July 31, 2011

Col Jone Baledrokadroka begins to unravel the military mysteries of the Fiji Coup of 2000

Former military man and Land Force Commander and cause of constant consternation to Bainimarama, Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka has been recently interviewed on his recollections of the CRW mutiny in the coup of 2000 and we repost the videos here.

Apologies in advance as these youtube videos are in the Fijian language and we hope to post up english transcripts once they become available.

There are 7 parts:

Regime spins Chinese fishing vessel "gift"

Further to our expose on new fishing vessel pressies from China, the illegal and treasonous military regime finds itself compelled to release a spin piece on this state of affairs.

The spin piece is also forced to admit what fellow blog Real Fiji News alludes to, in that these fishing vessel gifts may have multi-tasking capabilities will also include the ability to detect major sonor emitting vessels.
Vessel to link islanders to markets
Ministry of Information
Jul 28 |15:33 pm

A fishing vessel that will link maritime islanders to markets on the mainland is undergoing sea trials in China before it sails for Fiji next month.

The multi cargo vessel is testament of Government’s commitment to further develop rural dwellers by opening up access to economic opportunities and fits in well with the rural and outer islands development programs.

Nanhua High Speed Engineering Company of Wuhan City started construction of the $4million Fijian vessel last year under Chinese government direct grant.

Measuring 36.8m long and eight meters wide, the vessel that was designed to international maritime standards by Changjing Ship Design, has a storage capacity of 50 tonnes of cargo with nine passengers on board

The vessel will be operated by the Department of Fisheries.

Development Cooperation Facilitation Division deputy secretary Eliki Bomani said the vessel was designed to carry fisheries produce from islands around Fiji for markets on the mainland.

“This resolves a common enough complaint about fishermen’s limited access to markets,” Mr Bomani said.

“Or the market will be brought right to the doorstep of the islanders.

“It will provide markets for other fisheries commodities like seaweed and help the targets of the Department of Fisheries in promoting such economically empowering activities.”

Additionally, it will be used for deep sea exploration exercises and research work along the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“The vessel will also transport fisheries training facilities to the rural areas removing the need for islanders to travel long distances to receive training in Suva,” he said.

“Knowledge is an important driver of the economy so when those who use the sea receive training to improve their skills in acquiring fisheries products it helps develop the fisheries sector and that is an important role that this vessel will play.

“So the Fijian Government is thankful to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for this assistance.”

A team of seamen from the Department of Fisheries have been in China for the past two months receiving training in manning the vessel.

“The Chinese instructors will also sail with the vessel to Fiji next month and carry out further training with the local fisheries team before they hand over the vessel to local seamen to operate,” Mr Bomani said.


July 28, 2011

Sri Lankan Chief Registrar and her abuse of office

As earlier reported by Intelligentsiya, the cloud surrounding the forced hasty exits of 3 Sri Lankan prosecutors of the illegall and treasonous anti-graft body FICAC is closely linked to the current Chief Registrar, Ganga Ms Wakishta Arachchi and her rampant abuse of office which would have seen her own fate at the mercy of FICAC investigations.

It is understood that the Chief Registrar, Ganga Wakishta Arachchi, and the just newly appointed FICAC Legal Manager, Mr. Vinsent Perera enjoy the protection of Chief InJustice Tony Gates.

Sources have now revealed an incident where the illegal and treasonous Chief Registrar, the said Ganga Wakishta Arachchi, took her family on a government vehicle to Levuka for "court inspection", leaving on Friday and returning to Suva on Sunday. The government vehicle used has the license-plate number: GN319.

For those who know the experience of travel to Levuka taking a vehicle on the RoRo vessel, to leave on a Friday virtually cancels out the rest of the day for anything productive as the day is virtually spent on getting there.

Which therefore leaves the weekend for "court inspection" inconveniencing court staff in Levuka but highly advantageous for Ganga Wakishta Arachchi's family who were in tow for the change in scenery -- a situation which in itself reeks of corruption.

Pictured here is the illegal and treasonous Chief Registrar with her husband, Saman Thilakasiri and their eldest son enroute to Levuka standing next to the cited government vehicle.

Sources are also revealing that further to the breaking news of the forced and hasty exit of the 3 FICAC prosecutors, the former FICAC Legal Manager, Madhawa Tennakoon (now replaced by Chief InJustice Gates' new protegee, Mr. Vinsent Perera who was himself a former FICAC prosecutor), returned to Fiji from a vacation in Sri Lanka on a Sunday and his contract "expired" on the Monday.

Apparently Tennakoon's termination letter was delivered to him on the same Sunday he arrived, at his residence.

Military responds to death of NZ businessman

In reaction to the now international questions regarding muzzled media reports of tourists in Fiji, another cued up military regime stooge takes to the airwaves to spit out this poor excuse (and probable lies) in a pathetic attempt to add closure.

While tourists are relegated to this sort of appalling behaviour, undesirable sorts are free to roam the land.

Only in coup-coup land.

New Zealander died of liver complications in Fiji
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Post mortem results have revealed that New Zealander Tony Groom died from liver complications and not as a result of an alleged beating.

Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed to FBC News this morning that police have received the post mortem results and the matter will be put to rest.

There have been earlier reports that Groom, a businessman in Nadi was beaten up in a rough part of town and died of his injuries a few days later.

Sokomuri says there were visible signs of injury to Groom’s body but any investigation into his death will now cease as the post mortem has revealed his true cause of death.

He says what matters in court is the results of the post mortem examination.

Report by: Roland Koroi

July 27, 2011

The truth about Air Pacific's bad faith negotiations with TWU (Fiji)

Thanks to fellow blog, C4.5, the reality of the atrocious underhanded dealings of the CEO of "Air Treason",  Dave Pflieger, must be exposed.

Fiji Transport Workers Union responds to Dave Pflieger's Media statements
This is in response to the various media articles whereby the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Air Pacific has made unfounded and untrue claims on the several issues relating to their dealings with Transport Workers Union (TWU). Let me clear the air on many of these issues.

Airline offers way out (Fiji Times 16th July 2011)

We have many a times informed the employer of our commitment to help the airline in whatever way possible. We remain committed to a review of the existing collective agreements. There are three collective agreements that exist between the company and TWU. The parties have chosen to review the collective agreement affecting flight attendants as this is the more complex one of the three. The review process will convene on the other two collective agreements affecting the ground staff as soon as the collective agreement affecting flight attendants is completed.

In the Fiji times front page article Mr. Pflieger lied that the complete contract proposals were given to the Union some two months ago. The truth is that the company's complete proposals were given to TWU on Tuesday 19th July 2011 during a meeting held at the Air Pacific Training Centre at 3pm.

This meeting was attended by the company's Human Resource Consultant (an American), their staff attorney, TWU Vice-President and myself. The proposals that the company claims were given some two months ago were incomplete and those who have the slightest knowledge of negotiations would agree with me that negotiations cannot be held on piece meal basis based on incomplete proposals. If the company's claim that they have been trying to negotiate for five months is anything to go by then it has taken the company five months to give to TWU their complete proposals. So why blame us.

The company's proposal contains clauses clawing back on existing conditions of employment. It includes massive reductions and withdrawal of the many benefits contained in the existing collective agreement that our members currently work with and were negotiated over many years.

Some of these are:
• Removal of several definitions from the collective agreement and including them in their own manuals. This will enable the company to make changes as they wish without having to deal with the Union.
• Removal of overtime pay
• Removal of long service leave
• Reduction of annual leave entitlements
• Reduction of sick leave entitlements
• Removal of cosmetics allowances
•. Removal of winter clothing allowances
• Removal of the right of appeal and right of representation in disciplinary cases.
• Restrictions on right of entry at work places.

There are media reports that the winter and cosmetics allowances are outdated and should be replaced with profit share. The company flies to and expects the flight attendants to stay for a few days in places where there is winter with extremely cool temperatures. Because of extreme coolness in these places appropriate winter clothing protection are required. The company's own policy stipulates that flight attendants should appear to be in a presentable manner, be good looking and for which appropriate cosmetics are required to be worn. To replace these with profit share is ill conceived. Infact the profit share that the company has proposed will be approved by the Board of Directors. Neither the employees nor the Union will have any say in this. Where is the rationale.

The company proposal contains a clause on double occupancy for flight attendants at layover ports.

This is not found in any collective agreements in the world and has been proposed with no regard to family and social consequences. The company's proposal contains many clauses that will significantly reduce the role of the Unions. These can not be allowed as workers have rights, a right to belong to the Union and rights to collectively bargain.

The employer is saying for us to agree to their entire proposal and in return there will not be job losses. This is just irrationale and sounds more like a demand. Dictatorship has no place in civil society.

The company has also said that they are looking at substantial cost savings through the review process. Despite our repeated requests the amount of cost savings is not being provided to us. Why?
Recruitment of Expatriates
Again in the Fiji Times of 16th July 2011 page 22 Mr. Pflieger lies about the number of expatriates the company currently has. He claims there is only one. The truth is apart from that one expatriate, the several consultants and lawyers the company has an expatriate as Airport Manager Nadi who replaced a local, Manager E-Commerce, Chief Commercial Officer who has taken over from a local General Manager Sales and Marketing and an Executive General Manager Operations and Services.
He replaces another expatriate who replaced a local. So you can see there is more than one expatriate and they together with the consultants stay in up market accommodations at Denarau and drive around in posh vehicles. They all enjoy a posh life here.

The Voluntary Separation Programme
The company notified us that it was overstaffed. We suggested that the way to handle this was through natural attrition, freeze on recruitment and a voluntary separation programme. The voluntary separation programme was introduced and a good number of employees applied.
While the company approved for these employees to leave are now in the process of recruiting replacements for most of the positions. We do not see the rationale in reducing employees on one hand and replacing them on the other. This has come at a cost. The company is yet to respond to our request on how many employees it wants to lay off and by which departments. Our information is that they do not have such a number.

We have advised the company that job losses affects people, their families, the community they live in and the country at large. It affects the fabrics of the Fijian society as how will they be able to provide for food, shelter, education, etc to our people. We just can't compare ourselves with countries like America. America has a huge job market and social security for the unemployed.

We have raised several concerns on the level of expenditure incurred by Mr. Pflieger himself, the expatriates and consultants. These can be avoided.

This Union has offered several ways in which there could be cost savings. We rejected the offer by the company to meet at hotel venues and insisted in meetings in the company's premises to save costs. We agreed to a 3 months 10% pay reduction in 2009. Similar offers have been rejected by the current management. In early 1980's workers gave away one week pay. Since August 2006 workers have not received any pay increases. Workers are prepared to make more sacrifices to help a company we claim as ours. We can not give away our terms, conditions of employment and benefits for good.

We ask for Dave Pflieger and Samisoni Pereti to come clean on issues and not hide behind lies. We further ask for good faith to prevail as we embark on rescuing our company. We are not interested in their personal lifes.
Kamlesh Kumar
General Secretary
21st July 2011

Military backed tourism sector continues to be protected

We've continued to keep our cross-hairs firmly affixed on the notoriously accommodating-of-the-illegal-and-treasonous-military-tourism industry in Fiji.

But with unions -- domestic, regional and global -- set to take up the mantle on our fight for the liberation of Fiji, the regime may want to re-assess all the major tourism-profiteering events that they are backing even to the the extent that bad tourism news is muzzled.

The predetermined farce regarding a pseudo legal challenge for our superannuation funds (the Fiji National Provident Fund) that is in full-steam ahead mode despite the logical view that all these issues are firmly linked to the fundamental respect for the rule of law, will undo it all and We The People must acquiesce no more.
Burness given 21 days to rectify application
Publish date/time: 27/07/2011 [08:12]

High Court Judge, Justice Pradeep Hettiarachchi has today given FNPF pensioner, David Burness 21 days to rectify various procedural errors in relation to his application against the FNPF, the Attorney General and the Republic Of Fiji.

The time was given after the Judge struck out Burness’ application for an injunction.

Although various questions were raised by the Judge on Burness’s application to stop the FNPF pension review, Justice Hettiarachchi said given that the matter is of national importance, he is of the view that Burness should be granted an opportunity to rectify his procedural and technical errors in the pleadings.

The Judge said based on the current application to the court, Burness has failed to present adequate material explaining how his human rights will be violated for the court to be convinced by any likelihood of reducing his FNPF pension.

Justice Hettiarachchi said Burness is relying on a statement made by the FNPF CEO on the proposed pension reduction.

The presiding judge said it must be noted that Burness mainly relied on a mere speculation rather than credible and reliable information.

He said his injunction application in any event would fail.

The judge further stated that the court had to satisfy that David Burness claim in fact is a claim for redress in human rights violation. He said under section 38 (5) of the Human Rights Decree any person can apply to the High Court for redress for the contravention of his or her human rights.

However this right is subjected to the proviso which reads as : “Provided however that no proceeding shall be taken to the High Court which seeks to question or challenge the legality or validity of the Constitution Revocation Decree 2009 or such other decrees made or as may be made by the President.”

The judge goes on to say that in the absence of any reliable and credible information as to the proposed review to the FNPF Act, the court is unable to decide the exact nature of Burness claim.

He said under the Administration of Justice Decree, Burness cannot even make a judicial review application if he intended to challenge the validity or legality of a decree.

The judge said Burness must show that he is pursuing purely a human right application, which further warrants additional material from Burness as well as from the respondents to determine the correct nature of the application.

For full report and the court ruling you can check our website, fijivillage.com

Story by: Vijay Narayan

July 26, 2011

SMH - Samoa: Fijian PM lying about elections

Tamara McLean, AAP South Pacific Correspondent
July 26, 2011 - 1:54PM

Samoa's prime minister has accused his Fijian counterpart of lying about his election plans, saying the military leader plans to hold on to office for years.

Samoan leader Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he was saddened that Fiji's self-appointed prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, "appears to be doing everything he can" to hold back democracy in the military-led country.

"It's sad to see he's not taking advice to work with the region to help resolve the rift that exists, and he doesn't appear to be seriously working towards elections either," Mr Tuilaepa told AAP.

Cdre Bainimarama took control of Fiji in a military coup in December 2006 and has not held elections since, instead installing military officers in public positions and establishing emergency regulations that limit press and public freedoms.

He recently vowed to honour a promise for elections by September 2014, saying the extra time was needed to reform the country's unfair electoral system.

Mr Tuilaepa said he had "real doubts" about this promise.

"What the interim leader has been telling us is all lies," he said.

"I don't think there's been any progress made. And 2014 is a target which no one would take very seriously because of the contrary actions which the government has taken, like filling positions in the civil service with personnel from the military.

"It's simply not realistic to come to 2014 and tell these people who have been firmly entrenched in the top echelons of the government to go back to the barracks.

"I don't think he's planning to go anywhere for many years to come."

Fiji's government spokeswoman Sharon Smith-Johns said on Tuesday plans for 2014 elections still stood and any comments by naysayers were "completely irrelevant".

"It shows a lack of understanding from certain individuals regarding the progress that Fiji is making with regards to reforms, and demonstrates a low level of understanding of the impact these reforms are positively having on the country," she said.

Mr Tuilaepa is unfazed by Fiji's criticism, saying talking about regional worries was the "Pacific way".

He raised concerns that the annual Pacific Islands Forum meeting, to be held in Auckland in September, may be hijacked by the issue of Fiji, which was banned from the group in 2009.

"We have a lot of important things to discuss about regional trade, work programs and building ties," Mr Tuilaepa said.

"We need to be sure we can actually talk about these things and not just talk about the problem of Fiji."

A report on Fiji is expected to be tabled at the meeting, but Mr Tuilaepa said he didn't expect any progress that would allow Fiji to rejoin the regional meetings.

"Democratic principles have to be respected, the same principles we all adhere to. That's not happening in Fiji."

"It is the urgent wish of every forum member that Fiji comes back to the fold to rejoin the forum but you can only do so much. It's up to the Fijians to decide what their status is."

July 22, 2011

Military regime falling apart at the seams

While the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF), an association of private sector employer's have read the tea leaves and aim to "not play politics" in order to try and resolve the current union impasse with the illegal and treasonous military regime, there is no reciprocity from the other side.

The leaked accounts from KPMG are now being spun out in totality as the regime, waking up to the fact that they showed their hand a bit too freely, has in the process effectively thrown some members of the FCEF under the bus:
6 FNPF directors paid over $100,000 in fees over 3 years
Friday, July 22, 2011

Six directors of the Fiji National Provident Fund and its subsidiaries received over $100,000 in fees and sitting allowances over a period of three years from 2007 to 2009.

Heading the list is union leader Felix Anthony who was paid $185,934 in fees followed by Howard Politini at $173,774.

Union leaders Daniel Urai and James Raman are also at the top of the list getting paid $156,287 and $150,576 respectively.

Lionel Yee received $137,165 while the late James Datta got $103,252.

Ministry of Labour permanent secretary Taito Waqa received $78,406 but the KPMG report obtained by FBC News notes that all his directors fees were paid to the Ministry of Labour.

Others who benefited handsomely from their positions on the FNPF board and subsidiaries – receiving between $47,000 to $75,000 in fees - were Arun Narsey, Himmat Lodhia, Pratap Singh, Mesake Nawari, Olota Rokovunisei, Tomasi Vakatora, Abraham Simpson, Kanti Tappoo and Rajeshwar Singh.

A breakdown shows that Felix Anthony received $28,911 in fees in 2007, $84,204 in 2008, and $72,819 in 2009.

Anthony claimed for directors fees, for sitting on the audit committee, sitting on the Human Resource committee, the investment committee, sitting allowances, and even claimed for reimbursements for as much as $5,000 for internet, telephone and insurance.

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says the practice of being paid for sitting on individual committees and boards of subsidiary or related companies has been stopped.

Report by: Stanley Simpson
As these pitiful shenanigans borne out of desperation on the illegal and treasonous military regime's part play out, the Australia Transport Workers Union is concurrently digging their legal heels in citing that Fiji is paradise lost because 'Fair Work Australia' cannot speak out on the military regime...in an economy that is effectively pumped by 44% of the tourism market from Australia and that as Australians they have a responsibility to make sure that we have a proper Pacific regime in this country which is democratic, has the right opportunity for people to speak up and does not suppress fundamental human rights including labour rights.
Union to challenge Fiji industrial action ban
Updated July 22, 2011 10:52:02

Australia's transport workers union has vowed to fight a court ruling saying they can't take action against the national carrier, Qantas, over what they see as the suppression of union rights in Fiji.

Air Pacific, which is partly owned by Qantas, has secured an injunction against the TWU which was pursuing possible industrial action in support of colleagues in Fiji.

Union secretary Tony Sheldon says the injunction will be challenged in court, and he's called on Australian tourists to avoid holidaying in Fiji, which is ruled by a coup installed military government.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speakers: Tony Sheldon, Australian Transport Workers Union secretary; Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO

Listen here.
Meanwhile the communicated caution to the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama from global unions remain in place.

Regime's desperation is palpable

We wake up this morning to see faithful military regime ad hoc mouthpiece, Stanley Simpson already hard at work for his bosses (thanks to a leak from accountant firm KPMG), trying in vain to discredit (still) union execs who are just getting warmed up on pulling concerted international union action on the regime because of their disrespect of workers rights in Fiji.

The illegal and treasonous military regime is pulling out all the stops to work up taxpaying citizens and union members to react in "shock", horror and outrage.

But the much-ado-about-nothing is not going to work. The claims (knowing that there is a serious trust deficit the regime's part) are that the union leaders "manipulated" board fee's to the tune of FJD$180K over three years.

If we pick that apart, the allegations of these "shocking" annual board fees work out to be from FJD$40K-$60K/annum, which is not exactly daylight robbery in comparison to what taxpayers still do not know they are being forced to pay the regime. 

Intelligentsiya is not going to put the union leaders on a pedestal on the board fees issue, but the fact of the matter is that if they didn’t deserve these fees (we're guessing that the whole board would have had to endorse it so are as equally culpable), in "crossing the floor” they too are fully aware of the consequences, but have resolved anyway to join the cause and eradicate tyranny from our country. And for the moment, we can forgive them just as long as we're all clear that when democracy returns, we will part ways and justice must be served.

The palpable desperation of the military regime in this morning's statement however is stunningly rank in it's duplicity.
Anthony and Urai manipulated FNPF board fees: PM
Friday, July 22, 2011

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says unionists Felix Anthony and Daniel Urai manipulated the FNPF board system to pay themselves director’s fees of $185,934 and $156,287 respectively over a period of three years.

The Prime Minister says they had entrusted Anthony and Urai to represent the workers and do the right thing, in particular after the debacle of the previous board.

He says however that the two deemed it necessary to pay themselves each time they sat not only on the FNPF board - but when they sat on the boards of the subsidiary or related companies of FNPF.

These includes when they sat on various committees such as the human resource (HR) committee of the same company.

Bainimarama says this was one of the key reasons why Anthony and Urai were removed from the FNPF Board.

He adds their greed is in stark contrast to the current chair of the FNPF and some other directors who do not collect a single fee.

Bainimarama says the practice of being paid for sitting on individual committees and boards of subsidiary or related companies has been stopped.

Report by: Stanley Simpson

Khaiyum & Bainimarama's union battle just got global

Despite a brief respite on the illegal and treasonous military regime's part and keeping Australian and New Zealand union pressure at bay for a day, they have naturally stirred the hornet's nest of people power and the global numbers now rallying behind our unions in solidarity.

The threat is clearly spelled out in one of the two letter's (ie one letter from the Council of Global Unions [CGU] and the other letter from the International Transport Workers' Federation [ITF]) as scooped by fellow blog, C4.5:
"The CGU urges you to stop the physical attacks on trade unionists and ensure that Fiji’s labour legislation is in full compliance with International Labour Conventions, particularly C87 and C98, and that Fiji’s workers and their trade unions can operate in a climate that is free from fear and intimidation. Failure to do so will invite a concerted global campaign to bring these issues to the attention of the international community, including governments, commercial and personal consumers and investors."
The communication from the ITF lay's out very clearly the little known news of another union official, Mohammed Khalil, who was also physically abused and then made to resign:
"I understand that on the evening of 22nd June, two army officers assaulted Brother Mohammed Khalil, President of the Fiji Sugar and General Workers’ Union, who is a railway worker. He was made to wallow in the mud, was stomped on, and dragged around in full view of his colleagues and other onlookers, while being verbally abused about his trade union involvement. His colleague Brother Felix Anthony was also verbally abused.
Brother Khalil was then instructed to submit his resignation from the union and ordered to report to the military at 3pm on June 23rd (the time he was due to start his shift). The army officers involved said that they wanted to see his resignation letter. Fiji’s press has simultaneously reported a clampdown on sugar industry politics, which includes “keeping a tab” on unions."
Despite the now trite deflection tactics propagated by the regime's favourite "independent" spin-doctors, as well as the regime's lies, their union woes have just gone global and they're playing hardball.

On top of that, unions in Australia are not ready to give up just yet which will make Tourism Fiji and "Air Treason's" new marketing strategy completely irrelevant.

July 21, 2011

China and Russia lead the race to underwater minerals - with Fiji's backing

If the recent news of Fiji's newly acquired presidency of the International Seabed Authority didn't cause ripples domestically that's because it wasn't intended to.

Fiji's nomination to this prestigious body that manages "seabed and ocean floor and subsoil" areas of it's members is of course to help its new friends China and Russia get in on the action and get to the Pacific's rare earth elements first. All the excitement is of course, not rocket science. The treasures deep in the ocean were made known to Fiji in the early 1970's.

The fact that Fiji as a fellow Pacific Island country helped Nauru and Tonga get their collective feet in the door on deep-sea mining ventures is a small bonus. Particularly as it it is not beyond the illegal and treasonous military regime to arm-twist Tonga with a bit of the good ol' quid quo pro angle to try and apprehend Bainimarama's arch nemesis, Ratu Tevita Mara.

Don't Board "Air Treason"


With the back-and-forth and propaganda efforts yesterday between Fiji's illegal and treasonous military regime and trade unions in Australia and New Zealand, Air Pacific aka Air Treason, now steps up to bat for the regime and set's their legal eagles loose to step up pressure on unions in Australia and New Zealand.

The Fiji Trade Union Congress's (FTUC) Felix Anthony is not backing down any time soon and neither is the Fiji Public Service Association's (FPSA), Rajeshwar Singh. Another local union, the little known and modestly influential, Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation's Nesbitt Hazelman is content to sit on the fence and push the party lines.
NZ and Aust unions back away from action against airlines serving Fiji
Posted at 23:13 on 20 July, 2011 UTC

The danger of lawsuits has prompted New Zealand and Australian trade unions to back away from industrial action involving airlines serving Fiji.

Fiji trade unionists had requested support in New Zealand and Australia to fight against alleged violence and harassment by Fiji’s regime.

The Council of Trade Unions in Wellington and the Transport Workers Union in Australia threatened to stop servicing flights to the island.

But the CTU secretary, Peter Conway, says his organisation has received a lawyer’s letter from Air Pacific, pointing out strike action is lawful only in support of health and safety or a collective agreement.

    “What we want to know from Air Pacific is do they support assaults on union officials in Fiji and decrees that take away human rights at work, and if they do, the public and New Zealand should know that, and if they don’t, will they join us in trying to stop this situation as it develops.”

Peter Conway says there was no intention to rush into strike action and the airlines should not have called on their lawyer as a first choice.
In any event, Air Treason's head honcho, Dave "we-will-not-fail" Pflieger, might as well pack up and head over to hollywood now, because he and his treasonous supporting frat will fail.

It doesn't take strikes to prevent Australian's and New Zealander's from visiting Fiji and propping up the military regime's coffers furthermore making the hotel industry (NOT the local community that Air Treason conveniently hides behind when the occasion suits) rich in the process.

The taxpaying millions going towards pumping up Air Treason and brand FIJI -- a brand that lives and is the intellectual, spiritual, cultural and moral property of innocent and unarmed civilians living under tyranny -- will be money, effort and resources spent in vain as direct public campaigns from the unions (freedom of expression is still respected in Australia and New Zealand) take root.

You lose already Air Treason.

Revelations about FICAC sackings

Sources are revealing that the quick exits of 3 (and not 4 as we had reported) Sri Lankan prosecutors from the pretend anti-graft body, FICAC, was not due to the end of their contracts, as had been spun by their spokesperson.

It turns out that the illegal and treasonous Chief Registrar (also Sri Lankan), Ganga Wakishta Arachchi, is the butt of many complaints performance related.

One such example was a 2.5 day training forum (read: holiday) for legal eagles that she helped coordinate paid by taxpayers, with the usual illegal suspects in tow and toeing the party line.

There was a complaint lodged to FICAC about illegal acts of the illegal Chief Registrar, the said Ganga Wakishta Arachchi, but the illegal Chief Injustice Tony Gates and Illegal Attorney General prevented the investigations by pressurizing FICAC officials to instead commence investigations against one of their own, the illegal and treasonous Injustice William Marshall (of the now notorious Mahendra Patel/Tevita Mau case)  in respect to his conduct as there were suspicions surrounding his fraternization with persons who are against the military regime. 

When the 3 victimised Sri Lankan prosecutors insisted on proceeding with both complaints as there was sufficient evidence against the illegal Chief Registrar Ms. Arachchi, it resulted in their sacking and quick exits, and FICAC's concocted statement of contracts expiring. 

This is the nature of a so-called independent anti-graft entity, created by illegal means, that thinks it has what it takes to help East Timor.

July 20, 2011

Mara: Military is Divided

Runaway colonel to brief Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Last updated 14:51 20/07/2011

Fiji's powerful military force would never open fire on the nation's people, runaway colonel Tevita Mara believes.

A one-time infantry commander who supported military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama in his 2006 coup, Mara is wanted in Suva on sedition and conspiracy to mutiny charges.

In May he fled to Tonga and while still on New Zealand's banned persons list, he has been allowed into the country for five days.

Tomorrow he plans to brief Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

In a brief comment to local Indian Radio Tarana on Mara's arrival here, Bainimarama described him and his pro-democracy supporters as "just a bunch of losers, you should not be worried about them."

Mara and another former Fiji colonel, Jone Baledrokadroka, are trying to build a Fiji democracy movement outside the country but Mara accepted that there was no sign of a popular uprising in Fiji itself.

"The last thing we want to see is a confrontation between the people and the authorities in Fiji," he said.

People died in coup bloodshed in 1987 and in 2000 and Mara said they did not want a repeat.

Change to Fiji would come from international pressure.

Mara said Fiji soldiers would never fire on civilians.

"There is a definite split in the military. Bainimarama has only a small group around him," he said, adding he believed it was only about 50 soldiers and officers

"There is a certain group that is around him all the time. That is the group he uses to bring terror on the people... The oppression he is doing on the people of Fiji he is also doing on the military."

Mara admitted that Bainimarama previously enjoyed support from particularly expatriate Indo-Fijians in New Zealand and Australia.

His regime was anti-Fijians.

"Most of the things he is doing are against the Fiji race."

The new group here, Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement appears to be dominated by indigenous Fijians, while the Auckland based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji is mainly Indo-Fijian.

A spokesman for the latter group, Nik Naidu, said they had laid a complaint with police calling for the arrest of Mara in New Zealand over allegations that he had been involved in torture in the 2000 coup and following the 2006 coup.

Police acknowledged receiving the complaint and said they were evaluating information on it.

Mara said he was surprised by Naidu's actions and denied he had any involvement in torture.

He said the main torture allegations focused around 2000 and allege a direct hand in it by Bainimarama.

"That is something Bainimarama has to answer for, it was something the police were questioning him for, before the events of 2006," Mara said.

He denied he and Baledrokadroka were simply plotting another coup but said it was time to look at the role of the military in Fiji.

"It has a usefulness, it's just the way it has been used by politicians, and by those in command when coups have taken place."

- Stuff

Khaiyum back-tracks yet again

Just this morning, the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum claimed that there were "no draconian laws in the country that has violated workers rights".

It appears that is now forced to face up to this atrocious fib as many had actually sighted the draft (and indeed Ratu Tevita Mara's recent speech in Australia cites two illegal and treasonous decrees, the "Vital National Industries Decree" and the "Critical Industries in Financial Distress Protection Decree"), which forces Khaiyum to back-track and try and gloss over his booboo.

Even then he has the gall to tell people that their decree's "should be looked on at its merits".
Critical industries legislation nothing new says Fiji’s interim Attorney General
Posted at 03:55 on 20 July, 2011 UTC

Fiji’s interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says legislation governing union activity in critical industries is nothing new.

Senior union officials have been campaigning abroad about increasing curbs on unions in Fiji including plans to exclude them from representing workers in critical industries like the airline sector.

A draft decree on vital industries has been circulating, adding to fears of Fiji and overseas workers rights’ organisations that the regime wants to smash the power of unions.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was asked about the union officials’ campaign and whether any such decree was in the offing.

“Time will tell but the point is if there is going to be a decree they are not telling you that under the old trade disputes act there were numerous industries that were marked as critical industries for example tourism, the nursing services, the police services. Why didn’t they go out campaigning then?”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says if a new law is introduced it should be looked at on its merits.

Military Regime intensifies pressure on union leaders

Predictably, the illegal and treasonous military regime begin pushing back against the mounting pressure from Australian and possibly New Zealand trade unions, and aim to make an example of Rajeshwar Singh claiming that some of his "phantom" (who are they? how many? what percentage of the total membership?) union members want him out.

Triply predictable is the oddity of why disgruntled civil service union members would see fit to bring their union woes to the attention of the military regime's propaganda hag spin-doctor and echo the exact same lines as the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum with regard to Singh's motor vehicle preference.

Unionist Daniel Urai is also facing pressure from presumably more cued up "concerned members".

If this sounds familiar, it's because it is - it sounds like the fake 64% of Fiji's population that purportedly support the illegal and treasonous Charter.
Singh must go says union members

CIVIL Servants have called for the immediate resignation of the Fiji Public Service Association (FPSA) general secretary, Rajeshwar Singh .

The FPSA members who are civil servants say Mr Singh has no mandate to speak on behalf of them when there was no consultation done on the issue of seeking  support from fellow unions in Australia and New Zealand.

"We will also be writing to the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to express our support for the Government and to also take action against these anti-Fiji union leaders,” the FPSA members said.

The Ministry of Information permanent secretary Ms Sharon Smith-Johns confirmed that a group of  civil servants who are union members have raised concerns regarding the conduct of  Mr Singh.

“I am not surprised by this because concerns expressed by this group of union members are genuine and I understand their frustration and the call for resignation.  The group will meet soon to discuss further action against Mr Singh,” she said.

The concerned civil servants said: “We are paying Mr Singh a salary of more than $200,000, apart from provision of executive BMW X5 car, housing and other perks”.

“We expect Mr Singh to dialogue with the Government on various issues affecting civil servants but he is in Australia spreading lies about Fiji.

“We are very surprised as how can Mr Singh represents government workers yet work against the nation and people of Fiji who are his members – the civil servants are supposed to serve.

“On many occasions the Public Service Commission has requested Mr Singh for discussions on civil service reforms he has not turned up. What kind of attitude is this?”

The members questioned the role of Mr Singh whose actions are hurting the economy of Fiji with possible job losses to FPSA members.

“We call on all union leaders like Mr Singh to resign immediately and not to return to Fiji.”

The members have also expressed support for the Government saying that “the current  Government is doing what no other Government has done for the workers before”.

The Government is biggest employer in the country with more than 27,000 civil servants and a salaries and wages bill of more than $750million.

“There has been no erosion of workers rights in Fiji in fact the workers are benefiting from the Labour reforms, which are now becoming a model to other countries in the world,”  FPSA members said.

“The Employment Relations Law allows anybody to join a union and all union deductions for subscriptions are allowed by the Government and other employers.

“It is only the disgruntled union leaders who lost their perks when removed from the boards of the statutory bodies such as the Fiji National Provident Fund.

“The union leaders had also accompanied the Labour Minister to the International Labour Organization Meeting in Geneva and have endorsed the labour reforms.’

FPSA is the largest trade union in the country representing the biggest employer, the Government with more than 5000 members contribute more than $1million in subscription to FPSA

The civil servants have called on the Australian and New Zealand Council Trade Unions to re-think their stand on the support for former Fiji union leaders

Prof Wadan Narsey: End FNPF subsidy to Fiji governments: linking the many battles

[These are the personal views of Professor Wadan Narsey, not those of USP where he is employed as Professor of Economics, but is currently on leave in Japan]

There are many battles going on over the FNPF pensions.

From The Fiji Times of July 15, it seems that the FNPF Board and management are pushing ahead with their plans to reduce the pension rates of current high income pensioners (Battle 1 by current FNPF pensioners through Burness/Shameem Law) and future pensioners (Battle 2 by FICTU etc).

Totally ignoring the sanctity of the legal contracts FNPF itself offered the retirees, they continue to focus on alleged unsustainable cross-subsidization of current pensioners by current contributors.

They refuse to call on Government statutory guarantees to finance any future shortfalls in revenue for FNPF pensions.

They also conveniently ignore that FNPF has been giving large subsidies (amounting to hundreds of millions over the last forty years) to successive Fiji governments through easily available loans, at interest rates much lower than that charged by commercial banks.

These huge subsidies by FNPF to successive Fiji governments represent a powerful moral justification for Fiji Government to fulfill their legal responsibilities to current pensioners, whatever is their pension rate.

Equally important for both Battle 1 and Battle 2, these interest rate subsidies to Government must now be ended by the FNPF Board and management.

For that to occur, both pensioners and current contributors need to fight Battle 3, which is to have an FNPF Board completely accountable to its members.

Finally, for real long term sustainability of FNPF pensions, all need to fight Battle 4, which is to have an elected and accountable government which respects the sanctity of all legal contracts, and constitutional law and order  if there is to a restoration of investor confidence and economic growth, which is the ultimate guarantee for FNPF sustainability.

But Battle 4 requires a “Road to Damascus” enlightenment for many coup supporters, including some current litigants against FNPF, to recognize that all these battles are inherently linked:  justice for one group requires justice for all.

FNPF battles linked to FNPF subsidy for Government
There are several battles going on, over the FNPF crisis, seemingly separate but inherently linked.

FNPF members should note that every Fiji government has wanted to borrow for their budgets (for capital or recurrent expenditure, or to pay for their scams), whenever they wanted to, whatever funds were  available at FNPF, and at interest rates significantly lower than that charged by the commercial banks, locally and abroad.  No commercial bank can ever match this cash cow.

Every government has therefore maintained total control over the FNPF Board (the main borrower controlling the bank), which could not be allowed to be accountable to the FNPF members.

Fiji governments have also used the Reserve Bank of Fiji to force FNPF to bring back its interest earning overseas investments, which FNPF is then forced to lend to the Fiji Government at low interest rates, or leave the funds idle, earning no interest.

The difference between the average weighted interest rates charged by FNPF to government, and the average weighted commercial bank lending rates has usually been more than 1 percentage point, and often more than 2 percentage points. 

Ask the FNPF Board and Management for this information (but don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer).

With more than 2 billions lent to Government, the subsidy from FNPF to Government annually  amounts to more than $20 millions for every 1 percent difference in the interest rates between FNPF and the commercial banks.

Roughly, over the last forty years, this subsidy from FNPF to Government may have amounted to as much as $800 millions in today’s currency (give or take a few millions).

Government therefore not only has a legal obligation under the FNPF Act to cover any shortfalls for payment to existing pensioners, but it also has a moral obligation because it has enjoyed these massive subsidies in the past, and continues to enjoy now!.

Common Solution to Battles 1 and 2:
If the FNPF Board were to end the ongoing subsidy to the Fiji Government and charge the same interest rates as charged by the commercial banks, this will immediately improve the revenues for FNPF, and enable the FNPF to

(a) maintain the payments to current pensioners and
(b) enable the FNPF to continue to pay the current 15% (or somewhere near it) to future pensioners, not the paltry 9% they are offering by military decree. 
(c) end the huge distortion of Fiji’s financial markets, and also removing the incentive for Fiij’s fiscal irresponsibility.

It is the fiduciary and ethical duty of the FNPF Board and management to increase the interest rates charged for loans to Government, towards the commercial banks rates.

Will the FNPF Board and Management do so?  Not a hope (as the correspondence between the Chairman of the FNPF Board and the CEO of Credit Corp clearly shows. 

Indeed, the FNPF Board and management, despite their clear fiduciary duty of “full disclosure” where FNPF members’ interests are adversely affected by any Board decision, continue their shameless refusal to disclose all the relevant reports to the FNPF Members. 

The fact that these FNPF Board members won’t resign either, speaks volumes for their lack of ethics and moral fiber or “balls” as Ross McDonald suggested to the Chairman of FNPF Board.

The personal interests of the management and board members (and for some, the interests of their companies or employers) too obviously depend on pleasing the Military Regime.

Will the legal case succeed?
The legal case by some pensioners may be given favorable hearing by the judiciary for two interesting reasons. 

First, there are many prominent persons in the Military Regime’s hierarchy (it is a long list- you can draw it up) who personally stand to lose a lot, if the existing pension rates are reduced.

Second, allowing the pensioners’ case to succeed, could be good propaganda for the Military Regime, to show the world it respects “law and the judiciary”.

But the planned pension rate reduction for future pensioners is still likely to go ahead, simply because this Military Regime desperately needs the cheap cash to keep financing their irresponsible deficits.

And of course, the FNPF Board and management (i.e. the Military Regime) may go ahead with the illegal reduction of  the current high pensions.

FNPF pensioners may protest that this is a denial of natural justice.

But this Military Regime has denied its citizens natural justice on a whole raft of cases, from the day it did the military coup in 2006. So what’s new?

How ironic that some FNPF pensioners are now appealing to an illegal President to have a Commission of Inquiry into the FNPF, when none of them ever asked for an inquiry into the coups of 1987, 2000 and 2006, which have done far more damage to the ordinary people of this country.

Common Battle 3
The interests of both current pensioners and current contributors could be better served if they, as the legitimate owners, could control the FNPF Board.

Will it happen?  Not under this current Military Regime.

Common Battle 4
It is abundantly clear that FNPF’s financial problems would have been much smaller, had the Fiji economy been growing solidly, with solid growth of employment and new contributors to the FNPF, and solid growth of incomes and dollar values of all contributions.

This requires the restoration of investor confidence that has been shattered by the military coup of 2006 and military decrees stopping litigants from taking their grievances to court.

How ironic that the lawyers and leading pensioners now appealing to the “rule of law” to protect their pensions, themselves supported the 2006 coup which broke the fundamental laws of the land.

One former High Court judge who is vociferously calling for good corporate governance, conveniently ignores the biggest corporate malpractice in front of her: the FNPF Board and management shamelessly ignoring the wishes of the owners of the FNPF while obeying the illegal Military Regime she helped establish.

One lawyer who is currently fighting the case challenging the legality of the FNPF’s planned slashing of pension rates by appealing to the sanctity of contracts, was the Human Rights Commissioner who passionately justified the 2006 military coup, despite all its hollowness, illegalities, breaking of contracts, and Military Decrees denying basic human rights and natural justice to thousands of Fiji citizens.

There are also many prominent pensioners, currently challenging the legality of FNPF’s actions, who supported the Bainimarama coup and the NCBBF’s Charter Charade (with its first article proclaiming the supremacy of the 1997 Constitution).

All these legal cases against FNPF would not have been necessary if these “good” people had not instigated and justified the 2006 military coup in the first place.

FNPF’s other links
Those fighting to protect their interests in the FNPF need to also understand the linkages to major economic disasters and decisions which have led to excessive government borrowing from FNPF:

(a) the need to cover the National Bank of Fiji disaster (catalyzed by the 19897 coup) and the SVT government’s creation of the disastrous ATH monopolies, with an excessive price paid by FNPF.

(b) the numerous vote buying scams by successive governments  resulting in wasteful government expenditure;

(c) the massive budget blow-outs by the military following the 2000 and 2006 coups;

(d) the massive investment losses caused by FNPF board decisions, all kept secret by the Military Regime, the media censorship and the Public Emergency Decree.

(e) the utter waste of large loans by Military Regime appointees, such as at the FSC, while callously rejecting a $300 million EU subsidy for the sugar industry.

(f) the senseless borrowing of $500 millions internationally at 9% interest when IMF was willing to lend at 2%.

There are other misallocations we still do not know about because of the Military Regime’s refusal to release the Auditor General’s Reports.

These are all linked to the FNPF malaise.

If those who are currently litigating against the FNPF, only fight their own narrow battle while turning a blind eye to the other injustices around them, there is little hope for the hundreds of thousands of poor Fiji people, for whom no lawyers are going to bat (for fee, or for free- if that might help save tarnished reputations).

Is FNPF the Road to Damascus?
Reading the above, it is natural for us to feel bitter and get into the “blame game” over FNPF, but that is not going to help FNPF, or Fund members, and the future generations.

Note that the current FNPF crisis is probably the first clear national issue which brings together all of Fiji’s ethnic groups, religious groups, divisions, political parties, genders, age groups, and even the members of the police and military forces.

But our people need to understand that all these battles over FNPF are inherently linked to national ideals of good governance and accountability.

There cannot be legal justice for just one group, and not for others.

Now that every significant political and social group in Fiji have bent or broken the supreme laws of the land (in 1987, 2000 and 2006), we are long overdue for a national “Truth and Reconciliation” process.

That requires all our leaders to have the humility and courage to admit error (as some  “movers and shakers” seem to be doing, I hear), and genuinely ask for forgiveness from each other.

FNPF may well provide these erring individuals the opportunity to have their “road to Damascus” enlightenment.

Not taking such an opportunity will mean that our leaders will collectively drive another nail into the national coffin, and it is a long time since Lazarus was raised from the dead.