August 26, 2013

FBC queen win significant: CEO

07:00 Today (August 26, 2013)

Taken from/By: FBC News
Report by: Mika Loga
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Chief Executive, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the crowning of MissFBC Priscilla Reddy as Vodafone Miss Hibiscus 2013 is significant to the change the country is currently experiencing.
Sayed-Khaiyum says, this is reflected in the results of the Hibiscus crowning on Saturday night.
He says, it showed that people’s mindsets are changing.
Priscilla Reddy will represent Fiji at the next Miss South Pacific Pageant in American Samoa in December.
“Priscilla is not only going to represent FBC and has won the Hibiscus Festival which is the Suva festival but she’s going to be representing Fijians as well and that has brought about a lot of change and it’s a change in the mindset and we want to be supportive of these sort of things all the time because it means if we grow and the people of Suva grow, the whole nation grows. This brings about better understanding. It means everything better for the whole of Fiji."
The FBC CEO has confirmed the organization is already looking forward to participating in next year’s Hibiscus Festival.
“It’s about supporting Suva, we’re all from Suva, we are part of Fiji, we want to promote our city, and we want to do good things to contribute. FBC has just contributed towards the Constitution where some of our people got together and made a submission and got accepted and is part of the new Constitution where primary school kids right from class one to class eight will now be compulsory for them to learn basic i-Taukei and Hindi and I think this will change the country.”
Reddy returned to her home yesterday to wind down from a hectic week before she resumes her studies at the University of the South Pacific.

500 booked in 2 days

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, August 26, 2013

ABOUT five hundred drivers were booked in two days by the LTA in the Western Division.

"We carried out our operation from Sigatoka to Ba and we can confirm that we made about 500 bookings in two days," said LTA spokesman Iliesa Sokia.

"We carried out most of the operation during the BOG tournament in Ba and we also covered areas in Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka and Ba."

He said while operations to crack down on careless drivers continued, the authority had received more complaints against public service vehicle drivers.

"We have been receiving several complaints now and we have set a time to call these drivers to answer to these claims made against them. But to execute the cancellation of a PSV licence, there is a process involved.

"We undergo a process called the show cause in which driver that is alleged to have been in breach of our policies is called before our CEO to explain what happened."

He said the process took time and a cancellation would only be decided by the CEO.

"The drivers are given time to explain themselves.

"The CEO gives the final decision on the cancellation.

"There were about four or five cancellations that were made last month and we also have several hearings being held at the moment."

He said they had received a lot of complaints against PSV drivers. "We do not condone misbehaviour by PSV drivers and their conduct in the public is something that we take very seriously."

Coup immunity takes precedence over new Fiji Constitution - Powell

Updated 23 August 2013, 11:33 AEST

Fiji's new constitution release yesterday by the military government has received mixed reviews.

The document includes significant changes to the electoral system paving the way for elections before the end of September next year.

It includes a Bill of Rights that offers the right to work, the right to food, the right to housing and the right to education.

Under the constitution there will be a single-chamber, 50-member Parliament, with elections every four years.

Regional constituencies have been abolished in favour of one national constituency with members elected by proportional representation.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Randell Powell SC, former appeal panel judge that in 2009 found the 2006 Fiji military illegal

POWELL: There are a couple of fundamental problems with it in my view. Look, the first is one of legitimacy. The preamble of the Constitution begins we, the people of Fiji, but the author of the document is the current regime. The draft Constitution has not been put to a referendum. It's been imposed on the people.

Now, this is not a mere matter of words. Constitutions are instruments of consent. The rules that people consent to be governed by and again, it seems to me it's obvious this Constitution or proposed Constitution has no legitimacy, which leds to the second point. Section 2 says that the Constitution is the supreme law of the state and interestingly in sub-Section 5 it says that this Constitution cannot be abrogated or suspended by any person other than in accordance with Chapter 11 which basically provides that it can only be amended by a 75% vote in parliament.

But, of course, you'll recall that the last Constitution, well as of any Constitution was a supreme law of the state and the last Constitution could only be amended by a super majority vote of both Houses of Parliament. But the words of the Constitution are no protection against men with guns.

COUTTS: All right. Now, the abrogation of the Constitution is an interesting one, considering that the Constitution was abrogated by this interim government. But going back to your panel hearing. This government's not legitimate anyway, because your ruling back in 2009 said that the coup was illegal and so therefore the government illegal?

POWELL: That's true. So this is a document being imposed upon the people by an unlawful regime.

And, of course, it leaps out from the Constitution because of Chapter 10, which deals with immunity. The poison of what was done in 2009 with reported abrogation of the Constitution, subsequent rule by decree has found its way into a whole chapter in this new Constitution.

Chapter 10 provides that all those involved in the coup of 2006, and the abrogation of the Constitution in 2009 and the unlawful regime since have and I quote "absolute and unconditional immunity from prosecution". Immunity that they gave themselves in various decrees in 2009 and 2010. And this document says those decrees are to continue in existence and may not be revoked.

And then Section 158 of this document provides that not withstanding anything in this Constitution, this immunity shall not be reviewed, amended, altered or appealed or revoked. So if there is a supreme law, it's this immunity. This immunity and the immunity decrees ?? take precedence over the Constitution. I mean this very provision by itself makes it clear that this is not a document of the people. It's a document by the current regime.

COUTTS: How much credence can we place in this. I mean is there legal precedence where a Constitution cannot be tampered with anywhere or anyhow. I'm sure that there are provisions that changes in the future or changes of the time will allow for a tweaking and rewriting somewhere along the line, but you're saying this can't happen?

POWELL: Well. I don't know of any Constitution that cannot be changed, because, as I say, by definition practically without stating it as it does in Section Two, the Constitution is the supreme law and he's part of the law, which takes precedence over the supreme law. 

I mean the Constitution itself, I don't have a great deal to say about it. It's a model of rights and freedoms and in fact, picks up many provisions of the abrogated Constitution. I mean, for example, both Constitutions provide that the Prime Minister can only be dismissed if he or she loses a vote of confidence in parliament. But what would such provisions in the light of Fiji's recent history. The Prime Minister in 2006 did not lose a vote of confidence in the parliament, but he was dismissed anyway.

I mean the background in Fiji is that the Constitution is only the supreme law until someone in the military decide otherwise. I mean every coup in Fiji has been a body blow to a functioning democracy, because the coups demonstrate that the Constitution are not the supreme law that are subject to the will of the military.

COUTTS: So the single Chamber 50 member Parliament. Is this also suggesting that whoever's in power at the time, will have greater control and what you've explained so far is that the military is going to have continuing control into the evermore?

POWELL: Well, I agree with that. There is nothing to, it would make it easier it seems to me for the military man to be elected President certainly. Yes, there's no house of review, that is a problem.

COUTTS: And so, also what you've explained so far is that there will be military control over it, because there is no way or input from the people into this, but also the way it's set out is that the military control over future governments will be ever present?

POWELL: Well, I think all future governments would be cognitive of the fact that the military will be looking over their shoulder, so they will be careful in what they do, lest we have another coup. I mean that's the continuing problem and the more coups we have, and the less stable the Constitutions, and the shorter the periods of the Constitutions endure, the more difficult it is to have a functioning Constitution.

I mean it's all about political context. I mean in 1936, in the midst of the Great Terror, the Soviet Union proclaimed a new Constitution, which was hailed as the model of rights and freedom, but the political context was a one party dictatorship and anyone seeking to avail themselves of the Constitution's theoretical protections would have ended up in the gulag or dead. Now, the people of Fiji may not have that to fear, but they will know and their elected representative in it will know that this new Constitution will not protect them from the military. And in light of that, well we'll have to see whether the document proves to be worth more than the paper it will be written of. But for that to happen, the military will have to completely disengage from the political process.

COUTTS: Are there any positives from this particular stream of thinking that can be gained, because the interim government has declared that they have put an end to the coup culture. There will be no more coups. Does this Constitution in anyway support that?

POWELL: Well, it does in this sense. Apart from the Chapter 10, which is the immunity provisions, which are entrenched and are somewhat disturbing, Apart from that, there is no reference to the military, well, the military aren't entrenched in the Constitution. They are references, of course, to the military the President is to be the ceremonial head of the military forces, but that's unexceptional. But structurally no. There's not I find any great problems with the Constitution. You could pick this Constitution up and put it somewhere else and you'd think, well, that is quite a good model for a Constitution. 

Fiji regime’s constitution should not be recognised - UFDF

Posted at 22:42 on 23 August, 2013 UTC

Fiji’s main grouping of political parties says the purported constitution released by the regime on Thursday has no legitimacy or legal authority and should receive no recognition.

In a statement, the leaders of the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, call on the international community to give the document no recognition, as it does not have the approval of the people of Fiji.

They say this purported constitution is being unilaterally imposed on the people of Fiji.
The UFDF says the regime’s constitution is tailored to perpetuate the illegal and dictatorial rule of the Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and to protect them from the law for their treasonous activities.

But UFDF leaders warn the pair that the immunity provisions they have so excruciatingly entrenched into the constitution are not worth the paper they are written on.

UFDF leaders say parliament, as the supreme institution of the land, is not bound by any unlawful restrictions on its authority.

They also add the regime’s purported constitution ignores completely the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, so essential for the preservation of the rule of law.

In the statement, they say the Attorney General continues to exercise undue authority over the appointment of judges, senior Court officials and members of the Judicial Services Commission.

Adding, the independence, jurisdiction and authority of the Judiciary remains compromised and undermined by the Executive.

UFDF leaders also say there is no guarantee to the human rights provisions so laboriously written into the regime’s document because much of it - freedom of assembly, association and expression and the right to personal liberty are negated by the regime’s draconian decrees that violate universally recognized individual rights and the rights of workers and their trade unions.

They also say the proposed nation-wide single constituency is specifically designed to rig the ballot and produce a predetermined electoral outcome.

They say voter registration rolls have not been published so far for public scrutiny, and are unlikely to be published in the future, giving the regime full opportunity to manipulate the electoral process to suit its own ends.

The UFDF also believes there was a vast majority of people who rejected the regime’s document, expressing preference for the Ghai draft constitution, and they want the regime to publish all of the submissions they claim to have received.

UFDF leaders are challenging the regime to put their constitution to a referendum if they are so sure of its acceptance by the people.

Methodist Church Ministers, members urged to unite

Publish date/time: 26/08/2013 [08:12]

Church ministers and members of the Methodist Church in Fiji have been reminded to unite and move forward.

Former Church President Reverend Dr Ilaitia Tuwere said they should put away their differences and reconcile.

Reverend Dr Tuwere said members should listen to each other and work for a common goal for the betterment of the church and the nation.

He said members should reduce kava drinking as it brings laziness in the commitment of their duty.

Dr Tuwere was delivering his sermon during the induction service of the Church President Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu at the Centenary Church yesterday.

The induction of the President was conducted by two former Presidents Reverend Josateki Koroi and Reverend Ame Tugaue. 

Rev Waqairatu said Rev Koroi was invited to perform the induction yesterday as part of the church's reconciliation. 

Reverend Koroi was ousted from the Church President's post by Reverend Manasa Lasaro after the 1987 coup. 

Following this, the church supported the 1987 and 2000 coups. 

They also took a hardline approach after the 1987 coup and called for the Sunday ban.   

Reverend Waqairatu added the way forward for the church is to break barriers and build bridges.

Meanwhile the Methodist Church conference starts this morning. 

Story by: Watisoni Butabua

Sanatan Dharam welcomes Constitution

Publish date/time: 26/08/2013 [08:08]

The Shri Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has welcomed the 2013 Constitution.

Sabha General Secretary Vijendra Prakash said they are glad that much of the Sabha's submission has been taken into account.

Meanwhile, Fiji Muslim League General Secretary, Taabish Akbar said they will comment on the new constitution after liaising with their branches this week.

Story by: Ronal Deo

FBC proud to be part of formation of Fiji’s Constitution

10:00 Fri Aug 23, 2013

Taken from/By: 
Report by: Epeli Tukuwasa
Some FBC staff are proud to be part of Fiji’s history in the formation of the new Constitution.
Their submission on i-Taukei and Fiji Hindi languages to be mandatory subjects in all schools in Fiji from class one to eight is part of the new Constitution.
Gold FM team leader Peceli Rokotuivuna says their submission will give future leaders the basic skills to communicate properly with the two major ethnic groups in the country.
He says he is proud his contribution appeared in the new supreme law of the country.
“So this is a new chapter which involves a lot of young people now working with the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, something we felt really strong about was this I-Taukei and Fiji Hindi language to be taught in primary schools, this is something that was not encouraged by the colonial government.”
He says they hope their contribution will help students better understand these two languages.

Government of Australia: Fiji Constitution

Media release
24 August 2013

Photograph of Senator the Hon Bob CarrForeign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed the release by the Fiji Government of its draft constitution, which is expected to be formally promulgated on September 6.

Senator Carr said the draft constitution represented an important step forward for Fiji's commitment to hold elections by September 2014.
"Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy," Senator Carr said.
"We've provided $2.65 million to support development of Fiji's electoral processes and will continue consultations with other donors and the Fiji authorities to identify further needs."
Senator Carr said Australia would continue to encourage a constitutional process which results in a credible election, including through an independent elections office participation by political parties and civil society freedom of expression and assembly independent elections observation general acceptance of the election outcome by the people of Fiji.
Fiji's interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, released Fiji's new Constitution on August 22. The interim government has invited the public to "provide feedback on the accuracy of translations" of the Constitution into vernacular dialects until September 6, when President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will assent to the Constitution.
The draft Fiji Constitution includes:
Provision for a single-chamber Parliament of 50 members, elected on the basis of one person, one vote.
Elections to be held every four years, with the interim government reiterating its promise to hold elections by 30 September 2014 Suffrage for all Fijians over the age of 18, under a proportional representation system.
Individual regional constituencies to be abolished and replaced with one national constituency covering the whole of Fiji, as in The Netherlands and Israel.
A Prime Minister who commands the party with the most seats in Parliament to head the elected Government;
In line with current practice, a President as Head of State, who will also perform the ceremonial function of Commander in Chief of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
Media enquiries
  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

Kiwi Blog: The new Fiji constitution

August 25th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

 has released what is basically the final constitution for next year’s elections, and thereafter. It is embedded below.

The constitution is a vast improvement over the former constitution which was racially divisive. It has many laudable aspects to it.

blogged in March on the draft constitution and said:
  • Explicitly rules unconstitutional any future coups, or immunities for future illegal actions. A valiant attempt to stop the coup culture. But the wide role five to the military allows them to intervene in future and claim it is constitutional
  • Clearly defines Fiji as a secular state with freedom of religion, and that religious beliefs are subservient the the constitution and laws.
  • All citizens are equal, regardless of racial background.
  • A comprehensive bill of rights but the freedom of speech section has a long list of limitations which could in fact lead to fairly restricted speech.
  • A 50 MP proportional representation Parliament, with one national list. Was previously proposed to be a 45 MP Parliament with four regional lists.
  • No hereditary upper house
  • A four year fixed term
  • A neutral President appointed by Parliament. President is Commander-in-Chief, not the PM as originally proposed. President may not be a member of a political party
  • An independent Judiciary
  • The PM appoints the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
  • The role of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces is “to ensure at all times the security, defence and well-being of Fiji and all its residents”. I think that is far too wide a role, and can be used to justify the military doing almost anything they want, so long as they believe it is necessary to the “well-being” of Fiji. It is not their job to decide. Their job should be to protect Fiji from external threats.
  • Grants immunity to all those involved in past coups etc, and this section can never be amended or repealed.
  • Constitution can only be amended by a bill in Parliament that is then ratified by a three quarters majority in a referendum, and unclear if it needs three quarters of those voting or three quarters of all registered voters
The major problem with the constitution is the process, not the substance. It has been decided upon by the Commodore, and will be proclaimed by him without any public vote.

Furthermore it is very very difficult to change it in future, and the clauses dealing with immunity are stated to be beyond amendment or repeal. So you have a document proclaimed by one man, that will be supreme law, and parts of it can never ever be changed even if 99% of Fijians want it.

But the reality of Fiji is they have imperfect choices. The constitution is generally very good, and greatly superior to what they have had in the past. It allows for elections next year, and hopefully a path back to democracy.

The true test for Fiji will come if there is a time the Commodore contests an election, and does not win. I suspect he will win next year, but then he will have an opposition who can criticise him more vigorously, a Parliament that provides the opposition with a voice, and hopefully a more free media. That means that his current advantages may not last forever.

Not that I have a view on whether or not he should remain PM. That should be a judgement of the people of Fiji based on how good a job he does as PM in growing the economy, providing good education and health, uniting Fiji and the like.

Shazzer and Grubby: Bananas Republic Crimestitution

Darling Grubby, 

Thank God the constitution has at last been published. I was beginning to run out of excuses in April for its delay and it is now August. According to you and me it has taken 5 months to translate the Constifusion into Fijian and Hindi.

Inline images 1The unique way that the Attorney General, AiyASS Sayed Kriyum Pays, has looked at creating the constitution caused the delay. In normal times one would get the best legal brains and constitutional experts like Yash Ghai to construct the constitution but Kriyum Pays has got some of the highest paid criminal lawyers in Australia to look at the Constitution to make sure that he and the other armed robber Mr BEANimarama will never be convicted for any crime.  


It all starts with the immunity clause. Like any normal Dictator’s immunity clause it excuses any crime they might have committed whilst in power or when they overthrew a legal government. But where this immunity clause is different is that it gives them immunity for crimes they have not yet committed.

AiyASS Sayed Kriyum Pays and Mr BEANimarama will have a full year from when the constitution is promulgated in September 2013 until the elections in September 2014 to commit as many crimes as they like and they cannot be arrested or imprisoned. It is truly an Armed Robber’s charter. 

If that is not enough under the new constitution the AG gets to choose all the senior legal officers of the country. The Chief justice, the Head off DPP and the Supreme Court are all picked by the AG and we all know who will be the AG in the first parliament. That’s right Kriyum Pays. As you know he has said the Attorney General does not need to be an elected Member of Parliament. He knows he is the most hated man in the Bananas Republic and would never get elected.

You can just see the interview for the DPP position. 

AG – “Will you prosecute me and Mr BEANimarama?”
DPP Applicant  - “Yes” 
AG – “Well you have not got the job then. Guards take this interviewee away and behead him and put his head on a spear on the entrance into the Dictator’s buildings.”

Not only that but AiyASS Sayed Kriyum Pays can continue to write decrees right up until the election day. I heard that in the next budget he is going to rename VAT to the Venerate AiyASS Tax. He will also increase it to 15%. Every transaction in the Bananas Republic will have to pay this levy and unlike the current VAT system there will be no refunds. Aunty Nur Barmy Aunty is already busy setting up another secret bank account for him. 

The other safeguard he has included is that for the rest of the year he can make changes to the constitution with a cabinet decision. So if he realizes there is any danger to his power he will change it immediately. On the other hand if anyone else wants to make any changes they need to get 75% of MPs and 75% of the registered Voters to agree to the changes.

Then to make sure the Dictator wins the election they have created the new super constituency. The whole of Fiji and all Fiji Citizens anywhere in the world will all be voting for the same constituency. He has done a study that shows with only small amounts of rigging he can guarantee a landslide win for the Dictator Mr BEANimarama. 

Grubby I am going to tell you a secret. I always feel a bit, you know, turned on whenever I am in his presence. I guess like every good Ozzie convict’s daughter I have a fantasy of being a criminal mastermind’s floozy. Just writing this letter to you has left me feeling a bit you know horny. I can’t wait for you to come on round with a bottle of Champagne to celebrate the new Crimestitution.

Hugs and kisses
  
Shazzer

This is to inform the public that this letter is a piece of fiction. However, some of the people and events mentioned are real.

Under the new Constitution the RFMF will have its name changed to ARM. Armed Robbers & Mercenaries.

Croz Walsh Blog: An Independent Judiciary?

AUG 24

Former High Court Judge Nazhat Shameem* had this to say in reply to an enquirer:

I have been saying all this while, that there is no evidence that the judiciary lacks the ability to make independent and impartial decisions. While there has been much talk of stifling free speech in the Yabaki case, if one reads the judgment, one will find that the law applied by the judge was the law of England on contempt of court which says that while people are free to express the most trenchant criticisms of judgments, saying that they are wrong or mistaken, what one cannot say is that the judge or judiciary is corrupt or biased or that it is motivated by irrelevant considerations such as a bribe or public opinion.

This jurisdiction of contempt is alive and well in every Commonwealth country. It survives not to protect individual judges but to protect the judiciary from scurrilous attacks which may undermine public confidence in the institution. The judiciary depends on public opinion for legitimacy.

However if the judiciary really is corrupt a person can rely on the defence of truth to defend against a charge of contempt. So for instance Yabaki could have argued the truth. However he was unable to do so.

This is because allegations that the judiciary lacks independence are based on no evidence at all. Gossip and rumour do not constitute evidence. Nor is a Law Society of England report evidence of lack of independence.

A number of the Decrees in Fiji have ouster clauses saying that a person cannot challenge the lawfulness of the Decree in a court. Ouster clauses are not popular with judges because they purport to oust or limit the power of the court to consider legal challenges on some issues. However many countries have ouster clauses in relation to immigration or anti-terrorist laws and while that might not be the best situation for any country such clauses do not make the judiciary tainted. In fact judges still sit to consider whether the ouster clause applies to a particular fact or circumstance.

It has been alleged also that the government in Fiji cannot be sued. I heard this the other day from a USP academic, to my surprise. This is of course nonsense. People sue the government weekly for medical negligence, personal injuries and malicious prosecution. Then courts have ordered costs against the State in criminal cases far more than they order costs against the defence. Even the old prohibition on obtaining injunctions against the State has been whittled down by the courts especially in the area of human rights laws.

I conduct training for the judiciary and I have never found any evidence that the judges are partial to the executive, or that they are in any way interfered with.

Persons who may not be popular with the government such as Tuisolia and Imrana Jalal, the boatswain (for want of a better word) who was alleged to have helped Tevita Mara to escape to Tonga and Mahendra Chaudhery have been either acquitted by judges or had charges stayed without any repercussions from the State.

Sadly these facts are known to everyone but they are not always palatable to everyone. 

I believe that the judiciary is in a much better place than it was when I was a judge, from 1999 to 2009, fighting serious gender and racial hostility on the bench, confronting judge-shopping by lawyers, and dealing with serious delays in the delivery of judgments and decisions. There was no judicial collegiality, and very little support for the judges who were attacked in parliament or in the media for implementing human rights cases under the Constitution. Most civil judges sat in chambers away from the public eye and judgments were not published on a daily or weekly basis.

There are some stronger steps that would protect the judiciary further though, and they are:

1. Security of tenure for judges meaning life appointments for local judges and 5 year appointments for expatriates;
2. A resurrection of the Judicial Services Commission with one lay member on it preferably a woman (this will probably happen after the new Constitution);
3. Continuous gender training (they already get gender training three times a year but there is always a need for more!)
4. A  new Code of Judicial Ethics more closely modeled on the Bangalore principles with a provision for discipline for breach. The 2005 Code is inadequate and woolly. Discipline should be controlled by judges themselves and there should be a complaints similar to the UK model which seems to work the best in terms of clarity and transparency.
5. Apart from paclii [USP's Law Library] which is very good and posts all judgments up on the net daily there should be a regular Fiji law reporting service controlled by the judiciary.
6. Currently all courts are open and no one is allowed to sit in chambers. However, there is a need for greater case management of the civil courts as there are still delays in the system. However criminal cases are case managed and the turnaround time for charge-trial-conviction/.acquittal is 18 months and only 12 months in Labasa.

This extract from Wikipedia on Nazhat Shameem who is now in private practice:

From 1994 to 1999 she was Director of Public Prosecutions after serving as a prosecutor for ten years. She is a graduate of Sussex University and Cambridge University, and is a Barrister of the Inner Temple in London. She holds a Master of Laws and a Master of Philosophy in criminology. She is a former chairperson of Fiji Children's Coordinating Committee for Children and is particularly interested in the way the justice system affects women and children. She has attended conferences internationally and has delivered papers on corruption, judicial transparency and gender equality.

She was appointed to the bench in 1999 as Fiji's first, and 2007 so far only, Indo-Fijian female High Court judge. Justice Shameem is in the criminal jurisdiction of the High Court of Fiji.

Shameem is best known for her trials since the 2000 Fijian coup d'├ętat conviction and sentencing of perpetrators of the 2000 Fijian coup d'├ętat, in which the government of Mahendra Chaudhry was deposed in May 2000. She also heard a number of cases in which she was very critical of prison conditions for remand prisoners in Fiji. In 2005, she declared the remand centre in Suva inhumane and degrading and in breach of the Fiji Constitution. She also heard a case on mandatory imprisonment for drug offenders in 2001, and declared such sentences as disproportionatly severe and in breach of Section 25 of the Constitution. The Drugs decree was later repealed by Parliament.

Unite now

August 25, 2013 

“…the Bainimarama government has stuck to its promise on Fiji’s new constitution,” ––– Sitiveni Rabuka

By MAIKA BOLATIKI

Former Prime Minister and ex-Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), Sitiveni Rabuka, has called on all Fijians to support the new constitution.

He said people should be glad that the Bainimarama Government had stuck to its promise on Fiji’s new constitution.

“Now we have a constitution that we all contributed to and we must support it,” Mr Rabuka said.

He said the new constitution would boost investor confidence; something that he said had been affected by the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution.

Mr Rabuka said more investors would now have the confidence to invest in Fiji because of the constitution.

With the new constitution in place, Mr Rabuka said a new journey would start and we should all be part of it.

He said he was not happy that the political parties had decided to stay out of the constitution briefing that was called by the Government.According to Mr Rabuka, their decision was uncalled for and they should have gone to the briefing to hear what was in the constitution.

“To stay out of the briefing is really uncalled for especially when they will be major players in the 2014 elections.”

He said staying out of the briefing would not help them as they prepared for the elections.
“The constitution has set the way for the 2014 elections.”

Mr Rabuka said changes could be made in the constitution but there are proper procedures to be followed.

“There will be no changes made by airing their concerns and seeking the support of their international counterparts.”

Fiji’s main opposition political parties – the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party (NFP) are rejecting the constitution.

Mr Rabuka has urged these political parties to lend their support and contest the elections as changes can only be made in parliament.

Fiji constitution an important step: Aust

AAP
August 24, 2013 6:05PM

AUSTRALIA stands ready to support Fiji in making steps towards a return to democracy, Foreign Minister Bob Carr says.

Senator Carr says the Fiji government's released its draft constitution and that's an important step forward for that nation's commitment to hold elections by September 2014.

"Australia stands ready to support Fiji in making credible steps towards a return to democracy," Senator Carr said in a statement on Saturday.

"We've provided $2.65 million to support development of Fiji's electoral processes and will continue consultations with other donors and the Fiji authorities to identify further needs."

Fiji's interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum released Fiji's new Constitution on August 22. It is expected to be formally promulgated on September 6.

RFMF backs final form

August 23, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
A-G happy with positive response from participants
By MAIKA BOLATIKI

Fiji’s new constitution unveiled yesterday has the support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF).



RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga
This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun yesterday by the RFMF Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga.

Sounding optimistic about the country’s future Colonel Tikoitoga said they would carry out their role to the best their capability and has assured all of their security.

Section 131 (2) of the Constitution spells out clearly the function of the RFMF and it stipulates – “It shall be the overall responsibility of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to ensure at all times the security, defence and well-being of Fiji and all Fijians.”

According to Colonel Tikoitoga the new constitution has given equal opportunities to all and not to only a selected few as witnessed in the past.

It has also provide a secure atmosphere for the business community

This constitution, according to Colonel Tikoitoga, is tailor-made for the nation.

The new constitution, he said had set the pace for the 2014 election.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he was glad with the response from all the participants.

“Consultative sessions were held today on the final version of the new Constitution. The media, NGOs and civil society groups, the political parties and members of the diplomatic corps were invited,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The sessions he said were well attended and the new constitution was received positively.

However, he said it was a pity that none of the four registered political parties attended the briefings

When asked if it was a boycott the Attorney General said – “My response to their absence is that they just did not respond positively to the invite.”

A release from the United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UNDF) on Tuesday confirmed their non-attendance.

August 23, 2013

Glasgow Warriors sign Fiji’s Leone Nakarawa

Friday 23rd August 2013
by GARETH BLACK

Former Fiji Barbarians lock Leone Nakarawa at his unveiling at Glasgow Warriors. Picture: SNSFormer Fiji Barbarians lock Leone Nakarawa at his unveiling at Glasgow Warriors. Picture: SNS

GLASGOW have confirmed the signing of Fijian international Leone Nakarawa. The second-row, who can also play in the back row, has agreed a two-year deal subject to a medical.

The 25-year-old joins from the Fiji Barbarians rugby club and has 19 caps for his country.

Nakarawa becomes the third Fijian at the Warriors, joining compatriots Jerry Yanuyanutawa and last year’s player of the season, scrum-half Niko Matawalu.

Nakarawa arrived in Glasgow yesterday and is expected to join the club’s pre-season training today. He said: “I am very excited to have signed my first professional contract with Glasgow Warriors.

“I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to joining the squad for pre-season training.

“I’ve always wanted to play rugby outside Fiji and now I have that opportunity.

“I could have moved to England or France last year but stayed in Fiji.

“I am determined to make the most of this move.

“I’ve heard a lot about Glasgow from Niko and he talks very highly of the club. This will be a new experience for me and I can’t wait to get started.”

Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend said: “This is excellent news for the club.

“We’ve been tracking Leone for a long time and we’re delighted that he has agreed to join us.

“He has played both 15s and sevens for Fiji and is a dynamic and skilful player. His ball carrying ability and versatility will really strengthen our squad.

“Leone played for Fiji at the Rugby World Cup Sevens at the end of June, so we expect his fitness to be at a high level.

“We now have great competition for places in our forward pack, with a mix of different qualities, and this should stand us in good stead next season.

“We’re looking forward to Leone starting pre-season training with the rest of the squad tomorrow.”

Bainimarama to contest election

By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Friday, August 23, 2013

Update: 9:45AM PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will form a political party to contest the 2014 general election.

Confirming this at the Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) congress at the Sheraton Fiji Resort in Nadi this morning, Commodore Bainimarama said they would fight a battle of ideas with their opponents who were offered a briefing on the new constitution but did not show up.

"I will form a political party and my party will submit itself to the collective will of the 540,000 Fijians who have registered for election," he said.

UN says clashes in Golan have intensified

Syrian army and rebels engage in shelling in a UN-patrolled zone
AFP
Published: 16:44 August 21, 2013
United Nations: The spillover in the Golan Heights from the conflict in Syria has intensified in recent days, posing a threat to UN peacekeepers on the scene, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.
The Syrian army and opposition rebels have engaged in “intense shelling and heavy clashes” since August 17 in a UN-patrolled zone that separates Israel and Syria, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant secretary-general for political affairs, said.
No casualties have been reported so far, but the fighting has intensified near two UN positions, forcing peacekeepers to take shelter, he said.
The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) “observed the continued presence of road blocks with improvised explosive devices in the vicinity of UN positions which affects the freedom of movement of UNDOF personnel,” he said.
“Incidents of threatening behaviour against UNDOF personnel from armed members of the opposition were also reported,” he said.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces returned fire on Saturday after Syrian shells fell on a part of the Golan occupied by Israeli troops.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, protested against the shelling in a letter to the UN Security Council, warning “these sorts of provocations will not be tolerated.”
UNDOF has been monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria since 1974.
The situation in the Golan has been tense since the start of the conflict in Syria more than two years ago.
Israel, which is technically at war with Syria, captured 1,200 square kilometres of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War in 1967, and then annexed it, an action never recognised by the international community.

PM for 68th UNGA

August 22, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
By MAIKA BOLATIKI

The Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, will be attending the 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on September 23.

This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun yesterday by the Permanent Secretary Prime Minister’s Office, Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

“Yes the Prime Minister will be at the 68th UN General Assembly,” Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said.


In a release from the UNGA it said that the 68th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 68) will convene at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.


“The General Debate will open on Tuesday, September 24, 2013,” he said.


Mr Tikoduadua also confirmed that the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) through the G77+ Secretariat which is Timor- Leste has been invited to a side event organized by the G77+ Secretariat in NY in the margins of the 68th UNGA on September 23.


In an earlier interview with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Amena Yauvoli, he said the invitation was conveyed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to the PSIDS Leaders during the inaugural meeting of the PIDF in Nadi.


According to Mr Yauvoli the side event will be a grand opportunity for the PIDF Secretariat to showcase to the international community of the newly established regional organisation that is the “home of sustainable development” in the Pacific region and what it means to PSIDS for their future sustainable developments.


It is the only south-south Institution in the Pacific.


Timor-Leste has also committed funding for the side event.

New e-ticketing card provider promises the best

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, August 22, 2013

A NEW solution provider has come on board to provide e-ticketing cards.
Bula My (Fiji), which is yet to be accredited, is a software-based solutions provider that claims to guarantee customer-friendly services.
Company CEO Victor Ali said they would reveal how much their tickets cost once they are accreditation.
"I am still waiting for accreditation, our prices will not be as low as Vodafone but it will not be sky-rocketing either," Mr Ali said.
"People can also go online and register for a card and they will have to come to us with their ID where we can print their cards."
Mr Ali said their services would be unique because people could top up from inside the bus, which would make it convenient for students in the morning and the elderly instead of waiting in long lines outside their outlets.
He said people would tap in before taking their seat and tap out when they reached their destination to avoid any overcharging or misunderstandings by bus drivers. He added the Bula My Fiji cards would identify the cardholder as a child, adult or senior citizen when tapping in to the machines and it would also ensure the picture that appeared on the machine matched the picture on the card.
"One of the best things is that we are providing universal consoles that are made right here in Fiji and will accept any e-ticketing cards from Digicel and Vodafone or any other solutions provider.
"We are only waiting for the minimum standard requirements to be released before we can be accredited and provide the best services to the people of Fiji."
WHAT YOU GET
* People can top up their cards inside the bus
* People can book their seats in advance if they are travelling long distance
* The cards have special designs
* It takes 45 minutes for you to register and get your cards processed