February 22, 2007

Rounds-Ganilau 'sorry' for youth's assault by soldiers

Interim Minister for Labour Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau has expressed regret at the assault of a Nadi youth by soldiers last week which resulted in severe head injuries and surgery, as first reported by Intelligentsiya.

In response to questions from Intelligentsiya about the incident, Rounds-Ganilau confirmed she visited Sakiusa Rabaka, 19, in hospital after his mother asked to see her and appeared to distance herself from the actions of the military.

“I am sorry for what has happened to Sakiusa,” Rounds-Ganilau told Intelligentsiya. “I was informed last week that a young lad was in hospital who had been beaten up in the West at Black Rock and his mother wished to see me. I visited them both that same day and took their report and sent this to (military spokesman) Major (Neumi) Leweni when I secured Mrs Rabaka's permission to do so.”

“I visited them both again on Monday after young Sakiusa had had his operation and Mrs Rabaka reported that he was feeling quite alright. In fact they had the go ahead from the doctor to return to the West if they wished and Mrs Rabaka was happy to do that.”

They are expected to return to Nadi today.

Sakiusa was arrested by soldiers during what they say was a drug raid but his mother, Ala, says he was at the “wrong place at the wrong time,” Fijilive quoted her as saying.

Intelligentsiya first reported Sakiusa’s case on Friday, February 16, but it was not reported in the mainstream media (as far as we know), although Fijilive did a follow-up report on Monday in which they named Sakiusa and quoted his mother.

“He was hanging out with two other friends in Votualevu, when they were picked up by seven military officers and a policeman who took them to the Nadi army barracks where they were told to strip naked and carry loads of sands on the backs,” Ala Rabaka told Fijilive.

She said Rabaka and his friends were told to run around a playground before being made to do press-ups on the road.

“While carrying the bag of sands they were beaten up. As a result my son sustained severe head injuries.”

She said that she did not recognise her son when he was brought home the same day due to the injuries he sustained.

Meanwhile, Fijilive quoted army spokesman Major Neumi Leweni on Monday saying that he is “unaware of the incident and needs time to verify the claims”.

But Rounds-Ganilau has this to say: “I emailed Major Leweni on Friday morning after my visit on Thursday evening and it bounced back so resent it on Monday morning 19th February.”

It appears Leweni was lying to Fijilive or he just doesn’t check his email (or as somebody mentioned in a comment, the email could have bounced a second time).


Anonymous said...

If he was caught lying on the record, this would not be the first time.
Someone needs to look back at the timeline of when that Nakelo man was taken from his village and when he was pronounced DOA at the QEB.
What happened in between and the explanations Leweni had for the man's demise could point to the Majors skill at covering up the army's brutality.

Anonymous said...

Saying sorry is not good enough Miss! So what else have you done? Ask Frank and Chaudhry money to compensate the poor boy and his family? Organise funding for his future medical treatment overseas from your usual Rock Market black pearl stall? In case you've forgotten big mama, this is the same interim military and dictatorial government you are part of so you Bernadette have become a basher and a murderer (Verebasaga's case) and guilty by association, whether you like it or not. So where's you social service hat you always boast about? Just admit that the main reason you accepted the illegal job was because you needed money so bad especilly with your good for nothing other half. Sorry miss, you've lost our respect and please stop talking bullshit at any Tourism forum. You sound hollow with absolutely no depth on anything. Go home big mama.

DFL said...

Many thanks for a great idea (blog)and thanks in particular for this rather sad article on the Nadi youth who was assaulted. Just one obervation though about the last paragraph. The heading does not match the contents of the paragraph. Leweni could very well have not checked his email or Ganilau's email could have bounced a second time in which case that heading would be a lie. You dont need sensational reporting. Just report the facts and let them speak for themselves. Let people make up their own conclusions. Please accept this in the spirit it was given as constructive criticism. Once again thanks for this blog.

Anonymous said...

i TOTALLy agree with the 2nd writter...Berny...who have indeed lost the respect of common people by aiding this military insanity...as much as u may try to distance urself from them, realize that u r part of them now, so whatever they do will also reflect u as well.

Poor you, I honestly to pity you berny...for all the good work youve done over the years, it has gone to absolute waste!!! I dont say this hatingly berny cause I voted for you over kenneth Zink but how could I be fooled by a well dressed wolf in sheeps clothing.

You have just successfully lost the vote of one family for the next elections, and if you dare come over to our house duing the next elections I might have to defend my home with whatever force necessary against strangers.

I regret that I actually look up to you as one fijian with half a pee for a brain, your obviously not in this to help us...leave all your previous good deeds aside love, when it really mattered the most, when you were needed to stand up for ordinary fijians, you failed....remember in the midst of adversity true charactor is revealed, of which berny your actions show you lack

I honestly wish you the best in your future big mama, cause you just lost alot of support from the very people that put you into power, cant believe I actually prayed for you to win the elections

Anonymous said...

Ahhh Lovey.....great CYA tactics ---- but where Life and Death was concerned why email and not the phone?

You will be whining "out, out damn spot" soon m'lady.

Anonymous said...

Military paranoias cum spies amongst us people, trying very hard to blend in! Watch what you say esp. on that cellphone as you push yr trolley along the aisles of Cost-u-less (patronised mostly by upmarket shoppers). A new face on the shopping block with that 'hardened military look' and a permanent scowl on his face, prowling the aisles this evening...not such a smooth covert agent after all, dude! What are we becoming? Russia, where secret police spied on its own people?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please give me bernys email address...and please berny if you read this, can you attach your email...I wanna give you a piece of my mind...man, have you avidy for shame or depth of emotion...CAN SOMEONE POST BERNYS EMAIL ADDRESS, i wanna really tell her off!!!

Anonymous said...

Berny u should resign now! make the wise desicion Lady...remember Somebody is watching...somebody more powerful than the Millitary...everyone will be JUDGED!! and everyone is responsible for their own action...How about if the killings and the beatings were done to your own Family members, would you like it? i'd doubt it....so pliz THE CHOICE IS YOURS!!

Anonymous said...

I agree and we should all lobby for berny to resign and maybe all right thinking people in this interim jungle. Unfortunatley, most of them were asked the night before to join the team and it was an easy YES because none of them could get a job elsewhere.

Br Steve T 'Ashar' Spain said...

Dear Bloggers,

Don't display your ignorance by attacking Mrs Rounds-Ganilau. I have all the reason in the world to believe her, and if you bothered to look into her life (which has been in the public spotlight for a good 2-3 decades) you would know that she has nothing but the most sincere commitment to Human Rights and in particular in aiding youth. Bernadette has been at the forefront of helping street children in Fiji, taking those into her home for meals when she can, taking time out of her personal lives to find them shelter and so forth. Be angry by all means at the brutality inflicted upon people anywhere in the world, but don't project that anger upon those who have probably done more than you in their life to ease the suffering of the least well off in life. For the lazy person who asked after her email, it's on public record, I'm sure she'd love the opportunity to clarify her concern for the people she loves so much and has worked so long to bring equality and peace to.

Br Steve T 'Ashar' Spain
Perth, Australia