BACKBITING CIVIL SERVANTS? No, says Solicitor-General Sharma, as he calls on Fiji Times to correct an article on Khaiyum and civil servants
THE Fiji Labour Party office was burgled on Monday, however, party leader Mahendra Chaudhry clarified no valuables were lost in the heist. Mr Chaudhry confirmed yesterday a police report had been filed on the break-in: Source - The Fiji Times, 9 August 2017
Fiji Labour Party: Shocking lack of Police manpower in the West
It is a shocking revelation that the Police Force has less than 50% of the manpower it needs to maintain law and order in the Western Division, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
He was referring to statistics revealed by the Divisional Police Commander Western SP Marika Yalimaiwai at a Crime Prevention Committee consultation in Ba this week (FT 4/8).
SP Yalimaiwai said he needed 2043 officers to adequately maintain law and order in the Western Division, but had to make do with only 999 officers.
“No wonder the crime rate in the country is so high. We suspect the situation is similar in the central, northern and eastern divisions. SP Yalimaiwai says the shortage of manpower is putting a strain on police posts forcing them to close down a number of posts,” Mr Chaudhry said.
FLP had expressed concern a few months back at the closure of a number of police posts around the country despite the fact that the crime rate is so high.
Mr Chaudhry expressed concern that people’s safety and security were getting a low priority when it should be the major concern of any government.
“There is no excuse for not providing adequate funds for the manpower requirements of the Police Force. If government can provide a subsidy of $18m for Fiji Airways when it is making good money and $10m for the Natadola International Golf tournament and $11.6m to the Fiji Broadcasting Commission – it should be able to fork out enough money to provide the Police Force with the manpower it needs.
“The maintenance of law and order and people’s security is a prime concern of all our communities. Government must find the money to provide adequate manpower in all the divisions so that the Police can do their job effectively, said Mr Chaudhry.
After all, our top brass in government are giving themselves around the clock security at their homes and wherever they are. The ordinary folks deserve similar protection for their families,” he said.
Professor Wadan Narsey: “Fiji going backwards- a mere footpath”...The horrible dangers of allocating excessive amounts of taxpayers’ money to the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA)...given the LACK of CAPACITY in Fiji
"It is a pity that local professionals do not have the courage to complain to the Bainimarama Government, the “First Fiji Government” to replace locals by expatriates, reversing decades of localization. But appointing whites was part of the Bainimarama strategy of appointing clearly visible white faces as part of his government, to give the “right message” to the international viewers and the local Fiji people with their typical colonized mentalities: any white is better than any black or brown or yellow. Not forgetting of course, that with expatriate here on work permits given by the Government, any expatriate not “playing the game” that Bainimarama or Khaiyum wanted, could be sent packing. As indeed, many have been...While the lovely photo in the Fiji Times shows a sahib in a Fijian sulu, you can be sure that his salary is well above the salary of the average SCC foreman who supervises the building of footpaths in Suva."
Fijileaks to Narsey: GOD forbid, if Rabuka comes to power as SODELPA prime minister, he will round up "Brown Sahibs in Sulu" - the Kai Indias- and deport all of them out of Fiji, for Fiji belongs to native Fijians and all the jobs should go to them, as he did from 1987 to 1999 when in power. Don't forget Rabuka brought the "White Fellas" to draft his decrees and the racist 1990 Constitution. He also brought mainland Chinese into Fiji to act as a buffer against Indo-Fijian businessmen. Rabuka destroyed the Fiji Public Service Commission. Sadly, it has become very common to scapegoat WHITES for all of Fiji's ills, the most notorious was the recent revelation by one Kishore Kumar who alleged that FFP Government Whip ASHNEEL SUDHAKAR wanted to destroy Graham Davis because he (Davis) has "control of PM's mind"; another former top diplomat made similar jibes against Davis, and now Narsey adds: "It is a pity that local professionals do not have the courage to complain to the Bainimarama Government, the “First Fiji Government” to replace locals by expatriates, reversing decades of localization. We saw that with...the use of American propaganda company Qorvis"; below, Kishore Kumar's allegation against FFP Government Whip Ashneel Sudhakar - re Graham Davis:
ROBINGATE SACKING UPDATE: We will bring more on COP23 and Nair, which has all the elements of racism and resentment towards white expatriate appointments, even though appointments were on MERIT
"Fiji going backwards - a mere footpath"
By PROFESSOR WADAN NARSEY
For several years now, I have been writing articles (some published and some censored in the “bad old days”) trying to warn Fiji people about the horrible dangers of allocating excessive amounts of taxpayers’ money to the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA).
I had tried to explain that: such massive allocations could not be spent efficiently, given the lack of capacity in Fiji; that most were not economically justifiable (i.e. the economic rates of return lower than the cost of borrowing); that there would be large wastage with companies making extra profits; or hiring staff at salaries far too large by Fiji standards.
But even intelligent members of the public have not understood that with the $500 million per year to FRA (or more than $2 billion over a four year period), even 10% wastage would lead to the huge loss of $200 million of taxpayers’ funds (virtually the cost of the NBF disaster in 1997 dollar terms), all to be paid by the current and future generations through the Public Debt.
Well the Fiji Times of 3 August 2017 has a news item about a small FRA project, a footpath, which explains the same arguments, in an easily understandable way.
The news item (with an interesting picture attached) was on the FRA footpath upgrading project along Queen Elizabeth Drive, supposed to cost taxpayers, the tidy sum of just over $3 million.
The news item said that the project “will improve the road surface for motorists and provide easy access for pedestrians once it is completed”.
It all sound like progress, doesn’t it? Until you think about it a bit more.
Suva residents well know that right opposite that new footpath is an already an excellent wide footpath, built by Suva City Council, going all the way to Suva Point.
It is an even more pleasant walk given that is right beside the sea, and has a low wall on which people can sit in comfort, and have their snacks or chats or just enjoy the sea breeze.
So clearly, the new footpath is relatively unnecessary.
Any Tom, Dick and Harry, or my carpenter friend Ali, will know that such a footpath, say half a kilometer or 500 meters long, can be built for less than $200 thousands.
Let us add another $100,000 for the PVC pipes, electricity lines and a few lamp posts along the way (which could equally have built on the side of the footpath next to the sea).
Let us add another $100,000 for contractors extra profit because there is a builders’ shortage now that most local contractors are building classrooms.
We are looking at $400 thousands maximum, which our Suva City Council workers could easily have done themselves, without any great fan fare.
Why is FRA spending $3.4 millions on building a footpath for Fiji taxpayers or some $3 million extra?
Why are $3.4 million being spent on a totally unnecessary footpath, whose “Internal Rate of Return” would be close to zero, and certainly less than the 7% average rate of interest Fiji taxpayers are paying on their Public Debt?
Why FRA involvement
One can understand if FRA is called in to oversee the design and construction of the King’s Highway going along the Wainibuka River where recently constructed roads have been washed away by floods (probably because of bad planning and design).
But why on earth would this expensive organization FRA, headed by expatriates, be asked to build a footpath in Suva City?
If at all, why not ask SCC to build it?
Did President Jioji Konrote demand that FRA must build it because it is just outside his boundary fence and perhaps he wants Suva people to walk that much closer in order to admire the Government grounds?
I doubt if that sensible man would ever demand such a wastage of funds for cosmetic purposes.
Was the footpath so complicated in design that it needed valuable time of the general manager network operations and maintenance Mr. Aram Goes?
While the lovely photo in the Fiji Times shows a sahib in a Fijian sulu, you can be sure that his salary is well above the salary of the average SCC foreman who supervises the building of footpaths in Suva.
What part of the $3.4 million is going to pay for the high salaries of FRA staff, who are all far most costly than the average PWD staff in the old days.
Some of us might even remember that not too long ago when the FRA cash was really flowing, there were white fellows from NZ sweeping the gravel, driving the rollers, and filling in the potholes, whose total number was periodically announced on national TV by the FRA Chief Executive Officer, another “First” for Fiji.
How stupid of the PWD never to have announced that annual number for fifty years they were in existence.
Alternative uses for $3 million
The Fiji news media has been carrying stories for years about shortages of medicines, kidney dialysis machines, classrooms, teachers, nurses and doctors, etc.
The Minister of Health has probably been begging the Minister of Finance for sums like the $3.4 million being wasted on a footpath by the Bainimarama Government.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident of FRA using massive amounts of money in the beautification of Suva.
A couple of years ago I pointed out that in an effort to use up large amounts of unused money allocated to them in the budget, FRA had spent massive amounts opposite USP next to the Cost U Less outlet, digging up and building new footpaths and roads.
I would guarantee that would have wasted at least another five million dollars.
But apply the same analysis to a total allocation of $2 billion these last five years, and assume that 10% has been wasted unnecessarily, then you are looking at $200 million of taxpayers funds gone down the drain. That is roughly the cost of the NBF disaster in dollar terms.
Imagine what the desperately poor people in Fiji could do with an extra $200 million today?
Or the Minister for Health or Social Welfare?
Will the public should ask Mr. Dinesh Patel, the Chairman of the FRA Board, why the FRA is involved in building such an unnecessary and costly footpath?
Will the public ask the Bainimarama Government how much has been wasted by the FRA these last five years?
The answer of course is NO.
The public is too busy writing Letters to the Editor on more important issues such as rugby sevens and grog gangs.
Expatriates now doing what locals used to do
It is a pity that local professionals do not have the courage to complain to the Bainimarama Government, the “First Fiji Government” to replace locals by expatriates, reversing decades of localization.
We saw that with the PS Information, the use of American propaganda company Qorvis, CEOs of Air Pacific (Fiji Airways now), PWD and many other government departments and public enterprises and their boards.
Many such appointments were not particular better than good appointable locals and some were distinctly worse, some being yame yame tabe tabe conmen and women disappearing over the horizon having made their ill-gotten gains.
But appointing whites was part of the Bainimarama strategy of appointing clearly visible white faces as part of his government, to give the “right message” to the international viewers and the local Fiji people with their typical colonized mentalities: any white is better than any black or brown or yellow.
Not forgetting of course, that with expatriate here on work permits given by the Government, any expatriate not “playing the game” that Bainimarama or Khaiyum wanted, could be sent packing.
As indeed, many have been.
Local appointments might fight unfair orders or dismissals, but even that is rare (remember the brave but futile fightback against the Fiji TV dismissals?).
It has not helped that the Public Service Commission has had pathetic members who have totally refused to deal with many backward steps taken on the civil service by the Bainimarama Government, such as the ridiculous 55 year retirement rule.
Fiji managers and executives have plumbed record depths of cowardice never known before in Fiji.
DEVIL NEVER SLEEPS: RABUKA exploits INDIGENOUS RIGHTS DAY to question non-native Fijian loyalty while he is hiding behind IMMUNITY
It was Rabuka who opened floodgate to Chinese with his LOOK NORTH POLICY, and with eyes blindfolded to their criminality, after 1987 coups
“Every non-indigenous family in Fiji has an Indigenous family connection in their motherland, who will be living close to their tribal land and religious sites etc. And, should any wish to visit their motherland, they would find that their tribal rights and rites continue to prevail in their places of origin. Fiji is that motherland for Indigenous Fijians who want their culture, language, lands and resources protected as recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declared 10 years ago by the member nations of the United Nations.” - Sitiveni Rabuka on Indigenous Rights Day, August 2017
8 August 2017
The Social Democratic and Liberal Party (SODELPA) Leader, Former Prime Minister Sitiveni L Rabuka today urged the FijiFirst Government, that has governed Fiji for the last eleven years since the 2006 coup d’etat, to respect the fundamental human and group rights of Fiji’s indigenous Fijians, as first peoples and natives of Fiji.
He made specific mention of the recent issuance of 99 year leases by the Government through the TLTB and the plans by the Government to color-code villages as a means to deny them development assistance. Rabuka also confirmed that SODELPA respects the human rights of all peoples in Fiji, and said that recognising indigenous rights does not mean limiting the rights of other communities in Fiji.
Rabuka said that SODELPA’s founding document and guiding principles affirm the freedom and dignity of all religions and religious denominations and the right of opinion and belief. It is an important objective of the Party to protect, enhance and promote the economic, social and human development of all communities and to secure their future in the Fiji Islands.
“Fijians should not lose sight of our common goal and desire for a peaceful and prosperous Fiji despite the best efforts of Bainimarama’s government to derail our efforts,” he said.
“SODELPA recognises the equality and indivisibility of all human rights, and the international human rights discourse and system similarly confirm that all human rights, whether indigenous rights, or minority rights, have equal status, in international law. One cannot promote one set of rights over another.”
“The mere fact that indigenous Fijians are the numerical majority in Fiji does not disqualify them from asserting their human rights as recognised in the UN DRIP, ILO 169 and as affirmed by the UN CERD Committee. Nowhere in international law, neither in the UNDRIP or ILO 169 is numerical majority listed as a disqualifier for the assertion of indigenous rights or a licence for a government to breach their internationally recognised human rights.”
“Lest we forget, the indigenous Africans in South Africa were for many years oppressed by the European minority population by force of guns, the regular application of torture and the enforcement of racist apartheid laws. The whole world recognised the plight of native South Africans, despite their numerical majority.”
“Every non-indigenous family in Fiji has an Indigenous family connection in their motherland, who will be living close to their tribal land and religious sites etc. And, should any wish to visit their motherland, they would find that their tribal rights and rites continue to prevail in their places of origin. Fiji is that motherland for Indigenous Fijians who want their culture, language, lands and resources protected as recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declared 10 years ago by the member nations of the United Nations.”
“I can say with confidence that my party the Social Democratic Liberal Party has since its inception called for respect for the rights of all ethnic communities in Fiji, for only together can we flourish as a nation, as individuals and reach our highest potential. SODELPA is for all the people of Fiji who call Fiji home, who have contributed to its development. All communities bring different talents, skills and assets to contribute to our nation’s development, and SODELPA is against stereotyping and discrimination in all its forms.”
“SODELPA supports the human rights of every person in Fiji, as well as the rights of all communities in Fiji. SODELPA also recognises the rights of the indigenous people of Fiji, as recognised in international treaties like the International Labour Organisation Convention No. 169 on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Recognition of the rights of indigenous people of Fiji is in harmony with the party's welcoming and recognition of the many ethnic communities who have made Fiji their home.”
“Indigenous Rights are also human rights, as are women's rights, as well as the rights of the disabled and the rights of children, for example. The international community recognises the rights of indigenous peoples to manage their land and resources, as well as to their identity, their culture and traditions, and their indigenous institutions.”
“In supporting indigenous rights, SODELPA does not seek to place indigenous rights above the human rights of members of Fiji’s minority ethnic communities, given the indivisibility and equality of human rights. In the same vein, SODELPA recognises that the fact that the indigenous community are the majority population, does not mean they lose their entitlement to their indigenous rights, in particular their rights to be consulted, and to give their free, prior informed consent to changes affecting their land, culture and resources, which is at the heart of their grievance of the last eleven years of the Bainimarama Government.”
“Fiji is at a crossroads and there are many wounds that need healing. Peace is possible for our beloved nation if we all learn to understand each other’s needs for peace, security, belonging and prosperity, to reconcile our differences and encourage peace amongst all our communities for the betterment of our future generations. Peace and progress are only possible if we work together.”
“As Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party, I want to reassure all the minority religious and ethnic communities in Fiji, that SODELPA is committed to assuring their security in Fiji. I want to reassure you of our acceptance, that you too belong to Fiji, with the indigenous Fijians. I also want to reassure you that SODELPA is committed to the path of peace in Fiji, and to promote respect and partnership amongst our communities. We respect and appreciate your contributions to Fiji. We want to work together with you, for a more peaceful, prosperous Fiji, now and for our future generations.”
“To our indigenous community, I say SODELPA understands very well your needs for proper management and for safeguards for all you hold dear. SODELPA has a vision for the development of your resources, for partnerships and greater return on the development of your resources and for the proper safeguards of all that you hold dear. SODELPA has a vision to reduce dependency on the government to promote more self-reliance. SODELPA will promote closer inter-ethnic cooperation, partnership and goodwill, which will be the mainstay of a lasting peace that will prevent future political crises.”
“Various changes and laws have been imposed on the people of Fiji without their consent, over the last eleven years of the Bainimarama Government. This includes the imposition of the 2013 Constitution Decree, and various decrees that limit human rights like the Public Order Amendment Decree of 2012, and the Essential National Industries Decree.”
“Further, the suspension of the Great Council of Chiefs in 2007, the termination of the Great Council of Chiefs Regulations in 2008, the authority given to the Minister for Fijian Affairs to appoint all members of the Fijian Affairs Board, the termination of the existence of the Council of Chiefs in the Fijian Affairs Act in 2012 and their representatives from the Native Land Trust Board, the establishment of the Land Bank through the Land Use Decree, are examples of changes and laws that were forced on the people of Fiji, and those affecting the indigenous community were imposed without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous people of Fiji. The Land Use Decree can alienate Fijian land for up to 99 years and the landowners are prohibited from challenging the government in court, including further 99 year extensions, under that Decree. These are examples of the way that Fijians have lost control of the management of their land, over the last eleven years.”
“The removal of the name Fijian from the native indigenous Fijians, and the imposition of ‘iTaukei’ on the native community by Decree, was also done without their free, prior and informed consent. Free, prior and informed consent is a requirement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
“The right of the indigenous people of Fiji to be consulted on the changes to the laws and policies regarding their way of life and resources was not respected by the government and the UN Committee (CERD) recognised this breach and sought an explanation from the Government, which still has not rectified these grave breaches. The government has continued to ignore its obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) and changes continue to be implemented today without that free, prior and informed consent, to the dismay of the indigenous people of Fiji.”
Significance of the 2017 International Indigenous Peoples Day
Rabuka said this tenth anniversary of the International Declaration on Indigenous Rights, passed by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, is an opportune time to review how Fiji’s indigenous Fijians had fared over the last eleven years of the Bainimarama Government.
“The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It embodies global consensus on the rights of indigenous peoples and establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms, as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.”
Rabuka said the UN International Day for Indigenous Peoples, celebrated annually on August 9th offers an opportunity for the government to review its policies, and to comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), in particular the right to free, prior, informed consent. Rabuka said that the right to free, prior informed consent requires the Government to consult in good faith, with the indigenous people before decisions are made to change their native administrative structures, to the administration of their land and fisheries resources, to any matter that concerns them.
The UNDRIP requires the Government to consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples through their representative institutions, in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them (article 19).
Nothing about us, to be decided, without us
The international human rights doctrine or requirement of consent is that the consent of indigenous peoples must be freely given, that is given after full disclosure of the effects of any changes, and that informed consent is given given prior to the proposed change, can be summarised as Nothing about us, to be decided, without us.
“Over the last eleven years of the Bainimarama Government, many changes have been effected without consultation and without the free, prior informed consent of the indigenous Fijians. This was recognised in 2012 by the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) which advised Fiji to explain the 12 Decrees that affect indigenous Fijians, which were imposed without their consent. Todate, the Fiji Government is yet to reply to the UNCERD and in fact, since 2012, another 12 Decrees and laws have been imposed without the free, prior, informed consent of indigenous Fijians. So there are 24 such Decrees and Laws now.”
“The grievances of indigenous Fijians were reviewed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism (UNCERD) at its 2012 session. The UN CERD Committee instructed the then Fiji military regime in Recommendation no. 14 to ensure effective consultation with the indigenous people of Fiji. It instructed the government to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Fiji’s indigenous community to issues affecting them and their identity, ways of living and resources in line with the CERD treaty, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, which Fiji ratified in 1989. The CERD Committee also sought the explanation of the military regime on the dissolution of the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Council of Chiefs).”
“The government has continued to ignore its obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) to consult fully and to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous people of Fiji to changes made in the 24 Decrees affecting indigenous communities, resources and welfare and these changes continue to be implemented today without that free, prior and informed consent, to the dismay of the indigenous people of Fiji.”
99 year leases
Rabuka expressed concern that Fiji’s Minister for Economy has started handing out 99 year lease titles or virtual freehold titles on native land, issued by the Native Land Trust Board, now called the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB), on the authority of the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. Rabuka said SODELPA is concerned whether TLTB consulted landowners and properly assessed their need for land, in the longer term, or whether TLTB secured the leases after pressure was applied by the Prime Minister. Bainimarama is now Chairman of the TLTB and appoints the members of the TLTB Board, without reference to the voice of landowners, the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV), a change brought about by Decree and without the participation of the people's’ representatives in Parliament.
“A SODELPA Government would apply the cautionary principle and seek assurance that the Native Land Trust Board, has carefully and properly carried out its important fiduciary duty, to ascertain the needs of the landowners whose land has now been leased on 99 year terms, or virtual freehold. The fiduciary responsibility vested in the TLTB is not to be taken lightly or overridden by the central government. The TLTB’s fiduciary's responsibilities or duties to landowners are both ethical and legal. The Native Lands Trust Act (Cap 134) confers on the TLTB in its fiduciary duty, as Trustee of all native lands, this fiduciary duty requires the TLTB to act in the best interest of its principal, the landowners, whose assets or land they are managing.”
“Indigenous landowner's vested the legal ownership of their land in 1940 in the TLTB, a central body that administers native land in trust. That consent was obtained by the late Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna after an arduous trek across Fiji, from the coast to the highlands, to the remote islands of Fiji. That consent and trust given in 1940 imposes a sacred and fiduciary duty that should not be taken lightly or for granted by the central government of Fiji.”
“The Fiji Sun of June 24, 2017 quotes the Minister for Economy expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for the 99 year agricultural leases. The question that has to be asked is whether the TLTB properly followed its procedures and properly discharged its fiduciary duty to the landowners, in particular their needs for land for their future generations, in the issuance of these 99 year lease titles. Or was the TLTB pressured by the Prime Minister and Minister for Economy to issue these 99 year agricultural leases?”
“SODELPA seeks assurance from the TLTB that the Native Lands Trust Act requirements in section 9 for the TLTB to ensure the adequacy of land for the sustenance of the landowning units before they issue a lease. How did the NLTB carry out the assessment of the needs of the landowning units before the leases were approved?”
“Section 9 of the Native Land Trust Act, Cap 134 provides that: No native land shall be dealt with by way of lease or license under the provision of this Act unless the Board is satisfied that the land proposed to be made the subject of such lease or license is not being beneficially occupied by the Fijian owners and is not likely during the currency of such lease or license to be required by the Fijian owners for their use, maintenance and support.” (emphasis ours)
“The Prime Minister and the central government now have extraordinary control over the TLTB given that he is Chairman of the Board, having removed the President as Chairman of the TLTB Board of Trustees and being the appointing authority of TLTB board trustees by Decree. Previously, the Bose Levu Vakaturaga and the Fijian Affairs Board appointed TLTB trustees.”
“99 year leases are often called ‘virtual freehold’, because a 99 year lease means two to three future generations of landowners, will not have a say in these leases. Those who approve this lease, will pass away long before the 99 year leases expire. A SODELPA Government would ensure the review by TLTB of these leases after every 30 years, to ascertain the land and livelihood needs of the landowners, before further extension.”
Color Coding of Villages
Rabuka also expressed concern that the Taukei Fijian Affairs Ministry is planning to label and color code Taukei indigenous Fijian villages, as a prerequisite to the grant of government development assistance. Rabuka said this is another example of the government’s heavy-handed authoritarian tendencies coming to the fore once again, without the consultation and consent of the many vanua in Fiji. Rabuka said the concept of labelling villages by color was a grave insult to the indigenous people of Fiji and is discriminatory because it is being applied only to indigenous communities.
“The color coding proposed by Deputy Secretary for Taukei Fijian Affairs Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga, which he is announcing at various provincial council meetings, is discriminatory to the indigenous community, given that it is being applied to their community alone. It is a punitive measure, that punishes villages on a subjective and not objective criteria, and may be abused by the FijiFirst government to punish villages which may not support the FijiFirst party politically.”
“Will villages whose voting record show they do not vote for FijiFirst be coded red and denied development? Soon after the 2014 elections, Bainimarama announced that the government would prioritise development projects for those communities that supported FFP policies in the 2014 elections. This was reported in the Fiji Sun of October 26, 2014. The denial of development assistance also happened during the interim government to certain villages whose leaders criticised the Peoples Charter. Given this track record of the denial of development assistance to those who have a different political opinion to Bainiamara, we have to ask whether color coding is a signal to all communities to support FijiFirst or lose development assistance from the government?”
“This color coding exercise is inhumane and goes against all principles of assisting those who need it the most. By this exercise, villages coded red are unlikely to receive assistance, meaning that they will not be helped, a measure that punishes those who need it the most. It is also a breach of the right to development and misuse of government resources because it is the duty of all governments to progressively develop the nation on a non-discriminatory basis.”
“The colour coding plan is a serious breach of Fiji’s obligations as a signatory to the ILO Treaty No. 169, the Convention on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Indigenous rights are human rights and the disrespect shown by the FijiFirst Government to the indigenous peoples of Fiji, and the continuing breach of their human rights, is the height of hypocrisy for a government that espouses equality and non-discrimination.”
“The ILO Convention 169 and UNDRIP require that the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous people be sought and obtained before any measure like color coding is imposed. Media reports show that indigenous leaders have expressed the need for proper consultations on color coding.”
“I urge the Minister for Fijian Affairs and Prime Minister to rescind this policy, because the development funds are not his personal funds, but are contributed by all the people of Fiji who pay direct and indirect taxes on all the goods and services they purchase, including those whose villages may be labelled red and denied assistance.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
STANDING UP FOR 'IMMIGRANT RIGHTS'
In search of ancestral heritage in Fiji - Who is an 'Indigenous' Fijian?
By VICTOR LAL
Fiji's Daily Post, 2000; written during George Speight's failed coup:
The present crisis in Fiji has once again raised the ugly spectre of a civil war in Fiji between native Fijians and Indo-Fijians. It is, therefore legitimate to ask:
Who is an indigenous Fijian?
How many centuries will it take for the so-called 'immigrant' races in Fiji (the Indo-Fijians, Chinese, and Europeans) to become natives?
Fiji -Three-Legged Stool
The great Fijian leader Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna described Fiji as a Three-Legged Stool comprising Fijians, Europeans and Indo-Fijians (not to forget the Chinese and Rotumans). According to official Fiji government publication (Fiji Today, 1998), the Fijians are descendants of the great chief Lutunasobasoba, who led his people across the seas to the new land of Fiji. They landed in a great canoe, the Kaunitoni, on the west coast of Viti Levu, at a place which is now called Vuda, and they travelled inland in search of lands to settle until they reached the mountains of Nakauvadra. There they built a house for the old chief, who died shortly afterwards entreating his children from his dying couch to go forth and populate the land. This they did and many of the tribes of Fiji today trace their descent from the children of Lutunasobasoba. Most authorities agree that people came into the Pacific from Southeast Asia via Indonesia. Here the Melanesians and the Polynesians mixed to create a highly developed society long before the arrival of the Europeans.
The European discoveries of the Fiji group were accidental. The first Europeans to land and live among the Fijians were shipwrecked sailors and runaway convicts from the Australian penal settlements. Sandalwood traders and missionaries came by the mid 19th Century.
From 1879 to 1916 Indo-Fijians were introduced as indentured labourers to work on the sugar plantations. Their history, however, will record that their own displacement from British India prevented the dispossession of the Fijians in colonial Fiji.
Indeed, by a happy irony, the indentured Indian was uprooted specifically to prevent the Fijian way of life from disintegrating. The above official history of the Fiji Islanders (as everyone is known now) thus shows that we are all former migrants to the Fiji islands. It is in this context that we can ask the question: who is indigenous?
Definition of Indigenous Peoples and Related Terms
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 107 (1957); Article 1 provides that the Convention applies to:
(a) members of tribal or semi-tribal populations in independent countries whose social and economic conditions are at a less advanced stage than the stage reached by the other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations;
(b) members of tribal or semi-tribal populations in independent countries which are registered as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or consolation and which, irrespective of their legal status, live more in conformity with the social, economic and cultural institutions of that time than with the institutions of the nation to which they belong. Furthermore, ILO's Convention 169 (1989);
Article 1(1) stipulates that the Convention applies to
(a) tribal peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations;
(b) peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonisation or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions.
The World Bank policy on indigenous peoples are as follows: 'Tribal peoples are ethnic groups typically with stable, low-energy, sustained yield economic systems, as exemplified by hunter gatherers, shifting or semi-permanent farmers, herders, or fishermen.' They exhibit in varying degree many of the following characteristics:
(a) geographically isolated or semi-isolated;
(b) unacculturated or only partly acculturated into norms of the dominant society
(c) non-monetized, or only partly monetized; production largely for subsistence, and independent of the national economic system;
(d) ethnically distinct from the national society;
(e) non-literate and without a written language;
(f) linguistically distinct from the wider society;
(g) identifying closely with one particular territory;
(h) having an economic lifestyle largely dependent on the specific natural environment;
(i) possessing indigenous political leadership, but little or no national representation, and few, if any, political rights as individuals or collectively, partly because they do not participate in the political process; and
(j) having loose tenure over their traditional lands, which for the most part is not accepted by the dominant society nor accommodated by its courts; and having weak enforcement capabilities against encroachers, even when tribal areas have been delineated.
It is thus clear that the Fijians do not, by any stretch of the imagination, fall into such categories. Although a minority for several decades, the Fijians never suffered the effects of dispossession, discrimination and political marginalization. In fact, it was the Fijian chiefly leaders who enjoyed sustained political control of the country since independence, and still communally own 83% of the land (now a weapon of political blackmail), dominate the Fiji army, and the Great Council of Chiefs' nominees in the Senate have a veto over any Bill affecting Fijian land, custom or tradition.
The entrenched land rights makes it impossible for any dispossession to take place without the consent of the chiefs. It is, therefore, absurd to liken the position of Fijians today to that of the Aztecs, the Incas, the Mayans and the Aborigines.
Minorities in International Law
The 1990 post-coup Constitution-makers had invoked the doctrine of indigenous supremacy to enable Fijians to enjoy more rights than other races and to institute a new system of domination and inequality.
The central idea of the ILO conventions however was to institute an order that guaranteed equally fundamental rights including equality of franchise. In fact, if any group(s) which might have a legal claim in international law are the minority communities (Indo-Fijians, Chinese, Europeans and Others in Fiji).
It is they, the international lawyers could claim, who need constitutional and political safeguards for the possible violation of their rights under various international legal conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that all persons are 'equal in dignity and rights' and that this should not be abridged on the basis of 'race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status (article 2).
These prohibitions are repeated in several other conventions including Articles 2, 3 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Article 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 5 of the International Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Fiji is a signatory to these various conventions. As a matter of fact, whenever the question of constitutional reform had been considered during British rule, the Fijian leaders based their claim not as indigenous peoples but as a minority fighting to maintain a separate identity. In the process, the Indo-Fijian bourgeoise leaders went along with their Fijian counterparts, totally oblivious to future population trends which led to Indo-Fijians becoming a minority in Fiji.
In short, if there were any losers in the long, tortuous, and complex struggle for political power in the 1970s, it was not the pettit-bourgeois Indo-Fijian leaders but the ordinary descendants of indentured Indo-Fijians. The so-called 'Passenger Indians' remained unscathed in economic terms. Thereafter, what Fiji witnessed for the next two decades, was the politics of race until the rise, demise, and rise of the multi-racial Fiji Labour Party in 1987 and 1999.
What Fiji is witnessing in the formation of the Foundation of the Fijian Indigenous Peoples, threats of repatriation of Indo-Fijians and 'blood will flow' in the wake of ALTA debates, and the exclusion of the Prime Minister from the Great Council of Chiefs, is an attempt by a mindless minority to revert back to the era of racial bigotry and racial politics in Fiji.
Moreover, what some Fijians believe to be their ancient heritage is a colonial legacy. Like the deep cleavages existing within the Indo-Fijian community, pre-colonial Fijian society consisted of a series of tribes and tribal confederacies that were frequently in conflict with each other. Tribes in eastern Fiji were heavily influenced by Polynesians from Tonga, and developed a very hierarchical Polynesian-style social structure with great power in the hands of hereditary chiefs.
The social structure of western Fijian tribes was more egalitarian, as is the Melanesian custom. In 1874 Britain accepted the cession of authority in Fiji to the British Crown by the eastern chiefs. The new colonial authorities succeeded in bringing all Fijians under the control of a single government for the first time. The British largely ruled through the existing chiefs, greatly enhancing chiefly authority over Fijian commoners. They also established the dialect and traditions of one eastern tribe as the norm for the entire country.
A rather romantic view of traditional Fijian society prevailed, and laws were passed to reinforce communal land ownership.
The Indigenous/Immigrant Debate
In 1976 the current president Ratu Mara, then prime minister, while rejecting a suggestion in the Senate by Senator Inoke Tabua, later a leading Taukei member, that 100,000 Indo-Fijians should be deported, made a pertinent statement: 'It is now being suggested that there are sections of citizens of Fiji, particularly the Indians, who have not the same rights as any others. I do not see that. If I made a mistake at the Conference (1970), please do not support me at this forthcoming election (1977). I would rather square my conscience with God then to be voted back into Parliament under false pretences. If you start removing Indians, the next ones will be the Chinese, the third ones will be the Europeans, and the fourth will be the Lauans.'
The Lauans, who are descendants of Tongans, settled in Fiji in the 19th century with their chief Ma'afu, a relative of the King of Tonga. Ma'afu, who settled in Fiji in 1848, thirty-one years before the arrival of the first batch of Indo-Fijians to Fiji, established himself at Lakeba as the leader of the Tongan community in Fiji. According to the historian Peter France, the Tui Nayau, who controlled the Lau islands from Cicia in the north to Ono in the south, was at this time an old man, corpulent, and severely afflicted by elephantiasis. With his company of Tongan fighting men, Ma'afu became military representative of Tui Nayau and extended his authority by conquering, in the name of Christianity, the islands of the Moala group; these were thenceforth accepted as being part of Lau.
The islands north of Cicia owed allegiance to Tui Cakau but, when this chief visited Lakeba in 1850, he accepted a canoe as a gift from Ma'afu and gave him, in return, rights of levy over them. In 1855 Ma'afu put down a religious war in Vanuabalavu and assumed control over the island, taking up residence at Lomaloma. His position in Fiji at this time was that of representative of King George of Tonga, the head of the Tongan community in Fiji, and the owner of the island of Vanuabalavu. He extended his influence throughout Vanua Levu by alliance with Tui Cakau and Tui Bua. He then defeated Ritova, Tui Macuata, and installed a chief more susceptible to his influence as head of the chiefdom.
Ma'afu was the most powerful influence in north-eastern Fiji when, in 1859, the first cession proposal was made. Consul Pritchard reminded Ma'afu that, as the country had been ceded to England, future attempts to extend his authority would bring him into conflict, not with mere Fijian chiefs, but with the British Government. Ma'afu signed a document to the effect that he was in Fiji solely to manage and control Tongans and had no claim to chiefly authority over Fijians.
After the first offer of cession was rejected, however, he resumed his attempts to secure a position of leadership and, in 1867, he appeared to have succeeded in uniting the provinces of Vanua Levu and Lau by creating the Tovata. On the collapse of this confederation he declared that he would have no further dealings with Fijian chiefs and retired to his estates on Vanuabalavu. Tui Nayau raised the Tongan flag at Lakeba and Ma'afu began to assume control over the Lau group, under the excuse that its chief had declared it to be Tongan, and not Fijian, territory.
In June 1868, however, the Tongan Parliament ordered the flag to be hauled down and instructed Ma'afu to cease from involving the Tongan Government in Fijian affairs. This meant that he could not continue to exercise control by virtue of his authority as a Tongan chief, but had to be accepted as a chief in Fiji. A meeting of the chiefs of Lau was held at Lakeba, in February 1869, at which he was installed as a Fijian chief, taking the title of Tui Lau (now held by Ratu Mara); his connection with the Tongan government was severed; a vessel was sent to Fiji from Tonga, proclaiming that Tongans who remained in Fiji would no longer be under the protection of the Tongan Government and offering passages to those who wished to return. Tongan lands in Fiji were made over to Ma'afu and he was accepted by the chiefs of Bua and Cakaudrove, in May 1869, as a chief of Fiji, having authority over Fijians. He played a leading part in the offer of Cession in 1874.
Some radical Fijians therefore assert that because of his family background, Ratu Mara does not have the automatic right to champion Fijian rights.. As a matter of fact, the case of Lauans is instructive to our indigenous/immigrant debate. In 1987 Ratu Mara, unlike a decade ago, began to assert paramounty rights on behalf of the Fijians in the new post-coup Constitution, saying that 'special rights for indigenous peoples are not something new and are provided for under international law'.
He reminded his critics of the fate of other indigenous peoples saying that 'the Fijian people are all too aware of the destiny of the indigenous Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru, the Mayas of Central America, the Caribs of Trinidad, the Amerindians of Guyana, the Maoris of New Zealand, and the Aborigines of Australia'. From these arguments, Ratu Mara concluded that Fijians must be awarded majority representation in Parliament and control of the government as 'an affirmative action to guarantee and protect the rights and aspirations of the Fijian people against other communities'.
He argued that Fijians had settled in the islands over 3,500 years ago, and this fact entitled them to paramount control of Fiji. He, however, did not explain or justify why his predecessor, Ma'afu as Tui Lau, could lay claim to Fijian paramounty and Indo-Fijians not for equality, when he (Ma'afu) had been in Fiji for 26 years only before the Deed of Cession of 1874, and not 3,500 years.
The Tui Bua, Vakawaletabua, also had personal links with Tonga: his mother was Tongan and he had been placed in peaceful occupation of his chiefdom of Bua by Tongan force of arms. In 1862, he visited Tonga, with Ma'afu. A Treaty of Friendship between King George of Tonga and Tui Bua was signed on 3 January 1865. This provided for perpetual peace between Tonga and Bua and for reciprocal rights of settlement. It also provided that the Civil Service of each state would make available its employment opportunities to the nationals of the other: any Tongan settling in Bua was declared to be eligible 'for appointment to any Government situation that may be vacant', with the same privilege applying to a Buan settling in Tonga.
It is therefore not surprising that Jone Dakuvula, a cousin and former press secretary to Sitiveni Rabuka, had also asked during the two coups in 1987: 'What is so special about us descendants of the many waves of early settler groups in Fiji that our political rights to be the government must be greater and secured unaccountably, compared to the descendants of later settlers?' Dakuvula further argued that the people did not want an apartheid-type regime because the Indo-Fijians were no longer foreigners, but part of the Fijian polity. Why should they accept diminution of their political rights in their own country; the country of their birth?.
The current prime minister Chaudhry had also stated his position: 'We have a fight on our hands and I believe in dealing with it until the matter is resolved one way or the other. I was born here. I am not a foreigner here. I have every right to fight for this country. We are not going to subjugate ourselves to a constitution of this kind (the 1990 Constitution), signing away all our rights and agreeing to be slaves.' In a cruel twist of fate, he went on to become the first prime minister of Indo-Fijian origin.
Perhaps the speech of Ratu Sukuna to the Great Council of Chiefs in 1936 is worth repeating: 'Let us not ignore the fact that there is another community settled here in our midst. I refer to the Indians. They have increased more rapidly than we. They have become producers on our soil. They are continuously striving to better themselves. Although they are a different race, yet we are each a unit in the British Empire. They have shouldered many burdens that have helped Fiji onward. We have derived much money from them by way of rents. A large proportion of our prosperity is derived from their labour.'
A central figure in the 1987 Fiji coups has defended the island nation's Indo-Fijian population as fully fledged Pacific Islanders. More recently, Ratu Mara criticised an international Pacific Island conference held in Auckland for excluding Indo-Fijians. Ratu Mara, the keynote speaker at Pacific Vision, a four-day conference, said that, "This is a conference of the Pacific communities in New Zealand, yet the Pacific Vision literature I have read appears to have an omission. There is no reference that I could see to the Indians from Fiji. Fiji Indians are full citizens. They are officially designated as Fiji islanders and one, the Honourable Mahendra Chaudhry, is now prime minister. They may have a distinct and different appearance and characteristics and been late arrivals, but islanders they are."
The Fijians and Non-Fijians: 'Marooned at Home'
On 14 May 1987, the Indo-Fijians awoke to mark the 108th anniversary of the arrival, aboard the sailing ship Leonidas, of the first Indo-Fijian 'coolies' in Fijian waters. In fact, that day was to see the arrest of all their progress- from plantation to parliament- when Sitiveni Rabuka and his henchmen overthrew the multi-racial Labour government. The Fijian coup d'etat also raised the fundamental question: how many generation should the Indo-Fijian community (and other non-Fijian races) wait to become 'natives'?.
We have already recalled the Tongan Parliament's reaction to Ma'afu's status in Fiji. The following declaration of the late Prime Minister of India, Jawarharlal Nehru, has a similar echo. He raised the issue of citizenship, including that of the Indo-Fijians, in the Indian Parliament on 8 March 1948: 'Now these Indians abroad? Are they Indian citizens or not? If not, then our interest in them becomes cultural and humanitarian, not political. Take the Indians of Fiji and Mauritius: are they going to retain their nationality, or will they become Fiji nationals or Mauritians? Of course, the two things do not go together. Either they get the franchise as nationals of other country, or treat them as Indians minus the franchise and ask for them the most favourable treatment.'
As a matter of fact, the majority of the descendants of Indo-Fijian labourers had lost contact with 'Mother India' long ago.
The following declaration of an ex-indentured woman labourer Rangamma, in 1979, who arrived in Fiji with her parents a century ago, in 1899, still applies to the Indo-Fijians today: 'Fiji is my place. There is nobody in India for me.'
It is equally true of the descendants of the great chief Lutunasobasoba, who cannot be expected to return 'home' from the coast of Vuda and the mountains of Nakauvadra, to a land far to the west in the great canoe, the Kaunitoni. Or the small but significant Fiji-born Chinese community to mainland China. As we gear up to greet the dawn of a new century, we have reached that tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
It is to be sincerely hoped that we will collectively judge each other not on the basis of our colour or ancestry but by the content of our character.
The coup leader George Speight has certainly failed the test of character and some have even expressed doubt about his "indigenous" colour. He alone has the chance to redeem himself from his mindless act.
Fiji, says the tourist poster, is 'the way the rest of the world should be'.
Let us keep it that way in the 21st Century.
We CANNOT, and MUST NOT, allow Rabuka to exploit Indigenous Rights slogan to return to POWER in Fiji. Cry the Beloved Country!
“It was a matter of cultural survival. Sink or Swim. There was no way we were going to go down. The Indians had become an unbearable presence in Fiji. The Hindus and Muslims are pagans who must be converted to Christianity, for if not, they convert us, and we all become pagans like them.” - Sitiveni Rabuka shortly after the 1987 coups
The Chinese nationals should have been prosecuted for breach of visa conditions, and any other crimes, before being handed back to China
Police and China Embassy issue joint statement on 77 whisked to China
A joint operation between Fijian and Chinese law enforcement agencies under an existing Memorandum of Understanding of police cooperation has resulted in the removal of 77 Chinese nationals who were found to be in breach of their visa conditions.
A request for assistance was extended to the Fiji Police Force from the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Public Security regarding the group’s alleged involvement in certain illegal activities which were in breach of their visa conditions.
The Fiji Police Force and the Department of Immigration facilitated the protocol and approval was sought from relevant authorities whereby the investigation into the alleged activities began.
The month long operation has seen Fijian law enforcement agencies deal with the alleged breaches in visa conditions in accordance with relevant laws and regulations of Fiji.
Following a thorough investigation conducted by the three law enforcement agencies, we can confirm that no Fijian was a victim of the group’s alleged illegal activities.
These 77 Chinese nationals have been sent back to China from Fiji on Aug. 4, 2017. It is reported that the above mentioned Chinese nationals are suspected to be involved in more than 50 telecom and online fraud cases targeting Chinese citizens in China amounting to more than 6 million yuan (892,000 U.S. dollars). The case is under further investigation in China.
The successful outcome of the collaboration under the MOU is a testament of the two countries ongoing commitment in maintaining law and order in our respective countries.
It shows the importance of strengthening law enforcement cooperation between our two countries.
Source: Fiji Police Force Media Cell
Fijileaks: This month, last August, Fijileaks was hacked and brought down. When will Fiji Police and the Government of Fiji co-operate with British, Norwegian, and American authorities to bring the hackers to justice, starting with the arrest and interrogation of FFP Government Whip and chairman of Justice, Law and Order Committee Ashneel Sudhakar, who is accused by Kishore Kumar of being the mastermind behind the hacking?
Fijileaks HACKING SUSPECT: Kishore Kumar calls on Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qihilo to ask him (Kumar) and FFP Government Whip ASHNEEL SUDHAKAR, the chairman of Law, Justice and Order Committee, to bring their phones for inspection by the Fiji Police Cyber Crime Unit, to establish who is telling the TRUTH about the hacking of Fijileaks; Kumar claims Sudhakar was behind the hacking of Fijileaks
"There is no space for them to board the bus on the road". The detention centre which held 77 Chinese before they were whisked away to China
RENDITION? As Chinese government secretly grabs 77 suspected fraudsters from Fiji and flies them back to China, NFP calls on Fiji government for full disclosure on arrest and supervised 'repatriation'
Fijileaks HACKING SUSPECT: Kishore Kumar calls on Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qihilo to ask him (Kumar) and FFP Government Whip ASHNEEL SUDHAKAR, the chairman of Law, Justice and Order Committee, to bring their phones for inspection by the Fiji Police Cyber Crime Unit, to establish who is telling the TRUTH about the hacking of Fijileaks
Rendition: the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners. Origin - early 17th century: from obsolete French, from rendre ‘give back, render’
NFP calls for full disclosure on arrest and supervised repatriation of Chinese
The Leader of the National Federation Party, Professor Biman Prasad has called on the Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration to provide full disclosures to all Fiji citizens on the details surrounding the arrest and supervised repatriation of 77 Chinese from Fiji on a chartered Chinese flight.
“What exactly is the extent of this? Were they Dual Citizens holding Fiji Passports? Were their human rights amply upheld during detention? How long has this manner of transnational crime been occurring? Are there any further details? Is this limited to telecom scams or were there also other illegal activities? What measures will the Government urgently implement to ensure there is no repetition?” Professor Prasad asked.
Professor Prasad said the Fiji First Government needs to be transparent and accountable with this issue for it involves Fiji’s border security, domestic security, as well as the immigration policies that the Government has implemented.
“The supervised repatriation of such a large number of Chinese people from Fiji on a chartered China Southern Airlines plane, with an even greater number of Chinese security personnel to escort them back to China has made international headlines, yet here in Fiji we have not heard a single word from this Government.”
“This is unprecedented and has never occurred under the watch of any Government.”
“I am urging the Prime Minister who is also the responsible minister for Immigration and his Fiji First Government to clearly and honestly come forward with the facts on this case of public interest.”
“The Chinese authorities are reportedly saying that this supervised repatriation involves individuals that are involved in telecom fraud, with dens being busted in Fiji.”
“There are however many lingering questions that the Government needs to answer for the sake of transparency and accountability of an issue of such a magnitude.”
“In May this year the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence tabled their report recommending that Fiji ratify the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime and 3 Protocols. One of the “Challenges” raised in the report by FRCA, DPP, the RFMF and Immigration Department is that they all said they needed to strengthen their collective collaboration. The lack of this collaboration has been laid bare for all to see."
“Then the other challenge in the report is that the Immigration Department suggested that they take back the primary line because they are better specialised, is highly problematic as this role is now undertaken by FRCA. This is now a serious indictment on the porosity of our borders and it falls on the Government to come clean.”
“If this issue is not resolved and responded to quickly, the global community and their expectations on Fiji as a responsible State will not look very kindly on us and any global initiatives we advocate.”
Professor Biman Prasad
NFP leader Biman Prasad to the VHP (Fiji) Fiji National Hindu Youth Conference: 'Let me urge you not to allow yourselves to be fooled by self-centred leaders who promise us chaand ka tukrah or piece of moon'
"Its a pleasure to be invited by VHP. I was actually very happy when I received the invitation because these days, and probably for the first time in Fiji's history, there is a reluctance on the part of organizations to invite Opposition figures like us to speak. So whenever I get an invitation to speak, I don't miss that opportunity. But I want to especially thank
"I believe that as responsible citizens, we should be at least concerned about what is going around us, for failure to do so will be at our own peril and might I add, a bleak future for our children and grandchildren. Believe me when I say what is happening in the political arena these days is prolonging and escalating our pain and misery."
"We should not discriminate against any of our fellow Fijians" Bainimarama while speaking at the fundraiser for the redevelopment of the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha Rewa Branch; this weekend the NFP leader Biman Prasad had told a VHP (Fiji) National Hindu Youth Conference that "The Philosophy of Hinduism is one of
inclusivity, secularism and universality"
As Fijians we should not discriminate against any of our fellow Fijians on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, race, province or social status.
This was stressed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while speaking at the fundraiser for the redevelopment of the Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha Rewa Branch.
Bainimarama says he believes that every Fijian regardless of our background, our beliefs, our status, where we live deserves an equal role in the progress of our nation and an equal share in the prosperity we bring to our shores.
He says we should all work together so that we appoint the best people irrespective of their background to deliver the best service to our people.
Seek% buffered00:00Current time00:58VolumeBainimarama stressed that this is why the government appoints people to positions whether as Ministers, CEO, board members or civil servants on merit.
He adds when we appoint people on merit, we will get the job done well and we will also ensure that all Fijians get the best outcome.
The Prime Minister also said that he had admiration and appreciation for the Sanatan community in Fiji saying any young person in Fiji who has attended a Sanatan educational institution or spent time within their community knows full well that their contributions to Fiji have made our nation a better place to call home.
The development plans for the Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha Rewa Branch include a new temple, multipurpose hall, and Ashram.
It will also be constructing a museum that will tell the stories and the history of the Girmitya in Fiji.
THE CHAUDHRY-RABUKA COALITION CAKE CRUMBLES: We revisit 2000 to remind Chaudhry and others pushing for coalition politics in Fiji
In 2000, our founding Editor-in-Chief VICTOR LAL had written ten series of articles in Fiji's Daily Post, explaining why Chaudhry fell from power. Chaudhry agreed with the general analysis, except for what he termed 'a few incorrect assumptions'. VICTOR LAL did not touch on George Speight's failed coup but had written a three part legal opinion arguing why Speight should be charged with TREASON, and why the Muanikau Accord signed between the then army commander Frank Bainimarama and Speight, was invalid in criminal law. We will chart FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry's journey from 'political saint' to 'currency convict', arising from the debris of the 2000 mayhem
Meanwhile, we produce Part One of the 10 part series from 2000:
Chaudhry was a ‘misguided saint’ flanked by political and racist ‘devils’ in the People's Coalition Government
He won landslide mandate but formed government on bent knees under the 1997 Constitution which required mandatory power-sharing after a general election
By Victor Lal
The deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Pal Chaudhry is a saint compared to many others who claim to be leaders of Fiji's people, and even the claims about his arrogance and insensitivity now fall flat, says Catholic Priest Father David Arms. Chaudhry enjoyed a popularity rating in December 1999 at 62 per cent which was the highest any Prime Minister of Fiji enjoyed before a general election. He did not make himself the Prime Minister by his own decision. He fought an election and his Fiji Labour Party convincingly won 37 of the 71 seats in the House of Representatives, enough to govern alone.
But, as will be seen, he became ‘hostage’ to the former President Ratu Mara’s political and constitutional intervention, and to the new non-racial 1997 Constitution of Fiji which mandated for a multiparty government or power sharing. And his Fiji Labour Party, under the same Constitution, ended up like a ‘Castrated Political Bull’ in a ‘Constitutional China Shop’.
This new untried concept of mandatory power sharing in Fiji, which Sitiveni Rabuka claimed in October 1997 as a challenge to sail into ‘unchartered waters’, so to speak, also led to Chaudhry’s captivity for 56 days at the hands of the failed businessman George Speight and his storm troopers. Put simply, Chaudhry had been constitutionally forced to jump into the political bed with unsuited Fijian political bedfellows. He woke up with his political pants down and was undeservedly and cruelly whipped by Speight and his ‘remote-controlled’ Fijian backers and Indo-Fijian financiers in the name of pseudo-indigenous rights. In the next series of articles we will show why the Fiji Labour Party should dismantle the Peoples Coalition Government, the Electoral System, and make changes to the 1997 Constitution of Fiji.
Meanwhile, the Coalition won even more convincingly because the Peoples Coalition captured 52 out of the 71 seats. Besides the Fijian Association Party (FAP), Chaudhry invited minority parties which were not entitled as of right to be in his Cabinet. And the Christian Democratic Alliance-the Veitokani Ni Lewenivanua (VLV), the General Voters Party, and a few independents joined him. So at the end of the day, the Peoples Coalition had 58 out of 71 members sitting on the Government benches with only 13 on the Opposition. As far as SVT was concerned, it lost 18 of the 23 Fijian communal seats where only Fijians stood and Fijians voted in the May elections. The SVT won only 8 seats in the May elections but was shut out of Chaudhry’s government because it made unacceptable political demands. In any event, most SVT members had agreed with Jim Ah Koy to remain in Opposition. The SVT’s chief coalition partner, the National Federation Party (NFP), failed to win a single seat. It lost all 19 Indo-Fijian designated seats to Chaudhry’s Labour Party. The NFP was completely humiliated and annihilated from the political map.
In his Cabinet, out of 18 Ministers, Chaudhry had 12 indigenous Fijians and only six IndoFijians.
‘Petticoat Racists and Political Punch Drunks’
The Portrait of the Deposed Prime Minister
The former politician and academic Dr Satenda Nandan, the first Fiji Labour Party MP, and who was himself a hostage with Chaudhry in the 1987 coups, had written an article in the Canberra Times of 19 June 2000 about Chaudhry while the elected Prime Minister was still held captive by George Speight. Nandan has reproduced the article in his recently published book, Fiji: Paradise in Pieces.
He wrote of Chaudhry: ‘Mahendra Pal Chaudhry has had a unique political career for an Indian-Fijian political leader in Fiji. He’s been through three ruthless and racist coups, twice taken as hostage in the Parliament. And yet I feel, in my heart of hearts, he’ll survive this baptism of fire (Chaudhry was still held hostage by Speight at the time of the writing of the book). He’s the intrepid leader with contagious courage under adversity, a person of intense grit and grace. It is his political education that stands out in a crisis. The three major Indian-Fijian leaders, A.D. Patel, Siddiq Koya and Jai Ram Reddy, were all lawyers. He has acquired his political acumen and organisational ability by working through people of all races and complexions in Fiji’s small but complex post-colonial society. He’s more a man of action than words, a karmayogi in Indian political parlance.’
Nandan pointed out that Chaudhry’s most formative educational period was spent at Sri Vivekananda High School in Nadi, the first public secondary school established in 1949 for primarily Indian children. It catered specifically for the children of farmers, labourers and small businessmen from the small towns and villages scattered all over Fiji. Indentured Indians had arrived in Fiji in 1879, illiterate and leaderless. The school was co-educational and multi-racial from the beginning. The patron saint of the school was the world renowned Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, a patriot with a tongue of fire.
Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru came under his extraordinary spell and he represented and articulated the best thoughts and ideas of Hinduism and its accommodating ways of life. Chaudhry completed his Senior Cambridge examination from the school while staying in the hostel, next to a temple, on the banks of the Nadi river across which was a thriving Fijian koro (village). Not far from the school was Nadi airport, a symbol of future possibilities and other journeys.
Chaudhry, who hails from a small village near the township of Ba, was born into a small farming family. There are thousands of such farmers all over Fiji, eking out a meagre living from their ten-acre farms, mainly sugar, allocated to them by the CSR Company, and leased from the NLTB (recently described as the Idi Amin of Indo-Fijian farmers). No sensible leader would ever want them dispossessed of their inalienable rights to this land. Chaudhry’s lasting commitment to social justice in a community, according to Nandan, springs from his farming and trade union background. His total belief in a multiracial polity and civil society comes from his work with farmers, labourers, public service unions and women’s organisations. His early education in the west of Viti Levu, the Fiji archipelago’s largest island, prepared him for an emerging multiracial society. The ‘Burning West’, as it’s often described, runs from Ba to Sigatoka and is different from Suva and its surrounds. The farming community’s interaction among the two communities and with tourists has made them more outward-looking. There’s a solidity and deeper cohesion in social interactions and personal relations. And there has been a deepening understanding between the two communities over 120 years of living on the island.
For the past 30 years Chaudhry has been an active and articulate member of several trade union movements nationally, regionally and internationally. It’s no exaggeration, Nandan writes, to suggest that of all prominent political leaders in Fiji, he has the most international connections and is the least communal. Indeed, because of this he is truly a modern leader for Fiji, a man who reflects the increasing interdependence of the communities and their crucial foundation in the tolerance and understanding within the larger society.
Communal politics have characterised Fiji since before independence and have the curse of politics in the troubled paradise. The majority of members of parliament are elected according to their ethnicity. This, of course, has done enormous damage to Fiji politics, mired in a frenzy of racialism at election time. Fiji’s Labour Party was the first party to reject the politics of race and base its philosophy and economics on social needs, equality and justice. This had become an anathema to those whose positions of power and privilege were being undermined.
As leader of the Labour Party, Chaudhry objected strongly to communal representation in the new 1997 Constitution, where 46 out of 71 MPs were communally elected. He pursued this with some passion and political manoeuvring. His shrewdness paid dividends in the last election where he won a comprehensive mandate to be Fiji’s first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister. His determination was seen during the two coups in 1987 and the aftermath, when his house was broken into, his family intimidated, and threatened and he was persecuted as leader of the trade union movement. He never left Fiji during those crisis-ridden weeks and months. He showed a moral toughness that surprised his opponents. And nothing deterred him: he has a special contempt for bullies and thugs, of which Fiji has had a special breed; the military regime had to be politically defeated; multiracialism had to be cultivated for Fiji’s future generation; democracy had to be re-established. Chaudhry’s government was the second time the people had voted for a multiracial government.
According to Nandan, another aspect of Chaudhry’s life is his faith. He’s a thoughtful Hindu in a profoundly spiritual sense. During the first coup in 1987, ‘he was one of the few Indian MPs who could sing a full Hindu bhajan (hymn). Most of us knew only a line or two’. Chaudhry’s wife is a devout Christian. Her parents were Methodists and she belongs to the Assemblies of God Church.
The harmonious co-existence of the two religions in his own house, many believed, would allow Chaudhry to neutralise his political opponents from playing the religious card among the church-going and Bible wielding Fijians.
Personality is a very complex thing. Chaudhry’s Hindu personality may be more perplexing to those who have only judged him by his political personality. Moreover, there is an ignorance of the Indo-Fijian community not only from without but also from within. Indo-Fijians know little of the many things that have made them. We think we have to consider the culture from which they have come to Fiji. And this is where the subject becomes a bit more difficult and requires a bit more than sentimental warmth. If we leave aside our small Muslim population, people who were dispossessed in India by the Mutiny and dispossessed by the overthrow of the Moguls; if we leave this Muslim element aside, the bulk of the Indo-Fijian community comes from the peasantry of the Gangetic plain. The Hindi they brought to Fiji is directly descended from the popular language the Lord Buddha would have heard. But that was long time ago, that was about 600 B.C.
The Indo-Fijians come from a peasantry who were untouched by the great reform movements in India in the 19th Century, reform movements that were a response to British rule and ideas. A response, because one should remember that one of the differences between early imperialism and later imperialism is that later imperialism is an imperialism of things, inventions, machines. The early imperialism made its impact on a country like India because of its ideas-its ideas about man and society and law and the rule of law. Above all, they came from an old ancient world; the world that bred the Lord Bhuddha, the Messenger of Peace and Love, and a world where even Jesus Christ reportedly took refuge for sometime from his enemies and oppressors.
The Chaudhrys, therefore, were a unique gift to the two main religions of Fiji: the Hindu and the Christian one. The Christian religion plays an important part in the destiny of the Fijian people in Fiji. It sounds striking, but it is true. However, the slogan of Fiji-style apartheid has something to do with the theological effort of the churches, pastors, and lay preachers who openly advocate Fijian superiority in Fiji.
The VLP, Religion and Politics - VICTOR LAL
The churches in Fiji, dominated by ultra right-wing Fijian leaders, had played a very destabilising role in race relations following the first coup in Fiji, led by a supposedly lay Methodist preacher Sitiveni Rabuka. He said it was the calling of God to execute the coup, and later argued that Indo-Fijians were pagans who should be converted to Christianity. During his military reign of the country he had imposed a fundamental Sunday ban in the name of religion. In fact, the coup was planned and executed by the help of the Rev Tomasi Rakivi, a cousin of Rabuka’s, and General Secretary of the Fiji Council of Churches, and Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, now an Interim Government Minister, but than President of the Fiji Council of Churches and Secretary of the Bible Society of the South Pacific. The coup was hatched in Epworth House, the offices of the Methodist Church in Fiji, where Ratu Inoke had his office. Rabuka took his Bible and some financial ledgers as treasurer of his church circuit, to cover his going to the Epworth House meeting.
Another intermediary was parliamentarian Viliame Gonelevu, later general secretary of the CDA, who argued with Rabuka from a Christian point of view: ‘This [Bavadra] Government will not be a Christian government. We will be controlled by a government that does not have a Christian point of view.’ He later would be part of a delegation to an anti-Coalition meeting of the Western Tui Association that was organized in Bavadra’s home village of Viseisei. The other delegation from Suva consisted of Civil Aviation Authority executive Jone Koroitamana, Senators Inoke Tabua and Aporosa Rakoto, Jone Veisamasama, Ratu George Kadavulevu, David Pickering and Kubuabola.
The rest is history. Rabuka pointed out to Gonelevu and Kubuabola that the then Commander of the Army, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, now the Deputy Prime Minister in the Interim Government, would not go along with the coup plan because of his firm allegiance to the elected Bavadra government. Nailatikau had already told a passing out parade of recruits that their duty was to support the government of the day. ‘Then you will have to do it’, Kubuabola and Gonelevu told Rabuka.
Kubuabola claims to have given the Apisai Tora-led Taukei Movement of 1987 its name. ‘Up to that point of time, if you read the papers, there was no name and some people were referring to us as the Fijian movement.’ Kubuabola also states that he was the Taukei’s direct link to Rabuka. Kubuabola was also the Alliance Party’s campaign manager in Cakaudrove. Kubuabola recounted the long six-hour meeting he had in his office on 19 April 1987: ‘By four (p.m.) we spent some time in prayer and options and we asked Rabuka to prepare his side of things, you know, the military option. And all the things we were doing were the lead up. We asked Rabuka to prepare that side and when we reach a stage when he must step in, he must be ready to step in.’
So here we have, two of the supposedly God-fearing Christians in the eyes of the Fijian public, privately conspiring to beat and bash the other half of Gods Children in Fiji: the IndoFijians whose only crime in the eyes of the Lord was to exercise their right to political equality. What followed in the name of religion is all too familiar, and utterly disgraceful, that it is not worth recounting through the pages of this column. What is however clear, is that fundamental religion was mixed with politics, and would become a regular feature of Fijian politics, as demonstrated in the May 1999 general elections.
The Veitokani ni Lewenivanu Vakarisito Party (VLV) was formed in direct opposition to the SVT and projected a strong Christian outlook, translating its name as the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA). The newly formed party had very clear and close links with the Methodist Church, with one of its former presidents, Rev Manasa Lasaro, a strong advocate of Rabuka’s Sunday Observance Decree, announcing his candidature for the party. The VLP saw itself as a potential power broker in the shifting fortunes of political parties as it remained detached from the politics of Coalition. Chaudhry, on the other hand, indicated an interest in reaching out to the VLP, as he declared: ‘We have not thought of joining them yet but if we do, we should have some common grounds for a coalition.’
The VLP had begun to attract some big Fijian names: Ratu Epeli Ganilau, the former military commander, son of the late President Ratu Penaia Ganilau, and son-in-law of Ratu Mara, declared his intention to run for the newly-formed party. He was followed by Poseci Bune, the former Ambassador to the United Nations, who warned that the VLP had been formed to ‘bring an end to the degradation and decay taking place in our country today under a corrupt [Rabuka] Government’. As the election campaign heated up, the VLP could boast a strong line-up of former SVT supporters and ex-senior civil servants. There were some surprise inclusions, notably that of Asesela Ravuvu, now the Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRW).
He had a hand in drafting the 1990 racist Constitution at the behest of Rabuka and others from the SVT days. Others included the former Assembly of God General Secretary Ratu Josaia Rayawa, who was elected the President of the VLP. Ratu Alipate Kubuabola, the interim President, announced the names of some of their candidates to contest the next election, which also included the Army legal advisor Tevita Bukarau, controversial former police officer and a law graduate Naipote Vere, Lautoka lawyer Kitione Vuetaki, and former political activist Salote Qalo.
One of the leading lights was Adi Koila Nailatikau, the daughter of Ratu Mara, and wife of Ratu Epeli, the current Deputy Prime Minister.
Without going into details, the VLP chewed up a sizeable chunk (20%) of SVT’s Fijian votes, and later went into coalition with Chaudhry’s Peoples Coalition Government. They were rewarded with two Cabinet posts (Adi Koila - Ministry of Tourism and Poseci Bune, the Agriculture Ministry). The rest of the VLP remained outside the Coalition, sulking, brooding, and calculating their next move as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Many were seen hobnobbing with George Speight inside the Parliamentary Complex and a few later ended up with him on Nukultraz Island.
Some have joined the Interim Government of Laisenia Qarase. The management board of the VLP has also declared that it no longer supports the Chaudhry Government. A defeated VLP candidate, Ravuvu, is now the chairman of the CRC with the avowed objective of re-introducing a similar or stringer version of the 1990 Constitution, and with strong Christian underpinnings.
A hard core of VLP supporters are now calling for the Christianization of Fiji. Their attitude, in short, amounts to virtual dethronement of Lord Jesus Christ in favour of a political Satan. They have a monopoly of God, and a right to interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ. To them, God, not godliness, is the Fijian’s sole preserve. Therefore, in the name of God, they proclaim Fijian supremacy. Do these followers of Jesus Christ know what colour their Prophet had and where He was born?
Jesus Christ was born in a part of Asia and not Pacific Islands. His philosophy was clearly Asiatic. Being not a European or Fijian, when did he confer the right to supremacy on the Fijian person? Where did he say that Indo-Fijians should be treated as inferior? Now let us hope that Jesus Christ comes back to earth once again to visit his Nationalist Fijian devotees. Then He will realise the intolerable and inhuman injustices perpetrated in His name. He would Himself be declared a prohibited immigrant at Nadi airport as an Asiatic. If he wielded some influence, He would be allowed to land on the scared shores of Fiji on a temporary permit under humiliating conditions.
If He claimed to be Redeemer of Fiji, He would be charged with heresy and locked up with George Speight on Nukultraz Island. He would be charged under the Public Order Act or under the Riotous Assemblies Act for inciting hostility between the Fijian and non-Fijian races, sentenced to a period of imprisonment or even whacked on the buttock with a warrior club and finally deported to the land of His birth in Asia.
The next person these very religious followers of the VLP would single out for punishment would be Mr Chaudhry’s Christian wife. They might, just, allow her into the Assemblies of God Church as a Christian, but prevent her and her husband from sharing the same political kingdom because they are, after all, of Indo-Fijian descent in Fiji.
Religion would be a mockery if it recognised inferiority of man and became an instrument of forging chains for oppressed people. The role of religion should be always one of an emancipator, never an enslaver of the Children of God. Jesus Christ, himself a non-European, would be the last person to proclaim the creed of Fijian superiority. As a prophet, he would never conceive the inequality of man. He was an avowed exponent of human brotherhood. He said: ‘God hath created all men in His image;’ ‘God hath chosen the weak ones of the world to confound the mighty;’ and ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is in all.’
Christianity would never have become a world religion if it were founded on race differences. ‘Every great affirmation of Christianity,’ says Buell G. Gallagher in Colour and Conscience, ‘cries out against distinctions drawn between people on the basis of skin pigmentation. It is not in response to the Christian conscience that we erect colour bars and build racial caste systems. It is not in pursuance of the teachings of Jesus that we nurture race prejudice. It is not in the Bible, nor in the writings of the early fathers of the Church, nor in the great creeds of Christendom, that we find support for the dogma of white supremacy (in our case, Fijian supremacy)’.
Now, a few power greedy Fijians in the VLP and other parties, masquerading as Fijian nationalists, are distorting the Scripture. To be sure, there are men and some women out in our midst who have managed to, and still are, tear a few verses of the Scriptures from their context, and by ignoring all the weight of Biblical and Christian teaching, to erect a fantastic edifice in which Fijian racial supremacy passes as an uneasy existence in Fiji.
We have chosen to highlight the VLP, for its members would have been the last ones to be suspected of turning Fiji, a Garden of Eden, into a Satan's Paradise. The rivers of blood that flowed in Fiji recently is partly to be blamed on these group of ‘holy’ passengers who had embarked from the VLP’s ship called ‘Noahs Shark’. It was not the Chaudhry Government which brought Fiji’s problem to its ugly head but the 1997 Constitution with its provision of mandatory power sharing, which could be declined not by the victor but the vanquished in an election in Fiji.
While the so-called Mr and Mrs 10% of the VLP joined the Kingdom of the Coalition Government, the rest stayed outside to bring it down. Bune, on joining the PCG, had told the nation: ‘We in the CDA [VLP] have adopted a principled approach in this important matter, as in all else. Our Christian principles advise love for our neighbour and co-operation with our fellow human beings. This accords with the principles of the democracy we espouse.’ He said they were dedicated to building a united, multi-cultural nation where social justice, equality and harmony prevailed among all communities, irrespective of race, class or religion’.
As we will show in the next column, some of Bune’s bunch of God-fearing men and women were to be joined by other more overtly racist and politically opportunists ones who were left behind while a part of their kinsmen from the FAP and PANU had entered the Coalition.
The VLP had been formed not to destroy Chaudhry but to defeat the SVT. Chaudhry kept to his electoral promise and got two of them (Bune and Adi Koila) into the Cabinet. Chaudhry, the political hunter- was to become the hunted from now onwards as he began his journey from sugar plantation to the prime ministership.
There was nowhere to hide, even under the umbrella of the 1997 Constitution.
In fact, it was the new Constitution, which was the poisonous apple that whetted the appetite of those outside Chaudhry’s political kingdom to indulge in treachery and bloodletting. The provisions of the Constitution, in short, allowed the religious amorals to meet the political amoral ones in a grand coalition to bring an early and bloody end to the People's Coalition Government.
Some Fijian members inside the Coalition also saw the provisions of the Constitution as a vehicle for their own political agendas and personal ambitions.
To be continued
Where was Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum in 2000? He was busy writing Letters to the Editor in the Fiji Times, complaining about the Fiji Muslim League:
by A S Khaiyum
The claim by some executive members of the Fiji Muslim League ('League') that Muslims support a review of our  Constitution [of Fiji] and demand separate seats merely because the executive says so is a gross misrepresentation of the views of the everyday and majority of Muslims in our country.
The executive lack the mandate to speak as a representative body for Muslims since the League has been and is essentially an administrative institution managing and maintaining mosques, schools, orphanages, a sugar cane farm and real estate.
In addition to the lack of mandate the arguments and justifications espoused by the executive for a review and separate seats are flawed. They are flawed because our  Constitution [of Fiji], in particular the Bill of Rights, namely, sections 38(2) and 35 more than adequately guarantee and protect religious freedom and minority rights. Indeed if an almost identical South African Bill of Rights provision protects the rights of the minority South African Muslims then what is so special about and differentiates Muslims in Fiji?
On the basis that last century the then nascent League made submissions on separate seats, it is argued today that so called Muslim rights will be achieved if these seats as submitted then are allocated now. To refer to a resolution passed some seventy years ago, in an era with its own specificities and dynamics, as justification for separate seats in today's Fiji illustrates a complete ignorance and denial of our political, social and constitutional history/experience as a nation-state.
Indeed if we were to hark back and uphold the standards of 1929 then commoner indigenous Fijians and women would not have the right to vote. Fiji and the rest of the world have moved along. Clearly such absurd referrals to the past illustrate an enormous vacuum in basic critical thinking and analysis, discourse and a general prevalence of obscurantism within the executive.
Furthermore, it aptly demonstrates a complete ignorance of contemporary developments in and interpretations of Islamic law and jurisprudence vis-a-vis constitutional, human rights and international law and conventions. More tragically, however, the opportunism of the executive displays the absence of and lack of belief in justice, compassion, selflessness and basic human decency.
Most Muslims in Fiji know that certain officials treat the League and its branches as their own little fiefdoms. Fiefdoms, where nepotism is known to be rampant at most times; where certain families and individuals have reigned as executives literally for decades; where children and families of well-to-do officials benefit from scholarships which were and are meant for poor students; where chairs of numerous committees are held by single individuals; where businessmen and business interests are over represented; where women,the youth, various provinces and other denominations are either underrepresented or not represented at all; where appeals to religious dogma and unity are utilized in response to queries of administrative/financial discrepancies and where certain individuals view the League merely as a means to acquire access to power, influence and ultimately money - all under the guise of "protecting Muslim interests."
Indeed the absence of proper representation, transparency, accountability and ultimately legitimacy also plague other local institutions in contemporary Fiji.
The executive of the League cannot and does not represent the political opinion, views, philosophies of individuals or the bulk of Muslims in Fiji. These self appointed guardians do not speak for the masses.
Therefore, the current administration and all Fiji Islanders must understand and recognize the majority of Muslims who believe in basic human decency, justice, democracy and constitutionalism reject the idea of separate seats and/or a review of our  Constitution [of Fiji].
University of Hong Kong
"The sword of treason charges must pierce through the shield of the Muanikau Accord, which they tore apart with murderous impunity...The amnesty is no longer valid: re Lennox Phillips v DPP of Trinidad"
Victor Lal, August 2000
Fijileaks says with Albert Einstein:
The Chaudhry-Rabuka COALITION CAKE has crumbled. "It is not an act of desperation by FLP to try to get into a coalition with parties". In 2000 Chaudhry had mouthful of 'cake' with bitter after taste, so why coalition?
FLP did not meet the 5 percent threshold to have a seat in parliament after the 2014 election as they only secured 2.35 percent of the total votes.
PDP had 3.2 percent of the votes while the Fiji United Freedom Party had 0.22 percent of the votes.
Speaking to Fijivillage today, Chaudhry says they respect the decision by SODELPA and NFP that they would not want to go into a coalition and will contest on their own.
However Chaudhry says the Fiji Labour Party is still talking to the Fiji United Freedom Party and the People’s Democratic Party.
Chaudhry hopes that there is agreement on a suitable united front to contest the 2018 election with the two parties.
When questioned by Fijivillage on whether this is an act of desperation, Chaudhry says this will never be the case.
Chaudhry went on to say that he should be allowed to contest the 2018 election although he has been convicted of breach of the Exchange Control Act.
He went on to say that he believes he is innocent although he was found guilty by the High Court.
Fijivillage then asked Chaudhry why he paid the $2 million penalty after the conviction if he believes that he did nothing wrong.
Chaudhry is also not saying whether he will remain the leader of the party going into the 2018 general election although he cannot contest the election.
The Suva High Court convicted Chaudhry in 2014 and ordered him to pay a fine of $2 million.
He was found guilty of three counts of breach of the Exchange Control Act.
Justice Paul Madigan had ordered that Chaudhry had to pay the fine or he would have to serve 15 months in prison.
Mahendra Chaudhry also had to comply with the Exchange Control Act by the 31st of July, 2014 which meant that he needed to repatriate the 1.5 million Australian dollars held in Australia.
Chaudhry paid the fine however took the matter to the Fiji Court of Appeal where the conviction was affirmed but the sentence was varied.
The Appeals Court was of the view that in all the circumstances of the case, the quantum of the fine imposed by the trial Judge was excessive and Chaudhry’s fine was reduced to $1 million.
"...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