In a statement responding to personal attacks against him by Aiyaz Khaiyum in the Fiji Sun, April 19, Mick Beddoes said the personalized nature of the Khaiyum's attack is nothing more than a diversionary tactic to try and shift attention away from the questionable judgment of the leaders of PNG, Solomon’s and Vanuatu with regards to their relationship with the unelected, illegal and treasonous Military Bainimarama dictatorship.
Beddoes said it was important to restate the facts pertaining to Fiji because the regime has spun so many lies that they actually start believing these lies to be the facts? So for the record:
• It was the Kaiyum’s leader who planned and overthrew of the duly elected government of the people in 2006.
• It was Kaiyum’s leader who promised the people of Fiji on the first night of the coup that no military officer will benefit from the 2006 coup then broke it?
• It was Kaiyum’s leader who said he would uphold the 1997 constitution then abrogated it in 2009 when the regimes own appointed Court of Appeal declared the Bainimarama regime ‘illegal’ and instructed the President to appoint a new caretaker government.
• It was Kaiyum’s leader who trashed the ‘people’s 2012 constitution’ and the proposed Constituent Assembly after 7,000 individuals and organizations in Fiji put forward submissions that were reflected in the draft
• It was Kaiyum himself and the Solicitor General who drafted the regimes 2013 draft without a single input from the people which they are now peddling as the people’s wish
• It is Kaiyum as AG who stands to benefit the most when they impose their 2013 regime draft
• It is Kaiyum and his leader who are afraid [lamu], and who lack the moral courage to take responsibility for their actions and subject themselves to an independent court of law, instead of hiding behind the immunity they seek for their wrong doing of the past and all the wrong they will do in the future. Beddoes said these are a handful of the undisputed and unchallenged facts of our recent past that we need to remind ourselves of, lest Kaiyum, his leader and the MSG members forget!
And Mick Beddoes and other ‘old politicians’ played no part in the illegal and treasonous acts mentioned above.
Beddoes said that contrary to the AG’s suggestions that his remarks were damaging to the efforts of the largest trade and investment group to ever visit PNG, Beddoes said his remarks will have no impact on trade negotiations as the principals that govern their success or otherwise relate purely to business interests, pricing and quality of product and besides, participants know full well they are participating in a trade delegation that is sponsored by an illegal and unelected regime and they each would have had to weigh up the benefits verses ‘risks’ of being associated with such a delegation.
Beddoes said that while he agreed that economic growth, investment opportunities and job creation were all important goals for any government, the fact remains, had Kaiyum’s leader not removed the elected government of the people in 2006, the Fiji economy today would be booming, our level of poverty dramatically reduced and unemployment would not be nearly as bad as it is today.
Beddoes said, in any event economic growth, investment and job creation will not improve so long as we have in place a repressive, unelected and non representative military government who after 6 years in power, still do not enjoy the confidence of the majority of our people enough to govern in an open, free or fair manner.
Beddoes said it was intriguing that Kaiyum who remains an unpopular, unelected, non representative self appointed officer of the state, whose appointing authority is an Act of treason, should accuse me [Beddoes], a twice elected representative of the people, and twice constitutionally appointed Leader of Fiji’s Opposition in parliament, of double standards, when we have multiple examples of double standards being practiced by the regime on an almost daily basis.
Beddoes said with regards to the AG’s claim that there was no press censorship or constraints, placed on opposition statements, Beddoes said there was no point arguing this matter with the AG, because as far as the he [AG] is concerned, full page statements of the government comments which include multiple front page articles, with little or no dissenting views is what the AG thinks a free and independent press is all about?
The media outlet themselves know full well the level of their bias and while things may have opened up a little in the past 12 months, self censorship continues today and the AG and their media partners know full well the extent to which they are manipulating it. So for now, Beddoes said, I’ll let him win this argument.
Beddoes said his remarks about the MSG leaders relates to their conduct with the unelected leadership in Fiji saying he has always encouraged the international and Pacific Island nations to ‘engage’ with the regime.
Beddoes said since 2006 to the present day the regime has simply refused to ‘engage’ with Fiji’s political leadership in any type of dialogue and the few attempts to do so in the past have failed, because the regimes idea of ‘engagement’ is that everything they say must be accepted without question and that simply will not fly with us Beddoes said.
Beddoes said the problem with the MSG leaders is that they have confused our calls to ‘Engage’ with ‘Embrace’ and from all accounts, that’s exactly what they have done and by embracing the illegal, repressive regime of Bainimarama, the MSG leaders have forgotten our Chiefs and people so if anyone is being irresponsible or putting at risk the future relations the MSG will have with Fiji it is the MSG leaders themselves not Mick Beddoes.
Beddoes said hosting an illegal Dictator on a 4 day state visit, will full military honors, red carpet treatment and electing him leader of the MSG is all about ‘Embracing’ a dictatorship not ‘Engaging’ Beddoes said, and by doing this the MSG leaders have themselves violated the very founding principles of the Establishing Agreement of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Beddoes said if the MSG leaders say I’m wrong, then they should take a few minutes to go back over their obligations under the Agreement and in particular they should read Articles 5, Sustainable Development & Human Rights, and Article 6: Rule of Law and Good Governance.
Sustainable Development and Human Rights
1. The parties agree to direct their cooperation towards sustainable development centered on
the human person, who is the main protagonist and beneficiary of development; this
entails respect for and promotion of human rights, including communal rights and the
rights of indigenous peoples and communities.
2. Respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including respect for
fundamental social, cultural and indigenous rights, democracy based on the rule of law
and transparent and accountable governance shall be an integral part of sustainable
development within the MSG region.
3. The parties affirm that democratization, development and the protection of fundamental
freedoms and human rights and mutual reinforcing are interrelated. In addition thereto, the parties further affirm that, democratic principles are universally recognized principles underpinning the organization of the state to ensure the legitimacy of its authority, the legality of its actions reflected in its constitutional, legislative and regulatory system.
Beddoes said in the period following Bainimarama’s 2006 Coup, in which he was supported by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, innocent citizens such as Sakiusa Rabaka, Nimilote Verebasaga and Tevita Malasebe were brutally killed. Their right to life was taken away in clear breach of MSG Article 5. But where was the voice of the MSG for these victims, their families and for the oppressed people of Fiji? Silent!
When the Bainimarama Regime disbanded and shut down the Great Council of Chiefs, our paramount Chiefly institution, in clear breach of Article 5:1 where the supporting voice of the MSG Leaders was for our traditional Chiefs? Silent!
We only saw the MSG leaders when they were and wined and dined at our expense at our major resorts in the full embrace of a Military Junta, with absolutely no thought or regard whatsoever for our people. So much for their commitment to the MSG principals.
ARTICLE 6: Rule of Law and Good Governance
1. Except for parties which are otherwise not sovereign states, the parties agree that the provisions espoused in their respective national constitutions in relation to the prevalence of the rule of law and the prerogatives of the different powers therein and in particular for the effective and accessible means of legal redress, an independent judiciary and legal system guaranteeing equality before the law and an executive which is fully subject to the law, shall be upheld and observed.
2. Respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall underpin the domestic and international policies of the parties and constitute the essential elements of the contractual nature of the relations between the parties to this Agreement.
3. The parties affirm that good governance is the transparent and accountable management of human, natural, economic and financial resources for the purpose of equitable and sustainable development. It entails clear decision-making procedures at the level of public authorities, the primacy of law in the management and distribution of resources and capacity building.
Beddoes asked why the MSG Leaders did not follow their own agreement as outlined in Article 6: and act when our twice elected Prime Minister was being persecuted by the unelected Military Junta.
What plausible or rational explanation can they possibly provide to the peoples of their own countries and the citizens of Fiji for ignoring all of the other clear breaches of the MSG principals by the Bainimarama Regime?
Yet despite all of his regime’s violations of the MSG principals I have outlined here – such as good governance, accountability, democratic principles and the rule of law – the MSG leaders not only ‘embraced’ the Fiji Dictator, they also elected him their leader! It is this unacceptable behavior of the MSG Leaders that prompted me to say in my recent Radio Australia interview that a newly elected Democratic Government in Fiji must review its relations with the MSG nations and the MSG.
After all, when the people of Fiji were robbed of their democracy, freedoms and rights in 2006, instead of coming to our rescue, the MSG leaders made friends with the usurpers and ignored our people. They chose to abandon us.
So why would a newly-established democratic government of the people wish to remain in a close relationship with Island Leaders who openly embraced the treasonous usurpers of our previous democracy?
I believe the MSG Leaders owe the Chiefs and people of Fiji an apology for their disgraceful conduct and behavior, because the MSG is founded on cultural and traditional values as much as it is about good governance, accountability and transparency and the rule of law and I say that if the MSG leaders don’t make amends with our Chiefs and people in the traditional manner they will by their own action render the founding principles of the MSG worthless!
Read Khaiyum's attack on Beddoes HERE
Former UPP leader Mick Beddoes stands by what he said about the MSG leaders in his ABC interview and is undeterred by the personal attacks levelled at him by Aiyaz Khaiyum in the Fiji Sun