Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Secrecy over Illegal Fiji Decrees

For hard evidence that we are becoming a secretive totalitarian police state look no further than the promulgation of decrees that constitute the law of the land under our military dictatorship.

But where can one get a handle on the 40-odd decrees that have been promulgated since abrogation of the Constitution on 10 April 2009? There’s no trace of them on the government website.

The only location we know of is a partial list on the website of the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute, which operates under the aegis of the School of Law at the University of the South Pacific.

Folks, this begs the question: Why the secrecy?

Is it because of crass incompetence (no surprise there)? Or is it a case of deliberate deceit (no surprise there, either!)?

If forced to choose between the conspiracy theory and the stuff-up theory, we strongly suspect the former. This is because the regime used to publish its decrees, in chronological order, on the government website. Then, mysteriously, they disappeared.

Clearly the illegal attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had a big problem with the detail of his decrees being scrutinised.

Was he worried, perhaps, that trained lawyers might see legal loopholes in the hastily drafted laws?

Even from the incomplete list on the School of Law website it’s not difficult to see that many of the Decrees have been shoddily drafted and could not be regarded as being legally concise.

For example, there are four Decrees that contain corrections to the Income Tax Decree, which does not appear on the site. And the Citizenship Decree of 14 April 2009 has been re-written as the Citizenship of Fiji decree, this time dated 6 July 2009.

Or is Aiyaz worried that we ordinary people will see just how draconian and unjust his laws really are? Or is he trying to hide them from scrutiny by foreign media and would-be investors?

That would certainly explain why we have never sighted the Crime Decree or the Regulation of National Spectrum Decree.

The Spectrum Decree, for instance, gives the dictatorship life and death powers over commercial broadcasters, some of whom have considerable capital at stake.

Moreover, one of the key provisions of the Decree is that no one can contest its provisions in a court of law.

That much we know. Aiyaz is keeping a tight lid on the rest, although he couldn’t help bragging about his new Media Decree.

Once we get that, our dictatorship will have finally transformed our beloved nation into a fully-fledged totalitarian police state.

That, folks, will be a damning reality, one which Bainimarama and Aiyaz will never be able to conceal, no matter how many lies they tell.

Fiji Democracy Now

Where are your balls Mr Crosbie?

December 21, 2009

Mr Crosbie


Dear Sir

I refer to your blog, for which I have had the unenviable task of visiting recently.

From having a general review of your blog I have the following to report: I think is all good and well to sit back and report on a journalist’s remarks that: “it isn’t all that bad… there is running water and two buildings got built in Nadi… so they must be doing a good job.”

But this is all still drivel. Yes, the journalist must have been very honored and chuffed to have met with Aiyaz.

In addition, I agree with his sentiments, Aiyaz is not the devil. Yes, Frank is also not the devil. They are our people, the people of Fiji. So we have to take responsibility for their upbringing and demise.

But we don’t have to condone their actions or beliefs. They are, to put it mildly, self-deluded criminals with an expansive belief in their own ineptitude as a method of forgiving their sins.

What they have done is to remove all the choices we ever had: freedom of speech, government, media and passage.

They have introduced a culture of fear into our social lives. We cannot talk politics, government, military or society anymore.

They have done this with all knowledge, malice and planning – it is no accident that they intend to remove any and all criticism of or questions concerning their criminal cabal.

I query why you, and your ilk, seem unable to appreciate or even pause to think that what you write about concerns our lives? Our future? This is not balanced “reporting”, despite the title to your blog.

I am not sure where you are, how many people there are required to make one “you” (one barracks?), or what particular part of this planet earth you inhabit when you write your inane posts but you should be ashamed for having committed them to text.

The dictatorship, or “the government”, you comment so sweetly about is a corruption, not only in what they purport to stand for but for the decay they represent in Fiji’s moral values – what is power and money – we need to appreciate that power and money do not result from this abhorrent violence and use of force that Frank and Aiyaz represent.

Perhaps all of Fiji needs to be re-educated as to what government is – it is not enough to simply have it taken away and claiming that a dictator knows best.

Stuff that.

Where is your sense of righteous indignation?

Where are, to coin a phrase from a Western, “your balls”?

What is it that they did to, said to or paid you to make you roll over and play dead to your own rights?

If it is, in your final analysis, that the Military Dictatorship has done something beautiful, wise and happy for the people of Fiji, please mention it. [No, believe it or not, two buildings in Nadi are not enough to show this - show me evidence of corruption or abuse of power or the good works of the powers that be.]

In any event, do you really, truly, honestly believe that this military dictator will release it’s grip on wealth and power in 2014?

Are you that naive or simply so blase with the rights and freedoms of another people in a land too far removed to actually give a shit?

For your information, I am a young person. I am less than 30 years old, living in a country run by an idiotic and fundamentally brutal dictatorship.

I would have liked to have been involved in the politics and good governance of my nation if I had been given the chance. The military dictatorship has taken this, and our other freedoms from us.

If I wanted to, my choice would be to line up with the military and attempt to justify my life OR to seek social justice for my friends and family in other forms.

SO EVEN IF Fiji has an election in 2014 this will mean that there will have been an entire generation of young people that is going to grow up used to asking for favors from government figures, used to taking orders from government figures, to having decrees issued about their fundamental freedoms and living under martial law.

So when they have their magical elections in 2014, how do you think they will vote? With freedom?

Do the lessons of other dictatorships creeping slowly out of dictatorships into weak democracies make you feel warm inside?

It is a disgusting prospect. It should make your stomach turn and your eyes weep.

Sir, I would ask that you take a short break to consider a reply, if you have any, to the above.

You should reconsider your motivations and thoughts for the end, and the beginning, of a new year.

As they say, the new year is often the time for turning over a new leaf – so must we all.

Kind regards


Fiji a police state

December 21, 2009

Our totalitarian dictator is turning Fiji into a police state

Under the disastrous military dictatorship instituted by Frank Bainimarama, our beloved nation is fast taking on all the features of a secretive, totalitarian police state.

The opportunist illegal attorney-general and the slowly shrinking band of Bainimarama’s coup-coup supporters will scoff at this and dismiss it as another beat-up by anti dictatorship blogs.

But let them scoff because, as we suspect they already know, the hard evidence, the irrefutable facts, are not on their side.

Let’s take three case studies from our current and recent experience of life under Frank Bainimarama and consider the facts.

That’s right, the facts. No opinions, no inferences, just the simple hard facts.

First, let’s look at rule of law and how Frank Bainimarama has demonstrated total disrespect for it.

In an open and free state the rule of law is upheld and the processes of law are transparent. But this has never been the case in totalitarian dictatorships and it’s not in today’s Fiji.

We only have to look at Criminal Case No. HAC 165 of 2007, heard by Justice Daniel Goundar, presiding over the High Court of Fiji sitting at Lautoka earlier this year.

The case was the State versus Patrick Nayacalagilagi and others, who were originally charged with the murder of one Sakiusa Rabaka, later reduced to a charge of manslaughter.

After horrendous evidence of Rabaka’s torture, including beatings and his being forced to perform sexually perverse acts, the High Court ruled that Nayacalagilagi and the eight others were guilty.

On 17 March 2009 Justice Goundar sentenced each of the nine killers to four years jail for their role in the manslaughter of Sakiusa Rabaka.

But barely three weeks later when another properly constituted court ruled (Qarase versus Bainimarama) in effect that the “interim government” led by Bainimarama was illegal, our dictator immediately saw to it that our Constitution was abrogated, the judiciary was sacked and he was re-instated as prime minister, all within 24 hours.

Once back in the seat of power, he quickly slipped into dictator mode. One of his first executive acts, done secretly of course, was to order the immediate release of Rabaka’s killers.

His unilateral release of convicted killers was outside the law and quite clearly an act by a totalitarian dictator, the same dictator who had earlier “looked after” his convicted killer brother-in-law, Francis Kean.

For our second case study, let’s look at the basic human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media to report the facts.

Due to the PER our media is heavily censored. And it has been thoroughly documented that the principal criterion applied by the censors is “cut anything that is unfavourable” to the Bainimarama regime.

This was confirmed out the dictator’s own mouth. In a lengthy interview broadcast by Sky TV in Australia and New Zealand on 1 May 2009 Bainimarama stated clearly and categorically that the main reason for the PER was to curb Fiji’s media.

Anywhere in the world, outside times of war, such a harsh level of media censorship has only been seen in totalitarian dictatorships like the former East Germany, like Burma, like Cuba, and now, sadly, like Fiji.

In our third case study let’s look at the criminality of the Bainimarama regime and how it impacts harshly on the ordinary men and women of Fiji.

Criminality is defined as activity that is against the law, and much of the Bainimarama regime’s activity has been well and truly on the wrong side of the law.

As we have seen, the cynical exercising of dictatorial privilege by Bainimarama to look after his killer brother-in-law and to set the Rabaka killers free are each acts of criminality.

And while Frank Bainimarama is quick to look after the best interests of fellow criminals, what does he do to look after ordinary people?

For example, why are dairy farmers being denied their lawful entitlement to compensation for cattle slaughtered in the anti brucellosis campaign? Didn’t they obey the regime’s directions?

This might seem an odd example, but it goes to the heart of what happens to ordinary people under a totalitarian dictatorship: right or wrong, irrespective of the law, the ordinary people have no choice but to accept their fate, no matter how unfair or unlawful, which is not the way the world should be.

Under a dictatorship people have to accept their fate, just like the family of Sakiusa Rabaka has been condemned to live in the knowledge that true justice has been denied them.

Folks, as you can see, we have only served up the facts, and what do they tell you?

The facts tell you that investors are going to give Fiji a wide birth until the rule of law and accountability are restored though the free free and fair election of a government committed to democracy.

They facts tell you that, in the meantime, its we, the ordinary people of Fiji, who are going to pay a huge price while the dictator and his chosen few happily reap their ill-gotten harvest.

And the facts tell you that while our beautiful paradise has never been without its imperfections, it is now being fashioned into the singular ugliness of one-man totalitarian rule.

Our Fiji is becoming what the rest of the world calls a secretive, totalitarian, police state.

That’s not what we want, and it’s certainly not what we need.

Fiji Democracy Now

Fiji’s ratings improves

December 20, 2009

Melbourne, Dec. 16, 2009—Standard &Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it had revised its outlook on the Republic of Fiji Islands to stable from negative. At the same time, the ‘B-’ long-term foreign currency and ‘B’ local currency sovereign credit ratings and the ‘C’ short-term ratings on Fiji were affirmed. The transfer and convertibility (T&C) assessment remains at ‘B-’.

“The change in the outlook stems from our expectation that Fiji’s reserves will continue to stabilize, reflecting improving prospects in the tourism sector, the use of capital controls, the 20% depreciation of the Fiji dollar in April, and an allocation of Special Drawing Rights from the IMF”, said Kyran Curry, sovereign analyst at Standard & Poor’s. “The ratings on Fiji reflect political instability, a weak external position, sizeable deficiencies in available data that complicate external analysis, and poor external relations that hamper investment and harm the outlook for the tourism sector and broader growth prospects. These factors are offset, in part, by the sound economic potential in tourism and allied industries when political frictions subside.”

Complicating analysis of Fiji’s credit quality are significant data deficiencies. We estimate the current account deficit to be around 22% of GDP, including errors and omissions in the balance of payments accounts equivalent to around 10% of GDP that pertain to unrecorded tourism and remittances. Official reserves recovered to around US$570 million in November 2009 from a post-coup low of US$240 million in March 2009. The improvement in reserves partly reflects the raising of capital controls and devaluation the Fiji dollar by 20% to stem the pressures on reserves. A range of capital controls have since been eased in line with the recovery in reserves. Underpinning S&P’s analysis is a belief that the official estimates of reserves are robust and that the estimate of the current account deficit is exaggerated. If these assessments prove incorrect, the rating would likely be downgraded.

“The delay in the return to democratic rule in Fiji does not itself affect the ratings, as it does not necessarily represent a further deterioration in Fiji’s political settings,” said Mr. Curry. “However, in our opinion, the abrogation of the constitution, weakened institutional transparency and independence, and emergency decrees that weigh on civilian and media freedoms serve to weaken the prospects for investment and a re-engagement of support from donors. Both are required to lessen the economy’s reliance on tourism and promote a sustained improvement in Fiji’s growth prospects.”

The stable outlook reflects the recovery in reserves and near-term external pressures. A fuller recovery in the tourism sector over the next year should underpin a further improvement in Fiji’s external position. The ratings could be downgraded if political pressures intensify or if public finances and external imbalances worsen, leading to a sharply lower reserves. An upgrade in the ratings would depend on the government’s success in reducing tension internally and with aid donors, while at the same time boosting investment opportunities and the external position.

About Standard & Poor’s

Standard & Poor’s, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP), is the world’s foremost provider of independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research and data. With offices in 23 countries and markets, Standard & Poor’s is an essential part of the world’s financial infrastructure and has played a leading role for nearly 150 years in providing investors with the independent benchmarks they need to feel more confident about their investment and financial decisions.

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