ensure that another coup will not happen.
Chairman of the National Security and Defence Review committee Esala Teleni says if Fiji does not have a solid, sound and effective security system in place we will always go back to the past.
While speaking at a consultation with representatives from different government ministries, Teleni says it is important that we have a workable and responsive security system that will be able to deal with both internal and external threats.
He says we had a political system that influenced the security culture of our country.
He adds that when the political system changes, the security perception of people change.
...Please log in with a valid account to access attached audio content... 
Fiji has taken the step to develop its security system ahead of New Zealand who according to Teleni have not yet formulated one.
Teleni says the National Security and Defence Strategy will also coincide with the formulation of the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces, Fiji Police Force, Immigration and Intelligence White papers.
He says the RFMF white paper has a defence policy statement by the government.
This outlines some of the issues they will need to address and also their focus because of their expanding roles.
The Fiji Police Force policy statement outlines that they should move away from being only crime focused and to also being people focused.
Consultations on the Review of our National Security and Defence Strategy began in February this year.
The final draft report will be presented to government in August this year.

http://tinyurl.com/nfefhfr

Friday, June 12, 2015

THE UNION JACK & THE LION

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AN OPINION BY MICK BEDDOES
June 12th 2015
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Now that we have 23 mediocre finalists for the new Fiji Flag competition, I wish to reiterate an opinion I gave on Face book about the controversy over the Fiji First Government’s plan to impose on the country its own national flag. There is a clear consensus emerging against this. Check the torrent of opposition on social media and the negative public response as reported in the newspapers.
It is astonishing though that some people are still missing the point. They are arguing that democracy is at work because the Government called for submissions from the public for new flag designs.
It is too late! The decision to change the flag had ALREADY BEEN MADE by Prime Minister Bainimarama and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. The people, who should have made that decision, were shut out. That’s how things work in this modern nation state the two of them are always talking about.
Let me comment further on the National Flag Bill No 4 of 2015 and in particular it’s Explanatory Notes:
says quote 'Fiji gained Independence in 1970 and was declared a Republic in 1987. Since that time the Fijian Flag has not changed and continues to carry symbols of our colonial past that has been marred by injustice and oppression'
says quote 'The Union Jack, including the Cross of St George and the golden lion on the coat of arms are symbols which belong to our former colonial ruler, the United Kingdom.
1.3 says quote 'These symbols are predominantly featured on the Fijian Flag and do not represent Fiji's status as a truly Independent and sovereign nation and at the same time allude to Fiji being a colony or dependency.
1.5 says quote 'A new national flag that reflects our present state as a nation and will include truly Fijian symbols of identity that we can all honor and defend'
I say that whoever wrote the Explanatory Notes and those in Government that sanctioned their publication have a narrow and incomplete view of our history. They lack any sense of gratitude or respect for the families who allowed their loved ones to risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives to defend Fiji during the First and Second World Wars.
From 1874 till 1970, the Union Jack was the flag under which they fought and shed their blood in defense of the Empire, which Fiji had voluntarily joined. The emotional importance of the Union Jack to Fiji is written in their blood and the memories of the relatives they left behind.
It was the banner of those who died, and it became ours.
John 15: 13 Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends. That is why I support it’s retention as part of our present noble banner blue.
A lot of Fiji families have a story or two to tell about the sacrifices their forbears made in conflicts in many parts of the world. Permit me to relay some from the history of my own family.
My father joined Fiji's naval contingent with one of his brothers and was part of the New Zealand Navy that took part in the Solomon's campaign. My uncles joined the Army and took part in the Malayan Campaign and my grand uncle George Beddoes [father of the late Ted Beddoes] ,when he was just 21, became part of the First Fiji Contingent as Rifleman/Sapper Reg No R10192 of the 1st, 2nd & 4th Kings Royal Rifles.
Joining the Fiji Contingent was not always easy due to the prejudices of the times. My grand uncle was initially refused enlistment because of a ‘whites’ only recruitment policy. Not one to be easily put off, he went to Suva by boat from Taveuni to join other Kailomas planning to sail to New Zealand to join up.
His friend Robert Taylor was waiting for him in Suva and to his surprise he was driven straight to Government House to meet the then Governor [1912 -1918] Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escort, who had learnt [through Robert Taylor] of my grand uncle’s determination, with others, to go to New Zealand and join the New Zealand army. The Governor was impressed with this fierce desire to serve, so made arrangements for him to enlist as a member of the First Fiji Contingent.
After just two weeks training he and his compatriots sailed on the SS MAKURA on Dec 3tst 1914 for Vancouver Canada. Then they went by the Pacific Railway to the Eastern Canadian Port of St John’s for the voyage across to Liverpool on the SS Scandinavia. They travelled by train to the Kings Royal Rifles base in Winchester. All this took six weeks. On March 31st they arrived in France and were posted to the front lines in Belgium.
The flag they marched into battle under was the Union Jack.
They took part in the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915, the 1st battle of Somme in 1916 and the 2nd battle of Somme in1917 and finally Peromme - Bapaumer on the Western Front. Grand Uncle George was wounded four times and finally became a stretcher- bearer.
The first Fiji casualty my grand uncle recalls was on April 22nd 1915. It was Cecil Williams.
In a British led counter attack in the battle of Ypres from May 8th to 10th 1915 my grand uncle was one of only three members of the approximately 46 member First Fiji Contingent that survived. Forty three of his colleagues, including his best friend Robert Taylor, were killed in that battle. Such was the carnage.
On July 1st 1916 in an attack by 60,000 British troops in a battle North of Somme, 30,000 men were killed in the first hour of the fighting. My grand uncle survived. He came home in August 1919 after his honorable discharge.
The Union Jack was flying in Fiji when he returned.
This is just one story from my family that underscores strongly the bonds to our Colonial past and the Union Jack. There are many other war stories within my own family and from numerous other families in Fiji that are similar.
Yet here we have a Government, led by a former Military Commander no less, that either can’t see or does not care to see ,that erasing the symbol under which all those brave men of Fiji died in the cause of what was right, is not only hurtful to many. It is absolutely shameful.
The symbolic inclusion of the Union Jack in our national flag is emotional and deep- rooted and must be honored and not scorned. Perhaps part of the problem is that some of those driving the flag change, did not have family members who served in war.
I say to members of our military that they should not so eager to forget the sacrifice of those who served before them by agreeing erase their memory as symbolized in our banner blue. Lest we forget.
The government of the day needs to think carefully about its decision to injure and violate the memories we carry of those who served and died defending our freedoms. Shame on them, I say. A big shame on them!
The Lion is the emblem of royalty and the monarch to whom Fiji was ceded – not conquered – and from whom our Independence was achieved. This is what it represents. There was no struggle or ‘coups’ to bring about our sovereign nationhood. It was achieved through dialogue and a willingness to face the future together. The United Kingdom has remained in support of us ever since.
As for our colonial past, the promoters of this absurd Bill demonstrate a greater level of hypocrisy than their woeful lack of identification with and appreciation of our history. If they are determined to rid us of all links with colonisation, what then is their attitude to that splendid game, Rugby? After all is it not a relic of colonial times?
If they want to finish the job will that mean all Members of Parliament have to stop speaking in English, the language handed down from our former colonial masters?
And while we are at it we might as well remove the two marble tablets at the entrance to Parliament that lists the 22 Governor Generals from Sir Hercules Robinson KCMG in 1874 to Sir Robert Foster KCMG;KCVO 1970. We don’t want real history; we want a ‘trumped up’ one that avoids the truth of what really happened.
Do we rip out the sugar cane because it too is a product of our colonial past?
And how about the Military, will it be disbanded, and re-established in some other form? Because its roots are most firmly anchored in the colonial past they now scorn? Or are we going to be hypocrites and be selective in what we claim to be ours and what we toss away?
I think the only thing more pitiful than ignorance is stupidity.
Mick Beddoes.
SUVA