LESSON from Egypt: Chiefs should hold their heads in shame for not standing up and even dying to defend peoples rights instead of blaming Aiyaz Khaiyum and Frank Bainimarama for Fiji's agony since 2006
Rabuka fears coup if Frank's party loses; doesn't agree 2006 takeover "Muslim Coup" and says will stand for election if chiefs and his people want him to be their representative - "God doesn't believe in retirement"
The United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) is calling for the Chairman and Board members of Fiji Airways to disclose for the benefit of the majority shareholders of the national carrier the Fiji taxpayers, vital information about the national carrier,
"Was any form of payment made for the apparently sudden decision to buy Airbus rather than sticking to an earlier decision to purchase Boeing aircraft? We have received reliable reports about a number of other issues...The taxpayers are the ultimate majority shareholders of our national carrier. We therefore urge Fiji Airways, its Chairman & directors and the Minister responsible for Civil Aviation to meet their obligation to be open and transparent with the people of Fiji and respond to the points raised".
Former Minister of State for Youth & Sport Rajesh Singh in partnership with Australian based consortium Majestic Fiji Corporation bid to rescue
A TOP New Zealand diplomat who died last year has left behind a sharply undiplomatic book revealing how Fiji’s military strongman personally threatened “to get him” and describes the regime as one characterised by intimidation and thuggery. Michael Green in 2009 became the first New Zealand diplomat to be declared persona non grata when coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama ordered him out as high commissioner.
The book titled Persona Non Grata: Breaking the Bond – New Zealand and Fiji 2004-2007, will be launched on June 27 at the Victoria University in New Zealand.
According to the website www.cid.org.nz, the Speaker at the event would be Rt. Hon. Winston Peters. Green, who died last year of cancer, writes of the secret advice he was giving Wellington during the 2006 democracy ending military coup. His tough worded criticism of Bainimarama’s “volatile personality” is likely to anger Suva again.
Fiji is “characterised by intimidation and thuggery, arbitrary and vindictive dismissals, abandonment of principles and personal betrayals, official misinformation and media censorship, and the deliberate perversion of state institutions.” Green, watching the conspiring leading to Fiji’s fourth coup, lived next door to Bainimarama. As the crisis deepened, they quietly had New Zealand Police posted to Suva to prepare for “the possibility that an evacuation of citizens.” When police put a radio aerial on the roof of the residence, Bainimarama complained they were spying on him.
By November 2006 Green heard from credible sources that the Fiji Police were planning to arrest Bainimarama for sedition and disobeying lawful orders. Bainimarama instead made a series of demands and threatened a coup.He went to New Zealand on a private visit for the first communion of a grand child but “got it into his head” that New Zealand would arrest him. “He phoned (Defence Attache) Al MacKinnon to him that that, if he should be arrested, his ‘boys’ would be sent over the fence into the Residence to ‘get me’.”The threats were taken seriously and mission families were sent home. Then Foreign Minister Winston Peters told Bainimarama would not be arrested in Wellington. Green said the commander was never interested in negotiations, and pocketed every concession with no reciprocity.
After the coup took place, New Zealand imposed a ban on all regime officials visiting. Bainimarama rang up a high commission official and said “tell your high commissioner to watch out for retaliation.” Green cites a “Muslim Coup” aspect of 2006 in which Nazhat Shameem, a high court judge, and her sister Shaista of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, advised Bainimarama’s secretive military council. Shaista is now a Grey Lynn lawyer. Another Muslim lawyer Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was also involved. “In due course all three were to be beneficiaries of the coup.”
In June 2007 Green made a speech about democracy and the coup and received a call saying Bainimarama did not like it. Then the Junior All Blacks arrived in Suva to play Fiji. Green was invited to sit in President Josefa Iloilo’s tent to watch. It turned out he had a better seat than that given to Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum who were directly behind some New Zealand families “One of the children waved a New Zealand flag throughout the game, while another one shook a big, black rubbery artificial finger every time New Zealand scored.” His expulsion order came soon after: “If my role at the rugby was not the reason for my expulsion, I am sure that it was the precipitant. “ Green said Bainimarama has a long record of getting rid of people who challenged him, stood up to him, or crossed him – or were perceived by him to have done so.
He is not interested in advice or assistance unless it is to sustain him in power or to implement his agenda in its entirety. “He is uncomfortable with the clash of ideas, negotiation and compromise, all critical elements of effectively functioning democracies.”
Green said he doubted Bainimarama would ever deliver on his promises of better governance and genuine democracy. Green said it was plain the Fiji military standards were slipping and its soldiers were old and unfit.Bainimarama had always resisted change or improvement and so the army had a much higher average age than others. Territorials called up during the coup became seriously unwell: “Up to a dozen of them were said to have died.” Sunday Star-Times, New Zealand
Click HERE to listen to Michael Green's wife, Gillian, who talks about their years in Fiji - until the unexpected announcement of Michaels' change in diplomatic status to Persona Non Grata (unwelcome person) in 2007.
See also Russell Hunter and Victor Lal Fiji police chief tried to get Bainimarama arrested in NZ. And Victor Lal, Why Ratu Joni and Green were told to go; also read below Hunter's new Opinion piece, Election 2014: FIJI voters dreaming!
Listen to former NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Green's book and Fiji. Click HERE
To them, his word is worthless. He is still in their eyes the man who made so many bold promises in his broadcast takeover address of December 5, 2006. He solemnly pledged an election in six months, that no minister in his interim government would stand, that racism would end, that government borrowing would be reined in and, of course that no member of the RFMF would benefit from this coup. He has reneged – spectacularly so – on every one. He has slashed pensions and at the same time looted the nation’s savings for his very dubious schemes. He has alienated the Methodist Church, the mainstream chiefs, even larger sections of his own military. It would be a grave error to imagine that villagers are not aware of this.
And Bainimarama’s political record is, to put it mildly, poor. On the day he is dislodged from power, the dictator is likely to face charges that include his laughingly titled Truth and Justice drive during the 2006 election campaign under which batches of soldiers were ordered out into the villages to blatantly campaign against the sitting government and urge villagers to cast their votes instead for a new party. It failed to return a solitary member and its leader lost his deposit, turning up later as the minister for deportations before he discovered some conscience and quit Bainimarama’s illegal regime.
What’s more, it’s certain that in 2006 even his own squaddies declined to vote the way he ordered them to. Certainly none voted for his favoured party while overseas voting patterns strongly indicate the soldiers’ support for the SDL. Since then, of course, the troops have enjoyed generous pay rises but Fiji will probably never know if it’s enough to buy their votes. Bainimarama has thumbed his nose at the international community, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the IMF and the world’s labour unions. He thinks he is using the Pacific Forum, especially its Melanesian Spearhead Group, but is in fact used by them while at home his frequent travels, often with a large retinue of family and hangers-on, as well as his constant need for a heavily armed bodyguard team are subjects of much tanoa talk.
| International union pressure |
Fiji’s economy is also exposed to action by the world labour movement – action that draws closer by the day. Any concerted effort would mean disaster for Bainimarama and blaming it all on Australia won’t help him. He is in effect cornered if that happens. He can’t go back on the trade union decrees and he can’t survive a prolonged effort by the world’s labour organisations. Quite what he or world labour will do remains to be seen.
He’s been praying, of course for a change of government in Australia, and his prayers will be answered in September when the Labour government of Julia Gillard (or possibly Kevin Rudd) is removed. But that’s probably as far as it will go. The most likely new foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has talked of re-engagement with Fiji (just as Bob Carr tried to do) but there is as yet no evidence of any intention to overturn policy. And that’s because the very existence of the Bainimarama regime flies in the face of what most Australians, Labour or Liberal, hold dear – democracy, human rights and a fair go for all. Ms Bishop will find it difficult to sell any policy that goes against those group feelings. Indeed she may find it more practical to steer well clear of the issue.
For all of those reasons and more 2014 will be a stern test for Voreqe Bainimarama. While his almost certain failure of that test won’t end his regime it will further erode his standing at home and abroad. And with his bag of political capital all but empty he can’t afford that.
Editor: The article is also on the Opinion page
SODELPA PRERARES FOR 2014: An Address by Ro Teimumu Kepa at the First Special Meeting of the General Assembly of the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) at the Khatriya Hall, Desvouex Rd, Suva on Thursday 20th June, 2013
"...Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives." --Robert A. Heinlein, -If This Goes On
click link below:
The Draft Ghai Constitution 2013
The Explanatory Report
Appendage to Draft Constitution
Professor Yash Ghai's Statement