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.

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