Fijileaks: Our Founding Editor-in-Chief VICTOR LAL will reveal the role of Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum shortly before and after the 2006 coup:
"Bloody hell, I know that asshole, he is Aiyaz Khaiyum..." muttered a senior army officer as Bainimarama introduced the shadowy figure in the dark who spoke to them on the legal aspects to the impending 2006 coup. The army officer recognized Khaiyum's voice - for he knew him. There are parallels to the Father of the Coups SITIVENI RABUKA, who had gone to a planning meeting for the 1987 coups: "I saw all these people sitting down, and realized it was some kind of meeting. Some of the people greeted me, although I could not see everyone clearly because it was fairly dark in the lounge room. When my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I discovered it was a formidable group..."
SUGAR AND AIYAZ KHAIYUM: “I should tell the AG that the sugar industry was doing extremely well in the hey- day of these unions. Mr Khaiyum must admit that the major decline in the industry has taken place in the past 10 years under the stewardship of PM Bainimarama and Khaiyum. They have a habit of blaming everyone else except themselves”
NFU general secretary Mahenda Chaudhry
Fijileaks: The National Farmers Union should have taken to the streets when they found out that their general secretary had accepted to prop up the fledgling Bainimarama-Khaiyum dictatorship following the 2006 coup by becoming the Interim Finance Minister and MINISTER FOR SUGAR REFORM and National Planning; in August 2008 Chaudhry resigned as Finance Minister; Bainimarama took over Chaudhry's portfolio, including SUGAR. The deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase had criticized Chaudhry's performance as Finance Minister, saying that he "failed badly as Finance Minister and the economy has shown very little sign of progress. He's just running away from the mess he has created." Qarase also condemned Chaudhry's participation in what he described as "an illegal administration"
It ended with the National Farmers Union President, Surendra Lal, handing over a petition with six other demands to Provincial Administrator Macuata, Mr Semi Kuru.
NFU general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry said he was extremely pleased with the turnout and the resolve shown by the farmers to do something about getting their grievances addressed.
“It is good that the growers have finally found their voice which had been suppressed for 10 years under the Bainimarama administration.
“The government and FSC should take heed of their legitimate demands. The Union will now mobilise farmers nationwide to secure their rights,” he said.
Mr Chaudhry said it was very important that growers remained united: “It is only through the strength of their solidarity that they can get their voice heard and their demands addressed.”
Mr Lal was also pleased with the turnout yesterday. “Farmers are now raising their voice and we know that there are many more who are supporting us from behind the scenes.”
Mr Lal said farmers had only received $10.57 a tonne for their 4th cane payment. This was hardly sufficient to meet their preparation costs for harvest.
“This is why we are calling for a $10 a tonne top up from government. Besides, Labasa farmers are not benefiting from the $10m government grant recently announced for growers who had suffered losses from Cyclone Winston. It is only fair that growers in Labasa also receive government assistance,” Mr Lal said.
Farmers are also calling on government to regulate harvesting and haulage charges to arrest escalating costs.
They want the withdrawal of the Sugar Industry Bills 19 and 20 which have been widely rejected by growers, the reinstatement of sugar industry institutions, the holding of Growers Council elections and recognition of growers unions, an independent inquiry into irregularities at FSC during the tenure of Abdul Khan as executive chairman and the merger of Cane Producers Associations with the Growers Council.
Meanwhile, in response to AG Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum’s statement in Parliament that growers’ organisations were off-shoots of political parties, Mr Chaudhry said the National Farmers Union was formed long before the Fiji Labour Party.
“I should tell the AG that the sugar industry was doing extremely well in the hey- day of these unions. Mr Khaiyum must admit that the major decline in the industry has taken place in the past 10 years under the stewardship of PM Bainimarama and Khaiyum.
“They have a habit of blaming everyone else except themselves,” Mr Chaudhry said.
The former US ambassador Larry Dinger to Washington on Mahendra Chaudhry's appointment to Bainimarama's Interim Cabinet:
Six more interim-government ministers were sworn in on Jan. 9, with another in the cards. They include: -- Mahendra Chaudhry, Interim Minister for Finance, Sugar Reform, and National Planning. The head of the National Federation Party (NFP), the arch-rival within Fiji's Indian community to Chaudhry's FLP, said accepting the jobs was "a betrayal of democracy." In remarks after the swearing in, Chaudhry noted the incongruity of having been removed as Minister of Finance by the RFMF's Rabuka coup in 1987 and now reassuming the job following the Bainimarama coup. When asked about Bainimarama's "no running in the next election" mandate for interim ministers, Chaudhry suggested that it would be a shame if those who perform really well couldn't run, so maybe the issue can be revisited one day in Cabinet.