Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fiji Drifting Rudderless

FB (Frank Bainimarama) is a nobody now. We are sick of him giving controversial orders and running away overseas.And for us to keep facing the wrath of our soldiers and the public. He doesn’t know that our sense of fairness and the upholding of natural justice is the only reason he is kept alive (with Aiyaz, Leweni,John Prasad,Padam Lala, Damodar, etc). The main indicator for us when he ordered our soldiers who turned 55 to retire and he went on a globe-trotting taxpayer funded trip ,that he just cares for himself and he doesn’t care for the men’s families and he definitely doesn’t inspire the men anymore. A Captain of a ship is always the last to leave a sinking ship. But this %#^$%&^ does the opposite – Qai lako ga mai na matai ni ua sa step. As they joke about in military college for LAMULAMU, ” You only follow them through curiosity” But now our curiosity has been fulfilled. E tamata lamulamu, ka veilecayaki.. To the methodist church , victory is ours and GOD WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US. We shall worship togetherin Rewa WITH A CLEAN HEART. QAI MACALA O IRA NA TABU LOTU E RA VIA TAROVA NA CAKACAKA NI YALO SAVASAVA KEI NA YALO DODONU.
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There are concerns the ’Christian Crusade’ shaping policing in Fiji at present could be a backward step for women’s rights. The Creative Director of the women’s group, Women’s Action for Change, Peni Moore, says all officers, no matter what religion or Christian domination, are required to take part in the evangelical crusade, led by the recently formed New Methodist Church. She says the families of Muslim and Hindu officers may suffer from the build up of frustration connected to their compulsory involvement in the drive Ms Moore says the impact of this form of religion also puts women back into a subservient role “It’s telling them they have to accept horrendous behaviour as a test from God and forgive and carry on. We’ve had Ruggers for God, or for Christ or something, so they have been trying to get the rugby, but it is definitely trying to get across this patriarchal structure again, really putting women back down, so it means decisions will be made by men not women.” But the Director of Police Operations, Senior Superintendent Waisea Tabakau, says the new focus is on prevention and the evil spirits within the people who commit crime. He says they have achieved a remarkable reduction in offending by teaching the people to respect one another and the law.
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Uncertainty surrounds Fiji’s possible attendance of this month’s French summit with Pacific Island leaders in New Caledonia. The Fiji foreign ministry, which is one of several ministries run by the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is refusing to say if it has received an invitation. The French embassy in Suva has also declined to say what arrangements are being made. The French high commission in Noumea, where the summit will be held on July the 31st, says it neither knows who has been invited nor whose attendance is confirmed. When France held its Pacific summit in French Polynesia in 2003, the summit organisers flew a plane to Suva to pick up the Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to help ensure maximum attendance for the pitch by France to integrate its territories into the Pacific Islands Forum. However, Australia was absent from the event because the official proposed by Canberra was deemed by France not to be senior enough. This year, France has downgraded the summit as it will not be chaired by the French President but the French foreign minister.
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A Pacific academic says the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s decision to back Fiji is not a sign the Pacific Islands Forum is splitting down ethnic lines. Last week, the governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu said they would attempt to get the Pacific Islands Forum to lift Fiji’s suspension.
Dr Teresia Teaiwa, the Programme Director of Pacific Studies at Victoria University, says the Melanesian Spearhead Group has not broken ranks. She says other regional leaders have made it clear, that although they uphold the Forum decision to suspend Fiji, they believe that dialogue should still be pursued. “I think that’s simply what the MSG is saying too, that just because Fiji kind of dropped the ball, or failed to live up to its commitments, it doesn’t mean that other Pacific governments shouldn’t attempt to keep the door open and keep an open mind.”
Dr Teresia Teaiwa
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The learned Professor (Warden Narsey’s blog post) is simply recounting what is already obvious to all. What Fiji needs right now is not so much an academic account of where we are or where we’re headed but some leadership from the likes of the good professor, Qarase, Chaudhry, Beddoes, the Methodist Church (don’t count on the Catholics – they’ve already been sold out by their shepherd, the Arch-Bishop), the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh leaders. We need them to stand up and CALL for a gahering of our people – in defiance of the military-imposed bans/regulations.
As Narsey points out, it’s not too late. What’s needed is a rallying voice – the people of this country NEED one right now. Otherwise, we are all condemned to the fate before us – economic collapse which will lead eventually to bloodshed because we will, make no mistake about it, descend to the law of the jungle where only the fittest survive. For all their political bravado, Qarase, Chaudhry and Beddoes need to hang their heads in shame for their lack of courage to unite our people at this very critical point in our history. For that they are just as guilty of treason as Bainimarama and his cohorts. We have all decided to sit in our comfort zones, refusing to test the boundaries. Should the Methodists decide to proceed with their conference they will no doubt be, to some extent, testing the boundary and should that eventuate, I make one prediction here – they will be allowed to proceed with their meeting WITHOUT interference from the military – because to interfere would be to spark a reaction that even the military with its guns will not be able to handle. So PLEASE, can someone who professes to be a leader with the genuine interest of the people of Fiji at heart STAND up and TEST the boundary? Use the voice of the people, the coconut wireless, to call us to a show of national unity and we WILL respond.
The Oracle
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All of a sudden, the name of a faraway destination that most Thais are not familiar with – let alone have made a visit to – has hit the public spotlight. The place is Fiji, a country of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, midway between Tahiti and Australia. Currently the country is ruled by a military regime led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama who led a coup to topple a democratically elected government back in December 2006. Despite a court order ruling the regime is illegal and which was eventually confirmed by the appeal court, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo restored Mr Bainimarama as the interim prime minister in April. So what has this little bit of history about Fiji got to do with us anyway? Well, this is the latest destination to which exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has just paid a hush-hush visit following a secret stopover probably for refuelling of his private jet in Kuala Lumpur. Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam blew the whistle on Thaksin’s secret stopover in neighbouring Malaysia. Press reports said Thaksin was on his way to Fiji to discuss with the military regime potential plans to invest some US$200 million (6.8 billion baht) in the country in exchange for a safe haven for his time in exile.
Why a new safe haven in Fiji in the middle of the Pacific and not the present one in Dubai which is more comfortable, more easily connected with the other cities of the world and, also, with all the fancy hotels, huge shopping malls and mansions on artificial islands in the sea that only the super rich can dream of? Was the man in exile inspired by the revival of the landmark musical “South Pacific” on Broadway in New York, featuring such timeless hits as “Bali Hai”, “Some Enchanted Evening” or “Happy Talk”? Maybe he just wants a change from the boring Arabian desert to an exotic South Pacific island. I am not sure my guess is right or wong but press speculation that Thaksin is bargaining for a safe haven for exile in Fiji was promptly dismissed by Thaksin’s lawyer, Noppadon Pattama, who said the ex-premier was merely exploring investment opportunities for a small project in Fiji and not a $200 million project as speculated by the media. He also denied that Thaksin had visited Tonga and Vanuatu, two other island states in the South Pacific.
Puea Thai MP for Ratchaburi Chaowarin Latthasaksiri chimed in saying Thaksin had won a concession from the military regime in Fiji to operate a lottery in the island state. Whether this is true or just another tall story from the parliamentarian infamous for his claim of a nonexistent huge amount of gold and other treasures left behind by the Japanese imperial army in a cave in Kanchanaburi which sparked off a frenzied treasure hunt a few years back. But whatever the real motives of Thaksin’s recent venture in Fiji, the sick irony is that while he loathed and condemned the military junta in Bangkok which toppled his government in 2006 as well as the Surayud government installed after the coup, he unabashedly is courting and embracing the military dictatorship in Fiji. Does Thaksin really want to invest in Fiji? Or is this just another publicity ploy to attract media attention and to seize media space? Has anybody closely followed up on any of the high-flying projects mentioned by Thaksin and whether they have actually been implemented? For example, the island resort project in Croatia, the gold and diamond mines somewhere in Africa.
That makes me wonder whether the report about Thaksin’s recent secret brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur might have actually been intentionally leaked to Mr Thaworn by one of Thaksin’s men for publicity purposes. Knowingly or unknowingly, Mr Thaworn took the bait and blew the whistle. The exiled former prime minister needs to be always on the move and to make sure that his every move is followed by the media in order to remind his supporters back home that he is still alive and kicking and, above all, remains their only hope for a better future. Hence, the Fiji venture and the like serve this purpose much more effectively than the regular phone-ins which are confined to a relatively limited audience.
Veera Prateepchaikul is a former editor of the Bangkok Post.
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By Michael Field
Samoa’s Head of State has used the word “evil” in connection with New Zealand’s political sanctions against Fiji’s military regime. Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese has issued a statement on his talks last week with Prime Minister John Key in Samoa.
Mr Key yesterday said his conversation with Tuiatua had not been hostile over New Zealand and Australia’s sanctions, which followed Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s 2006 military coup. But Tuiatua’s office said that some of the issues he raised with Mr Key included questioning the morality of the current sanctions “bearing in mind that the poor and the innocent will bear the brunt of the consequential hardship.” “How will this hardship assist to create and nurture an environment which will counter a coup mentality and culture?” Tuiatua said. “Will the question which grapples the conscience of the world in the aftermath of Iraq bedevil the conscience of the region in the aftermath of what is happening in Fiji? The question is: How much evil do you need to do in order to do good?” According to the Sunday Samoa Observer, which received the statement, Tuiatua would make no further comment.
Mr Key meanwhile said his talks with Tuiatua had been extensive and “very constructive”.
Tuiatua’s concerns for Fiji contrast to those of the country’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, who has strongly attacked Bainimarama on personal grounds. In the latest issue of the Samoan government newspaper Savali, Tuilaepa slammed Bainimarama’s decision to cancell this year’s Methodist Church conference, calling it “quite disturbing”. “Was not our Saviour crucified for freedom of speech and association?” A Catholic, Tuilaepa said he was puzzled at the “deafening silence” from Fiji Catholics. “Where are they hiding when the people need them the most?” He reflected on the role played by the charismatic Cardinal Sin who led the toppling of two dictatorships in the Philippines in bloodless revolution. “It was Cardinal Sin who said that the Church had a duty in politics and government. That politics without Christ is the greatest scourge of a nation,” he told Savali. “He advocated peaceful protest and peaceful resistance in bringing down military dictatorships. And it worked. When people rise up and march, who among them will pull the trigger when they see their families taking to the streets?”
Head of State Tuiatua’s comments to Mr Key reflect a longstanding political division in Samoa.
Tuiatua, when known as Tupuola Efi, was Prime Minister between 1976 and 1982, losing recent elections to the current Prime Minister’s ruling party.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/world/2591214/Samoa-slams-NZ-over-Fiji
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There is one thing we can take from this saga – and that is that these experiences are showing up the ‘so-called leaders’ for who they really are! None of leaders prior to pre-coup times have shown themselves to be of a caliber, we know that exists in a true leader. All have shown themselves to be merely, ‘paper tigers’. They all look good on paper (educated and schooled in pomp and ceremony), but they have no substance, no inner strength, not able to withstand anything. All have compromised themselves! Now, they sit in the comforts of their homes or take up positions in other countries (to go solve problems in other countries) and waiting to be received back into Fiji as the savior of Fiji after the dilemma and danger to them has passed! And we the gullible citizens will welcome them and say to them, “please take your seats at the helm” and lead us again! And so the pomp and ceremony continues, until someone gets fed up at FMF camp…and rolls out another coup. How sad!! The even sadder thing is that all the current crop of so-called leaders in our country, i.e. in politics, corporate, vanua, churches, unions, civil service are all pretty much in self-preservation mode. Take care of No.1 first and the nation, later, is their selfish motto! They prefer to work within the regime when, really they can work without the regime! If their decision is to do with feeding hungry mouths – then be reminded, “Man does not live on bread alone”! If they think they can make a difference inside – well how dumb can they be – to suggest they can do such a thing, when in reality, the regime has made a difference in them. They have succumbed first to the law of the regime? Sorry, the “Trojan horse” strategy does not work any longer… you are dealing with the military, for goodness sake! By signing up to their law and decrees, these lawyers have simply given credence to Frank’s way – but don’t think for one moment you are out of firing range…in fact these lawyers have fallen into the nest where Frank can keep an eye on them.
To paraphrase the words of Harry Truman, “Regimes perpetuated by coups adheres to a false philosophy which purports to offer freedom, security, and greater opportunity to mankind. Misled by this philosophy, many people have sacrificed their liberties only to learn to their sorrow that deceit and mockery, poverty and tyranny are their reward”. This is the reward that misled people and misled so-called leaders of Fiji will reap eventually and the country will have borne a great cost as a result. The plus side to this saga…is that it is molding and showing up the ‘real leaders’…and these are the ordinary citizens of this nation, guys like Graham Leung, etc (sorry I can’t think of anyone else that comes to mind just yet– you can add your own list). These are the kind of leaders we must put at the helm! We need leaders with balls…not those who just carry it around…
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If what I am reading is factual it is a wonder Frank Bainimarama has been allowed to last this long. Frank the dictator has called for the sacking of two of the Methodist Church executives, the likes of Reverend Manasa Lasoro and Tomasi Kanailagi if they want the church conference to go ahead in the coming years. I state coming years! Oh dear, spoken like a dictator! So does this mean Frank will dictate to the people of Fiji for a few more years and while doing so will be grooming future leaders to take over from him when he finally decides to give away the power he obtained from the barrel of the gun? I strongly believe that past leaders shouldn’t say anything that will only contribute to Frank’s success. Former Methodist Church President Reverend Josateki Koroi advised Methodist Church President Ame Tugave, General Secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu and other church members that wounds created by Reverend Lasaro in 1989 should be healed within the church before they reach out to the flock. These wounds Reverend Koroi is talking about are the same wounds that led to his removal from the position of President. My advice to Reverend Koroi is, it is not the time to be asking for apologies as the church as more important issues to do with the flock to resolve. Why is it always the leaders before the people? Why can’t it be while the nation is in a political crisis, the leaders of Fiji would for a change put the people before themselves? Rosalind Pratt
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You decide!
As for us, we will stand by what our sources say – it’s not Frank Bainimarama! It’s Driti and Ului. Tyrant Frank has spoken by re-iterating his dislike for the Methodist Church in trying to stop them from holding their annual conference in August. His reason?
Two of its priests and former Methodist Church Presidents, Manasa Lasaro and Kanailagi are too political. Never you mind about his own illegal political coup take-over. Frank wants them removed from their positions. Do you think Frank has been reasonable in his demands?
We see fear in Frank. And his fear doesn’t rest with Lasaro and Kanailagi, it’s not the Methodist Church and its followers, he is scared of his own mind! He is fearful of how tormented his mind is by his many dark hellish plans to avoid going to jail. Frank can see himself killing more innocent Fijians if that is what it takes to prolong his self-preservation stints. He is ready to apply force and to possibly gun down Methodist Church goers who will show up in Rewa to prove his point that he is the man with a terribly disturbed mind. And it is that kind of irrational murderous thinking that Driti and Ului are not willing to engage in….again. Driti and Ului’s conscience already know that Frank Bainimarama’s wish is not to the best interest of Fiji and her people.
They know they’ve been used by Frank to commit his horrible crime on humanity and their instincts must be telling them that they must put a stop to Frank’s madness. But they must at all cost try and avoid any bloody confrontation – not with Frank, not with the public, not with anyone. We still have hope that a peaceful solution can be reached between Driti,Ului and Frank. We think this is their greatest opportunity to clear their conscience and to redeem themselves. They know what to do! They don’t need to be told! Will they? Time will tell!
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Don’t be misled by the demands made by the Commander. I can tell you what the real reasons are, and there’s two. One is, he’s in a state of self preservation. There has been widespread corruption in the military for some years and also he’s been resistant to the investigation into the murder of the counter-revolutionary warfare soldiers in 2000. There were four of them murdered by the military and we believe that he has some questions to answer in that regard himself. And secondly, that he’s a front man. He’s a front man as Rabuka was in ‘87 and Speight was in 2000. Bainimarama is a front man for power-seeking people in Fiji that failed at the last election who are not able to gain power legitimately, so they’re using him as a means to obtain that power.
Exerpt from Andrew Hughes TV interview
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fter exiled former Thailand prime minister Billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra paid a hush-hush visit following a secret stopover last week in Fiji to meet interim illegal Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama our sources reveal the following deal was made. US $250,000 was handed to John Prasad, CEO Finance and chair of FNPF as a front down payment for FNPF’s stagnant Grand Pacific Hotel $6.5 million project. Whether the deal goes through is another matter as corporate lawyers and Frank’s ex Marist gang Caesar Lateef and Dilip Jamanadas are still squabling with AG Aiyarse as to who gets to broker the deal and get the huge commission. It appears Thaksin’s Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda. Thailand press speculated that Thaksin is bargaining for a safe haven for exile in Fiji and the final investment sum may never materialize given Fiji’s nose diving economy.
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The chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Edward Natapei, says the MSG doesn’t necessarily support the roadmap of Fiji’s interim regime but that it is pushing for other Fijian leadership to be involved in the process. Following their meeting on Fiji in Port Vila, the Prime Ministers of Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands said the Pacific Islands Forum should lift Fiji’s Forum suspension which was the result of Suva failing to commit to elections this year. The MSG leaders accepted the reasons given by Fiji’s interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama for putting off elections for another five years after he briefed them in Vanuatu about his strategic framework for change in Fiji. Mr Natapei says the Commodore displayed genuine will to work towards democracy. “We had our views also and we made it clear at the meeting that we would like consultation to take place if possible to bring in other groups in Fiji also into the plans that they have so that it includes other groups and if possible nationwide reconciliation and dialogue should take place in Fiji.” Edward Natapei said it remained to be seen whether Pacific leaders as a group will lift Fiji’s suspension at next month’s annual Forum summit in Australia.
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