February 28, 2010

Two Perspectives to the Media Muzzling in Fiji

We share two perspectives today on the media muzzling that is so rampant in Fiji today. 

Firstly we acknowledge wwwfijicoup2006.blogspot.com for bringing to our attention, a recent article (and us per usual spot-on art piece) from Micheal Field's web-site, questioning what the hell our media (in this case the Fiji Times) was thinking by pandering to Nazhat Shameem's treasonous legislative drafting of the Crimes Decree. 

Unfortunately for Mr Field it appears that his site is permanently black-listed for viewing from Fiji unless you use a proxy (please correct us if we are wrong blog readers in Fiji).

This is followed for a second interesting piece from the Fiji Today blog detailing just how demoralizingly depressing it really is in the newsrooms, thanks to a treasonous censor aptly tagged "Mr Bland". We would posit that people in this country are already very aware of how manipulated the news is these days.

The purpose of sharing the 2 perspectives is simply and wholeheartedly to encourage members of our muzzled media to consider taking up anonymous blogging as a means of getting the truth out into the public domain.

A free press can only remain free if the individuals involved absolutely refuse to be muzzled and continue the fight against tyranny strategically

Some members of the media in Fiji have been saying the right things about the lack of media freedom. All that is required now is for them to actually do something about it -- strategically -- as we have been.

Citizens of Fiji deserve no less.
By Michael Field - February 16, 2010

We are told, in a censored report from Fiji, that one of the coup perpetrators has defined crime thus: “Every crime has a mental element and a physical element, physical element is the act and the mental element is the mind.”

The words, according to the Daily Post, as those of Nazhat Shameem, the key player in the judicial coup that sacked a chief justice, and now a close adviser to Voreqe Bainimarama. She has no judicial job, because she sacked the constitution.

The context was her explanation to the apparently now rather dim-witted Fiji media who rolled along to a military regime course on how to be a journalist.

The regime's Information Ministry, headed by that towering intellect and drummer Neumi Leweni, who is now looking for another job after New Zealand said he could not live in Wellington.

Without even the vaguest nod of consultation with the public, Shameem and Bainimarama have come up with some kind of decree defining crime.

A couple of changes relate to abortion and prostitution, in which Shameem and her friend clearly come down hard upon.
I've no problem with their point of view as such, but the reality is that these are the very issues which a society must reach a democratic consensus upon, rather than a military decree about. Abortion and prostitution, like many crimes, are social issues; a society has to agree on what is right and wrong. Otherwise the reality is that they are just fatwahs which Bainimarama will police with his guns.

But back to the supine media.

Shameem told them – as other followers have - that that their new Crimes Decree makes no change to the crime of treason.

It is breathtakingly disingenuous.

Treason is a subtle crime of overt acts that involve complex points of defence. Overt acts can be legal acts, but taken in combination, can add up to the crime of treason.

It is not screaming obvious, but the subtle changes in the treason definition in the decree are about protecting those who purported to draft this decree from the very charge itself.

Let us not forget, that under the constitution they purported to overthrow, it is an overt act of treason to purport to overthrow the constitution. Its one of the acts that George Speight was convicted of (and for old time’s sake, I’ve added the treason charges he faced as an appendix).

Now it is not - at least in their military crime decree - wrong to attack a constitution.

The new decree makes it treason to attack Bainimarama and the regime; it was not, in Shemeem’s view, treason to attack the constitution. She has legalised their illegal act: that is the subtlety none of the followers saw.

As Shameem considers herself an international jurist, she will be embarrassed to realise she is living the maxim of 17th Century John Harington, inventor of, among other things, Britain's first flushing toilet.

He would not have heard of Fiji but he came up with the maxim appropriate to Fiji's military crime decree: "Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

Now I did not need Shameem and Leweni’s training to figure all this out.

I read the military decree.

I have no problems with journalists talking to who ever they like to get the facts.

But when a Rupert Murdoch publication, the Fiji Times, provides its training facilities to the regime for an Education Camp on Military Decrees, you know reporters have lost their way.

By their behaviour, they have become complicit in the regime’s behaviour.

Prize for the idiot remark of the day goes to Fiji Times managing director Anne Fussell; “the media workshop has been invaluable in helping our journalists have a better understanding of the intricacies of the judicial system.”

It has nothing to do with the judicial system; it is all military power and rule.

“A properly functioning judicial system lies at the heart of any society and the media is the public's eyes and ears in court so it is important we do as effective and efficient a job as possible."

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation's news editor Stanley Simpson – a military controlled and censored state body - said it was important for journalists to understand the decree.

"It is critical that the media reports court proceedings and judicial processes responsibly and effectively, and the workshop provided a valuable policy for practicing journalists to examine how they do their work," he said.

One can only agree; so why not get independent, impartial experts to comment.

The workshop was run by the people who overthrew it all. Its like getting a burglar in to define burglary.

Yes, I live in Auckland; I don’t have censors in my newsroom and anything I say about all this can be taken with a grain of salt and a “easy for you to say”.

Last year I spent a decent amount of time in Kausani, India, working on a book. Nearby was an ashram run by a chap who lived in an authoritiarian, largely military controlled and undemocratic society.

He was jailed countless times, and many of his followers were beaten up and killed.

But they kept going; never raising arms or guns.

It was called passive resistance, and his name was Gandhi.

Why didn’t Fiji journalists simply choose not to go to Shemeem’s School of Indoctrination.

They’ve done sweet all else.
A Visit from Mr Bland
By Disillusioned Cub Reporter

 By 5pm the days news work is ready to be assessed. Those of us new to the game have written our hearts out about the social and moral dilemmas facing us today in Fiji. Three years at USP gave us enthusiasm and drive. The older hands have rewritten the press releases of various Government Departments, added the odd bit for Mr Bland to play with and sat on their hands for the afternoon.

 Mr Bland is the nickname for the censors. Their job is to bland out reports so that their boss, who has a heart condition, doesn’t keel over if he ever reads some bad news.

 The caliber of the censorship is humorous. A story of a house burning down, because there was no water in the nearby hydrant for the firefighters, was killed as negative but we could report the house burnt down. This was not apparently negative although I believe the owners thought otherwise.

 We printed  a similar story last month without a problem.

Mr Bland, depending on his/her temperament either kills the news outright or plays with a magic marker crossing out all contentious comments. He blands the article until it is so insipid that the editor often pulls it as being of no value. I often work for a week without getting a tick in my success box.

 A body found in the Rewa River was not allowed to be reported as a murder even though the police officer on the scene said it was and cane knife cuts could be seen. The censor was unable to confirm with police headquarters that it was a murder so it wasn’t. We even had the name and title of the police officer but this was not good enough. It was merely reported as a drowning. His family was distraught as they knew better. We were unable to find any information of an ongoing police investigation. If a reporter calls the police they are redirected to the Police News Unit and they are professionals at the big No Comment.

 A home invasion in Nasouri is finally reported as a break in. We have yet to find out why a break in is less offensive than a home invasion. The fact that cane knives were waved around and women and children were involved was magic marked. The fact that the police arrived two hours after they were called also magically disappeared. Another big No Comment when a followup is sought.

 Don’t get me started on court reporting. The reporter lowest on the food chain gets the joys of the court. It is a no-win posting. If you report the truth you face both the censors and the Judiciary. I have been warned twice about contempt of court both time for articles submitted to Mr Band that were never published.

 We are all professionals. Professional what?  This is the question often asked at the ever longer coffee breaks.  It is demoralizing to work all day for Mr Bland to shake his head.

It is even more demoralizing to have your name attributed to a piece of news that you know is untrue.

 The newsroom has degenerated into gallows humor with articles written to provoke Mr Blands’ Magic Marker. Bets are taken on the number of words left. The news is no longer sacrosanct.

My recommendation is to join the news crew in treating our output for what it is……Crap.

February 26, 2010

Homosexuality Now Permitted Under Crimes Decree

Homosexuality is now permitted under the new and illegal Crimes Decree. According to the military regime's  treasonous legal consultant, Nazhat Shameem, it is now "decriminalised making people of the same sex to engage in sexual practices as long as both parties are consenting to it".

Not only has Shameem opened a flood-gate by allowing abortions, she (and we do make her ultimately responsible for working these provisions into the decree knowingly, willfully and intentionally without public consultation or endorsement), pushes the limits of what a very conservative society like ours can handle.

Make no mistake, we have nothing against homosexuals -- what they do and prefer is their own business HOWEVER their rights were already amply provided for under the 1997 Constitution.

So when the Rainbow Women's NGO spokes comes out saying they are concerned that "homosexuals will continue to be discriminated against if the cultural dimensions do not change and people cling to archaic thoughts",  she's damn right. 

And a law legitimising homosexual preferences will certainly not change these perspectives. In fact this new and illegal provision will only inflame common sentiments that are based on very strong moral and religious viewpoints.

Already the churches are agitated.

By being used as unwitting pawns in the Crimes Decree like this, it does nothing for the advancement of the Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transexual rights and their attempts to be viewed, accepted and respected as fellow human beings first and foremost, just like everyone else.

But Nazhat Shameem already knew that. She will manipulate every minority interest group to get buy-in for her illegal legislation and is trying to copy what the constitution had already amply provided for.

It escapes her and the military regime's attention however that in due course -- despite all the effort and resources poured into developing these illegal laws --  they can and will be REPEALED.

February 25, 2010

Military Regime Undeterred On Daylight Savings

Now the Fiji Trade Union Congress via their head, Felix Anthony (surprise, surprise) has joined the growing chorus of supplication to the military regime to revert back to normal Fiji time.

Mr. Anthony today said that:
"We recognise the need to bring forward the Daylight Savings period to a reasonable and practical timeframe as it has been seen to create unnecessary problems in particular to school children and workers around the country"
However Bainimarama's principal bandmaster-cum-spokesman, Lt Colonel Neumi Leweni last night maintained that daylight savings would end in April as originally planned:

Bainimarama Attempts to Strong-arm Australia and NZ

This is the illegal and unprofessional leadership style of Bainimarama that we all know and loathe.

That typically when things don't go his way, he digs his heels in and lashes out at those who have offended him.

This time (even after valiant attempts by Rt Inoke Kubuabola to mend relations and consequently after this outburst looking completely inept), it is NZ and now Australia who are on the receiving end of his recent tantrum. 

It is beyond comprehension how the logic could have ever been cobbled together inside his head that he would ever be successful in holding Australian and NZ Commissioners returned presence here to ransom against the lifting of their smart sanctions. 

Let that please be a valuable lesson to all of Bainimarama's cheerleading naysayers who say that the sanctions are not working and are working against us grassroot folks. 

They sanctions are effective, they have absolutely no impact on us and the military regime is growing ever frustrated about it -- but oh how sweet it is to see them for once helpless against a higher authority.
No High Commissioners until sanctions lifted: Fiji PM
Thursday, February 25, 2010

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji will not accept High Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand into the country until the two countries lift the sanctions they have imposed against his government.

Bainimarama says the return of the High Commissioners from the two countries will not be on the agenda for a while, and the two countries know this.

“A lot of people do not understand what we are trying to do in Fiji. So, on that note there will be no restoration of High Commissions until the lifting of the sanctions. That is understandable too. And they understand that. McCully understands that Smith understands that. NZ and Australia understand that. But there will be no restoration of High Commissioners from Australia and NZ in Fiji until of Course the lifting of sanctions. So that’s not really a big deal.”

Bainimarama says he will talk to New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully if they meet in Hong Kong next month.

Meanwhile we sure as hell don't know what Bainimarama's chief tourism cheerleader -- Dixon Seeto -- has been smoking today, but even after Bainimarama has publicly announced this unreasonable ultimatum, Seeto is out of beat (obviously clueless about the fact that the recent warmed up Fiji-NZ relations is now back in chill mode) and opportunistically tries to get the NZ Government to relax their travel advisories while the love is in the air:
Travel advisory a concern
Thursday, February 25, 2010

The removal of travel advisories, warning New Zealanders against coming to Fiji, will see a marked growth in the Tourism sector says the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association.

Association president Dixion Seeto says the travel advisories have been one of the biggest drawbacks to the Tourism industry.

“There are various statements in there that caution visitors, and some of it is common sense stuff, but there are others which relate to events and things like that… I hope that once we get our bilateral and political relationship in order, that these advisories should be removed so that there are no impairment for any visitor to come to Fiji.”

New Zealand and Fiji have been engaged in serious discussions to improve relations between the two countries.
Yeap you can just forget about that right now Mr. Seeto.

February 24, 2010

Bainimarama Wilting Under International Pressure

Bainimarama's treasonous circle is now considering full withdrawal from the Commonwealth and the reason's put forward are so that they “stop being harassed.”

Uh Yeah. OK. 

In case it escapes their attention, the announcement of their plea that they made only last night to the IMF for a billion large is dependent on who??

Exactly. The big countries -- many of those from the same Commonwealth grouping that he intends to run away from -- and who have much influence.  In this instance particularly, much more influence then China.

Incidently the IMF had already warned Fiji late last year about the unsustainable government debt and inflation as well as their concerns about our pension fund, FNPF. Listen to the interview here.

If the IMF is in the business of money, they would be hard-pressed to invest valuable capital  to a sinking ship -- reforms or no reforms.

If however the IMF does give the miltary regime the money it ultimately falls upon you, your children and your children's children (and possibly further generations) to service and make good on the loan.
Fiji considers withdrawal from Commonwealth
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fiji will consider full withdrawal from the Commonwealth if the association of countries continue to meddle in attempts to move the nation forward.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told FBC News that the Commonwealth has not tried to understand or listen to Fiji’s aspirations, but have been posing the same questions over and over again about the return to democracy.

Bainimarama says he has clearly stated over and over again, what needs to be done, and when Fiji will return to democracy and this will be done with or without the support of Australia, NZ or the Commonwealth.

He says Fiji will consider withdrawing from the Commonwealth so that they “stop being harassed.”

The Commonwealth had suspended Fiji after the 2006 coup.

The military commander said re-engagement with the Commowealth could take place after Fiji holds elections in 2014, but that will be the decision of the new government.

He says his government will complete the reforms they have started, and fulfill their mandate to put in place a new Constitution before elections.

Bainimarama says the Commonwealth can stay out if they do not recognize the present government.

Public Pressure Increases: Daylight Savings Under Review

The Fiji Times today reports that there is increasing public concern about daylight savings.

Apparently the Labour Ministry is seeking the views of employers and unions in relation to ending daylight saving months ahead of its initial April 25 deadline.

It is clear that there is overwhelming support for daylight savings to cease by the end of February.

The Fiji Employers Federation Chief, Nesbitt Hazelman say's:
"if daylight saving was to continue to April, workers would arrive at work at dawn."

"April is too far off and it must be moved forward by at least four weeks to allow larger companies to readjust," he said of the policy which was imposed on November 29 last year.
On the new school starting time, he said they had not gauged a true indication of its impact. However, they noted a trend in which workers were late for work because the new hours clashed with their starting time.

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce president Swami Maharaj said the chamber was in favour of ending daylight saving by February 28:
"Our members, most of whom start work at 8-8.30am are concerned about workers arriving late because children are being dropped off,"
"We want to avoid disruptions because customers and businesses are affected in turn."
This of course follows more concerns raised by parents in the Western division, as highlighted in yesterday's Fiji Times:
Working parent Frances Tagi said it was not a good idea for students to start at 9am when many working parents would have to be at work by 8am.

She said this would only allow students to loiter around the bus stands and town before going to school. "Many children travel to school with their parents. Now with the change in times parents would get into work early while students would be still at home," she said.

Proof Of the Empty Kitty - No Money; Paisa Nahi Hai; Sa Sega Nai Lavo

Fiji TV's leading news item for the 6 o'clock news last night was of Fiji's "kerekere" or loan request to the International Monetary Fund,  for the sum of $1 billion in which to "meet  balance of payments and pay for reforms".

According to Pita Wise, the Permanent Secretary for National Planning and a Bainimarama stooge pushing their treasonous Charter agenda:

(@ 1:58 mark):
"At this time if you look at our balance of payment errrrrrr our foreign reserve is over, about, over a billion dollar -- that is over 3 and a half months imports but we, you know we errrrrr, you know as we gone through the crisis -- we just gone through the financial and economic crisis worldwide, so we just think government wants to make sure that urrrrr that the environment and that it protects its errrrrrrrr, you know its errrrrrr, its uh, its uh position in terms of balance of payment and debt and all those uhh arrangements eh?"
Wise then goes on to make the case for the additional funds required for government reforms:
(@ 2:40 mark:)
"If you're going to reduce the civil service -- I'm just using an example -- if we're going to reduce the civil service, there will be some cost to it so this fund, this standby arrangement errrrrrrr facility will provide the government those types of resources to be able to undertake those reforms".
(@ 3:06 mark):
"The challenge for us is the conditions to these facilities eh? that i said we must undertake uhh certain actions like uhhh reform, like what government is doing now, undertaking a public service uhhhh reform, the privatisation of uhhhh, of government entities to make them more, uhhhhm, more profitable -- so there's always a cost to these. So these kind of facilities will provide the support to allow you to undertake these reform programmes. "
Check the proof out for yourself on youtube:

February 22, 2010

When the Left-Hand doesn't know what the Right-hand is Doing

Bainimarama's treasonous terrorists within his illegal government (no doubt spurred on by the treasonous tourism lobby) are rubbing their hands in glee at the potential to their bottom-lines from the projected influx of chinese and indian tourists.

However while they celebrate, their colleagues in the Immigration Department are up to their ears in the fight against illegal immigrants from both China and India -- while taxpayers are burdened with paying for return flights.

Once again they disregard tips from experts such as the current CEO of the South Pacific. Travel, Tony Everitt, who cautions the industry to be savvy in their marketing:
"The upmarket travel savvy Chinese is there. They are a small, but lucrative, group and, as Rohan Ellis, head of mission at the Pacific Islands Forum trade office in China, explains - they're ready for the Pacific islands."

and hotelier, Richard Chiu:
  “Chinese do not have long holidays like the Europeans, who have five to six weeks holidays,” Chiu said.
  “The Chinese don’t have that kind of luxury and they usually go to nearer destinations because they only have a few days, so you see them go to Singapore, Bangkok because they are short trips—just two to three hours away
Instead of being strategically selective about who and how they let in the front door, the taxpayers are ultimately left to mop up the mess after the horse has bolted.

UN to Bainimarama: Please Don't Send Us Any More Personnel Allleged To Have Commited Human Rights Abuses or Other Illegal Activities

The Fiji Today blog brings to our attention an official update from the UN regarding Brigadier (ha!) Pita Driti's UN rejection.

19 February 2010
Spokesperson's Noon Briefing
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Daily Press Briefing by the Offices of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General and the Spokesperson for the General Assembly President
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq,  Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Jean Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

...Question:  One question, probably you may have seen this, it’s been reported that the UN turned down a peacekeeper from Fiji to go and serve with a battalion in Iraq.  His name is Pita Driti, and it’s said that he was turned down, but it doesn’t really explain why.  Can you confirm that?  And can you state why, if he was turned down, why he was turned down?

Associate Spokesperson:  Yes, I can do actually both things for you.  First of all, I’d like to point out that Fiji has been and continues to be an active participant in UN peacekeeping and other operations.  However, since the December 2006 coup, there has been no increase in the number of Fijian troops participating in existing operations or any participation of Fijian troops in new UN operations established since that time.  This position is consistent with the stance of the Security Council on Fiji, which has called for the prompt return to democratically elected Government there.

In November 2009, the UN was informed by the Mission of Fiji to the UN of the Republic of Fiji’s intention to appoint Colonel Pita Driti as the next Commander of Fiji’s contingent to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).  In light of allegations of serious human rights violations against Colonel Driti, the UN advised the Fijian authorities through the appropriate channels that the Organization would not accept any personnel alleged to have committed human rights abuses or other illegal activities, and that Colonel Driti therefore would not be accepted as the head of the UNAMI Fijian contingent.  And that decision was taken in accordance with standing UN rules and regulations that apply to all troop-contributing countries."...
Radio Fiji attempts to positively spin this story with their headline that "Fiji (is) still part of UN peacekeeping operations" burying the main gist of Farhan Haq's -- who is the  Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General -- response.

We then hear on Radio Fiji that another illegal and treasonous terrorist member of Bainimarama's inner circle will also be returning soon from UN duties in Sudan.

According to Bainimarama's favourite but rejected-by-NZ spokes, Lt Colonel Neumi Leweni, Lt. Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa’s contract to the United Nations is expiring soon and that "it is protocol that he must return to his home country."

Now that must be a new protocol because it certainly didn't apply to Bainimarama's arch nemesis Lt. Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini -- from who's personal experience we should have realized just how badly Bainimarama had been nurturing his thirst for ultimate power.

Crusading Health Workers

In Saturday's Fiji Times the Ministry of Health spinsperson once again confirms that:
Nurses at public hospitals are evangelising to patients as part of their individual effort to help them, says Ministry of Health spokesman Iliesa Tora.

He said the decision to evangelise to patients was the initiative of the nurses.

"We encourage all our staff to change their service and be more customer-oriented this year. We are happy about nurses trying to share the word of God to help their patients.

"We have our own ways of helping those in need and nurses who are using the Bible as that source are welcomed."

He said the initiative could be carried out as long as it did not infringe on an individual's religious rights and beliefs.
This view is roundly set straight by Doctor Gunasagaran Gounder who's own experience with faith healers has not been very positive from his perspective as a medical practitioner.

The Fiji Sun highlights the story of a former police officer and current faith healer who does the rounds in hospitals in Labasa despite reports that the Ministry now pays for security guards at hospitals on account of lax security.

The Ministry of Health spinsperson also gives totally contradictory views:
“The Ministry of Health is not giving out Bible verses to patients as has been claimed by certain sectors of the media,” Mr Tora said.

But he admitted some staff were known to be giving Bible verses to patients. “It has been part of their holistic approach to health service –– mental, physical and spiritual –– and something most of our Christian staff have been doing for years,” he said.

The Daylight Savings Fiasco Continues

The Ministry of Education today confirms that even though school starting hours are pushed back by an hour, students in Fiji will break off as usual at 3pm.

This may be good for the easing of after-work traffic congestion but it will not do students any pedagogic favours. It means that students are losing out on 5 hours/week of valuable learning time. 

Is it any wonder therefore that we have high drop-out rates (which by the way even the Ministry of Education has cluelessly conceded as "extremely high" and "requiring arresting")?   

The Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) upholds their position that the new school hours don't change a thing and that the daylight savings Must Go -- a view shared by Intelligentsiya.

Some parents are also in agreement with FCOSS that the new starting times don't change a thing and they are up in arms that the buses servicing their routes have not been as flexible in altering their schedules.

Bus companies in the northern division will decide this week whether to amend their bus schedules or not. 

The Unchecked Mining Frenzy In Fiji

Thank Goodness landowners in Nawailevu, Bua are putting in place logical embargo's before bauxite mining commences on their land, and are insisting on an upfront good-will payment of FJD$5million.

We would advise landowners to be guided by current market trends and assess the true value of their commodity, to ensure that they get a fair share against their long-term losses.

The mining company Xinfa Aurum Mining (Fiji) is so eager to sink their fangs into the bauxite that they've paid off Fiji Pine to harvest the logs quickly while Fiji Pine struggles to fell them all. Worryingly we are also told that the 158 hectares that Fiji Pine has leased has overnight been de-reserved and re-classified for mining --- a process that has been undertaken without legal or transparent oversight.

Today's Fiji Times now highlights that another Chinese delegation 60-member strong, are in the country assessing investment opportunities.

They have been invited by the Chairman of another mining company called Oak Mines Fiji, Jamie Hong.  Oak Mines Fiji apparently already holds mining leases in Kadavu, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu with the intention to develop seven mining tenements with prospective gold, bauxite and manganese deposits.

Of course the current mining frenzy has Ian Fong from the Mineral Resources Department short-sightedly ecstatic about the fee's they will generate, conveniently forgetting the long-term negative impacts that will of course be borne by landowners and ultimately taxpayers.

We continue to maintain that all the carrots being dangled by the Fiji Trade and Investment Board are really for the benefit of the Chinese (and therefore no real benefit to local investors).

And we certainly don't buy any of the  PR spin about how locals in Vanua Levu are going to benefit from major infrastructural developments like roads --- as the updgrades unfold, it will become very obvious to the people of Vanua Levu that the new road routes will mainly service and benefit raw bauxite transportation and its consequent export.

Bainimarama's military regime would do well to closely monitor how the mining frenzy in Fiji pans out. Across the ditch in PNG, similar consesquences are already unfolding as Al Jazeera reports:

February 19, 2010

Better Customer Services in Health Ministry Means You Will Get A Religious Message

What is with all these crusades?

First the Police Force launch their fundamentalism driven crusades, even extending themselves to convert rugby players consequently raising much public concern especially in relation to the "New Meca" (aka oqo na kei Atu) influence.

Now we have the health service sector forgetting just for a tiny minute that if they want to keep their customers happy (especially the taxpaying customers who pay their salaries), improved services should mean that lives are saved. Not preached to.

Don't get us wrong. We have nothing against personal religious beliefs however if you're using your professional role to convert people then by all means resign and become a full-time missionary. 

Secondly, most potential converts we are sure, would be more impressed by actions as opposed to empty words.
Fiji health workers providing religious messages
Friday, February 19, 2010

The Health Ministry is now issuing out bible verses and religious messages to patients as part of its customer service.

A number of patients who recently visited health centers and hospitals around the country say they were handed biblical messages by staff.

FBC News obtained a message given to a patient by a nurse which states: “Only one person who would take your sickness away is Jesus. He loves you.”

Media Officer Iliesa Tora says the practice is part of efforts to improve customer service.

“We want to see all our Health staff are doing the customer services …We are thankful to all our staff who seem to be the one who started this move within the Ministry as part of our customer services 2010.”

McCully Arrives Today....

...and it sounds like a perfect opportunity to make some noise citizens!
NZ and Fiji Foreign Ministers to meet this weekend
Friday, February 19, 2010

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is expected into the country today to hold talks with his Fijian counterpart Inoke Kubuabola.

McCully and Kubuabola have been engaged in talks over the last month to try to re-establish good diplomatic relations between the two countries.

NZ has imposed travel sanctions on members of the Fiji government, while Fiji has expelled a number of New Zealand’s most senior diplomatic officers in the country.

However, both countries have committed to addressing their differences and find a way forward.

FBC News has been told that McCully will be arriving in the country today, and is expected to hold talks over the weekend with Mr. Kubuabola, but no other details could be established regarding the proposed meeting.

Why Daylight Savings In Fiji Always Was A Bad Idea

When the military regime announced the introduction of daylight savings scheme in November last year, the illegal Attorney General and Minister for Tourism made the case that:
"from the information available, the implementation of daylight saving in 1998 and 1999 received very encouraging response from the people and the business community.

"Apart from availability of more daylight time for sport, leisure and shopping, the working people are able to spend quality daylight time in the afternoons and evenings with their family and loved ones, including engaging in healthy activities such as gardening or going for a walk.
So the justification we were sold was that a Government driven policy like this would automatically change citizen's lifestyles. And here we would have to say how untrue and overly simplistic such a statement was. 

Citizens despite a longer day still decide how and when they use their free time. If walking, quality time, gardening was never part of their daily routine anyway, there is no way in hell that daylight savings could or would ever change their routine.

Khaiyum further added that:
"In 1999, the Ministry of Labour reported that there was an overall increase in economic activity and productive work as a result of daylight saving."
Ahhh that would have to be another lie as well. The ONLY reason (and productivity had nothing to do with it) why the Rabuka Govt moved the clocks in 1999 was a tourism ploy to be able to sell the fact that "Fiji would meet the new millenium first". Unfortunately Rabuka's Government forgot how international datelines worked and it was actually Kiribati who welcomed the new millenium before we did.

Then we get to the heart of the matter tucked away behind the drivel. The SOLE  reason why the majority of this country is inconvenienced (not just the poor kids) is because of the tourism lobby:
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that the re-introduction of daylight saving will also benefit the tourism industry, with the tourists being able to make the most out of their visit in Fiji by getting additional daylight time during the afternoons and evenings and engaging in shopping.
And the tourism lobby gives it away by being one of the first to laud the move.

Unfortunately the unintelligent and unresearched thinking from the tourism lobby was never checked out. Tourists come here to get away from any form of timed routine and basically follow the sun -- whether it sets at 5pm or 6pm. If they want longer hours to shop then it falls on those shops to simply extend their opening hours to cater for their whims. It should not be imposed on the remaining majority to suffer needlessly.

We wonder if the military regime realized just how discouraging the impact of daylight savings is on sugar cane farmers and rural subsistence farmers who prefer to carry out their labour intensive (and nation building let's not forget) role and avoid the energy-sapping intensity of the sun -- which is why they are up before the crack of dawn and return to have breakfast and rest while the sun is up, only to return later in the day when the intense heat has dissipated.

So  instead of reversing the bad idea that benefits only approximately 10% of people living in the country, they being the inexperienced, illegal and tunnel-visioned policy makers that they are, think that by moving the school hours back by an hour its all going to be all good.

Well that flawed thinking forgets about some really simple details such as:
  • For rural families, the normal chores carried out pre-dinner by children will not be able to be accommodated as they'll still be stuck in school, possibly setting back the entire family routine;
  • For urban kids starting later they still may not get to school on time because parents who still have to be at work at 8am are not around to crack the whip;
  • For urban dwellers the morning rush hour traffic congestions might be reduced but the traffic congestion will spike in the afternoon as workers and students are all clamouring for return transport home on the same roads. Thus any "quality time" is chewed up queueing on the roads; and
  • What happens to urban kids who travel with parents daily (either by car-pool, cab or private car) will the Government now foot the bill for the now double daily travel expense?
But the most fundamental of questions that the military regime needs to ask is this -- has national productivity actually increased from daylight savings and if so by how much?

And specifically we would be interested in ascertaining:
  • How much tourism earnings have increased within the few months of daylight savings to justify the national inconvenience; and 
  • What percentage of these earnings are positively circulating in the domestic economy as opposed to the percentage being directly siphoned out off-shore.
Let's not forget that daylight savings for bigger countries really makes sense because they  have active and diverse lifestyles and in their routine it is easy for their citizens to waste up to 2-4 hours--each way--just travelling to work. So having a longer day really does improve their quality of life.

A cut and paste approach for Fiji is just inappropriate.

    February 18, 2010

    Dumb and Just Plain Stupid

    Earlier this week the Fiji Council of Social Services publicly announced that the daylight savings scheme should cease as the children and future of this country were struggling.

    You'd think the easiest thing to do would be for the military regime to reverse the decision.


    They like complicated because they are just plain idiotic.

    The move school starting hours back by an hour to 9am.

    February 17, 2010

    Central Bank Chief In Denial

    Our Central Bank Head, Sada Reddy must be permanently in Lala Land if he thinks that setting up a Task Force that will monitor "financial inclusion" (?) is going to stimulate the economy.

    No matter how they spin it, and no matter how they want US to spin our dough the country's fiscal position is in extreme dire straits.
    Fiji Taskforce To Monitor Financial Inclusion
    February 16, 2010 11:59 a.m. EST
    Ana Tudrau-Tamani - AHN Fiji Correspondent

    Suva, Fiji (AHN) - A National Financial Inclusion Taskforce has been set up by the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) to develop greater financial inclusion in the country.

    This, according to the RBF governor Sada Reddy, includes providing opportunities for unemployed individuals or families to set up micro businesses, which would create employment and provide income to support their families.

    The notion of such a taskforce was developed at a workshop in 2009 whose objective was to reach out to around 150,000 new clients in Fiji by creating new financial products.

    The 11-member taskforce will include at least four private sector representatives.

    In appointing the taskforce, Reddy said it was important to involve the private sector because they have the resources, expertise and the means to support the development of financial services and make it available to those that need it most.

    "Financial inclusion is an important framework for addressing poverty alleviation and economic development in a country," Reddy said.

    Last year Reddy directed the RBF to give more attention to this area and has since been a vocal advocate of providing an enabling environment that allows everyone to fully participate and contribute to the economy.

    The RBF is committed to the development of the microfinance sector in Fiji and in ensuring access to financial services, or financial inclusion, for all segments of society, he said.

    "In this regard a number of initiatives have been taken. In December 2009, the RBF issued a microfinance policy guideline for the establishment of microfinance units by the commercial banks," the bank official said.

    "This will allow banks to extend sustainable banking financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, and money transfers to the poor and low-income households and individuals, and to the micro and small enterprises," Reddy explained.

    The taskforce will have its first meeting Feb . 17. Other stakeholders will be engaged in Working Groups to assist in implementing the financial inclusion strategy for Fiji.

    Military Regime Still On The Human Rights Defensive

    As per usual once they're sprung, the military regime lashes out because they're cluelessly backed into a corner.

    Two NGO personnel namely Virisila Buadromo and Rev Akuila Yabaki are warned against making public statements on the judiciary. 

    As well, they are directed to "prove" allegations against judiciary that they apparently publicly made in Geneva -- which by the way is a wonderful media story that should be reaching the ears of Troika and working group members of the UN Human Rights Council before they finalise their report on Fiji:

    The Government yesterday warned two human rights activists against making public statements on the judiciary.

    Fiji Woman’s Rights Movement coordinator Virisila Buadromo and Coalition on Human Rights chairman Reverend Akuila Yabaki attacked the judiciary during their submissions at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva

    Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama warned the duo should provide evidence.

    He said the judiciary in Fiji was independent.

    Commodore Bainimarama said the Government would ensure the human rights of every citizen was protected. He said the Human Rights Decree which came into effect in May 2009 was appropriate.
    Then the self appointed treasonous chief himself, upon realizing that everyone now know's about their lies, tries to appease the masses with this weak message.

    Perhaps it escapes him (as he campaigns and vote-buys across the country), that no one is bothered. Only they are.
    ‘Don’t let critics bother you’

    The Government has reminded people not to be distracted by critics from other countries.

    Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama said critics of human rights issues here and abroad had distorted views about the Government’s commitment in taking the country forward.

    “Lots of that distortion is because they do not know what is actually happening here in Fiji and they therefore present a fictitious view of Fiji,” he said.

    Commodore Bainimarama said some critics did not have a good record on rights while others “ignore the fact that the rights set out in the respective conventions place equal emphasis on economic and social rights as it does on civil and political rights”.

    February 16, 2010

    Mining in Fiji: The Military Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)

    Today we wake up to news in the Fiji Times that a Chinese manganese smelting company will be setting up shop in the upper reaches of Navosa. 

    The chinese company, China Yunnan Metallurgical Company (CYMCO) are in partnership with a Mr John Sanday of the Viti Mining Ltd.

    Mr Sanday, the Chairman and CEO of Viti Mining, has been rumoured to have a very colourful career and has become actively engaged in the mining sector in Fiji along with personalities such as Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua and surveyor/land development consultant Michael Whippy.

    Other expansions in the mining industry include bauxite mining in Bua by Chinese mining company Xinfa Aurum.

    Of particular interest in the bauxite mining operations is the news that landowners were compelled to harvest their pine trees (possibly earlier than scheduled) to make way for the bauxite mine operations. The Fiji Pine's George Vuki is banking on being able to replant pine after the mining of bauxite is completed.

    The local (token) Indigenous Fijian counterpart of the company and Managing director Isireli Dagaga is currently awaiting the results of the Environment Impact Assessment report and will apparently duly comment on the EIA outcomes upon its release.

    More information about the bauxite mining plans can be accessed here and here.

    Also in the mining industry, good news broke earlier this year about increased output and (sudden) "world class size" gold deposits at our Vatukoula gold mine.

    The gold mine has a history of valid and longstanding grievances of the mineworkers against the owners, which has in the last week reared its head for attention at the international level.

    So what is the point of today's blog in relation to mining?

    In relation to manganese mining, it may interest landowners in Navosa that manganese mining in China is getting resistance from their own locals because of the environmental damage caused.

    And we thought that moving pictures would tell it much better than we ever could.

    Check out Al Jazeera case studies of bauxite mining from Jamaica and Guinea below as well as ain inspiring tale of how local Argentinean communities rallied together to push-back on a Canadian gold-mining conglomerate, Barrick Gold.

    The moral of the story is: all that glitters isn't gold despite any sales pitch vigorously promoting inflated benefits such as investments, foreign exchange earnings and increased employment.

    UN to Driti: "Thanks But No Thanks (and don't call us we'll call you - maybe)"

    Bainimarama's right hand bulldog, Brigadier Pita Driti should be getting the signals loud and clear now that internationally he is an unwanted man.

    First Malaysia, and now the UN:
    Fiji Land Force chief told to stay home
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Fiji’s application for its Land Force Commander to lead a military contingent to Iraq has been rejected by the United Nations.

    Brigadier Pita Driti says the rejection was due to political interference, but he is not concerned as he has important duties to attend to in Fiji.

    “No, no. I’ve been told to remain in Fiji. There were some political implications I think. That is okay, I’ve nothing to lose. I’ve got a lot of work to do back home so I’ll just stick here and do what I’m supposed to do.”

    Brigadier Driti was to have led a Fiji military contingent in May for UN duties in Iraq. Fiji soldiers are currently guarding UN personnel in Baghdad.

    February 15, 2010

    John Prasad: On The Slippery Slide Down and Out

    Radio Fiji announces that military regime supporter, John Prasad has now "retired" (?) from another board, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH).

    This announcement follows his "stepping down" as Chairperson of the retirement fund, Fiji National Provident Fund only last week.

    Prasad's initial appointment among the military regime was not without its share of controversy.

    Sprung: Bainimarama Regime's Failed Deflection Attempts

    No sooner had news of Fiji's report to the UN Human Rights Council and the subsequent concerns raised by working group members made the news, the regime jumped into action to downplay what transpired.

    Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum the illegal Attorney General singles out the Australian media to make the case that everyone gets the same treatment at international gatherings. Ah we would beg to differ. 

    A sovereign state only gets treated like a pariah (evident even through the extremely thin veil of diplomacy) as was heard in Geneva, if you don't abide by UN norms like the respect for human rights.

    Then Radio Fiji intentionally (because lest we forget Aiyaz's kid brother runs the company) muddies the water of the outcomes and misinforms (read: lies to) the taxpaying  populace which subsidizes them, with this sub-par report:
    Fiji assessed by World Human Rights Body
    Saturday, February 13, 2010

    The Fiji government is now considering whether to accept the 116 recommendations made by the Human Rights Council’s working group, which reviewed Fiji’s human rights record in Geneva this week.

    In his closing remark Ambassador Anasa Vocea says the working group was genuine in carrying out its work, where it didn’t finger point any of Fiji’s human rights records and also made some good advice.

    However, Australia continued to point out that Fiji lacks a good human rights record as it was constantly reminded by the working group to use the appropriate terminology when referring to States.

    The United Kingdom and the United States again were repeating their calls for an early return to parliamentary rule.

    On the other hand, China, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines urged the international community to support the government’s roadmap to democracy.

    Thirty three countries commented on Fiji’s report.
    Russia and Mexico did NOT urge the international community to support the military regime. Neither did the Phillippines, strictly speaking.

    Check it out for yourselves.

    February 12, 2010

    China's Fertilizer "Gift"

    If China's recent gift of fertilizer to famers in this country was a bit "funny", your suspicions are well founded.

    It turns out that their own over-use of fertilizer is acidifying their own soil and this is validated by their own scientists.

    So what do they do? They dump their garbage on us.

    Gee thanks China!

    Fiji's Human Rights Report Raises Concerns in Geneva

    If Bainimarama and his cohorts (especially those in Geneva at this time) mistakenly thought that they could pull the wool over the eyes of the presiding Working Group of the Human Rights Council's 7th Universal Periodic Review, they should now know how sadly mistaken they were.

    And they should also by now have a good idea about the nature of the outcome they will receive.

    Despite the pathetic presentation made by Peceli Vocea, who is now very evidently Fiji's treasonous Permanent Representative of Fiji to the European Union, the reactions of the Working Group members to Fiji's submission was overwhelmingly clear -- Fiji's glossed over submission was not bought, and the Working Group clearly expressed their serious concerns on the status of human rights in Fiji especially related to the lack of freedom of expression, the lack of media freedom, the lack of independence of the judiciary, and the muzzling of public opinion via the Public Emergency Regulations.

    Listen to Peceli Vocea's spiel here.

    Peceli Vocea is pictured here on the left.

    Key statements of Vocea in support as a member of the treasonous terrorist group of Bainimarama et al are as follows:

    At the 1:15 mark:
    "As I make this contributions the Government of Fiji, together with thousands of my fellow citizens eagerly awaits the outcome and recommendations of this process"
    At the 1:35 mark:
    "I respectfully wish to draw the attention of the working group to these salient factors in assessing the human rights situation in Fiji it is utterly vital that the following is borne in mind: Fiji is a country in political transition. Fiji is now being governed under a new legal order and the Government of the Republic of Fiji welcomes this interactive reporting process and regards it as an opportunity to declare the current status of its human rights situation employing such a status as a benchmark for future human rights reporting, hoping that in areas found wanting, it will be improved upon in future reviews."
    Bafflingly, Vocea even finds the need to highlight the non-participation of 2 NGO's in the preparation of their submission as if to tell tales. He then audiciously urges the Council to force people to cooperate with an illegal and treasonous regime!! Check it out at the 3:50 mark:
    "I must admit however that in the preparation of the national report two prominent non government organisations namely the Fiji Women's Rights Movement and the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre refused outright to participate in the consultation process. The Government respects their stance but would urge the Council to encourage cooperation and partnership between NGO's and Government's, especially in the field of human rights.

    Fiji is such a small country going through a period of political transition. The Government and the women of Fiji need this cooperation to further improve the status of women in Fiji."
    The following countries then responded. Apart from China (no surprises there), Morocco, Maldives and Malaysia -- all comments from the Working Group were spot on.

    Check them out here: 
    A second treasonous terrorist then takes the floor to respond to the questions and concerns of the Working Group members. Mr. Sainivalati S. Navoti, Director Political and Treaties at Fiji Foreign Affairs (and himself a former military man) makes his intervention

    Note that Navoti's treasonous lies can be found at the 4:04 mark:
    "Mr President concerns has been raised in relation to the general theme of rights to life, liberty, and security of persons. References were made specifically on allegations of death whilst in police or military custody. I am to report that all cases involving death in custody have been dealt with by the courts. Perpetrators of human rights breaches involved in these cases have all been charged, prosecuted and convicted.

    Given their publicity I wish to highlight 4 cases in particular. First involving Mr Josefa Baleiloa. Reports and allegations that this case has not reached the court due to files gone missing is misleading. The office of the Attorney General, on the request of the magistracy is now conducting an inquest into this case.

    The case regarding Mr. Tevita Malasebe has been heard and disposed of by the courts. Offenders are now serving time.

    Further the 9 officers involved in the manslaughter of Mr Sakiusa Rabaka were tried and all convicted by the High Court.

    So was the case involving the death of Mr. Nimilote Verebasaga. The officers involved were also convicted of manslaughter.

    Offenders in the Rabaka and Verebasaga case have been released on compulsory supervision order. Section 65 of the Fiji Prisons Act gives the Minister responsible for the prisons service the discretion of releasing prisoners under compulsory supervision order.

    I am also to report that the Fiji Police and the Fiji Military Forces are now actively engaging in training campaign to teach their respective force members of best human rights practices including conduct during emergency situations.

    Mr. President concerns were also raised regarding alleged incidents of arbitrary arrests and detention of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists. Information gathered by Government confirms that the authorities who ordinarily would have the responsibility of receiving complaints and conducting investigations into these alleged claims, did not officially receive any. "
    What a shame and a sham for the people of Fiji who pay for such imbeciles.

    These kinds of performances can no longer be hidden behind a justification such as the need to put food on the table.

    They have just included themselves in the now expanding line-up of parties to The Hague.