December 31, 2008

2009: Yes We Can change the script

The dawn of a new year is only hours away. This is the time of the year where many reflect on the successes, failures, challenges and opportunities for the next 365 days. It’s also a time where many prepare resolutions and lists of what, when, why and how to do better.

For the past 2 years however many of us, through no fault of our own, have seen our own lists being drastically lacerated. Lists of plans and ambitions for our households, familial connections, kitchen cupboards, careers, access to education & health, savings and investments, job prospects and essentially a future have over the past 2 years been hijacked and hacked by the junta.

The question to be asked however is, will we let this continue in 2009?

At Intelligentsiya we only just caught up with this inspirational Letter to the Editor titled “Yes We Can” which featured on Fiji Sun and was thankfully made available on the blogosphere by fellow bloggers at Fiji Democracy Now.

Read the rousing letter that takes a leaf out of US President elect Barack Obama’s mantra here.

You can view an equally rousing Youtube of the speech put to music or download the tune (note: please exercise responsibility. Listen, delete after 24 hours and purchase the album).

For our last update for 2008 we think it only fitting that we take our cues, by way of a blog theme, from these consistent and unrelentless demanders of democracy to share some thoughts for 2009, by way of some suggested New Years resolutions.

2009 New Years Resolutions for the IIG

  1. Hold elections
  2. Hold elections
  3. Hold elections
  4. Move, migrate, get out of town, basically just fade into oblivion - Yes You Will

2009 New Years Resolutions for the People of Fiji

  1. Don’t give in to intimidation by the IIG and continue to demand constitutional rule
  2. Don’t give in to intimidation by the IIG and continue to demand constitutional rule
  3. Don’t give in to intimidation by the IIG and continue to demand constitutional rule
  4. Change the script – Yes We Can

2009 New Years Resolutions for the Blogging Community

  1. Stay Strong and Focussed
  2. Continue to be the glue that helps keep the people together and focused on the goal of Elections in 2009
  3. Kick IIG Ass hardER
  4. Help change the script – Yes We Can

Let’s continue to push the tempo and not permit them a 3rd year of illegal rule. Their time is well and truly up.

Peace out 2008 and bring on 2009!

December 16, 2008

Tis the Season for Hope

We know the annual adage of December being the season for jollyness, but frankly in this country, today, it’s pretty damn hard to be full of Christmas cheer. And that’s putting it lightly.

But Christmas in the islands is all about family. When you’re cold and alone abroad there’s nothing like a memory bank rewind of the family Christmas lovo to invoke warm fuzzies of spending real quality time with the fano. These are the types of memories that can at a drop of a hat, make one throw expenditure caution to the wind and ramp up the credit card interest, just to get home.

So while Frank et al continue to think they’re firmly in the driver’s seat, the reality is they’re not. The global economic melt-down and the still being rolled out impacts will not leave the country unscathed. In case the IIG* still delude themselves into thinking that China and India will bail this country out, they are very verrrrrry wrong.

Crunch time is here folks. The budget has been passed without any fanfare and if you read the fine print of the budget documents the national finance honcho’s still depend on a lot of aid to keep the country running. Think about it, do we seriously HAVE $1.715 billion dollars lying around just waiting to be spent?

When the global economic powers reel, we small fries explode. Aid will dry up. If China and India have to pick between providing for their citizens versus extending their foreign relationships via aid, guess who’s going to get priority?

After the recent Mumbai tragedy, Dr. Manmohan Singh will clearly be focusing on national security. Bugger Fiji and our small Chaudhry-as-victim-induced woes.

China on the other hand while being touted as the economic saviour of the world has much to do in coercing her people to SPEND in order to stimulate growth. Growth that stood at 12% in the lead up to the Olympics but which has since receded. Think about that one for a minute without getting too steeped in stereotypes – getting Chinese people to unstuff their proverbial mattresses will be a very interesting process and a case in point is that while the Chinese Government has injected stimulus packages to encourage consumer expenditure, no one is biting yet.

Which brings us right back to our little corner of the world.

Knowing what we know it is inevitable that 2009 will bring many, many challenges for Frank et al. If they’re enjoying perks that they never knew in their lifetimes it is unlikely they have aspirations to let go of this good thing just yet. But as we continue to predict, it will be their love and lack of money that will send them packing.

What does that mean for us everyday folk? It means we should continue to spend very very verrrrrrry wisely. Frank et al needs your money to keep the economy ummm humming (note we do not use the term “buzzing”) so if there’s less of your cash in the system, the machine will break down.

It also means that we need to continue to strengthen our family connections and keep an active eye out for each other.

But most of all, it means that the Christmas season is the Season of Hope. Just as Christ’s birth heralded hope for us mere mortals, let this Christmas usher in renewed hope for Fiji that 2009 will be the year of change and new leadership.

Seasons Greetings from Intelligentsiya.

*We here at Intelligentsiya refuse to subscribe to the sham ruling proclaiming Frank & Co legit. It was and is a sham ruling by a very sham(ful) judiciary.

June 27, 2008

FYI: Shaista Shameem's report on Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah (sic)

For those who know the Fiji scene, this report is seriously funny. Mike Field has already outlined the ways in which it is so, but two things are most prominent: The "evidentiary material" she uses as the basis for her report is illegal. No question. The emails were stolen as a result of hacking into the email systems of the institutions concerned (and the Freedom Bloggers already suspect who the culprit may be). Isn't the hacking of emails a breach of privacy? Shameem doesn't think the question is appropriate to answer in her 41-page report.

Another thing is that the majority of her report meanders all over the place - most notably through the personal conversations in the stolen emails - before getting to the point of her report. Her investigation even implicates The Albert Einstein Institution in the US, the CIA's alleged role in that organisation (again on the basis of stolen emails), and the CIA's reported involvement in several coups around the world ... (and on in the same vein). She wonders about the source of NGO funding and gripes about the "inter-locking directorates of civil society". What about the inter-locking directorates of the military-led regime?

Shameem talks of "conspiracy" and tries to show us "evidence". She appears to have created most of that conspiracy herself by using stolen emails to make sinister links between institutions and people (like who's married to whom, and what the alleged background of this or that organisation is).

And then there are the recommendations. But we'll leave that for you to read for yourself.

Download a copy here (2.35MB).


June 24, 2008

An analytical gem from Mike Field

Sometimes it takes outsiders to tell it like it is. When it comes to Fiji, the venerable Pacific affairs journalist Michael Field, certainly has a field day.

Take for instance, Field's precis of the still-not-publicised report by Shaista Shameem on the deportation of newspaper publishers Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah. Fiji TV had reported on the leaked document, highlighting the fact that Shameem had found no basis for claims that the men's human rights were breached when they were bundled away for deportation. Immediately the red flags are up, especially when the devious manner in which the men were thrown out of the country was well documented by the media.

But the real question is: As a lawyer, could Shameem not have realised a glaring legal error in basing her report (judging from the reported bits) on emails that have apparently been obtained illegally.

Of course, Field makes several points beautifully about the fundamental questions left unanswered. Oh, and he's also notes Shameem's love of Wikipedia. (Recall the incident during the Qarase v President trial three months ago when Shameen, as amicus curiae, used Wikipedia as one of her "authorities" and blamed her lack of preparedness that day on internet failure at her office the day before.)

Hilarious. Read Michael Field's piece here.

June 14, 2008

Let the People Set the Election Policies

So here you have it. These are the key categories of election policies that Intelligentsiya thinks need to be addressed by aspiring candidates:
  • Inclusive and Sustainable economy
  • Human Rights and Democracy
  • Natural Resources
  • People development
  • International relations
  • Reforms
  • National relations

Of course this list is what we think...tell us if you think otherwise.

Let’s turn the next elections around folks. Instead of political parties and personalities drawing up what they think we need, let’s make democracy live and start calling the shots about what we think the nation needs to prioritise, and by who we trust.

We don’t think there will be much disagreement about the fact that the recovery of our Economy will be key. Therefore candidates who aspire to hold this key portfolio will have to really jump through hoops.

Intelligentsiya’s view is that perhaps when we align the people with the required roles we can force aspiring political parties to think longer and deeper about critical party personalities rather than perpetuating cronyism or ‘alma-materism’ which has long been a trend that needed to change yesterday.

We limit our categories also to 7 (but open to suggestions so blog them in folks) as we see that any new Government will have to do more for less. Uh-huh that’s right candidates…if you are dreaming of swanning around in a new Pajero then we suggest you consider walking as the priorities will be saving money and sweating your butts off to get the country back in order. You can count on Intelligentsiya to hold candidates to this.

Having reduced categories also suggest that these should form the basis of election manifesto’s and therefore we will not be supporting a large cabinet in the interest of cost efficiency. Again the motto is doing more for less—otherwise, simply, don’t throw your hat into the ring.

Let the games begin….9 months to go and counting.

June 13, 2008

It Ends Here

We’ve HAD IT with the “we REALLY are going to have elections” outbursts at any international forum bored enough to listen. So please excuse us if we are just a tad bit cynical when you say something else on the home front.

But for Intelligentsiya it ends here.

That is, we are no longer going to be side-tracked by the excruciatingly depressing mess of this Junta but focus on the Elections and therefore to the “hopefuls” who think they can REALLY take the country out of the doldrums.

Right here and right now we will be seeking out political candidates who can bring some leadership to this country and it’s quite simple.

You or aspiring candidates and parties can nominate themselves to step up to the plate against some very high standards that any democratic electorate would expect -- having “1 (and only 1) kitchen” is one such example of these standards.

Aspiring candidates are also warned that part of the standards we will set are that they have to have a solid and credible background and the correlating RESULTS. Any research we unearth that points to the contrary, will be revealed.

Because the Junta PM had also initially publicly stated that no one in this interim line-up would be eligible to stand for elections we will stand by that (and not the latter change of heart). No one in this current interim administration will be considered by Intelligentsiya. Their current non-achievements so far is validation enough for us.

While the Interim (and Illegal) Government has had shifting goal posts all over the place, on the Elections front we won’t.

March 2009? Bring it ON….not for the faint-hearted, we warn you in advance now.

April 01, 2008

Letter from Tui: Nawalowalo's folly

Nawalowalo’s labeling the Naitasiri Province as a ‘renegade’ for rejecting the amendments to the newly comprised GCC, is not ‘vakaturaga’ but grossly insulting for someone who struts around with a ‘ratu’ title next to his name.

He unashamedly echoes his political master’s na├»ve claim, that Provincial Council’s no longer will be responsible for electing its members to the GCC because they have become political.

I challenge Nawalowalo, Bainimarama and all puppet Provincial Council Chairmen to explain, when has their Councils ever abstained from being involved in political issues affecting their particular Provinces or the Fijian people as a whole?

Section 7 (1) of the Fijian Affairs Act creates the 14 Provincial Councils and subsection (2) empowers the Councils, subject to the Minister’s approval to enact by-laws for the health, welfare and good government of Fijians residing in or being members of the community of the Province.

Section 3 (1) creates the GCC and subsection (2) imposes a positive duty upon the GCC to submit to the President such recommendations and proposals it deems to be for the benefit of the Fijian people and to consider questions as to good government and well being of the Fijian people.

Furthermore, section 185 of the Constitution of Fiji specifically grants excusive vetoing powers to the Senate nominees of the GCC with respect to all matters affecting Fijian, Rotuman and Banaban rights.

So the intention of the legislators when enacting the Fijian Affairs Act and the Constitution, which had by-partisan support of the Indian members in Parliament, intended for the GCC and Councils to be involved in political issues, which directly affected their respective Provinces or the Fijian people as a whole.

The GCC’s rejecting President Iloilo’s nomination of Minister Nailatikau for Vice President clearly was within its Constitutional duties conferred upon it by section 90 of the Constitution, but in doing so, attracted the wrath of the interim government leading to its dissolution by Minister Ganilau.

It is therefore quite reasonable for certain Provinces to be weary of the interim government’s intention of a newly composed GCC especially if it will only act as a rubber stamp to Minister Nailatikau’s nomination for Vice President.

Nawalowalo’s insistence that even if 5 of the Provinces did not take part in the election of the Vice President, the GCC will still go ahead and make the appointment is worrisome.

The 5 Provinces likely to reject the proposed changes are; Rewa, Nadroga, Namosi, Naitasiri, Cakaudrove.

These Provinces simply cannot be over-looked in any proper GCC resolution.

How can this newly constituted GCC be truly recognised and accepted by Fijians if the traditional heads of Burebasaga and Tovata, Rewa, Nadroga, Namosi Naitasiri and Cakaudrove are excluded or refrain from being members, especially when you consider it was their ancestors who were signatories to the Deed of Cession?

Nawalowalo in his appeasement policy towards the interim government, is political as well, such as securing the interim government leasing their Provincial House, fails to see the hypocrisy and not ‘vakaturaga’ in returning to the Provincial Councils only this time to tell them of the new amendments.

He should recall when the Task Force first went around the 14 Provinces it was to seek their views in relation to proposed amendments to the composition of the GCC.

When the interim government rejected its recommendation that the GCC be apolitical and the President, VP and PM not be part of the GCC, former Chairman Tu’uakitau had the decency to speak out against it and replacements of other Task Force Members, could be interpreted as their agreeing with Chairman Tu’uakitau.

Nawalowalo is a ‘water-bottle principle man’. Water always takes the shape of its container and he always seem to be able to finagle himself back into the good books of the interim government, so it comes as no surprise, when Chairman Tu’uakitau was axed, Nawalowalo was elevated in his place.

This time instead of seeking the views of the 14 Provinces as before, he is now proudly tasked to tell of the amendments regardless of whether it is accepted or not and then has the audacity to label those Provinces rejecting it as ‘renegades.’

Who is guilty of ‘being political’? The interim government in trying to push ahead its agenda to secure the re-nomination of Minister Nailatikau as Vice President or the rejection by certain Provinces?

The answer is they both are playing politics and there is nothing wrong at all with it, so long as it is done with the interests of their Provinces and Fijian people at heart.

Bainimarama and his cronies loosely use the term ‘being political’ to anyone who oppose their agenda, but conveniently ignores the fact they too are playing politics, but have not succeeded in gaining their support.

Nawalowalo, if he is a truly installed chief should know fully well, that any decision supposedly made by the GCC without the acquiescence of the traditional heads of the certain Provinces within Kubuna; Burebasaga and Tovata Confederacies will not be morally or traditionally binding on the Fijian people.

However, of greater concern is the division it is going to cause within the GCC and its detrimental consequences on the Fijian people.

Nawalowalo should humble himself and remember a saying from his own Province: ‘mai ya so, mai vale e mino.’

Tui Savu.
Townsville. QLD.

March 27, 2008

Foot in mouth disease prevails

Today's outburst (probably stemming from the audacity of being questioned by a civilian) by a Captain Suliasi Gukimaleya of the army’s Civil Affairs Department, heralds what we've always known would happen.

“The question from district representative Ifereimi Rokomasa Talatu was ‘will the Charter abolish the Constitution?”

The answer from Captain Gukimaleya was ‘No it won’t! It will be inserted into the Constitution.

Captain Gukimaleya settled concerns about the viability of the Constitution when he said the Charter would be inserted in Chapter Two or the Compact Section of the Supreme Law, which will provide a guide for governments to come.

You CANNOT edit/update/insert/change the Constitution without the necessary Parliamentary process, as even that process in itself would be UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Our beloved light blue book, the Supreme Law of the land is on its last legs.

Let’s have a Protest March—Virtually—flowing on from So Kon Po

In case you thought we had Closed Shop, we haven’t.

But we do pay homage to all the bloggers out there who have continued to maintain the pressure…you know who you all are and we salute you!

We also thank the many emails and comments of concern about our silent blog presence. We’ve always been here, and are very much still kicking.

For us here at Intelligentsiya, it took this u-tube video

to revive our patriotism (even though we are sure that many of us STILL don’t know where this country is headed) and get the good ol’ “intelligent resistance” juices flowing again ;)

There have been thoughts floating around the blogosphere about protesting against this Junta and taking it to the streets. However, as everyone living in Fiji is aware, there are safety issues to be considered.

So that got us at Intelligentsiya HQ thinking….why not a Virtual Protest March? The outcomes being like any protest march, placards and numbers from everyone who cares about what’s happening in our beloved country.

Given Fiji’s knuckle-rapping yet again in Auckland, the Junta has promised to appoint an Elections Supervisor in a week’s time. We are upping the ante once again (even though we are cynical about the public promises that elections will happen) via this virtual protest march.

Make your virtual presence felt when Fiji kick’s off in Hong Kong and email us ( your pictures (cropped and touched up if you’re in Fiji to remove any inkling of identification) or u-tube footage and we’ll post up your physical being against your placard in protest against the Junta…we’re making this protest march virtual and we want it viral.

In your emails let us also know where you’re “protesting” from e.g. Suva, Sydney, LA, Auckland, Kadavu, Tailevu etc. and we’ll post them up on Jokes on the Junta (

Even group shots with your placards around the tanoa while watching the Sevens are welcome.

This march is going to keep going and going and going until we have Elections—which if you haven’t noticed is our un-shifting goal post. And we can just forget about the sham of a Charter.

As for all aspiring candidates preparing themselves for Elections in the first quarter of 2009…we wish you all well, but be very aware that the blogosphere will be scrutinizing every detail of every public utterance against “action”—past, present and future. Be sure that your manifesto’s have the fullest consultative process available with us, the people. We’ll let you figure out how that’s going to be done.

So get to it peeps…Go Fiji Go and Forward March!