June 30, 2011

The Shameem-Burness "pretend" Legal Campaign

Only one thing to say here folks. Predictability reigns supreme and a captive audience is what the illegal and just-as-treasonous Shaista Shameem and her faithful side-kick Talei Burness, want, need and must have.

The email copied below and its of recipients is revealing of the illegal and treasonous regime's once-upon-a-friends many things and we understand that the outreach for support message has been forwarded all over the place.

Mz Shameem wanted all and sundry to hear about this and we will oblige her.

That's right folks. The root-of-all-evil is dividing and ruling on its own accord as they foolhardily perpetuate the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's myth that our courts are independent even while he mouth's off about equality under a "new constitution". All part of another great swindle.

Conveniently the notion that this daylight robbery is being instigated by an armed military regime against an unarmed and innocent civilian populace is also expediently absent from the Burness-Shameem circus and their paperwork.

Meanwhile the superannuation fund beats a hasty retreat and ducks behind the safety of the illegal and treasonous cabinet while the Trade Union, FICTU, resolves to continue meeting to discuss the situation even when the threat the muzzling of workers is clear on the horizon.

From: Talei Burness

Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Subject: Re: FNPF

To: Rick Rickman , Radike Qereqeretabua

Cc: Jackson Mar , Malcolm Harrison , Joe Singh , Peter Erbsleben , Anthony C. Philp , Arthur Thomas , Barrie Sweetman , Bob Pratt , Bruce Sutton , Charles Eaton , Cherrill Watson , Chris Marshall , Daryl Tarte , Dave Woodman , David Aidney , David Voss , Detlef Blumel , Dixon Seeto , Talei Whippy BURNESS , "Dr. Elisabeth Broadbridge" , Florence Fenton , Gerald Erbsleben , Godfrey Scoullar , Graham Eden , Hari Punja , Harvie Probert , Himmat Lodhia , Hugh Ragg , Iqbal Jannif , Joel Sahai , John & Alice Smith , Jon Orton , Dr. Jone Nasome , Malcolm Brain , Malcolm Paterson , Marika Vada , Mark Spurling , Matt Wilson , Max Storck , Michael Makasiale , Michael Pettitt , Neil Underhill , Peter Knight , Peter Lomas , Richard Broadbridge , Sharon Bower , Tarun Patel , Tom Ricketts , Vidhya Lakhan , George Faktaufon , geraldann@connect.com.fj, Tony Cooper , Waqa Ledua , fictu@connect.com.fj, fong_e@usp.ac.fj, James Raman , attar@connect.com.fj, Ross McDonald , Gordon Jenkins , Robert Harness , Shaista Shameem , Thomas Raju , Jack Reddy , Taylor, Jeffery , Jack Akbar , Ajay Lal , digby bossley , Fred Caine , d.whippy.ho@carpenters.com.fj, Dinesh Chandra , Emelita Wilson , inaiveli@connect.com.fj, Willie Kwansing

Dear Everyone

I am probably repeating myself but wish to ensure the importance of everyone sending their names, addresses & telephone numbers to me before end of today. My email address is blackpanthrr@gmail.com

Thank you for your support and thank you Shaista.

God bless

Talei, David & Ilana

On 6/30/11 7:46 AM, "Rick Rickman" wrote:

Please note the following and take action:

Hi Talei,

Could you send the message out that the people who have indicated their wish to join with David in his action need to get me their names and telephone numbers by the end of today to me on my email address shaistashameem5@gmail.com since the additional names must be filed by tomorrow to ensure that all our papers are in order. The case is on Monday and I have to inform the court that there are other pensioners in the same position as David so this becomes an action where David represents all others.

This is urgent to do, so could you send the message to everyone?

Please contact Sam Pillay about this as I need his signatures by tomorrow morning- from the west. I can get watson from my office to get the list together, to make it faster, so it is best that I am sent the names.

Thanks Talei


Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum to muzzle union voices of sugar and airline sectors

The illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is caught red-handed in attempting to muzzle the trade union caucus in Fiji using fancy legal foot-work a'la a Employment Relations Amendment Decree 2011.

The entertaining expose from Radio Australia in this latest interview is a telling indication that Khaiyum can only handle a controlled media environment and confirms that the regime's propaganda queen, Sharon Goebbel's makes that happen. On this occassion, The Goebbel's may get her knuckles rapped for daring to allow Khaiyum look stupid, and worse, get caught doing so.

This is extremely sad news for workers in the sugar and airline industries who are currently undergoing many challenges under illegal and treasonous duress.

More importantly the military regime, through this decree is clearly attempting to isolate renowned unionists such as Mahendra Chaudhry and Attar Singh. Regardless, the international labour community is watching and so too are the trade union partner bodies.

We saw this coming last year.
Fiji government not talking about planned anti-union decree
Updated June 29, 2011 17:04:37

Fiji's military regime has drawn up plans to amend union laws which, if enacted, will end union representation of workers in Fiji's national industries

Radio Australia is in possession of the decree, but Fiji's interim government has refused to confirm the plan.

Presenter: Melanie Arnost
Speakers: Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's interim Attorney General; Attar Singh, Fiji Islands' Council of Trade Unions General Secretary; Grant Belchamber, Australian Council of Trade Unions' International Officer
Listen here.

ARNOST: The Employment Relations Amendment Decree 2011 has to be signed by the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

It's directed at unions, workers and their representatives in Fiji's sugar and airline industries.

VOICE OVER: Effective decree on existing unions and active agreements.

Upon commencement of this decree, any union registered under the Employment Relations and Promulgation 2007 which represents workers employed by Critical
Corporations must re-register as a representative pursuant to this Decree.

Any and all office-bearers, officers, representatives, executives and members of a union which represents workers employed by Critical Corporations must, at all times, be employees of the Critical Corporation they represent.

ARNOST: The decree goes on to state if a union leader is no longer employed by that company... they aren't allowed to represent the workers either.

Any person who fails to comply with the decree could be fined up to fifty thousand dollars or face up to five years in jail.

Radio Australia approached Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum seeking confirmation the decree would be enacted.

With all the changes that are being made, is one of them a decree on existing unions?

SAYED-KHAIYUM: Where did you hear this from?

ARNOST: I actually have the decree sitting in front of me

SAYED-KHAIYUM: Wow. Well good luck to you.

ARNOST: Did you want me to read it out?

SAYED-KHAIYUM: No, absolutely not because I don't comment on conjectures or innuendos or decrees that who knows whoever's written it

ARNOST: It's um...

SAYED-KHAIYUM: I'm not going to comment on something that I don't have in front of me

ARNOST: It's about to be signed by the President.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: I also understand that you as a professional journalist had told Sharon that this was not going to be asked.

ARNOST: Ok so... there's no knowledge of the degree to your... that you're aware of?

SAYED-KHAIYUM: You don't have any ethics. That is precisely what I am talking about.

ARNOST: So you're not aware?

SAYED-KHAIYUM: Just because I come from a tin-pot country according to you, you think you can break all the ethics. Is that what it is?

ARNOST: No, that's not what it is.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: Would you do the same to some other government minister in Australia?

ARNOST: yes, we would.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: Probably not. No, if you said to them you're not going to do X, Y and Z. You wouldn't.

ARNOST: Well... you know we would. Well we just would like to find out.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: You're being dishonest. Thank you very much. Bye.

ARNOST: The Attorney General's referring to emails exchanged between Radio Australia and Fiji's Ministry of Information Secretary Sharon Smith-Johns.

On Tuesday June 28, at 3 past 12pm, Ms Smith-Johns wrote:

VOICE OVER: Call the AG at 2:45pm Fiji time. He will only discuss the new judge and comments he made on Australia and New Zealand, can you stick to those two topics please, he only has 5 minutes he is fitting you in between meetings. All other issues push back to me and I will deal with them. Thanks, Sharon.

ARNOST: Radio Australia replied by thanking Ms Smith-johns but did not agree to any restrictions on the interview.

Fiji Islands' Council of Trade Unions General Secretary Attar Singh says if the proposed decree is true... it could have serious implications for unions and their representatives.

SINGH: From the stories we hear, the employees from certain industries - industries which are identified as critical - only employees of those industries will be eligible to become union officials. Which will mean outsiders and professional unionists will not be entitled to seek election. It is also rumoured that it might mean the level of union activity... union activity will also be quite restricted. So what that will effectively mean... that unions will no longer be effective in getting out there towards their members. And that of course will make union activity quite restrictive in the workplace and also at a national level.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' International Officer Grant Belchamber has seen the decree.... he says it's just one among many the ACTU's concerned about.

BELCHAMBER: We've seen four or five decrees since the military government abrogated the Fiji constitution. And they have removed rights, bargaining rights, appeal rights, nullified collective agreements progressively in Fiji. There are two more decrees. We've seen drafts of these. The vital national industries decree of 2011 and another decree: Critical Industries in Financial Distress. It looks like these are on the way. These will effectively abolish trade unions in Fiji in all the significant sectors of the economy.

ARNOST: And what can union representatives or members in Fiji actually do to stop this?

BELCHAMBER: It's a very difficult situation, when they're subject to summary detainment and harassment and assault. Fiji is actually a signatory to ILO conventions - International Labour Organisation Conventions - so we can take up these issues and cases in international forums. And we will. We'll be monitoring this. We'll be looking at it and ACTU executive next month will consider the situation in Fiji further. And we'll be in touch with our counterparts in New Zealand and internationally - the union movement international - to consider developments.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum plays down Fiji's arms manufacturing intentions

Fiji NGO's have now added their concerns in the public domain about the illegal and treasonous military regime's s shady intentions to manufacture arms in Fiji even though we can't police our own maritime borders.

Their trepidation is based on concerns that we already have fresh scars of trauma from guns, small arms and light weapons getting into the wrong hands.

There are also apparently weapons still out there.

Fiji has a long-standing position against global arms and its illicit trade. It is a threat to any country. And here we have an intention to overturn our conservative and common-sense approach while sending novice representatives to couch this agenda under wishy-washy circumstances.

The illegal and treasonous Aiayz Saiyed Khaiyum's poor attempts to down-play their intent will be monitored with greater interest.
Fiji NGO’s concerned with arms plans
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Local activists have raised concerns with revelations by government that it has the ability to explore weapons manufacturing in Fiji.

The NGO Coalition on Human Rights says it is concerning to note the Fiji Government can allow foreign investors to set up arms and ammunition business in the country.

Coalition Chair Shamima Ali has called for urgent dialogue with civil society groups and peace activists claiming such ventures will put every citizen at risk.

She says the fact that people will not have access to the arms without a license is irrelevant, as it would be easy for people to have access to guns.

However Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the matter has been blown out of proportion as Fiji’s presentation at the Arms Treaty talks in Indonesia was merely explaining a legal framework.

He says the comments from the NGO’s are unwarranted.

‘There are many proposals that various agencies receive on a daily basis from manufacturers of paint, firewood to whatever it may be. Many of them see fruition and some don’t. It’s just another proposal that may be received or it may not be.”

Sayed-Khaiyum adds the matter is being unnecessarily politicised.

Report by: Edwind Nand
Somehow this points to why our joining new international sub-groups like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), currently being presided over by Indonesia, are questionable.
Thursday, June 30, 2011 04:07 AM
Non-Aligned Movement: The way forward
Yayan GH Mulyana, Jakarta | Sat, 06/04/2011 8:00 AM

Indonesia hosted a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, in Bali recently. The meeting discussed a wide range of issues of common concern and agreed on some important outcomes. The meeting also marked the 50th anniversary of the movement.

At 50 years old, NAM is one of the oldest post-war international forums founded at the height of the Cold War. It survived the Cold War and charted a different avenue for inter-state relations, and continued to exist and play a role in the post-Cold War era.

Since the end of the Cold War, there has been unanimity among its members about the persistent relevance of the movement. Indonesia affirmed this unrelenting pertinence when it chaired the movement in 1992, and reaffirmed it consistently at many past meetings including the recent ministerial meeting.

Some quarters outside the Movement, however, have expressed doubts about the movement’s significance. Some said that NAM was nothing but a Cold War relic. Others said NAM represented the interests of only some its member countries.

All NAM members have often been dragged along by the interests of a few member countries that are more outspoken and assertive than others. For this reason, the late ambassador Richard Holbrooke urged African countries to break away from the Movement.

Before he left his post as the US Representative to the UN in New York in January 2001, Holbrooke said the NAM did not serve the interests of Africa.

From a standpoint of membership, the question of relevance no longer casts doubt. At the ministerial meeting in Bali, NAM members included 120 countries, with Fiji and Azerbaijan recently joining.

Although NAM does not have institutional formality like other post-war institutions such as the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, or NATO, remarkably it has managed to collaborate and make a lot of achievments through consensus. This is one of the NAM strengths.

As NAM is entering the 21st century, it is facing new realities both inside and outside. While NAM comprises least developed and developing nations, many of its member countries are now emerging, such as Indonesia itself.

Their power on the global stage is increasing, both economically and politically. This will certainly be an asset to the movement.

But, will the movement survive and be able to shape the future in another 50 years?

It will, if first it diversifies its leadership. Since 1961, NAM’s chair has been decided on a geographically rotating basis. So far, four countries in Asia have assumed the chairmanship position (Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Malaysia) and Iran is set to chair it in 2012; six countries from Africa (the United Arab Emirates, Zambia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and now Egypt), one from Europe (Yugoslavia — twice), and two from Latin America (Cuba, Colombia and Cuba again).

NAM’s chairmanship and leadership needs to go beyond this pattern. NAM may wish to anticipate the fact that in the future, Chile, Jordan, Singapore or Vietnam or elsewhere should chair and lead the Movement if they wish to do so. Diversity in leadership will enrich NAM with traditions in governance.

Second, greater visibility in solving global problems is another important element of NAM’s constant relevance. Critical to this visibility is leaders’ innovation in finding solutions.

The chair of the movement may wish to use good offices or advisory offices, leader’s missions, leader’s special envoys, leader’s sherpa, ad-hoc task forces, confidence-building missions, or contact groups in helping resolve global and regional conflicts and disputes.

The present situations in Libya, North Africa and the Middle East, and of course the protracted Arab-Israel conflict, seem to call for such initiatives.

Critical to the external relations and global contribution of NAM and its member countries is a realistic and pragmatic approach guided by principles, in particular the Bandung Principles. Those principles are the soul of the Movement that distinguish NAM from other cooperation arrangements.

Third, it is important for NAM to make more deriverables in the future, both in dispute settlements among its members and meeting their economic and development needs. Conflicts and disputes still take place within and between some NAM member countries.

Poverty remains a serious matter in many NAM countries. When compounded by conflicts that are fuelled by illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, freeing peoples from wants becomes a very daunting task.

NAM needs to go beyond conference room deliberations in catering to the fundamental needs of the peoples of its members. It needs to go beyond the lengthy and thick final documents that are traditionally adopted at the end of a NAM Summit or ministerial meeting.

Fourth, NAM will need greater unity of voice in responding to future challenges. Unity of voice also reflects strong leadeship and strong cohesion of the movement.

When NAM member states speak with one voice, it will have a better chance to achieve a symmetrical result in its diplomacy.

Fifth, in the present and future world where government is no longer the only actor that decides the fate of NAM, the cause of the Movement will be strengthened when it enjoys unflagging support, let alone active participation, from its peoples.

Therefore, NAM might also wish to explore greater contribution of business sector and civil society groups from each of its member countries for the enhancement of NAM cooperation.

And sixth, to support all the conditions mentioned above, unrelenting efforts to improve NAM’s working methods — from Cartagena methodology to the post-Zimbali reform, are essential.

Indonesia’s chairmanship of NAM in 1992 laid the foundation for better working methods so that the movement could be well calibrated in the wake of the post-Cold War era. The 21st century sets a stage for more effectice and efficient NAM methodology.

A new generation of NAM is about to emerge as the 21st century is unfolding. It is carrying with it new hopes and new challenges.

All NAM’s member countries are called upon to ensure a seamless revival of the movement into the new century. I am fully confident that Indonesia and its role, as always, will remain pivotal to the renewed NAM.
The writer is assistant special staff to the President for international relations. The opinions expressed are personal.

June 29, 2011

Breaking down the FNPF legal challenge

So. It is probably an opportune time to break down the farcical circus (and yes it is as farcical as the FNPF "reform" charade) that Shaista Shameem is attempting to whip up into a storm validating her claims, her credibility and her ego that this test case, is in the "public interest".

Unfortunately for Shameem, this MO is so old and tired. It is the same tactic she deployed for the once-lauded constitutional Chandrika Prasad case which, in hindsight now, smacks of racial political engineering that is so similar to the thinking of her protege, the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and his warped thesis.

According to the token pensioner, Mr DAVID FOWLER BURNESS of 44 Beach Road, Suva Point, Suva and his application (major credit to fellow blog Coup 4.5 for their scoop), these are the points that they want our kangaroo courts to provide relief for:
1. THAT the Court declare, as a human rights protective remedy, that the Applicant David Fowler Burness’ pension benefit in the form of his Fiji National Provident Fund cannot be reduced in any shape or form by the Fiji National Provident Fund Board, the Republic of Fiji and /or the Attorney General at any time.
2. THAT the proposed review of the Fiji National Provident Fund Act and Pension Scheme which will reduce the pensions of members, in the applicant’s case by 64%, is unfair discrimination within the meaning of unfair discrimination in Fiji’s human rights law and the obligation of the Republic of Fiji to comply with United Nations international human rights law prohibiting unfair discrimination on the grounds inter alia of age, status and personal characteristics and circumstances.
3. THAT the proposed review of the Fiji National Provident Fund in the terms communicated to the members of the Fund constitutes a breach of contract entered into between the Applicant, David Fowler Burness, the FNPF Board and the Government of Fiji.
4. THAT prior to the Fiji National Provident Fund Board reviewing the FNPF Act, it be declared by the Court that the Respondents appoint an independent person or body such as a judicial Commission of Inquiry, appointed through an open selection process, to inquire into the past financial dealings of the Fiji National Provident Fund with a view to independently auditing the Fund, providing the Applicant and other members of the Fund with a comprehensive report on the Fund’s use, including lending, finances, decision-making of previous and current Boards, and related matters, which the Board has stated in its public meetings as being the reason for the current problems with the Fund which necessitate the reduction of pension benefits to the Applicant.
5. THAT the terms of reference of the Independent Commission be drafted in consultation with the beneficiaries of the Fund.
6. THAT the intended review of the FNPF Act shall be shelved until such time as the independent body or Commission has communicated its findings and recommendations to the members of the Fund. The Applicant seeks an Interim Order to this effect from the Court.
7. THAT, in any event, the Court declare that any FNPF review intending to reduce or adversely change or alter the current pension benefit of the Applicant would constitute a breach of his human right to dignity in old age, to social security, his right to life, breach of fiduciary duty of the Board, and the State’s contractual obligations to him since the Fiji National Provident Fund was a mandatory pension Fund at the time the Applicant was working, and he was denied the opportunity by law to contribute to another pension scheme during his working life.
8. THAT, in addition, the Applicant seeks all the remedies available in the Human Rights Commission Decree, relevant common law, and international human rights law.
9. Any other relief that the Court may grant in its discretion.
This Notice of Motion is filed pursuant to section 38 (5) of the Human Rights Commission Decree No 11 of 2009, relevant common law, and international human rights law applicable to the Republic of Fiji as a member of the United Nations.
Shameem is already banking on other parties to ride on this case thus validating her, her stand and most importantly to profile her legal prowess (errm ok...), as coffee sales have financial limitations.
Shameem Law await High Court decision
Publish date/time: 29/06/2011 [13:04]

Legal firm, Shameem Law is now awaiting the High Court's decision on whether it will hear an urgent application for an interim injunction to be granted to stop the enactment of the new FNPF Decree which proposes to reduce the members’ pension rate.

Lead Legal Counsel in the case, Doctor Shaista Shameem said her client, pensioner, David Burness wants the court to stop the implementation of the changes until a full judicial Commission of Inquiry is carried out into FNPF.

FNPF had earlier said that changes are expected to be implemented in phases from July 1st.

Doctor Shameem said the application of the interim injunction is necessary to ensure that the full hearing of Burness's court application against FNPF, the Republic of Fiji and the Attorney General is not affected on July 4th.

Meanwhile Doctor Shameem said other pensioners have contacted their firm, wanting to join the action.

She said they will consider each application on its merit.

We have received confirmation that the full hearing of the application will take place before High Court Judge, Pradeep Hettiarachchi next Monday.

Court papers were served on the FNPF, the Republic of Fiji and the Attorney General yesterday.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Fortunately people are not going to buy into this charade wholesale. This episode is still linked to the fugitive, Ratu Tevita Mara. Mara has rained on the Shameem parade by exposing Dr Shaista's youngest sister and former judge, Nazhat Shameem, as being a legal advisor to the military regime.

Ratu Tevita and Col Baledrokadroka, in now beginning to expose all the rot from the coup of 2000, is going to send alot of benefactors scurrying because the cut & paste attempts are not working in the 2006 coup, even though many of the players are the same.

And now that Nazhat Shameem and her spanking new NGO are pretending and feigning an "at arms length" ignorance of the legal machinations of her military regime allies (anecdotal evidence points to a different state of affairs), taxpayers funds from the EU and the US are still being funnelled to support the illegal and treasonous regime through Nazhat Shameem's proxy NGO, contrary to their foreign policy decisions.

Now all these claims to the courts would be well and good if we still had a constitution in place. Unfortunately for both Shameem's and their legal handiwork, by attempting to kill the constitution, the stand-in illegal and treasonous Human Rights Commission decree of 2009 falls way off the mark. And by propagating an illegal and treasonous decree it is clear that these leopards have not changed their spots.

If this test case can prove that the illegal and treasonous decree "protecting rights" in Fiji (whereas the 1997 Constitution did that and more), is successful and backed by ample "public interest", it validates the regimes attempts to illegally and treasonously rejig the constitution, in "the public interest".

Nur Bano Ali benefits from relationship with regime

Aliz Pacific, the mother company of Nur Bano Ali, is now diversifying and cutting their teeth in chinese investment interests in Fiji.

Dr. Nur Bano Ali is better known as maternal aunt to the illegal and treasonous Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and has benefitted from key government handouts contracts that they have no experience with.

It is also widely known that Nur Bano's company has been tasked with dispersing the salaries of both the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama and her nephew.
Chinese company to start property development in 8 weeks time
Publish date/time: 29/06/2011 [12:54]

Chinese company Quantum Fiji Limited will start their property development in Pacific Harbor in eight weeks time.

This is after they met with Investment Fiji in April this year where they wanted to invest in the country.

Owner of Aliz Pacific Zarin Khan and partner of Quantum Fiji Limited said they are still working with the Chairman of Quantum Fiji on the master plans which they have to submit to government.

Khan said the Chinese company has spent close to eight million dollars in Fiji and is currently doing soil testing in the area.

They are looking at developing high tech Agro farming, Residential areas, supermarkets and Resorts in the Pacific Harbor area.

Story by: Filipe Naikaso

Bainimarama sacks Yatu Lau rep on Fijian Holdings Board

The illegal and treasonous Bainimarama continues to make sweeping changes still aimed at getting even with fugitive and Lauan chief, Ratu Tevita Mara.

Replaced is Micheal Makasiale, the CEO of Yatu Lau.

In an overnight and low-key stealth move, Bainimarama has also appointed a relative unknown and no-stake individual as Board Chair, Carl Ngamoki-Cameron. 

Ngamoki-Cameron is the principal of Ngamoki Cameron legal and business advisory company.

He has also been a fervent of the illegal and treasonous military regime and was recently appointed as Bainimarama's appointee to the FRU Board, and instrumental in trying to overturn the power dynamics in local rugby.

Mr Ngamoki-Cameron is a member of the Suva Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Media Relations Committee of the Fiji-NZ Business Council, and has used that position to attempt to pressure his country of birth, New Zealand.

It is whispered that Ngamoki-Cameron has blood ties to Bainimarama's family.

The other new board appointee, Ilimo Cawi is another unknown.

What Bainimarama does not know is that his own side-kick come manipulator, the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is concurrently attempting to undermine Bainimarama's oversight of Fijian Holdings by extracting key financial information from Fijian Holdings.

Ordinary shareholders of Fijian Holdings, many of whom are also retirees, might want to take an active interest in their shares given that this body is also been keenly eyed by the illegal and treasonous regime as an additional cash-cow. 
Changes to FHL Board 28 June, 2011
In a press release made today, FHL announced the appointment of the new Board Chairman, Mr Carl Ngamoki-Cameron. The appointment was made by the Honourable Prime Minister in his capacity as the Minister for iTaukei Affairs.

Mr Ngamoki-Cameron assumes the Chairmanship from Mr Iowane Naiveli (who has been acting in the position for the past four months), who continues on as a member of the Board.

In addition, the Honourable Minister has also appointed Mr Ilimo Cawi as a Director, replacing Mr Michael Makasiale.

With these new appointments, the Board of FHL will now include; Messrs Carl Ngamoki-Cameron (Chairman), Iowane Naiveli, Padam Lala, Saimoni Lutu, Ulaiyasi Baya, Ilimo Cawi.

June 28, 2011

(Fiji) Islands Business Cover Story: The Pension Factor

10,836 people brace for pension cut
Dionisia Tabureguci FIJI BUSINESS STORY JUNE 2011

Over 10,000 pensioners in Fiji will soon feel the pinch of hip-pocket nerve changes being proposed by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

To be exact, 10,836 people. That’s the number of pensioners in FNPF, according to data released last month by the fund as part of its public awareness campaign for the necessary overhaul of its pension scheme.

All of them are getting an annual pension income of between 11 percent and 25 percent of their account balance upon reaching 55 years old, with most on a take home packet of 16.7 percent and 25 percent annually. These figures will soon drop to somewhere below 10 percent, as the FNPF and government spearhead a move, they say, will save the fund from exhausting itself on high pension payouts alone.

Getting less
“The proposed changes will refocus the fund to its core objective—providing financial security to its members during retirement,” the FNPF says in one of its information brochures.

Fiji’s headway in this direction is simply blending in with the crowd, as pensioners and pension funds even in developed economies are undergoing some transformation.

Unlike in the Americas and Europe where pension reforms are spiking public anger and union-led protests, Fiji’s execution is expected to be swift and easy, as the country is under public emergency rule, forbidding any form of public protest.

Throughout last month, the FNPF team, led by its chief executive officer Aisake Taito, ran a series of public consultations on the 12 areas of reforms on the fund’s agenda.

Of these, two key components put forward were the review of the FNPF Act and the Pension Scheme, based mainly on an independent evaluation carried out last year by international financial consultancy firm, Mercer.

Mercer had found FNPF to be well within its means to support current liabilities and still retain a surplus of $55.8 million. But it risks running aground by 2056 from “the generous and unsustainable rates at which savings are converted to pension income”.

Mercer is advising huge cuts in pension rates if the fund wants to survive, although there is a mercy clause for the vulnerable members—those with very low account balances.
They will be exempt in both the adjustment scenarios being considered by FNPF.

No doubt though, most existing pensioners will be biting the bullet as this reduction boils down to one thing—they are going to get less in pension income from FNPF.

Ticking time bomb
On the other hand, FNPF has virtually been bleeding money for pensioners in a cross-subsidisation arrangement that sees the current contributors largely footing its pension bill.

For example, a pension rate of 25 percent paid out to a pensioner with $100,000 in his account upon retirement means the FNPF pays him $25,000 a year.

In theory, if he lived only up to four years after retirement and then died, he would have been paid the $100,000 in full.

The reality that the FNPF has had to grapple with over the years is that most pensioners do not die within four years after their retirement.

In fact, demographic data for Fiji reveals a population that lives longer. The FNPF is using the World Health Organisation (WHO) Life Tables 2008 because, according to Taito, it provides more recent figures than what’s available at the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics.

The WHO statistics show that males in Fiji tend to live an average of 18.9 more years after they’ve turned 55, while females tend to live longer, at an average of 22.6 years.

On the assumption that members who do reach FNPF’s retirement age follow that trend, the FNPF is obliged to pay them 25 percent a year for as long as they live.

In the case of our pensioner, if he did survive the next 18 years after retirement, FNPF would have to pay him a total of $450,000 over that 18 years.

It’s a ticking time bomb simply because it translates to free money for the pensioner and a heavy burden for the pension fund.

“The major issue is that the pension income (the amount left by pensioners in the fund when they retire) is less than the payment made to them,” said Taito in last month’s public meeting.

“The total pension income at the end of June 30, 2010 is $290 million and the amount paid totalled $423 million. The fund’s future payments to these pensioners will have accumulated to $986 million.

“The ‘negative’ balance of payment (income minus payments) is $702 million. This is the fund’s pension obligation. The difference in income and payment each year continues to widen (See table on page 5).

“If not addressed, it will lead to serious consequences for the fund. Not only are some pensioners receiving 10 times more than what they left with the fund—the difference is being subsidised by current members—all current members are contributing to these payments,” Taito added.

What the FNPF pension reform wants to achieve now is to introduce changes that would spread the retiree’s balance over the course of this future life expectancy without putting undue stress on the fund and its contributors, hence the proposed reduction in pension rates.

“The problem with past and existing rates applied over the years by the fund is that they were not actuarially based,” said Taito.

“It did not take into account demographic changes like life expectancy, gender, and the changes in the financial investment market. For example, the pension rate of 25 percent offered by the fund prior to 1998 assumed that retiring members live on average less than five years after they retire. This means they would use up all their income in four years. Who pays from the fifth year?”

This is where the subsidisation is occurring. “Current workers have to pay what is commonly referred to as subsidisation,” said Taito.

“Initially through direct subsidisation until 1998 (through the pension buffer reserve) where two cents of members’ contribution were credited to reserves to support the pension payments.

“From 1998, current members have been cross-subsidising through lower credit rating to ensure adequate reserves for pension payments are available. Put simply, it means money that could have been distributed to members as interest earned was instead paid to pensioners.

“This is not sustainable and the challenge is—how do we meet existing obligations and implement a pension scheme that is sustainable and fair in the future?” said Taito.

The discussions surrounding FNPF’s high pension rates are not new.  The result of previous actuarial studies were what led to the gradual trimming of the 25 percent (for single life pensioners) and 16.7 percent (for joint life pensioners) in the first place.

Since 1998, both figures have been gradually slashed by one percent each year to what is now 15 percent for single life pensioners and 11 percent for joint life pensioners.

As way back as 2002 after another actuarial review by the International Labour Organisation, those final rates were still considered too high.

“The ultimate rates set in the current annuity factor reduction schedule (15 percent for single-life pensions and 11 percent for joint-life pensions) are still too high to ensure the long-term sustainability of the FNPF pensions scheme,” the ILO wrote in its summary of that report, available on its website.

“A simple calculation implies that for every one dollar converted into annuity, the annuity factors of 25 percent, 20 percent and 15 percent would respectively produce F$3, F$2 and F$1 additional liability to FNPF.

“Under the current mortality level, the actuarial annuity factors are estimated as 10 percent for single -life pensions and 8 percent for joint-life pensions assuming the fund achieves the rate of return of at least 7 percent per annum. These factors will be lower if the fund cannot ensure a 7 percent rate of return.”

The general consensus is that FNPF must retrofit its foundations—trim as a non-negotiable necessity or crumble and take the country’s economy down with it.

This move therefore by the current management to do this is being recognised as a necessary evil, because FNPF, with its massive size and an asset base equivalent to 60 percent of Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product, must not be allowed to collapse. If it did, Fiji’s economy would simply vanish.

But there are still concerns that the current reforms are taking place in a difficult local environment, where the restraint on public views have stifled the genuine voicing of issues regarding governance, transparency and accountability, as well as an honest assessment of the impact of government intervention and heavy reliance on the fund.

This strongly came out in an opinion piece released last month by academic Dr Wadan Narsey.

Mismanagement and bad investments
He viewed the pension reform as being driven more by the need to save it from the toll of mismanagement and the multitude of bad investments that have cost the fund millions of dollars than the urgency to lower pension rates.

“For several years now, there have been studies done by IMF, World Bank, ILO, etc, that have argued that FNPF could not sustain the 15 percent single pension rate over the long-term. And given the long-term declining performance of the FNPF investments, the 15 percent pension rate may have been a little on the high side,” said Narsey.

“But we don’t know why. For every FNPF management team and board for the last 15 years have arrogantly refused to make these studies public. The public will never know whether the data and the analysis are accurate, and whether the recommendations are justified.

“But they should know two reasons why the pension rates are being recommended to go down as low as 9 percent: first, the economic stagnation over the last four years directly caused by the 2006 coup; and second, FNPF’s disastrous investments and board decisions during the last four years.”

Members of the fund, he believes, are being forced-fed the changes with very little ability to resist them if they want.

Shameem Law takes FNPF, Republic of Fiji and i&tAG to court

Wonders will never cease in Coup (x 4) land.

A once strong proponent of the illegal and treasonous takeover by the military, is now pitting herself against her former allies on the issue of our superannuation funds.

The fact that Dr. Shyster Shaista Shameem, on behalf of a pensioner (who's close family members also supported the coup), is prepared to seek redress in our questionable courts, while citing human rights protection is most entertaining.

Lest we forget, Shameem effectively killed all human rights protections for citizens of this country as the former head of the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

In what looks like to be a test-case, will be monitored with interest as the fellowship of illegal and treasonous thugs comes undone.

Shameem Law makes application in High Court
date/time: 28/06/2011 [13:08]

Legal firm, Shameem Law has made an application in the High Court on behalf of its client, David Burness, for human rights protection against unfair discrimination on the grounds of age based on the review of the FNPF Pension Scheme.

The case is between 75 year old Fund pensioner Burness and the FNPF, the Republic of Fiji and the Attorney General.

The Principal of Shameem Law, Doctor Shaista Shameem said the court application states that the proposed review of the FNPF pension scheme will unfairly discriminate against Burness and will breach the contract between the Fiji National Provident Fund and Burness.

The court application is seeking a declaration that as a human rights protection remedy, Burness' FNPF pension benefit cannot be reduced in any shape or form by the FNPF board, the Republic of Fiji and/or the Attorney General at any time.

It also said the proposed review of the FNPF constitutes a breach of the contract entered between David Burness, the FNPF board and the Government of Fiji.

Burness' application is also asking the court to declare that an independent person or body such as a judicial Commission of Inquiry be appointed to inquire into the past financial dealings of the FNPF with a view to independently auditing the Fund, provide Burness and other members of FNPF with a report on the Fund's use, including lending, finances, decision-making of previous and current boards and related matters.

The application further asks the High Court to shelve the intended review of the FNPF Act until such time as the independent Commission makes its findings and recommendations to the members of the Fund.

Shameem Law has also made an application on behalf of David Burness for an interim injunction against the FNPF, the Republic of Fiji the Attorney General.

The application is before the Chief Justice for review.

Doctor Shameem said since the proposed FNPF reforms were expected to be enacted by a decree on July 1st, her client wishes to have the court grant an injunction because the enactment of a decree will be used to cancel or terminate his court application.

Shameem Law has today served the court papers on the FNPF, the Republic of Fiji and the Attorney General.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

June 27, 2011

FBCL: Fiji contemplates manufacturing firearms

With long-term views like this being propagated by the illegal and treasonous military regime and just as culpable eager-to-please civil servants, it is no wonder the country is broke and we are the currently considered the scourge of the South Pacific.
Fiji contemplates manufacturing firearms
Monday, June 27, 2011

Fiji is contemplating the establishment of a manufacturing plant for firearms and ammunition.

This futuristic plan was presented by Fiji Ministry of Defence Senior Officer Joji Washington at the Regional Consultation on Arms Trade Treaty in Bali, Indonesia earlier this month.

Washington told the consultation – the initiative would be subject to further consultation with relevant government stakeholders and non-government organisations.

He states with the Arms and Ammunition Act in place – it is envisaged that the Plant would be governed and regulated under the existing legal instruments.

But he says – government needs to review this in parallel to the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Washington adds – the Fiji Military Forces uses conventional weapons in peace-keeping operations.

Report by: Elenoa Osborne

Superannuation fund IS cash cow for military regime

The news, we're afraid just does not get any better where our superannuation funds are concerned.

Because the convenient excuse is that our superannuation fund body is "restricted from investing abroad", our retirement funds have instead been forced to invest heavily "in government bonds".

And if that is not depressing enough, check out the tabulated data below as it appeared in the Fiji Times, and the lame excuse from the illegal and treasonous PS for Finance, Filimone Waqabaca, who said that the military regime's repayments to loan repayments "has been prudent".

This right here is the reason why FNPF reform farce is being railroaded and despite the feeble protestations by the CEO, Aisake Taito, that all views will be "collated" for the board (read:covering his a**), we know exactly where this is going.
2012 budget preparation
Elenoa Baselala
Saturday, June 25, 2011

THE performance of the government against its annual budget is documented in the budget books that are released during national budget announcements.

Deputy permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry, David Kolitagane mentioned this during a Fiji-Australia Business Council function on Wednesday at the Holiday Inn in Suva.

Mr Kolitagane said the Government performed well considering its ability to fund its own operations as well as diverting more funds for capital projects.

This year, the Government allocated $525million for capital works which is a 37 per cent increase compared to last year.

Mr Kolitagane said the Government's target this year was to raise exports.

He also revealed that preparations towards the 2012 Budget were in progress and that the private sector would be consulted.

He also urged the private and banking sectors to work together and address the excess liquidity in the system.

According to statistics revealed by the Reserve Bank of Fiji in its March quarterly review released this month, the government in 2008 (the latest stats RBF had) spent $564.7million on wages and salaries, $17.3m on travel and communication, $87.2m on maintenance and operation, and $54.7m on the purchase of goods and services.

A further $191.9m was spent on operating grants and transfers, $37m on special expenses
and $35.5m on pension and compassionate allowances.

Of the total expenditure of $1.68 billion in 2008, $482m were for charges on public debts, $116.3m on capital works and $17.4m on capital purchases.

Another $79m were for grants and transfers and $51.4m were for value added tax.

Meanwhile, RBF statistics also revealed FNPF's investments from 2000 to 2010.

Government's borrowing from the fund as of last year totalled $2.1bn.

Government's debt with the FNPF grew by $1.1bn from $921.7m in 2000 to the present levels.

Last year, the Government borrowed $257.6m. In 2009 total government loans was $1.85bn.

Because the FNPF is restricted from investing abroad, it has been investing heavily in government bonds.

Finance permanent secretary Filimone Waqabaca had said publicly that the Government has been prudent in its loan repayments.

Pandit Kamlesh Arya heads up Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji again

Back at the helm
Elenoa Baselala
Saturday, June 25, 2011

PANDIT Kamlesh Arya has been appointed president of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji. Mr Arya previously held the position from 1996 to 2009 until his posting to Canberra as Fiji's High Commissioner.

A career schoolteacher, Mr Arya has taught in primary and special education schools around the country and after 20 years of service to education, he resigned in 1993 to join the Fiji Teachers Union as industrial relations officer, a position he held until 2001 when he ventured into politics.

After serving a full five-year parliamentary term as a Labour Party representative, Mr Arya did not seek re-election in 2006.

In 1996, Mr Arya contested the position of the president of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji and having won then, he held the position until 2009.

On his appointment as Fiji's High Commissioner to Australia, Mr Arya relinquished his position as president of the Sabha.

Pandit Arya was recalled to Fiji by the Government in October 2009 and re-engaged with the Sabha on his return.

During his presidency, the Sabha undertook the establishment of The University of Fiji of which he is the foundation trustee and a member of the UniFiji Council. At UniFiji, Mr Arya is the chairman of the Finance and Physical Planning and Development Committees.

Mr Arya is married to Urmila Arya - a teacher.

The Economist: Island asylum

Tensions between neighbours rise
May 19th 2011 | CANBERRA | from the print edition

SEVERAL hundred years ago, the Pacific island state of Fiji was a place of refuge for exiled princes from neighbouring Tonga. Now it is Tonga that serves as a destination for Fiji’s blue-blooded asylum-seekers. Roko Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, the youngest son of the modern state’s founder, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, fled by sea, with the Tongan navy’s help. He is now under the protection of the homburg-wearing Tongan monarch, King George Tupou V, a distant relative of Mr Mara’s father.

The contrasting switches of fortune do not end there. Tonga, long an autocratic monarchy, took a giant stride towards democracy in November, when the country chose its first elected government. Meanwhile Fiji has lurched towards ever more authoritarian rule. Draconian public-emergency regulations have been in force, with few let-ups, since a military coup in December 2006.

Until he was suspended in October, Mr Mara was commander of Fiji’s biggest regiment. He had been a loyal ally of the coup leader and military chief, Frank Bainimarama. Now at liberty in the Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa, Mr Mara denounces what he says is the baneful control over Commodore Bainimarama’s government exerted by the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. He calls for regime change.

In a television address, Commodore Bainimarama, who doubles as prime minister, responded by condemning the Tongan navy’s role in extracting Mr Mara from Fiji’s territorial waters. Tonga’s prime minister, Lord Tu’ivakano, says the courts will impartially consider a request for extradition. Yet for all his protestations that King George’s hospitality does not imply a guarantee of immunity for Mr Mara, Tonga’s judiciary remains answerable first and foremost to the king, not the elected government. It also happens that Tonga’s chief justice, Michael Scott, a former Fiji high-court judge and himself a refugee from Fiji’s coup, is an arch-opponent of Fiji’s chief justice, Anthony Gates, controversially appointed in the wake of the Bainimarama takeover. A bitter feud between these two British-born judges was a lively subplot of events leading to the 2006 coup. Justice Scott will presumably take a dim view of the impartiality of Fiji’s courts.

The suspension of Mr Mara and the former land forces commander in October came because of allegations of a planned counter-coup. Both officers were brought before the courts earlier this month, and charged with incitement to mutiny.

Mr Mara’s flight from Fiji is a further sign of the growing breach between Commodore Bainimarama and the Mara dynasty. Ratu Mara died in 2004, but his family played a critical role in backing the 2006 coup. Mr Mara’s brother-in-law is the current president, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Another brother-in-law resigned as defence minister in November after a quarrel with Commodore Bainimarama over arbitrary taxes imposed on a bottler of mineral water. After Mr Mara’s flight, New Zealand’s foreign minister suggested that “there is a lot to play out yet.” Rumours in Suva, Fiji’s capital, are swirling. Though some claim that the president is plucking up courage to remove the prime minister, Commodore Bainimarama is more likely eventually to usurp the position of the president.

Regime attack dog hounds Samoan Prime Minister

Even as the hunt for Ratu Tevita Mara continues, their extradition applications don't seem to be getting the illegal and treasonous military regime anywhere.

Tonga can't help the regime out and it now appears that Australia will follow suit despite the regime's best attempts to tempt Australia to reciprocate. The illegal and treasonous Attorney General in trying to take the high road and whining about not "stooping to their level", is going to get exactly what he wanted: mere acknowledgements of the receipt of extradition requests and a "thanks but no thanks".

The bottom-line for governments, for whom the military regime seeks assistance for, in attempting to apprehend Mara, is that they will not entangle themselves with a government that has no legal standing. It is as simple as that. And they have continued to make this abundantly clear.

Meanwhile the newest of the illegal and treasonous regime's attack dogs, Graham Davis, has been given orders to start yapping at the heels of Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Unfortunately for Mr Davis he knows not nor what he deals with. Already his proxy master, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum upon recently getting a right interview beat-down, will continue to cause much concern publicly lauding Hitler as being democratic.
Paradise fades as Samoa upsets the neighbours
Graham Davis
From: The Australian
June 27, 2011 12:00AM

THE principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries is a cornerstone of international law, yet that principle is being flagrantly breached by Samoa in its dealings with Fiji.

In a remarkable development, the Samoan government has publicly endorsed a campaign spearheaded by renegade Fijian military officer Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara to overthrow the government of Fijian dictator Frank Bainimarama. In doing so, it has set the scene for an even bigger rift between the two countries with potentially serious consequences for the entire region.

Bainimarama is not only Fiji's Prime Minister, but also chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which links Fiji with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Kanaks of New Caledonia.

There's already a clear faultline between the Melanesians and their Polynesian neighbours in regional forums. But now a longstanding sense of unease has turned to anger that one of the biggest and most influential Polynesian nations has seen fit to jettison traditional notions of sovereignty and become a partisan player in Fiji's domestic affairs.

In Canberra earlier this month, Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi gave his personal blessing to a concerted effort by Tevita Mara - the son of modern Fiji's founder, the late Ratu Kamisese Mara - to remove Bainimarama and return Fiji to democracy in advance of the regime's current timetable of 2014.

Mara - who made a dramatic escape to Tonga last month after he fell out with Bainimarama and was charged with sedition - is trying to drum up support for a 10-point plan that would also revive Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, marginalised since Bainimarama's coup of 2006.

Tevita Mara said the Samoan leader had assured him of his backing and had invited him to visit Apia next month for further consultations. "I welcome his support, and this meeting was part of the process of isolating the Bainimarama regime internationally, regionally and locally within Fiji", Mara said.

Tuilaepa confirmed that endorsement in an interview with Radio Australia: "I tend to look at the defection and the proactive role he (Mara) is playing now as part of the process of a solution initiated by the Fijians themselves."

In comments that have caused widespread consternation in regional capitals, the Samoan leader called for tougher sanctions against Fiji aimed at provoking a popular uprising.

"There should be additional sanctions. Once the people realise that the sanctions are making their lives difficult, then it will motivate them to take the necessary action," he said.

Tuilaepa went on to criticise the Lowy Institute for suggesting Canberra modify its hardline stance and re-engage with Fiji. And he launched an extraordinary attack on Bainimarama's domestic policies, saying Fiji's coffers were empty and the regime was illegally raiding the superannuation savings of ordinary Fijians.

All this puts Fiji on a collision course with its two closest Polynesian neighbours. Already furious with Tonga for sending one of its patrol boats to rescue Mara from within Fiji waters, the Bainimarama regime is now being provoked by Samoa.

Tuilaepa's decision to meet Mara in Canberra has also fuelled suspicions in Fiji that Australia is the hand in the glove of this new alliance. It lifted its ban on Mara entering the country to enable him to address pro-democracy rallies in spite of accusations that he had abused pro-democracy activists in the wake of the 2006 coup, in which he played a role.

Are Australia and New Zealand using Samoa as a stalking horse to try to bring about regime change in Fiji? Is Mara being groomed as an alternative Fijian leader in waiting? The coconut radio is abuzz with speculation about what it all might mean.

For the moment, Bainimarama is striking a nonchalant pose about the threat Mara presents, thumbing his nose at the chief recently by visiting his home village in the Lau group and securing an apology from Mara's clan for his errant behaviour. Until now, he's also dismissed Tuilaepa as "an Aussie and Kiwi stooge" whose sole achievement has been "to force Samoan motorists to drive on the other side of the road". But with the Samoan leader openly encouraging rebellion in Fiji, that nonchalance is being tested.

The intervention is seen as "irresponsible and potentially dangerous" by Australian academic Richard Herr, author of a landmark report on Fiji 18 months ago for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

"When Toke Talagi, the Prime Minister of Niue, urged Fijians to rise up and overthrow the regime during the Cairns Pacific Forum in 2009, it was regarded as embarrassing and inflammatory and the then Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd sought to tone it down", Herr said.

"This is potentially just as inflammatory and dangerous and yet there's been no public response thus far from Australia that might help defuse what is certainly an irresponsible intervention by the Samoan leader."

Already, Fijian and Tongan naval vessels have been engaged in a tense stand-off over the ownership of Minerva Reef, a coral outcrop with rich fishing grounds claimed by both countries. That dispute has been exacerbated by Tonga's action in sending one of its patrol boats to pluck Tevita Mara from the clutches of Fijian justice.

Now that he's also being feted by the Samoans, Fiji's relations with its near neighbours are under even more strain. All of a sudden, the Pacific of legend is looking anything but.

June 25, 2011

Speech by Ratu Tevita Mara, Melbourne, Australia: 6pm, 25 June 2011

Good Evening, Bula Vinaka, Namaste

Before I start, as the outgoing Chairman of the Lau Provincial Council, I would like to thank Bainimarama for his commitment to spend $30m dollars in the province in the next 12 months. It is much needed and we will be able to accelerate the development of Lau. However, please don’t believe our support can be bought cheaply or in this case expensively. I would also be happier if it was real money and not borrowed money that the people of Fiji will have to repay in the future.

First of all I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your invitation to this meeting and for your solidarity in the course of freedom, human rights and dignity for the people of Fiji. In that course and in that commitment, I am delighted to be with you here today and to share in your desires for Fiji’s future and its well-being. From the outset I would like to thank you and your families for your faith, resilience and hard work in the course of freedom for Fiji.

There has been a lot of talk about my Damascene conversion. How one day the scales were lifted from mine eyes and I could see the light. Some people say this is just a ruse to save my own skin. But I and many senior officers in the military have been pushing for a return to democracy before 2014.

Well let’s ask the following questions:

1 -  Why was I charged with a frivolous and trumped up accusation in May

2 -  Why was I discharged from the military in March

3 - Why was I sent on leave in September of last year

4 - Why was the Military council been sidelined as a decision making body from early 2008

The answer is simple the military council objected to the new direction being taken by Bainimarama. We did not carry out the coup in 2006 to have Bainimarama lead this country for 8 years until 2014 and beyond. Brigidier Driti and I were the members of the council who spoke out most against this new and unplanned direction.

The question is should I and could I have done more to stop the increasing power of the puppet and his master. The answer to both questions is yes.

But NOW I am doing more.

NOW I am taking action

And NOW with your help we will put an end to this dictatorship

A few people say I should come back to Fiji and face the charge of sedition. They know as well as I do that under the stewardship of Khaiyum there is no independent judiciary, the courts are not free to make their own decisions. I will not have a fair trial in Fiji under this regime.

In April of this year 3 Sri Lankan magistrates resigned on the same day including the acting Chief Magistrate Mrs Pamila Ratnayake. They all left Fiji on the same day within a week of resigning. The reason given by Khaiyum was they had resigned for “personal reasons”.  So 3 unrelated Magistrates all resigned on the same day for “personal reasons”. That does not sound like a true story, Khaiyum!

The real reason was that they were fed up having interference in their cases. It was not just from the Chief Justice but also from the Executive branch of Government. Christopher Pryde the Solicitor General and also on Occasion Khaiyum himself would actively advise on the way these magistrates should progress individual cases. As one of the Magistrates said to a local colleague “We are leaving before the Sh** hits the fan!”

I have a number of specific examples but I cannot talk about them in public as the whistleblowers are all still in Fiji and some still in judiciary.

It does not stop with the judiciary. The police are also under total control of the Puppet master and his puppet.

Let me give you a recent example. Also in April Assistant Police Commissioner, Henry Brown, ordered one of his officers to investigate the salaries of Bainimarama and Khaiyum. The officer went to the accountancy firm run by Dr Nur Bano Ali, Khaiyum’s Aunt. This firm as we all know is responsible for paying Bainimarama’s $700,000+ salary, so it is kept hidden from the Fijian people. The aunt made a call to her nephew and the poor officer was taken to the barracks for some questioning. Brown went to China after ordering the investigation. But as soon as he returned to Fiji on Good Friday, he too was captured, held and questioned for the whole Easter Weekend. Ioane Naivalarua, The Police Commissioner, was standing right beside him at the time and did nothing to stop his own deputy being taken in by the military.

Khaiyum openly boasts to the business community. “If you want to go against me, bring it on. I have hundreds of men who will destroy you” He can say that because he controls the police, he controls FICAC, he controls the Courts.

Khaiyum I say to you if you want to extradite me you need:

- To Stop interfering with the police

- To Stop interfering with the Magistrates

- To Stop interfering with the judges

Yesterday the following announcement was made in Tonga.“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Tonga regrets that the Laws of the Kingdom of Tonga do not permit His Majesty’s Government to comply with the aforementioned Extradition Request.”

I am obviously very pleased I cannot be extradited back to Fiji. It clearly demonstrates the difference between a democratic country operating under the rule of law compared to a dictatorship operating under the whim of Bainimarama and Khaiyum, the puppet and the puppet master.

I believe that no country in the free world will send me back to a totalitarian state where it is a crime to criticize the Government. It shows what Fiji has become under Bainimarama; its laws have more in common with North Korea, Burma, Syria and Libya and less like the other Pacific Islands such as PNG, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

I would like to take this moment to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of Australia for its understanding and goodwill for allowing me to come to this beautiful country to share my views about the dictatorship and situation in Fiji. To Australia, I say, THANK YOU so very much.

On New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, I also seek their understanding. I thank NZ, Tonga and Samoa for having opened their doors to receive me and discuss the situation in Fiji. In advance I express hope to those other Pacific islands countries, who in their own goodwill and care for the people of Fiji and the region will be able to receive me as well. I look forward to my forthcoming visit to New Zealand and Samoa. I thank their leaders for their concern and leadership. I look forward to meetings with the Fiji communities in New Zealand and in the Pacific Islands. The oppressed peoples of Fiji attach a lot of importance to my visits and hope in the goodwill of these countries.

The military regime ignores principles of good governance and decency. It has no ethical backbone. Rather it focuses on processes and activities. Why? Because its leader and his cronies do not have principles. They jump straight to and immerse themselves in processes and activities for one sole reason – to hide their bad faith. A reason their shifty arguments cannot stand in the face of international due diligence and scrutiny. This is not surprising because they rejected the Pacific Islands Forum requirements which previous governments and leaders have been instrumental in their formulation and implementation. Also, they cannot abide by the requirements of the EU, IMF and World Bank. We see through their fudging by their using of democracy narratives and languages to hide their real motives.

Unfortunately for the people in Fiji, time is not on their side. The economy is crumbling at a faster rate than the people are led to know.

The economy has shrunk before our eyes since Bainimarama took control.

The sugar industry has shrunk by two thirds since 2006.

There is no investment in Fiji. In 2010 there were investment projects worth $591m in the pipeline only $17m was implemented. That is truly disastrous.

Now we learn of the rape of the FNPF by this regime.

In May the FNPF announced it was going to have “Symposium on The Future of FNPF”. That sounds nice and friendly, very reasonable and good of the FNPF to inform the country about where it is going and what it is doing with OUR money. And it is OUR money every working person in Fiji has given to the FNPF. It is OUR money for them to safeguard for when we retire.

Let’s look at this regimes approach to Pensioners.

First they make sure there are more pensioners by forcing anyone over 55 to retire from the PSC. There are exceptions of course. There is no retirement age for puppets like Bainimarama, not even in 2014.

Secondly they have made life tougher for pensioners by destroying the economy, devaluing the dollar and increasing inflation. All of which means pensioners are already struggling to put food on the table.

And now they want to cut the pension by as much as 64% for some but at least by 40% for all. Let’s take 50% which is about halfway between the 2. That means that if in June you were getting $100 a week pension. In July you will only get $50 a week.

You can’t complain in the media. And when the decree is gazetted in July you won’t be able to go to court to get justice. Because we are living in a dictatorship we just have to accept it FOR NOW!

Why is the regime rushing this through now? All previous reports on the FNPF changes have said they should be done gradually over a number of years so pensioners have got time to make changes and to plan for their future in other ways.
But not Bainimarama he needs this done now. He needs to do it now because he needs to borrow money cheaply. He has learnt the hard way borrowing internationally is expensive at 9%. The only source of cheap borrowings for the Government is the FNPF. The FNPF can only give him cheap money if it halves the pensions.

Bainimarama stealing the money of the pensioners of Fiji.

Bainimarama and Khaiyum are stealing the money of all the workers in Fiji.

And where is that money going?

·         It is going to pay Bainimarama and Khaiyum’s  $700,000+ salaries

·         It is going to pay for their jet set life style

·         It is being used to line their pockets in kickbacks on their Asian infrastructure deals.

·         It is being used to bribe the people of Fiji

The only way we can stop the biggest robbery in Fiji’s history is to change the regime. We need to remove Bainimarama and Khaiyum.
We will isolate the regime internationally, regionally, and in Fiji. Piece by piece we will remove all their support.
I will meet leaders globally and plan on meeting senior officials here in Australia, New Zealand, The USA, The UK and the EU. I will meet with the UN, the Commonwealth, and the ACP. I will unveil the truth about Bainimarama and Khaiyum to the world.

We will embark on meetings around the region and tell the leaders of the regional countries the truth about Fiji. I have already met with the PM of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who was outspoken in his support for the return of democracy to Fiji. He has also said “a promise by Fiji’s leader to hold elections in 2014 is not taken seriously by Pacific Islands Forum leaders.

This is because Commodore Frank Bainimarama has been consistently dishonest in his dealings with the leaders and therefore cannot be trusted.”

It makes me weep. Bainimarama has sunk so low in the eyes of the other Pacific leaders they openly say he cannot be trusted.

We have already started spreading the message in Fiji. We can see we are having an effect. But we need your assistance. We need you to talk about the true situation every time you are in touch with Fiji.

·         Tell the truth by phone,

·         Tell the truth by text,

·         Tell the truth by email,

·         Tell the truth by letter.

·         Tell the people of Fiji to prepare for passive resistance and civil disobedience

·         Send our DVD’s to Fiji
Above all let the people of Fiji know what is really going on in their own country because Smith Johns will never do that.

We need to build the confidence of the people back home, so tell everybody you know to do the THUMBS UP FOR DEMOCRACY! It is a small first step but one that will give the people the strength to take bigger steps in the future.

We are working on a roadmap towards democracy. It will be published soon but first we need to coordinate the plans and actions of the pro-democracy movement worldwide and within Fiji.

I want to make it clear we need to make this change by peaceful means. We will use passive resistance and civil disobedience. There will be no violence.

I can assure the people of Fiji the military will not shoot. There have been many discussions informally at the camp and the soldiers know that shooting is not an option. Even if Khaiyum orders his puppet to order the soldiers to open fire, THEY WILL NOT FIRE ON CIVILIANS. They know it is wrong.

We will have democracy, we will have a new government and we will have them soon.

Remember Fiji belongs to all of us and not just to two people.

Thumbs up for Democracy.