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

Image result for fiji flag
AN OPINION BY MICK BEDDOES
June 12th 2015
Image result for mick beddoes fiji
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

Saturday, June 06, 2015

2000 RFMF BoI Report & Fiji's Dictator Bainimarama Exposed


The 2006 Coup Image result for bainimarama
Bainimarama Shuts Down Witnesses Who Could Incriminate Him

On 29 January 2006 George Speight and his associates indicated their willingness to face a government proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission. They were willing to tell everything they knew about the planning, financing, and execution of the 2000 coup.  But Bainimarama objected to the establishment of the Commission.  The proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission didn’t eventuate and Bainimarama continues to vigorously object to any and all attempts for a public inquiry.  

The closest Fiji has come to a public inquiry was the Fiji Military Forces Board of Inquiry led by 
Lt. Colonel Jackson Evans. 

Planned Arrest of Bainimarama and 2006 Coup

The police investigation into Frank Bainimarama goes back all the way to Bainimarama’s involvement in the 2000 coup, where he betrayed his Commander in Chief, the Government of the day, the RFMF, the Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit (CRW), the people of Fiji and above all he betrayed his fellow coup conspirators.  The key players in the 2000 Coup were safely locked away in Naboro prison unable to reveal what they know about Bainimarama. Others are dead. 

Meanwhile, the police investigations were continuing in the background. In November 2006, the Fiji police, working with their New Zealand counterparts, organized to arrest Bainimarama while he was in New Zealand. However, this operation was cancelled. Bainimarama was made aware of this fact and that his arrest was imminent. 

Bainimarama returned to Fiji and staged the coup on 6 December 2006.

Police Charges 

In November 2006, the police charges against RFMF Commander Frank Bainimarama included:



    1. Disobedience of a lawful order by the Minister of Home Affairs, the Prime Ministers office and the Office of the President
    2. Sedition in threatening the Minister of Home Affairs and the Prime Minister’s office
    3. Treason in plotting to overthrow the government 
    4. Unlawfully obtaining approval from his Excellency the President to abort the commission of inquiry against Bainimarama, Commander Fiji Military Forces
    5. Illegal removal of the President of Fiji in 2000
    6. Murder of CRW soldiers in 2000
    7. Abuse of office.

    RFMF Board of Inquiry Report:

    All you need to know about the motivations for the 2000 and 2006 coup de tat in Fiji with one common denominator - Bainimarama, now PM of Fiji...

    Click the 2 Links:   

    RFMF Board of Inquiry Report

    Truth for Fiji Write Up

    MEDIA FREEDOM DOES NOT EXIST IN FIJI


    Once again we encounter the ongoing practise of 'self censorship' for fear of prosecution by the media.
    For the second time now, SODELPA has been denied its right to advertise its
    planned Constituency meetings in Nadroga -Navosa on Tuesday 9th of June & Wednesday 10th of June by the Fiji Times no less.

    Now I am not talking about the papers unwillingness to use some of the statements we issue, I am talking about their unwillingness to print a 'paid' advertisement notifying the public of our meeting schedule.
    That's right even our paid advertisement's are now being withheld until they get a copy of our permit from Police. Of course we have applied for the permit 'on time' but we have to apparently wait for a 'threat analysis' of some sort in all the 10 villages where our meetings are planned.
    If someone bothered to call us, I could have told them the dates and times and locations were selected not by some 'strategic' analysis, but because all our members would be attending a Parliamentary workshop at the Warrick and they have 2 nights free, so to be cost effective, we selected the surrounding villages to meet in for this first round of meetings in Nadroga Navosa.
    So our planned advertisement for the bug Saturday circulation is lost, so is our planned ad for tomorrow Monday and if Police give us the approval on Monday, then we are down to the day of the meeting with which to advertise and notify the people so I'm going back to basics and will send a team of our people down to distribute flyers all over and if you can pass on the planned meetings times and dates to family and friends who live in Nadroga and Navosa, I would be grateful.
    This is our reality today, this the 'Fiji First Democracy' that AK & FB boast of that some of our misguided people and most of the international community blindly 'lap up'?
    As far as I am concerned, it is a farce! Call it paranoia, call it fear, call it what you will. But what you can not call it is DEMOCRACY.
    Mick BEDDOES

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    2009 Fiji Appeal Court Ruling on the 2006 Bainimarama Coup


    Read the Ruling below and stay Reminded that the Bainimarama Government Illegally Seized Power in 2006 and were Ruled to be so!
    Therefore its rule, 2013 Constitution, decrees, programmes and policies since 05 December 2006 are illegal.
    There is nothing in law to prevent the reinstatement of the 1997 Constitution!

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    Where To Now For The Opposition in Fiji Parliament?

    Image result for tui cakau

    With a heavy heart I pen this piece following Ratu Naiqama's patently unjust suspension from the house earlier today. The decision also begs real questions of the Opposition given its inability to make a difference against the torrent of procedural abuse by the Fiji First regime!
    We all knew it was always going to be tough as the rules of the game let alone numbers were stacked against them from the start. All realised that the:
    - 2013 Constitution;
    - electoral system and campaign rules;
    - parliament standing orders;
    - party funding in Parliament; and
    - MPs remuneration were all unilaterally determined and imposed.

    Yet we acquiesced and decided to join the election in the distant hope that common sense and fair play will slowly percolate the conscience of those who have mercilessly been wielding power for the last 7 years! So we knew full well what we were getting into and there can be no excuse pretending otherwise. The regime had all the cards and had given absolutely no indication it was ever capable of changing its corrupt, vindictive and dictatorial ways. After all, they have been very successful with it since seizing power in 2006. Why then change a winning formula? So what hope was ever there for the Opposition from the start of parliamentary rule? None, zilch and today's suspension of Ratu Naiqama merely followed on numerous other humiliating setbacks for the Opposition in Fiji.
    So what and where to now for the Opposition?
    Those of us who had waited on the examination of the Auditor General's Report of the regime's misuse and squandering of public money are right fully disappointed at the lack of parliamentary action to hold the government to account following the quiet tabling of the accounts committee report! Granted, questions have been raised in the house on various issues concerning government management. Yet, there is no real sense, from afar anyway, that the Opposition has made significant inroads into the government's handling of its mandate.
    My observation has been that there is a real mismatch in the politics between the Government and the Opposition. Bainimarama and Khaiyum have remained true to their brand - demonize opponents and overwhelm them with force at your disposal! Before the election it was brutal and physical force through torture, threats and intimidation by the military, police and even corrections. Post election it is via majority numbers in Parliament and use of legal instruments of the State.
    Meanwhile, the Opposition has opted for a "combative yet don't rock the boat too much approach". They seem to be playing the nice and victim approach while taking on the government from time to time. Is it now time for the gloves to come off and take on the government for what they really are?
    Has there been a deliberate policy to adopt a low key approach in order to "socialise" the brutal and dictatorial regime into a democratic government? Well, that hasn't worked and never had a chance from the start given its political DNA and real modus operandi of the Bainimarama and Khaiyum clique! For them, hanging on to power by any means is the sole purpose of being in government as the alternative is destitution and prolonged incarceration.
    The Opposition just can't continue taking pot shots at the government as it hasn't worked. They need to appeal to the whole population to stand up to the government and oppose its policies and programmes. The fight must be directed at Bainimarama and Khaiyum in particular to rattle them. Fijian members of the government must also be the focus of attention to question their loyalty to the Itaukei cause given the destructive effect of government policies. The right to protest and publicly demonstrate must be tested.
    Accepting the current position signals weakness in the Opposition. No doubt this is what Qorvis will be saying to Bainimarama who now is so confident of his position, he can regularly absent himself from parliament and away from scrutiny.
    Having opted to join in the fabricated political environment unilaterally designed and imposed by the Bainimarama regime, the Opposition must now modify its approach in line with it. Playing it nice hasn't worked so far and will not anyway. It may have worked if the referee and rules were on its side. Ratu Naiqama's blatantly unjust suspension, coupled with the numerous blunders by the Speaker of parliament, have proved to all that fairness and common sense have yet to find its way into the conduct and operation of Fiji politics.