Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roko Ului Replies to Fiji Coalition As Unions Gang Up on Illegal Fiji Regime

Posted on COUP FOUR POINT FIVE - 19 JULY 2011

Roko Ului Mara issued the following statement to  Coupfourpointfive in response to the decision by the Fiji Coalition for Democracy decision to file a claim about the former 3FIR Commander with NZ Police.

I am surprised by this action by Nik. We had been having a very cordial email exchange about meeting in New Zealand. I will quote his last sentence from his last email to me.

“We would like to see all people and organisations with a positive interest in Fiji working together to find an acceptable solution for the future of Fiji.”

I am not sure what has changed with Nik but there have been questions in the past about Nik’s motivations. I think this clearly shows he is attempting to disrupt my trip in New Zealand. The question we have to ask ourselves is why is he trying to disrupt attempts to move Fiji back to democracy? Is it just to give himself some recognition and publicity or is there a more sinister motive behind this attempt to have me investigated by the NZ police. Is he doing this to help Bainimarama? I can’t answer those questions.

I have got a packed trip to New Zealand; I am expecting to meet a large number of true democracy supporters in the next few days. I am sure we will have many constructive conversations and we will take some major steps towards bringing democracy back to Fiji. I am only sorry that Nik will not be part of those conversations. My aim is to unite all of the Pro Democracy movements and to work together towards our common goal of bringing democracy back to Fiji.

Violence and torture have taken place under the Bainimarama regime. As I have said before, I have not personally taken part in any form of physical abuse.

I am also fully expecting to answer to the people of Fiji when we have restored democracy to the people.

Ratu Tevita Mara

NZ democracy group files police complaint against Roko Ului Mara

The New Zealand based group, the Coalition for Democracy, has released the following statement

Coalition for Democracy in Fiji files a police complaint against Tevita Mara under the Crimes of Torture Act

The New Zealand based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji (CDF) today filed a criminal complaint with the NZ Police against former Lt Colonel Tevita Mara for his alleged role in the torture of hundreds of Fiji citizens.

The CDF is adamant that those like Tevita Mara who are accused of serious allegations of torture on Fiji civilians must be held to account in an independent, impartial and fair justice system.

The New Zealand justice system, under the NZ Crimes of Torture Act (1989), and the UN Convention against Torture, which NZ has ratified, provides for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of crimes against torture committed outside New Zealand by non New Zealand citizens.

The former Lt Colonel, who fled Fiji to Tonga on the 20th May after facing charges of sedition, was recently granted a five day New Zealand entry visa by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, despite strong opposition from pro-democracy and human rights groups in New Zealand and Fiji.

CDF spokesperson Nik Naidu said that they are aware that he is due to arrive in New Zealand, tonight, 19 July 2011.

“It is the legal duty of the of the NZ Police, under the Crimes of Torture Act to investigate Mr Mara as a matter of public interest, as New Zealand guards and safeguards its human rights protections and minimum standards against its neighbours’ flagrant actions against and assaults on human rights of its citizens,” said Mr Naidu.

CDF stated that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Mara has allegedly committed an act of torture in Fiji, and therefore it is incumbent on the NZ Police to immediately launch an impartial and effective investigation in compliance with the obligations and duties under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 and Crimes Act”.

Mr Naidu cautions “that the torture and human rights abuse by the military that is arbitrary and prevalent against defenceless Fiji civilians will only stop if governments such as NZ are prepared to honour their commitment and legal obligation under international and domestic human rights laws to prosecute those such as Tevita Mara for alleged crimes of torture”.

CDF states that the filing of the police complaint against Tevita Mara is based on several reasons:

*Regardless of the rank or position of the person (s). If they are alleged to have been involved directly or indirectly in the torture of Fijian civilians, they will be subject to the lodgment of criminal complaints under the relevant NZ laws, once they enter NZ jurisdiction.

 *After the first military coup in 1987, the military coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka gave himself and his supporters immunity from prosecution. The same applied in the coup of 2000, and prior to the abrogation of the Fiji 1997 constitution in 2009, the former Fijian President passed a decree giving everyone involved in the coup blanket immunity. The military regime is in the process of drafting a new Constitution, which among its key provisions will give those involved in the coup and in the formation of the regime immunity from prosecution. This will irrevocably mean that those such as Tevita Mara and others like him accused of alleged torture will never be held to account in a court of law in Fiji, under the proposed new Constitution.

 It is imperative therefore that a strong message be sent to those in the military regime that in countries such as NZ that has existing laws that allow for the arrest and prosecution for crimes against Torture, there will be no immunity against such crimes, despite giving themselves immunity in Fiji.

Ultimately, the aim of this criminal complaint against former Lt Colonel Tevita Mara is to stop the use of torture by the military regime against Fiji civilians.

Mr Naidu says that on the domestic and international stage, New Zealand, despite its relative size, has a proud and pioneering history of advocating and defending human rights.

Therefore the NZ government in protecting its domestic and importantly international reputation as being a defender of human rights cannot allow political expediency to dictate how it treats the criminal complaint against Tevita Mara.

To allow those like Tevita Mara, allegedly accused of gross human rights abuse and  torture to enter and leave New Zealand with impunity will send a dangerous signal to that the NZ government provides a safe haven for those accused and involved in crimes of torture.

Additional Information
*Copy of formal Police letter of complaint against Tevita Mara
*Information Brief on Tevita Mara and Crimes of Torture Act
*Fiji Torture Victim Statement

Aust TWU intervention in Fiji expected to escalate with detainment of unionists

Planned industrial action by the Australian Transport Workers Union could fire in the next few days if union delegates are detained on their arrival in Fiji.

It's believed one of the three Fiji trade unionists who've been in Australia and New Zealand drumming up support for action against Qantas and Air Pacific, Daniel Urai (pictured), is returning in the next day or two.

He's expected to be be accompanied by an Australian delegate with sources saying the TWU is prepared for both to be detained, triggering strike action.

Inside sources revealed to Coupfourpointfive several days ago the illegal regime has in place a snatch and grab team to take Urai, Felix Anthony and Rajeshwar Singh into custody for breaching the PER.

It's believed the regime will try to charge the trio under the Crimes Decree 2009 for inciting to cause public disobedience under the PER, giving false information to the international media and other organizations in a bid to disrupt essential services, andaiding and abetting a fugitive wanted under the law of Fij. The latter refers to their presence at the Roko Ului Mara Sydney rally over the weekend.

Sources say the Australian TWU has given Qantas until Wednesday next week to agree to international work standards for afiiliate workers in Fiji and strike action will follow if they refuse. Strike action will also be taken if there are more human rights violations against Fiji union officials or workers.

The Fiji Airline Pilots’ Association (FALPA) has meanwhile today released a statement expressing its concern and disappointment at the recent tactics employed by Air Pacific CEO, David Pflieger during its contractual negotiations.

FALPA President Richard Ali, speaking on behalf of the 80 union members, said “We are very disappointed that Mr Pflieger has approached the media to discuss his views on the on-going negotiations.

"The negotiations are still a work in progress and airing a clearly one sided view in the media does nothing to help bring the two parties closer together. We are particularly concerned with the ‘scare tactic’ statements he has chosen to release to the media in an attempt to pressure our members into accepting a new contract which would see a major erosion of their working conditions with nothing offered in return.

"Dave has typically made selected and unsubstantiated comments about the comparison of working conditions with other airlines, intentionally trying to mislead the public as he has tried with Air Pacific employees. Air Pacific has not offered profit sharing in its proposal to FALPA; furthermore, pilots were excluded from taking voluntary redundancy as they were considered “critical to the needs of the airline”.

We are not entirely surprised that he would go outside the bounds of what is considered ‘good faith’ within the negotiations arena. It’s in keeping with his steam roller practices and negative attitude towards Air Pacific employees, many of whom are Fiji nationals with many years loyal service to our national airline including during difficult times.”

The Association also stated its disappointment at the on-going use of overseas consultants at the negotiating table. “We believe that more positive progress would be made if Air Pacific management would talk directly with the union representatives and not use third party consultants. At a time when the CEO is crying foul about Air Pacific finances, we’re astounded at the number of overseas consultants employed in the business right now.

"Progress is also slowed by their lack of knowledge of Fijian labour laws and practices. We continue to be disappointed with their insistence on trying to ‘Americanise’ our contract and working conditions."

Vodafone Fiji continues to try to hide illegal activity

HAND IN HAND: Vodafone Fiji working complicitly with the illegal regime.

VODAFONE REWARDED: The usually absent Lionel Yee fronts to defend company.

Vodafone Fiji insists that  "No military personnel in the history of Vodafone Fiji, throughout Fiji's history of political instability, have ever been permitted to enter our exchange nor monitor calls."

It has also trotted out its chair, Lionel Yee, to defend the reputation of its CEO, Aslam Khan, after our recent story about Khan and others carrying money in and out of the country for the regime and being stopped in a United States airport.

We would like to ask this: Why is the Vodafone chairman verifying the C4.5 story .... why not the CEO? The public has never heard from the chairman until now and everyone knows Vodafone via Aslam Khan.  

We would also like to reveal this information: There are documents and tapes with ASP Rogo at Fiji Police ( IT special division) that have audio recording and tapping of mobile phones and that Vodafone charges "an arm and a leg" for minutes to tap into the systems on requests that are always authorized by the Commissioner of Police. We say the Vodafone chairman is lying!
Vodafone Fiji rubbishes allegations leveled against the company  (Fiji Village Publish date/time: 18/07/2011 [13:11]): Vodafone Fiji clarified that no military personnel in the history of the mobile phone company have ever been permitted to enter Vodafone’s exchange or monitor calls. Vodafone Fiji’s Chairman, Lionel Yee said the company also does not have the technological capabilities to allow mobile phones to be tapped or intercepted. Yee said there is no legislation in Fiji that permitted the interception or monitoring of calls by state agents unlike countries such as Australia and New Zealand which have an Interception Act. He said mobile phone billing records are only released to the Director CID’s office on production of a court order such as a search warrant. Meanwhile Yee also said it has become necessary to issue a statement in response to false published statements about their Managing Director, Aslam Khan and Vodafone Fiji. Yee stated that Aslam Khan has never been detained in the United States. He also said that Khan has never been frisked in the US by State Agents of the US at anytime, and neither Khan nor Vodafone is involved in financing terrorist activities or terrorism. Lionel Yee stated that Khan has been at the helm of Vodafone Fiji for the last 17 years with an impeccable record and distinguished professional career. He also said that Khan is a respected business executive and member of the community. Story by: Vijay Narayan

Fiji's illegal government pillages FSC loan of $120 million

HIGHWAY ROBBERY: The illegal leader's fanciful road safety programme ... funded by some of the FSC funds?

The $120 million loan approved by the illegal government for FSC has not all gone to FSC this year. Sources from Finance say that out of $120 million allocated to FSC, just $10 million is available in the account and the rest has been used by the illegal Frank Bainimarama government on other projects, for which they don’t have a record. The $120 million was borrowed especially for FSC. 

PICTURE FOOTNOTE: One of the  dictator's decade for safety billboards. This one is on the Lomolomo stretch but there are about 20 all over Suva. Is it far fetched to suggest some of the FSC money has gone on this roadside 'tribute' to the illegal leader? Probably, not.

Robberies occuring right under nose of ill-equipped Fiji officers

MR TRALALA STILL AT IT: COMPOL continues his merry way oblivious to woes of police force and unattended crime.

Remember the above picture we published on the Fiji Police Commissioner, Ioane Naivalurura,  dancing on the streets with two ladies in our Namadi police last month(Coupfourpointfive Monday, May 30th)

Breaking news is that there have been four robbers last week - just opposite the police post but the officers didn’t have any standard equipment to stop the robbers. All the houses that were broken into belonged to businessmen.

Reports sent to us show that when the alarm was raised the police officers couldn’t even chase the robbers because they couldn’t see in the dark! Readers will remember earlier stories about the dire state of the police force at the moment. Sources haverevealed the 700-strong Fiji Police is ill-equipped and lack basic resources like spare uniforms, handcuffs with officers using expired pepper spray.
Informers also say almost 90% of police officer are without any handcuffs or protective gear when they head out to patrol the streets. According to one officer: "The standard equipments of the Fiji Police are either not in stock, expired or not being purchased because there is no money."

Khaiyum: Australian TWU being fed lies by Fiji unionists who made election deals

The illegal regime's attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, is blaming local trade unionists for what he claims is a move by Australian counterparts to hit Fiji’s tourism industry.

Sayed-Khaiyum has told the Fiji Sun the Australian Transport Workers Union is not aware of the on-the-ground reality in Fij thanks to being fed lies by people like Felix Anthony, Rajeshwar Singh, Daniel Urai, Parmod Rae and Attar Singh, whom he described as politcal opportunists.

“I urge the unions who are making this threat to fully understand and not just see one side. They need to talk to the Government about what is happening in Fiji. If you look at the history of all these unionists, they have all been career trade unionists so their motivation in defending so-called workers rights is very questionable."

He claimed for example that the decree approved by Cabinet in respect of excluding the application of the Employment Regulations Promulgation to civil servants was primarily to improve efficiency, to stop double dipping.

He said there was no way that civil servants were being exploited. “The Bainimarama government has in fact said that the conditions of the workers must be improved. At the same time we need to carry out reforms within our economy and various institutions to be able to provide sustainable jobs, to be able to ensure that government owned enterprises become profitable and that we can create more job."

Sayed-Khayium claimed the unionists only want to be in the area lucrative for them such as the civil service, government-owned companies and companies that has the Government as a shareholder.

He said they are absent in the low wage earners such as garment industry, printing, building, mining, security guards industries where the Government has increased workers’ pay in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

"The unionists are always being obstructionist and the Bainimarama government has not to date disallowed any collective bargaining, it has not banned trade unions and this government says we must look after our workers."

Sources say Kkaiyum and the illegal solicitor general, Christopher Pryde, have already made preparation for a special task force team to take Anthony, Urai and Singh in on their return to Fiji.

It's believed the regime will try to charge the trio under the Crimes Decree 2009 forinciting to cause public disobedience under the PER, giving false information to the international media and other organizations in a bid to disrupt essential services, and aiding and Abetting a fugitive wanted under the law of Fij. The latter refers to their presence at the Roko Ului Mara Sydney rally over the weekend. (original source The Fiji Sun)

Editor's Note: 
Khaiyum also told FBC Fiji Union leaders pushing for sanctions against Fiji represent the old ways and do not want a modern Fiji. He told FBC News there used to be an unholy alliance between certain trade union officials and previous governments.  He says the union leaders would make public posturing on workers rights but would actually do deals for elections and such. Referring to an incident in 2007 when the Fiji Public Service Association took various actions against the regime for lowering the retirement age, he  claims Felix Anthony approached him then and asked him to speak to FPSA general secretary Rajeshwar Singh to find an amicable solution. He says the three met at a Suva coffee shop. “I said to Rajeshwar Singh, why are you pursuing an appeal in the Supreme Court because in law we were correct, the government was correct, and he said to me, AG look – I have to go through this posturing. I know you are right, I know government is right, but this is the posturing I have to go through to please my members. So I will bring in a QC, so I will look good and it will seem like I am doing something for them. This is a fact.”  Sayed-Khaiyum adds union leaders have taken their members for a ride. “What that demonstrated was that the unions for them was a means for not just  self-aggrandisement but a means of living a fake system of employer-employee relationships. Squandering the money of the members – while driving a BMW X5.”

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