Monday, October 05, 2009

Outsiders Need to Engage Others in Fiji for Accurate Picture of the Country

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SDL National Director also met with EU Director General

October 4, 2009

Sai Comment:
- much greater chance for outside observers and key stakeholders to obtain a true and accurate assessment of what the political, economic and social conditions in Fiji when they engage groups outside of the current regime there. So credit to the EU in seeking out opposition groups such as the SDL and others. Otherwise, the usual lies and make believe stories and excuses would be the fodder given to them by those currently and illegally in government in Fiji. The sooner they go the better for all of Fiji and its peoples-that is the said truth and solution to the problem facing our beloved Fiji...

Even though the SDL Party leader Laisenia Qarase was away on his island in Vanuabalavu, the party’s National Director Peceli Kinivuwai met with Mr Roger Moore, EU Director General for Development in Suva this week.

The EUROPEAN UNION representative wanted to get first hand information from major political parties and stakeholders on the way forward and how to assist Fiji’s precarious economic situation.

Mr Kinivuwai presented to the EU Team are very factual and detailed view of the ground situation existing in Fiji.

We say – enough of your trash Pio! Ex-FHRC head Shaista Shameem failed to convince and never will you. Did you say you and your usurping junta value human rights? Bull shyt Pio! You guys killed innocent Fiji citizens like Verebasaga, Rabaka and tortured many more so cut your bullcrap and your con-man talk.

Concentrate on local issues, FHRC told

We should stop imposing international rights in Fiji and concentrate on the issues locally says permanent secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Lieutenant Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC) yesterday, Tikoduadua said the FHRC should focus more on promoting human values and dignity.

“Even in this government we value human rights,” he said.

“We want change and we want change to happen.”

He said it is time the FHRC reassessed its work and asked itself which rights are relevant in Fiji.

FHRC principal legal officer Wilfred Golman told the celebration that the number of complaints addressed to the commission had grown steadily since 1999.

“Although there are several areas in which much needs to be done- modesty deters me from going into details of the many activities the commission has done and achieved results,” added Golman.

- Fijilive

Luck is running out for all these coup apologists….especially with the national kitty running dry very quickly.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out….unless of course you are the illegal RBF Governor who appears to be so clueless that the economy is in dire straits.

Throw in Sereana Qoro, Aisake Taito, the illegal PS Finance, the illegal Minister for Finance etc etc and you have a potent cocktail of economic and financial disaster waiting to happen.

And lest we forget, Mahen Chodo is an important ingredient in all this mess. Ignore his current masquerade with various international personalities. If he had had a genuine love for the country he would not have danced with the wolf……ummhh…the PIG.

No one, not one single coup apologist deserve any sympathy. They have subjugated all of us to a life of despair, misery and poverty. We did not deserve it.

All coup apologists deserve the highest forms of punishment. And I reiterate that they have to receive no less a punishment than that of the capital form.

Yep…electric chair, guillotine, hanging, lethal injection and stuff.

This way we will not only rid ourselves of our current crop of rotten apples but scare the living daylights out of possible treasonous low-lives.

One of the region’s leading economists has warned the Fiji budget, due out later this month, is likely to leave consumers short-changed. In his monthly column in Islands Business magazine, economist Satish Chand says protectionist pressures on the interim government are growing, and he fears Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama will give in to them.

Professor Chand has also raised questions about the management of people’s retirement savings in Fiji.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Satish Chand, economist on secondment to the Centre for Global Development, Washington DC

Company rakes in huge profits at expense of Fijian people

The military government of the Republic of the Fiji Islands and Fiji Water, one of the world’s most dominant purveyors of bottled water, are deeply in cahoots in a relationship to deprive the Fijian people of their rights and prosperity in exchange for immense private profits.

In the name of U.S. corporate interests, the Fijian
military makes sure that there is no such thing as
a free sip of clean water.

Fiji, comprising over 300 islands east of Australia in the South Pacific, was colonized by the British in the 19th century until independence was gained in 1970. British imperialism cast aside traditional society and modes of production, replacing them with a class society dominated by the colonial masters and Indian indentured workers imported to toil on massive sugar plantations. Indigenous people were banned by law from participating in colonial administration.

In the post-colonial period, tensions between indigenous Fijians and the descendants of Indian workers, who were viewed as disproportionately powerful in the new government, led to the first of a series of coups in 1987.

Compared to countries of similar size, Fiji has a large and well-funded military. Fijian forces often take part in United Nations “peacekeeping” missions outside the country in exchange for monetary aid from imperialist countries, especially the United States.

It is that service to imperialism on the part of the Fijian elite that created the conditions under which foreign capitalists have come to dominate the national economy and the military has become the center of political power, especially under the martial law declared in April 2009.

According to a Mother Jones piece, by Anna Lenzer, Fiji Water was founded by Canadian billionaire David Gilmour in 1995 after he learned of a large natural aquifer discovered by the bourgeois democratic government. Familiar with the country due to his resort holdings there, Gilmour was able to secure a 99-year lease for most of the land over the aquifer, dreaming of a “niche project for the elite,” as Lenzer described it in a Sept. 3 interview on Democracy Now!.

Using clever product placement, Fiji Water quickly became identified as an exclusive, hip brand that, despite its high price, became a mainstream favorite that yields enormous profits.

Gilmour sold the company in 2004 to agribusiness billionaires Lynda and Steward Resnick. To further bolster their product’s image, the Resnicks positioned Fiji Water as a leader in sustainable practice, boasting of the purchase of carbon credits to offset its environmental impact, and a progressive economic engine for Fiji itself, building schools and protecting the islands’ environment. They have also interjected their product into major events, creating imagery of celebrities, including President Obama, drinking Fiji Water.

“Nowhere in Fiji Water’s glossy marketing materials will you find reference to the typhoid outbreaks that plague Fijians because of the island’s faulty water supplies; the corporate entities that Fiji Water has … set up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg,” Lenzer writes.

Lenzer highlights the lack of potable water for the Fijian people, including those living in the town of Rakiraki, a half-hour’s drive from the Fiji Water bottling plant, who must resort to extreme measures like theft and bribery to avoid paying extortionate U.S.-level prices—almost a dollar a liter—for water pumped literally from their own back yard.

Lenzer also noted the mutually beneficial relationship between Fiji’s military government and the water conglomerate. The company, often working through Fiji’s embassies in other countries, benefits from the government’s cooperation and protection. (Lenzer, believed to be working for another water company, was arrested and threatened with gang rape in prison if she did not leave the country). Consequently, Fiji water provides cover for the government by deliberately cultivating an image of Fiji as a tropical paradise occupied by a benevolent, progressive company.

This cozy relationship is quite revealing. For the imperialists, the form of government is of far less importance than its essential role as the guardian of private property and their right to the unhindered pursuit of maximum profits. The military rulers in Fiji have played that part well. The champions of “democracy” and “freedom” in the U.S. government and media are conspicuously silent when U.S. capital finds itself well-served.

But the Fijian people, even in the face of military repression, have resisted imperialist control over their resources. During the 2000 coup, Lenzer wrote, “a small posse of villagers … seized on the chaos to take over the bottling plant and threaten to burn it down. ‘The land is sacred and central to our continued existence and identity,’ a village spokesman told the Fiji Times, adding that ‘no Fijian should live off the breadcrumbs of past colonial injustices.’”

Fiji Water creates false progressive image.

A battle between two giants for increased capacity over the Pacific may destroy a smaller airline, writes Clive Dorman.

What started as a simple idea by Virgin Blue to boost aircraft productivity has turned into a full-blown airline war between the Qantas and Virgin groups, which threatens the survival of one of the South Pacific’s most successful carriers.

Until a few years ago, the route between Sydney and Nadi in Fiji was, in airline terms, a sleepy hollow with a single daily Boeing 747 jumbo monopoly service operated by Fiji’s Air Pacific, owned 46 per cent by Qantas, with whom it codeshares.

Under Qantas’s wing, Air Pacific has almost always been profitable, earning more than $20 million in 2007-08. For a leisure destination, discount fares have been high. The best fares averaged $700 to $800 return until 2004, when Virgin Blue offshoot Pacific Blue entered the route, dropping fares to as low as $269 one-way.

Now, Pacific Blue wants to give the route to sister airline V Australia – which Virgin Blue uses to fly to the US – using V’s long-haul 361-seat Boeing 777-300ERs, which otherwise sit on the tarmac in Sydney between US services. These would replace daily Pacific Blue 180-seat Boeing 737-800s.

“The introduction of V Australia will enable the Virgin Blue Group to maintain the competitive pressure, which has led to substantially reduced leisure-sector tariffs on the route, to introduce real competition in the premium market and significantly increase air-freight capability and competition,” Virgin told the Federal Government’s International Air Services Commission in its application for capacity on the route.

“The lower unit cost of the B777-300ER will enable V Australia to operate a virtual low-cost cabin in the aircraft that will not only match fares already introduced by PBA [Pacific Blue] but also provide the opportunity for tariffs even lower than those currently available in the market.”

Qantas decided it was being outmanoeuvred and belatedly applied to the commission for capacity that V Australia was seeking to use under the old Australia-Fiji air services treaty, which hasn’t been changed for years.

There are a total of 1760 weekly return seats between Sydney and Nadi available to Australian-based carriers. Qantas wants 1491, to enable subsidiary Jetstar to launch a daily service on the route with 213-seat Airbus A321s, and Virgin wants 1267, to enable V Australia to upgrade Pacific Blue’s daily 737s with the larger 777s. The commission has declared the two applications a contest with only one carrier able to carry out its capacity plan within the existing treaty.

Since Qantas has signalled that it plans to sell its 46 per cent stake in Air Pacific – leaving the carrier brutally exposed to the new Australian competition – and since the Australia Government supported Fiji’s expulsion from the Commonwealth over the Fijian military regime’s refusal to hold elections before 2014, it is thought Fiji would be unwilling to negotiate a new treaty in the foreseeable future.

Air Pacific appears to have suffered heavily as a result of the military’s actions. The airline’s traffic was down 20 per cent in June compared with a year earlier, although new figures suggest there was a surge in Australian visitor numbers in July on the back of the country’s new “Fiji me” advertising campaign.

The lessons learned from natural disasters are already bubbling to the surface after the 8-point-3 magniture earthquake hit the region a couple of days ago. Yesterday, we heard the Director of Solomon Islands National Disaster Management office suggest that the language used in warning announcements should be simplified.

The question of who should issue those warnings was also raised in Fiji – should it only come from recognised agencies, or can so-called credible sources be allowed to supply information? The issue was raised by the Chairman of the Fiji Tsunami working group, weather office Director Rajendra Prasad, after delays in issuing warnings by the Mineral Resources Minister.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts
Speaker: Rajendra Prasad, Chairman of the Fiji Tsunami Working Group and Director of the Fiji Metereological Service

- Radio Australia

SUVA, Oct. 2, 2009 (Xinhua News Agency) — Fiji’s consumers watchdog has issued a stern warning to people in the island nation to be careful about the food they consume as more families can not afford nutritious meals because of economic hardships.

The Consumer Council of Fiji made the comment on Friday as institutions in the country prepared to celebrate World Food Day ( WFD) later this month with the theme of “Achieving food security in times of crisis in Fiji.”

“At a time when the global economic crisis dominates the headlines, consumers need to be reminded that not everyone works in an office,” said the council.

The 2004 National Nutrition Survey statistics showed that many consumers in Fiji do not meet their daily food needs, which could lead to micronutrient diseases like deficiencies in Vitamin A and iron.

Currently, 25 percent of Fiji’s consumers are living below the poverty line, significantly outlining the fact that some families in Fiji cannot afford a simple nutritious meal.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations states that the crisis is stalking the small-scale farms of the world too, where 70 percent of the world’s hungry live and work.

The situation in rural areas in developing countries is dire, coming in the wake of the surge in food and fuel prices in 2007- 2009.

Millions have been spent to resuscitate wealthy economies, but who is to bail out the poor consumers.

As a stakeholder in the event, the Consumer Council of Fiji feels that consumers must act responsibly in these trying times.

They need to be critically aware of their responsibility to be more alert and question the price and quality of goods and services they use as more and more cheap products from developed markets land in Fiji, the council said.

“It is their right, by law, to question, to choose and decide if he or she should purchase a particular quality product or service that best suit their needs,” said the Consumer watchdog.

The website on hunger states that about 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes.

Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.

In Fiji and around the globe, the poor consumers are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and lack of access to healthy food, clean water and affordable energy services.

Consumers must understand the consequences of their consumption, to be aware of individual and social responsibilities in conserving natural resources and to use them in a sustainable manner for the future generation.

The lack of access to healthy food, clean water and affordable energy services are also global issues as climate change, loss of biodiversity and ozone layer depletion cannot be simply addressed by countries alone. It will require the consorted effort of every consumer to assert themselves and act responsibly. As long as we remain passive consumers will be exploited.

Consumer must also exercise responsibility to act and organize in unity to develop the strength and influence to promote and protect interests. It is vital that issues affecting consumer interest are brought into the open so that it can be heard and resolved amicably at the highest level.

As of June 2009, the Council received and registered 684 complaints. Over 500 of these were resolved successfully through mediation. Landlord tenancy again recorded the highest with 14.8 percent ahead of faulty electronic goods at 9.21 per cent, mobile services 7.16 percent, and groceries 6.14 percent.

As a consumer watchdog, the Council encourages all Fiji consumers to be responsible and be proactive on issues that affect them so that their concerns are heard.

World Food Day in Fiji aims at creating public awareness on the food problems nationwide and uniting all people to fight hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) not to accept a bid for its annual general meeting to be hosted in Fiji next year, in view of the Fiji military regime’s strict censorship and hardline in controlling news reporting.

The IFJ wrote to the ASTW on September 23 calling for it to reconsider any meeting in Fiji while restrictions continue against local media.

The IFJ said that ASTW members would be compromising their integrity to accept the hospitality of the regime in the current circumstances.

The letter from IFJ Asia-Pacific Steering Committee member Christopher Warren, who is also Federal Secretary of the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance, noted that while ASTW “members may be encouraged by Fiji’s regime to visit and report favourably on Fiji, other foreign journalists risk being banned from entry while local journalists must daily bow to the demands of the newsroom censors”.

The ASTW was reminded of its code of ethics, which states that members will “encourage responsible professional standards of reporting” and “safeguard the professional independence of travel writers”. The society’s stated mandate is to promote “unbiased reporting of information on travel topics”.

“The IFJ believes that the staging of the AGM in Fiji would risk compromising the ASTW,” Warren said in the letter.

“While ASTW members may seek to present a realistic picture of Fiji’s current circumstances in their professional work as travel writers, they would be denied this right within Fiji, and any critical commentary in their journalistic or other work would be blocked from circulation within Fiji.

“Fiji is therefore not a suitable venue in which the ASTW can reasonably promote professional travel writing in keeping with the ASTW’s code of ethics and international journalistic standards that support freedom of the media, expression and association.”

The ASTW has told the IFJ it will circulate the letter to its members, some of whom are also members of the Alliance, an IFJ affiliate, after the completion of an online survey of members about whether to accept a bid to hold the AGM in Fiji.

The IFJ’s concerns follow a considerable worsening of the media situation in Fiji over the past 18 months, with police raids on media offices, deportations of publishers and editors, calls by military officers for media houses to be shut down, a “watch list” and bans on foreign journalists, and contempt of court rulings carrying hefty punishments. In April 2009, the regime imposed emergency regulations with orders that journalists and media outlets submit “sensitive” news reports to officials. Full-time censors have been placed in newsrooms.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has given an impressive demonstration of his power by having Frank read out a speech attacking half of his own cabinet.

It would hardly be any more difficult to have Frank read out a speech attacking himself. We all know that Frank doesn’t really understand half the words that Aiyaz puts in his mouth.

But the Mara gang are not dumb like Frank so they understand well what Frank’s/Aiyaz’s words mean.

The question is will they take it lying down.

We suspect they will. They’ve never got anywhere by doing anything for themselves. Everything they ever achieved had to be organized for them by Ratu Mara.

But, if by any chance Frank did actually understand the meaning of the words he spoke, then he must know that he’s got them where he wants them and his next step might be to give them the boot.

That, at least, would be consistent and would give his claim to be moving the country forward with some sort of credibility.


Sources say deceitful Sereana Qoro has offered a package worth more than $200,000 to a former staff of Merchant Bank in her desperate bid to get the ailing bank back on track.

We can report that the person eyed by Qoro is currently working for ANZ’s Quest call center and used to be Merchant Bank’s Suva Manager.

But whether this guy will accept Qoro’s offer is yet to be seen with many in Fiji viewing the FHL operation as a sinking ship with many casualties, the latest being Freddie Keshwan, ex CEO of Merchant Bank who is believed to have started work at Carpenters Finance yesterday

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