Thursday, July 30, 2009

Netani Rika gets PINA Award

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Fiji Times editor Netani Rika was tonight awarded the Pacific Islands News Association Freedom Award.On Monday Rika walked out of the PINA conference in Vanuatu because a censor from Fiji's Ministry of Information was present. In May he gave a speech titled "Courage under Fire" at the Pacific Freedom Forum regional workshop in Apia. In his speech, Rika detailed how hard it was for the media in Fiji to work under strict censorship and how censors from the Ministry of Information came to the newsroom everyday to monitor what was being published. He said in protest, the Fiji Times published blank pages in its Sunday Paper and the Fiji Times management was summoned and told that blank pages were not allowed under the Public Emergency Regulations. He said the censors not only didn't allow stories that were deemed anti-regime but the Fiji Times was also not allowed to publish stories on the protests in Thailand and the assasination attempt on Barrack Obama.
Posted by Pacific in the Media

Lau council meets with Methodist conference backdrop
The Lau Provincial Council meeting and bazaar is underway in Suva. So far there has been no fireworks, unlike last year when Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, a son of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and the Commanding Officer of Third Infantry Regiment (3FIR), locked out those seeking leadership of the Council, namely former Public Service Commission Chairman, Anare Jale, and his supporters. Ratu Tevita or Roko Lui became Chairman of the Council and endorsed the People's Charter initiative. So far there is a display of unity as people of Lau residing in Suva and surrounding districts have converged on the city to support the bazaar. Sources have told us that there are strong traditional links between Lau and Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa. Her elder sister the late Ro Lady Lala Mara and Ratu Mara's wife was Ro Teimumu's predecessor. Roko Lui is the high profile nephew of Ro Teimimu, the paramount chief who was locked up for two days at Central Police Station and the military hadquarters Queen Elizabeth Barracks last week after her statement was posted on a blogsite confirming that Rewa intended to hold the Methodist Church Conference in Lomanikoro. We have been reliably told that Ro Teimumu had already sent out an invitation to Lau in the traditional manner to attend the conference. But with the interim regime head Frank Bainimarama insisting that police and the military have cancelled the conference, it is likely that the issue will be raised at the Lau meeting.
Posted by Pacific in the Media

Does the chief justice have the power to appoint a new president?
The interim regime has cornered itself with the retirement and appointment of a new president.With the abrogation of the Constitution, there are no decrees under the new Legal Oder to make an acting or a new appointment to the Office of the President. Yet this afternoon interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, told Radio Legend FM the new President will be appointed by the Chief Justice on the advice of Cabinet. In essence, a bunch of unelected personalities in charge of ruling Fiji through the point of the gun will appoint an unelected and unconstitutional President. This is remarkably different from the processes laid down in the 1997 Constitution the regime abrogated on April the 10th. Under the Constitution the President was appointed by the 52 member Great Council of Chiefs and symbolised the unity of the State. With the forced retirement of President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, it means that the regime has to wriggle itself out of the provisions of the Executive Authority of Fiji Decree (Decree No. 2) The Decree promulgated by Iloilo, saw the ailing chief of Vuda appoint himself as President and Commander-in-Chief of Republic of Fiji Military Forces. Iloilo promulgated that until Parliament is elected in accordance with a Constitution yet to be adopted by the people of Fiji, he as President possessed the powers to appoint the interim Prime Minister, interim Ministers, make laws and exercise executive authority. The Decree does not contain any provisions for the resignation, retirement, replacement or the appointment of a President.
The Office of Vice-President and Succession Decree (Decree No. 8) dated April the 16th, also does not lay out provisions for the appointment of a President. It basically states the Vice-President is appointed for a term of 5 years.Our sources say it is likely a new Decree or amendments to Decrees 2 and 8 will be made in Iloilo's name while he is still on leave before proceeding to retirement.
It's yet another example of poor judgment of the law by the interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiym. He's been known to have given the wrong advice to Iloilo at least three times, regarding the provisions of the 1997 Constitution. A new Decree or amendments to the previous decrees are likely to contain procedures for the Presidential appointment to be made by Chief Justice Anthony Gates on advice from the interim Cabinet. It's also taylor made criteria for regime sympathisers, including the current Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and even Frank Bainimarama to become the next President.

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