September 16, 2007

The Head Count begins...

We're sorry but we really must vehemently disagree with the Fiji Times Editorial today which urges us to support the census.

Yes it has been a while since the last one but we would ask where are priorities for the people of Fiji? Vatukoula miners have been lamenting their patch for a long time and yet we are about to splurge on an exercise that really does nothing for us. Policy formulation and reform plans (based on census results) be damned! Bread and butter cries are resonating from every corner of this country.

We are constantly bombarded with contradictory words and actions. We are told that the civil service needs to be "reformed" because it costs too much but in the very next breath the Government has committed to renting more space from the Kadavu Provincial Council (as a thank you to Rt Jo Nawalowalo for sticking his neck out and supporting the GCC Reform of course).

Not only that, we have the iPSC Permanent Secretary lamenting poor per diems and the need to use UN rates (need we remind her that UN rates are for UN officials and those countries and entities that can afford it). Then we have Mr Teleni lamenting his contract conditions (for which he gets what he wants), followed by the huge delegation about to leave for Brussels with Mr Chaudhry for more sugar talks. Oh and we cannot forget about the pretty pennies all these legal consultants are costing us. Last but not least we are told that military purchases that are more then the $10K ceiling that have been rejected by the govt tender board gets instant cabinet approval.

The junta just don't get it (when have they ever we ask?). They say that our economy needs help yet they aren't really ready to face up to the fact that they need to PRIORITISE what's best for the people. It's safe to say that they just don't care.

So in relation to counting heads and this wasteful exercise we frankly just aren't interested. In fact let's make this fun. Let's give them numbers and data that will make their heads spin.

Because the fact of the matter is they have NO LEGAL RIGHT to be conducting a census. The census we suppose could be the preparatory part for phase 2. Once they understand the constituency demographics, we subscribe to the conspiracy theory that they will then re-draw up the boundaries to help skew election results.

After all no one is holding their breath for proposed election date promises anytime soon. They have yet to put the pieces of the puzzle that they need for their "mission" together -- chief among them which is banishing the key election threat Qarase into never-never land.

September 13, 2007

"Friend" of the Court?

We were half right. The court decided not to grant The Shyster with intervenor status but frankly the amicus curaie status is a whitewash.

We all know who's "friend" within the court The Shyster will be. Yep thats right the 2 Judges who would be stupid to rule against themselves (read: selective memories re: Treason).

But we sussed out their strategy. The junta knows full well that much rides on this case so apart from stacking the courts they need to stack the case so that it falls to their advantage. Enter the HRC who is now shamelessly flaunting themselves as coupsters and yet conveniently, as wolves in sheeps clothing do, pretending that they are still independent.

The junta knew full well that iState party needed help and what better platform then the generous human rights provisions as protected in the Constitution. The junta also knew new full well that as intervenors to the case they wouldn't have a chance. But intervenor status wasn't what they wanted anyway. It's the oldest trick in the book, negotiate upwards but your real "want" is what you will get when you reduce the options downwards.

They wanted to enter as amicus which more or less allows them to pick and choose all the human rights violations committed by Qarase (and if they're feeling generous they might point out that the junta also committed human rights violations like oh you know some minor traffic violation).

As a by the way, we must applaud the state lawyers McCoy, Pryde and Sherry. They learn pretty quick from their newly adopted junta mother as probably coached to them from I-arse who's still being breast-fed from the bhaini's in terms of bollywood acting. The fake "indignation" is most entertaining as they are the one and same!

Note to Mr Pride: keep those monthly free-booze sessions for the staff going -- its going to get your pockets nowhere and you may soon notice the peaks in "loyalty" on those nominated booze days.

Back to the cruncher. Byrnes & Gates let her be their "friend" and she advises the court using the most marvellous human rights fantasies that you could ever imagine, in order to put Mr Qarase away. Ties in well with the iPM's wishes too and then they'll withdraw the PER as a measure of good-will.

Then they'll pull the sob stories with the international community for sympathy and money and profess that the people have spoken by wanting a new way forward for Fiji a la Peoples Charter aka New Constitution.

Only problem with this is the best laid plans (especially where the junta is concerned) very often go awry.

But our question is who will be the friend of the people in these perplexing times?

September 11, 2007

Bending the Rules

Now this little bit of news was again sooo predictable on the part of the junta....

Twist to ousted PM court case

The Fiji Human Rights Commission wants to be an additional party in the case in which Mr Qarase is questioning the legality of the removal of his government by the Fiji Military last December.

Radaus/ Pacnews
Tue, 11 Sep 2007

SUVA, FIJI ---- There’s been a surprise twist in Fiji concerning the case brought out against the island’s military government by ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission wants to be an additional party in the case in which Mr Qarase is questioning the legality of the removal of his government by the Fiji Military last December.

Radio Australia reports outgoing director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission Shaista Shameem is asking the High Court for permission to be the intervener in Mr Qarase’s case.

She told acting chief justice Judge Anthony Gates this privilege is allowed for under the island’s Human Rights Act.

Dr Shameem said she also want to submit two reports her Commission has compiled about the legality of the military action.

But both the plaintiff and defendants’ lawyers objected to Dr Shameem’s application.

Mr Qarase’s lawyer Tevita Fa wondered whether the reports were authored by the Commission or by Dr Shameem herself.

He suggested the Human Rights Commission’s involvement can be considered at a later date.

The state lawyer agreed, submitting that both the two primary parties be allowed to continue on their own, without the intervention of Dr Shameem’s Commission.

Judge Gates will rule on the matter on Wednesday.

What she essentially suggests in her application is that the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Act can more or less bend the rules of our courts. Now the HRC Act does allow the Proceedings Commissioner (and not the Ombudsman) to be heard in the High Court, the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court in relation to any proceedings for which on unfair discrimination or violations of rights are at issue.

But the HRC's position as intervenor as clearly outlined in this media piece will (predictably) stoke the dying embers of "this coup was not a really a coup" and "Qarase et al committed crimes against humanity".

However, practically thinking the REAL role of the HRC in such a matter whether as amicus curiae or as an intervenor should be to provide specialist (human rights) advice and the HRC MUST BE INDEPENDENT of the parties to the case. There are court standards already in place to ensure this and they are called the High Court Rules.

But what will be most telling is when the learned Judge Gates rules in The Shyster's favour to intervene in this case (and mark our words he will because he wants to save his own neck as co-conspirator).

But wait! Thats not all. In July this year our good ol President under the expert advice (ho hum) of the iAG, Messrs Saiyed Khaiyum promulgated yet again changes to the High Court Act which allowed for judges from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India to sit on our benches.

Court stacking anyone? Cus that's really what's going down here.

September 07, 2007

Déjà Vu

Yes we’ve got déjà vu too. We’ve been down this road before and already the regional and international condemnation is coming thick and fast.

Sorry FVB folks. You will again bear the repeated brunt of having to perform miracles of turning water into wine on the tourism front. The upgraded travel advisories won’t make this task any easier.

So again we citizens have to make do with reduced public outbursts. You know what that means on the Letters to Ed and blogging fronts.

What is extremely entertaining tho’ is the continued charade of their continued upholding of our constitution. This time around the junta has firmly placing a noose around the Presidents neck who does not really have powers to declare a state of emergency. A Promulgation does not cut it folks…check your constitution. It is very unclear how The Shyster is interpreting her version of the light blue book.

But if there’s one thing we can count this junta on its PREDICTABILITY. Their cycle of governing has consistently been as follows

• Problem
• Knee Jerk reaction
• Impact
• Rethink reaction
• Problem
• Knee Jerk reaction
• Impact
• Rethink reaction

And so it goes. Only thing is the initial problems they encounter end up metamorphisizing into 3 more problems. Do not be surprised therefore that we aren’t going anywhere. Do not be further shocked to discover that original thinking nahi hai.

So where are we heading right now? Your guess is as good as ours. But hold fast and hold true to the fact that every cloud has a silver lining.

God is with us.