March 22, 2009

We're back in school with the bullying tactics

Anarchy has peaked in our shores.

While many already have strong but silent suspicions about who exactly is behind this, one would be hard-pressed to ignore the fluorescent coated trail of crumbs leading all the way up to QEB.

Meanwhile the Police do what they do best and fiddle with crusades while houses are almost burning.

We all need to be watching each others backs folks because the people you expect to aren't going to.

Keep it together Rika, Raivoce (and Zinck, Attar Singh etc) -- we're rootin' for ya.

Petrol bombs thrown at homes early hours of Sunday morning
22 Mar 2009 01:54:36

Police have now put a team together to investigate the alleged attempt to set fire to two separate properties using petrol bombs.

Though there are no leads, Police say they are investigating the attacks on the home of director of Global Risk recruiting company, Sakiusa Raivoce and Fiji Times Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika.

It was just after 3am today.

Rika says the men managed to enter his compound because a louvre to one of the living room doors had been removed.

Rika claims the attack was planned.

Rika's company vehicle was damaged two weeks ago - there are no police leads so far.

But he says the attacks won't affect his work as a journalist.

March 21, 2009

Everyone’s out to be a Slumdog Millionaire

Well, well, well. It’s ALL on now.

With the upcoming farce of a Presidential Political Dialogue Forum commencing soon, there’s a heck of a lot of activity going on. There will undoubtedly be many more entertaining moments during the actual process.

The diplomatic stuff-up and blatant offence to PNG is another delaying factor (we hope its becoming abundantly clear to all and sundry why we continuously refer to the Melanesian Spearhead Grouping as “wantoks when convenient” where Bainimarama et al are concerned), to this show getting on the road.

What was most interesting was the caucusing of the minority political players in a sinister attempt to block out the majority political parties views towards elections ASAP.

Today’s Daily Post editorial (reproduced below in event that the link moves) therefore hit the nail on the head for us.

How is it logically tenable that micro – miniscule – novice - obscure - political parties with a constituency totaling approximately only a measly 2% of our population (check out for yourself how they fared in the 06 elections) want to cheat us out of our right to an election ASAP and our right to pick parties that represent the majority’s best interests?

We will declare our political interests. We have no personal desire to see SDL back in the driver’s seat governing this country because we believe many of their policies were flawed --- they got complacent and forgot about those who put them there. That is however only our opinion. What we will hold firm to is that we will bow to the wishes of the majority in this land. That is the cornerstone of democracy.

No matter how tightly these political small-timers form their blocs, they are still up against the populist parties. Not many in this country have even heard of some of these overnight miracle political parties, so they don’t speak for anyone but themselves.

If that ain’t bad enough, those attempting to block early elections are already in the thick of the school-yard bickering for supremacy and/or control. You’ve got to hand it to the FLP and their political skills though. They never miss a beat and will use any and every opportunity to campaign.

What we’d really like to see is the SDL and the NFP endeavoring to join forces (perhaps with some very key x-FLP stalwarts like Krishna Dutt in the mix) and giving those political runts a good run for their money. This is really what Fiji needs. Political pragmatism and an acceptance that politics must now sincerely (i.e. no token Fijian/Indians in their parties as is a common trend) bring together ethnicities to make “Fiji Inc” really the way the world should be.

Anyway the masses are getting a raw deal out of these aspiring “servants of the people” who think that the majority want delayed elections.

We will not forget this.

In the event that these political neophytes did not see the how the movie Slumdog Millionaire wrapped up, the moral of the story in that blockbuster was that people always love the underdog who rises from the ashes despite the most ardent adversity.

Political novice

HERE we go again. The ink on the paper had hardly dried – yet we see in broad daylight a group of obscured or perhaps “wannabe” politicians already fighting over crumbs trickling down from the interim regime’s table.

It just goes to show how these apprentice politicians unashamedly fall over each other in broad daylight and in full view of the public too, just to have a ride on Bainimarama’s bandwagon.

Last Friday’s Presidential Political Dialogue saw a total of 19 registered political parties mingled with the regime’s strongman Commodore Bainimarama in an effort to agree on an agenda that would form the basis of the proposed political dialogue being spearheaded by the Commonwealth and United Nations mediation envoys. The dialogue of course is part of a concerted effort by all stake holders, both locally and internationally, to enhance Fiji’s quick return to parliamentary democracy.

It is no secret that apart from the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party, the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), the National Federation Party (NFP) and the United People’s Party (UPP) the remaining 15 political parties in last Friday’s political dialogue neither have a political following nor clout.

I have nothing against the so called political leaders that represented these minor political parties at last week’s forum. But the issue that worries me is that whether these so called leaders have the capacity, the capability, the experience and the right political frame of mind to negotiate or speak on behalf of the people of Fiji on vital matters of the state when the Presidential Dialogue Forum proper gets underway.

The type of discussions, negotiations and exchange of ideas at that Forum would be a different cut from what transpired last Friday. It will be a no nonsense affair chaired by mediators from the United Nations and the Commonwealth.

Matters to be deliberated at the Presidential Dialogue Forum would be sensitive and in many ways will shape the future of how this country of ours is to be governed well into the millennium. It will require mature thinking, meticulous planning, calculated and conclusive negotiating skills aimed at extracting the best resolutions that would take Fiji out of the quagmire we are currently immersed in.

Why representatives of these minor political parties were invited to be part of the Presidential Political Dialogue at all in the first place was and still is a mystery. I suppose your guess is as good as mine.

Now, hardly a week after last Friday’s meeting, the ugly head of political “ganging up”, the cause of many political theatricals in Fiji, has slowly surfaced once again.

Here I refer of course to the announcement by neophyte politicians Mr Fred Caine of the redundant General Voters Party and Mr Ropate Sivo of the dormant Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party orchestrating the possible amalgamation of 14 of the minor political parties that were part of the Presidential Dialogue Forum last week. The proposed merger irks of political conspiracy and sabotage.

You don’t have to be Einstein to gauge the strength of these political green horns. They hardly have any followings.

If figures deduced from the 2006 General Elections are anything to go by; then the sum total of support mastered by these small political parties is less than 2 per cent of the overall voting figures.

Ropate Sivo’s CAMV Party had been dissolved and merged with the SDL to contest the 2006 polls. Fred Caine’s GVP is now so badly fragmented with both its MP’s Mick Beddoes forming the UPP and Ganilau forming the Green Party. A point to note here is that Fred was Ganilau’s campaign manager in the 2006 polls.

The point to be made here is what agenda these small political parties are carrying.

Judging from what transpired at last Friday’s meeting, most if not all of these so called political leaders were too eager to please Commodore Bainimarama that they lost track of the meeting agenda altogether. Some of these leaders openly questioned Sir Rabbie Namaliu’s nomination as Chair of the Presidents Political Dialogue Forum although the Chairmanship’s appointment was not on the agenda. Word has since got to Papua New Guinea resulting in Sir Rabbie withdrawing his nomination causing bad blood between Fiji and PNG.

Such political ganging ups is nothing new to the political corridors of Fijian power play. It had been done in past elections with very negative results. Perhaps Fred and Ropate have yet to learn from history. Their action will not move Fiji forward but rather backward.

I only hope good sense prevails.

March 19, 2009

The Games We Play

Awww. How cute! And pitiful at the same time.

The juntawood judiciary today releases an unsigned statement slamming the International Bar Associations views on them. Michael Field’s take on the report is superbly witty, straight up and entertaining as usual.

In true juntawood fashion, when they fail to find substantive matters of fact and law to respond to, they remain on the defensive and whimper about continuously being a victim. Bizarre.

Malaysia backs up the IBA report for good measure perhaps also to reduce the juntawood judiciary’s options of lashing out at an ANZAC agenda again which is THE fave pretext that has embedded itself as the mantra to be cut & pasted at any/every opportunity. Juntawood have just raised the ire of PNG AGAIN on a similar diplomatic stuff-up.

If the judiciary had any shred of dignity they should have just let the IBA report slide. Obviously dignity, ethics and legal reasoning evade them completely having already signed their names in blood to support an illegal act of taking over an elected government. What’s most telling is that the juntawood judiciary is now feeling the heat of something bigger than they ever imagined pre-6/12 sign-up. Mmm – keep your eyes peeled on the bench folks and expect to be heartily entertained.

The IBA for their part have been consistently concerned about the rule of law in Fiji. Since 06/12 they have been brick-walled by both the President and Bainimarama. So when juntawood join now in unison to slam the IBA, it is very evidently a concerted effort.

The report in exposing just how under-handed Injustice Shameem has been on all bench puppeteering since 6/12, now raises interesting parallels in our recent telco stuff-ups. Injustice Shameem’s husband Aslam Khan is the head of Vodafone Fiji, the “preferred” telecoms provider of juntawood (nice n cosy in’nt it?)

The now ex-Chairman of the Commerce Commission, followed by the sudden leave taken by the Telecom Head Honcho and his resultant resignation only day’s ago are all part of these cosying up games. It's all now supplemented by the announcement of bossom buddy, Aiyaz Saiyed Khaiyum’s gift of free reign over telco market prices by the industry and has already drawn sharp criticism from the consumer watch-dog as well as the retailers -- the 2 current secondary drivers of our ailing economy right now.

This is all, you know, great -- trade liberalization and all but how is it that our policies continue to be out of synch with global trends of “deglobalisation?

So letting the market drive the prices is in theory is all good and dandy but for Vodafone they are now putting to the acid-test the loyalty of their already erratic pre-pay market “supposed” stronghold.

In that customer loyalty struggle, the people will finally put their dollars toward’s entities that deserve their business. If an entity is seen to be aligning itself to juntawood, or not growing the country 100% during these austere times, telco's should then be well-prepped for those bottom-line repercussions.

Let the market games begin.

March 17, 2009

The Shit’s Hit the Fan

Finally. The Rabuka trial has come to an end and some semblance of justice has prevailed. In our minds however Murder is indeed Murder. No semantic exceptions. What remains to be seen however is how much of the actual 4 years jail time they truly serve before the Yellow Ribbon farce grants them the convenient “get out of jail” card on a silver platter.

May the Rabaka family find the closure they have been aching for.

The intimidation of all vocal pro-democracy individuals cropping up all over the darned place have not escaped the beady eye’s of the international world. The Police are ever comical meanwhile and still looking for leads. Yawn.

Folks this is the time to be ever vigilant, particularly if you reside in the vicinity of those speaking out and demanding democracy on your behalf. Note all suspicious activities (time, date, car type, make, model, rego, no of participants, what they wore, what they said, what you saw them do) and relay your findings to a trusted counter-witness of yours who should also record your statements as you told them. Also, be very aware that the 1am-3am time-slot is the favourite haunting hour of the goons in green.

Why? Even if the Police Force is not doing the job that your taxes pay them to do, there will be a day that all eyewitness accounts will be needed. That day is coming very soon. Just ask Christopher Pryde and Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua who have apparently been sussing out possible ICC action on their cliquey decisions and naively thinking that the EU would not notice their entrance and exits.

For the goons in green, regardless of your “just following orders” justification, the latest results of the Rabaka trial are as clear an indication as any that justice will prevail. Be very clear that you and your families will pay the price for your actions.

Speaking of taxes. We are told that there has been communication from the Ministry of Finance to our national coffers custodians directing them NOT to pay out anything more than FJD$350K per day for tax returns—for corporations (big/small) and individuals alike. What does that mean? Basically that our national coffers are pretty deplete.

That bit of news coupled with the latest antics of our superannuation fund in vetting (and now charging for) withdrawals make the case that Fiji’s economy is in the toilet.

The verdict: Bainimarama is up shit creek without a paddle.

That's what you get when you think you can row your own canoe.

March 06, 2009

An Ode to Bainimarama's Canoeing Ambitions

Row, row, row your canoe
Flounder against the tide

Look to
China, Cuba & Russia
All new friends and not quite kosher
What's he trying to hide?

Row, row, row your canoe
What’s Frank gonna do?

Commonwealth’s bashed ‘im

He hurls out “stuff ‘em”

But really he's in a stew

Row, row, row your canoe
Frank wants folks to forgo
We’ll all say No Way!
These are already dark days
His own spending’s gotta go slow

March 03, 2009

WARNING: Not to be read after meals. Reading may induce intense convulsive laughter

As if the latest antics of the Shyster Shameem are not enough, under her Chairpersonship, the FHWRC decides that they now possess expertise in, wait for it, ECONOMICS.

Here’s what The Shyster thinks should happen to save the country’s economic downturn. It is perhaps an attempt to support her mate the Junta's Attorney General with his shakey public statements on the same matter.

Again. Please note this blog’s warning on the effects of these toilet ground-breaking ideas on your state of being.

February 25th 2009
Press Statement
The Global Economic Crisis and impact on
Fiji: implications for Economic and Social Rights.

1. The Fiji Human Rights Commission expresses concern at Reserve Bank warning

The Fiji Human Rights Commission expresses concern at the recent announcement by the Governor of the Reserve Bank that Fiji may need to borrow money offshore to cope with the declining economy. The Governor had given public advice that Fiji needed to encourage more investments, more tourism, more remittances and more exports to escape from the global economic meltdown.

The Commission is concerned about this advice. Its concern arises out of the Commission’s monitoring of economic and social rights of people in Fiji. These rights will be breached if appropriate solutions to the global economic crisis as it impacts on Fiji are not found and, alternatively, if impractical solutions are proposed to cushion Fiji’s people from the crisis.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission is aware that the global economic crisis originated in irresponsible actions of financial markets in the developed world. In order to protect itself from the fall-out, Fiji needs to set in place short, medium and long-term economic and social policies to deal with the boom- bust cycles in the global economy. Failure to do so will impact negatively on the lifestyles and livelihoods of all the people of Fiji, except perhaps those of the wealthier classes.

In response to the Governor of Reserve Bank’s warnings that Fiji needs to embark on improving its economic situation by encouraging more exports, tourism and remittances, the Fiji Human Rights Commission states that official economic advice needs to be tendered with caution, given Fiji’s particular situation in the world economy, so as not to cause panic among the people. Economic terms should be expressed without the use of jargon if the people are to understand their significance for them.

People are confused about the advice tendered because they know that, from a common sense point of view, there is no point in producing goods if there are no markets for them. The Reserve Bank’s advice to increase exports can only work if there are markets for the goods produced in Fiji; currently, many producers, for example China, produce goods in greater volume and much more cheaply than Fiji can. The global crisis is affecting markets of the developed nations and the goods produced in Fiji are likely to remain unsold in warehouses and factories unless there is a market for them.

Secondly, on the advice that we should encourage tourism, the Commission believes that tourism will inevitably be affected by the economic crisis because most of the countries our tourists come from are currently advising their citizens to holiday at home, thus keeping the surplus vacation funds within their own country.

Thirdly, remittances from abroad are also showing signs of slowing down, first, because foreign companies may no longer hire Fiji workers to work overseas, and secondly, because the crisis is encouraging those working abroad to save their money to cope with the high cost of goods and services in the host country. The Commission has been advised that many Fijians working abroad, for example in the British Army, face so much pressure to send remittances to Fiji that they are having to borrow to keep themselves afloat in the countries where they work. The remittances bubble may burst in the near future. In addition, there may be less recruitment of Fiji people for work in the British Army, and other similar workplaces, mainly because the economic crisis in Britain is forcing the British Government to take a serious look at its recruitment strategies. The private security companies have already reported a downturn in the industry which will also affect recruitment from Fiji.

Thus, in summary, the Commission feels there is no point in the Reserve Bank encouraging greater production of goods for export if the international markets have disappeared. This will merely produce a glut in the market. And tourism will diminish in future if people from developed nations choose to take their vacations in their own countries instead of going to foreign destinations, like Fiji. Furthermore, if the British Army and security industry will no longer recruit Fijian men and women because theirfirst preference is to recruit from the ranks of the unemployed at home, remittances to Fiji are likely to decrease in future.

Commission’s recommendations
The Commission proposes that there should be a more creative economic and social solution found to problems that
Fiji faces from the collapse of the international financial markets and the global crisis.

Most economic experts agree that the main problem causing the global crisis was the fundamental defect in the free market system, within which unbridled greed was allowed to run rampant and the free market taken over by speculators.

The FHRC’s advice is that solutions to the crisis can only be found in restoring the social justice element of economic policies, with the State acting on behalf of society, especially the poor. The role of the nation State must not be undermined, and sound macro-economic policies developed to rebut and diffuse economic instability.

Therefore the Commission advises the Interim Government, pursuant to recommendations of the UN Expert Panel on the solution to the global crisis for developing states, that the answers to Fiji’s problems, if they arise as a consequence of global recession, are as follows:

  1. Encourage State investment in infrastructure and services - health and vocational education, and the development of resources for the local market- this focus will allow people to remain productive, skilled and employable despite the international boom-bust cycle.
  2. Develop relationships between technological innovation, development and investment; that is, support investment into certain areas only, for example science and technology
  3. Ensure that there is rational and renewable use of natural resources, including energy
  4. Coordinate sub-regional bloc arrangements for trade and exchange, for example Asean at one level (beyond the Pacific Island Forum) and sub-regional, for example Melanesian Spearhead Group, at another.
  5. Ensure there is a paradigm shift from neo-liberal economics policies and the free market towards a framework that is more socially and environmentally responsible
  6. Reform governance structures on the basis of equality and fair distribution of wealth and the economic base and ensure that any trade negotiations serve to eliminate market distortions, for example agricultural subsidies, and correct trade imbalances that currently exist internationally and regionally in the Pacific
  7. Provide a fiscal stimulus by raising the incomes of the poorest members of society
  8. Increase trade through production and export of niche market goods, and avoid borrowing, especially from foreign banks. Central banks or financial institutions should provide all the loans that are required.
  9. Encourage people to locally produce and consume local goods and services, for example, rice.
  10. Encourage people to grow their own food, no matter how small their plot of land or allotment; open up government or crown lands for agricultural development.
  11. Encourage the production of alternative sources of energy for the household, especially for cooking and washing, for example, consider greater production of smokeless stoves and of wood chips for fuel.
  12. Immediately provide advice to the people on how to decrease their dependency on imports, especially dependency on luxury items. Our advice to the people is to grow more food.
  13. In the absence of international markets, encourage the development of local and sub-regional markets for our goods and services and ensure that goods conform to the highest quarantine standards.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission believes that the Interim Government still has time to review its current economic policies in order to cushion Fiji from the global recession. It must critically review all economic advice from a social and humanitarian perspective in order to protect its people’s economic and social rights pursuant to the 1997 Constitution and international human rights law. Free market and neo-liberal policies are not the answer to our developmental problems, and neither is the neo-Keynsian perspective a relevant solution.

A more sophisticated and human rights-oriented solution can be developed by the Interim Government to protect Fiji’s people from the economic and therefore social and human rights crisis facing the rest of the world. It can seek advice from UN economists to assist with developing a new, rigorous and relevant economic framework to ensure there is human and food security in Fiji despite the global meltdown.

Dr Shaista Shameem

Human Rights Commission

Who's really getting the bargain here?

China come’s a-galloping to our rescue with the means, manpower and technology for the construction of low-income housing. The deal which comes to a whopping FJD$70million will see Housing Authority getting $50mill and the Public Rental Board accessing $20mill. Both these entities will be merging soon anyway.

Can someone tell me how low income earners will be able to afford any housing when jobs and productivity are not happening right now?

That being said it will be interesting to see how the loan repayment can be serviced if there are no customers.

Taiwan is naturally trying their best not be out-done .

The saga of the now ex-Chairman of the Commerce Commission, Charles Sweeney comes to the fore showing that there was more than meets the eye on the sudden leave being taken by the Telecom CEO, Taito Tabaleka.

ATH Chairman Tomasi Vakatora perhaps showed his hand too quickly by being the only one to welcome the new Commerce Commission chairman, Dr Mahendra Reddy.

It is worth recalling that ATH had done their bit in chest-thumping at the news of the entrance of new mobile phone operators, but their ownership of Vodafone had them quietly clinching their fists. Vodafone’s erratic mobile market strength lies of in the fluid interest of about 98% of their pre-pay customers. Telecom's Tabaleka and his offensive "operational matters" booboo perhaps did not like augur well with the ATH's favoured Vodafone.

Perhaps it escapes the attention of many that Telecom is fully owned by the people of Fiji while Vodafone is only partially owned by ATH and Vodafone International Holding BV.

Vodafone is headed by Aslam Khan who is husband to InJustice Nazhat Shameem. Nazhat is of course the sister of FHWRC’s Shaista Shameem.

Shaista Shameem is now cracking the whip on all those on-board the poser bandwagon by leading the charge to discredit Rt Saki Tuisolia, husband to Imrana Jalal who dared to rattle what Shameem see’s as only her domain.

When Foot IS Mouth

We’ve known for a long time that the military junta suffers from Foot in Mouth disease. Unfortunately the symptoms we see them displaying now show us that the affliction has become chronic. So chronic that they now speak with their feet and have shit for brains.

The military junta is out in full force INTIMIDATING witnesses at the Rabaka trial. There is no other term that aptly defines these dismal tactics. Leweni tries to downplay it as “normal” – haha there ain’t nothing normal about this case and Justice Gounder’s outcome will be monitored globally to see if it lends credence to the US State Departments assessment of our un-independent and un-impartial judiciary.

Leweni’s foot-IS-mouth disorder flares up perhaps after some internal pressure, and he clarifies that Bainimarama’s footmen will get salary hikes but only after things normalize economically. That’s another big whopper. Our economy has flat-lined and is in its dying stages.

Just to show you how important the Rabaka trial is for the junta, one of Bainimarama’s key hatchet men, Colonel Mohammed Aziz, takes time off from all the private Fijian Holdings Ltd entity where he executed a boardroom coup, to “observe”. The media reports are evidently insufficient for their real intentions.

For Aziz, the clearing of his otherwise busy & overnight corporate schedule which includes regular jaunts to India to partners denotes a fizzle in the attempts at their making a mark in the petroleum sector. For a company that is making just a profit of under FJD$13 million it sure looks like it will suffer from lock-jaw soon by attempting to bite off more then it can chew. This venture appears to want to gush out foreign exchange that is more needed NOW in our economy. The frustration-filled tinge in the public voice of the Reserve Bank chief is hard to miss. With Standard & Poors walloping us it’s no wonder Narube is going white very quickly.

Anyhow. Stand strong Rabaka witnesses – you can make a stand for the justice owed to Rabaka and the people of this country. Will these young, unassuming gentlemen be the heroes Fiji is aching for?

The Baleiloa file is STILL missing. Someone involved here is also suffering from foot IS mouth and it looks like it will fall squarely on the spin doctor. She is dispensable after all. Poor heffer.

On the stock exchange arena all is quiet apparently. But the delisting of Yaqara Group Limited leaves a nice entry point for Fiji Water and their designs on using Yaqara to expand into cows , nuts and what have you. Jeez donating to Bainimarama’s private (and still unclear purpose) purse sure has some perks.

The Auditor General’s report into Bainimarama’s episode of helping himself to public money will be out next week.

Meanwhile Bainimarama’s comments back at Samoan PM Tuilaepa become increasingly flaccid.

He’s met his match.

March 01, 2009

Witness recalls Rabaka torture

Now the file containing critical evidence for Josefa Baleiloa’s case has also conveniently grown legs and walked away. How can it be possible for key cases like these that files go missing? Someone’s head should be rolling No?

Teleni’s pet PR poodle Ema Mua tries to manage every facet of damage control, and it will be interesting to see where her breaking point will be, if at all.

Back on the Rabaka trial it seems that Justice Gounder may have had a change of heart where media coverage is concerned. It is being reported that the state witnesses at the Rabaka trial plod on with their recollections and even identify those who dished out the torture.

Mrs Rabaka also takes the stand and remembers her son’s last day’s.

Meanwhile over in London the Commonwealth Ministers Action Group will be reviewing Fiji’s political developments (or lack of it) following our suspension in 2006. We’re guessing our suspension will remain for a while.