September 30, 2011

Military Regime under more pressure

Qantas Airlines is under the pump by the Australian Federal Government which wants an explanation as to why they partook in Air Pacific comedy of error's in support of the illegal and treasonous military junta.

And if that's not enough, the European Union has formally extended their sanctions for another year because of "regressive developments".
Qantas linked to Fiji anti-union decree
Jeff Waters
Updated September 29, 2011 21:26:03

The Federal Government is calling on Qantas to explain its role in an anti-union crackdown by Fiji's military government.

Documents appear to show a company part-owned by Qantas, Air Pacific, paid for the drafting of Fiji's new Emergency Industries (Employment) decree.

Qantas owns 46 per cent of the Fijian airline, which is accused of paying a US law firm to draft Fiji's new decree which bans unionism in some sectors.

The decree has been widely condemned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and human rights groups.

Two Qantas directors also sit on the board of Air Pacific, which is 51-per-cent owned by the Fijian government.

So the question being widely asked is whether Qantas executives knew about, or had a hand in, Air Pacific's involvement in drafting the anti-union law.

Australia's parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island affairs Richard Marles calls the decree a "disgrace".

"There is no sense in which this is fair law, and the ILO have come to Fiji and made it really clear that they disagree with it; that it's in breach of ILO conventions," he said.

"I'm aware of the reports that Air Pacific engaged lawyers to draft the essential industry's decree; obviously Qantas is a near-half shareholder in Air Pacific.

"Qantas's engagement in Fiji is obviously a matter for Qantas, they're a private company, but I think all Australians and Australian businesses that are engaging in Fiji need to be exercising their own judgment about whether or not their actions benefit the people of Fiji."

Mr Marles says Qantas should explain any potential involvement in drafting the decree to the Australian public.

"In this circumstance, I think it is completely appropriate that the Australian public hears from Qantas an explanation for how they've exercised their judgment in this case around the essential industry's decree," he said.

But Qantas, which is facing its own industrial action, is distancing itself from the scandal.

No-one from Qantas was available for interview on any possible connection between itself, Air Pacific and the union crackdown.

But a spokesman said Qantas had no involvement in the day-to-day running of Air Pacific.

Air Pacific did not return the ABC's calls or emails.
'No excuse'
ACTU president Ged Kearney says she also wants the situation explained.

And she says that when Qantas's own Australian unions hear about the possible link, it may make matters much worse for an airline which is bracing for strike action on Friday.

"There's no excuse whatsoever," Ms Kearney said.

"In fact, it's a significant shareholding. They have a responsibility to be influential with what is happening on the board and ... trade unions would be absolutely horrified to think that Qantas had any role in the drafting of the decrees in Fiji and the implementation and indeed funding it.

"If workers thought that Qantas had any role in what's happening in Fiji, it would simply invigorate the action they're taking against Qantas.

"It goes a long way to explaining - if it were true, that Qantas did have a role in this - a long way to explaining why they have the attitude they're having to their workers in Australia; why it's so difficult for Australian trade unions to actually be negotiating decent outcomes for their workers here."

September 28, 2011

Stuff NZ: Trouble for govt following Fiji's poor showing

Last updated 10:32 28/09/2011

Mutiny is threatening in the ranks of the military controlled Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) with a navy commander demanding the union's army head make key changes now or go.

In the wake of a 27-7 thumping by Samoa in Auckland last week in the Rugby World Cup, Fiji has slipped heavily in rugby ranks, will now have to pre-qualify in the next World Cup and fears a drop in International Rugby Board (IRB) funding.

Coup leader Voreqe Bainimarama earlier this year engineered a take-over of the FRU by requiring them to follow regime instructions or not receive state funding to get to the cup of F$3 million (NZ$2 million).

He tried to install his brother-in-law and Suva Rugby Union head, Commander Francis Kean, as head of the FRU.

Kean's 2007 conviction for manslaughter at the wedding of Bainimarama's daughter kept him out of the FRU job which instead it went to the Army's Land Force head Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga.

Kean - who heads the navy and the Public Works Department - today says Tikoitoga and the FRU board installed by Bainimarama should be blamed for the weekend defeat.

He said he had been calling for changes that had not been made.

"No comment on Fiji's performance. Let's give our boys a chance against Wales, who knows nothing is impossible if they play their hearts out on the day," he told the Fiji Sun.

"However, had the FRU board taken the time to deliberate on the 25 plus resolutions and motions that Suva Rugby Union had submitted to be discussed at the AGM in Sigatoka this year we would not be complaining now."

Recommendations included replacing head coach Samu Domoni with former coach Ilivasi Tabua and making wholesale changes within the FRU and its High Performance Unit.

He said Suva was hopeful that the FRU will have the guts to make the changes now and put in place the right people and programme leading up to the 2015 RWC.

Yesterday Tikoitoga said changes would be made once the team returns home.

The defeat is having political implications in Fiji where martial law remains in place and media censorship prevents any criticism of Bainimarama appearing in public.

But with the connection between the regime and the union, censors appear to have let words like "embarrassing", "mediocre" and "shameful" be published.

The Fiji team is now at its worst ever ranking since the inception of rugby union and face a funding review from the International Rugby Board.

Fiji is now ranked 16th behind Samoa on 10th and Tonga 13th in the Pacific Island countries with the World Cup being used as a selection platform for the next round of strategic funding for Tier Two nations.

State controlled Fiji Broadcasting this morning said the RWC performance means they will get less money from the IRB.

Over the last three years it received F$2.5 million but had not used it properly and its national side had no training grounds of its own.

The broadcaster contrasted Fiji's inaction with that of the Samoa where its union had used IRB funding to create four training pitches, accommodation for up to 90 people and a rehab centre.

- Stuff

Fiji Police Band "entertain" at the rugby world cup

Words fail us.

And Radio Tarana is clearly the shot caller in this epic joke.

September 27, 2011

More evidence of the Khaiyum & Tappoo swindle using pensioners funds

As we all know, fellow blog C4.5 has been exposing the scandulous and unethical deals being cooked up and instigated against the pensioners of Fiji by the superannuation fund, Fiji National Provident Fund and Kanti Tappoo, subtly massaged by Tappoo's blood money brother in arms, the illegally and treasonously vile Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

New revelations suggest more discrepancies on the alleged corruption/favourable treatment for Tappoo Holdings Ltd by FNPF.

Penina Ltd is the joint venture company between the FNPF and Tappoo Holdings.

Penina Ltd, as of 06 April 2009, owns the land where the "Tappoo City" complex is situated.

The land was acquired by FNPF for $2,500,000 from NBF asset management Ltd on 30 Nov 1998 and the land was transferred to Penina Limited for $3,315,000 on 31 Aug 2006.

 On 20 May 2010 Penina Ltd made a special allotment of $6.5 million shares, allotting 3,315,000 Ordinary A class shares to FNPF (refer to transfer price above) and 3,185,000 of ordinary B class shares to Tappoo Holdings. The question is for what or against what was the allotment made giving Tappoos 49% of the issued shares?

Section 56 of the Companies Act require such allotments supported in the completion of "company form 221" to give the particulars of the contract and must be stamped with same duty as would have been payable if the contract is/was reduced to writing. The Stamp duty paid on 24 May 2010 was FJD$4.50.

It is once again alleged that someone high within the present illegal and treasonous military regime stopped the auditors from questioning the peculiar allotment arrangement and that it was settlement aka a kickback for the purchase, by Tappoo's, of the regime member's property at a grossly inflated price.

Also peculiar is that in this "company form 221", the property acquired by Penina is described as "land property" without references to the land of title (CT 39184 Lot 1, DP 9849) therefore suggesting that it was practically vacant land, despite the public proposal that the single original Tappoo building on the ground floor with shops would be demolished.

As revealed by C4.5, other informants are revealing that the whole complex has been rented to Tappoos at 8% Return on Investments for 15 years and that Tappoos has an agreement for exclusive purchase of the property at "market price" at a future date. These agreements indicated here will influence the sale price of the property at a future date, reduce the rental, and ultimately reduce the purchase price by Tappoos.

Even though FNPF would be reimbursed for the purported transfer, clearly the dealings were not made on a level playing field.

Note: Read the Ernst & Young report as leaked by C4.5 for more context.

September 24, 2011

Bainimarama's ineptitude plain to see on the World Stage

Despite the illegal and treasonous military regime's self-aggrandising hoopla about the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama as one of the 21 Vice President's of the 66th sesssion of the UNGA and co-chairing of a session on Dessertication with the President of Austria...

...reality and raw incompetence can never be masked, no matter how well one thinks one's acting skills can fluff their way through it.

Watch and consider for yourself as Bainimarama text's his way through co-chairing; shuffles through papers to look intelligent; fiddles with his pencil; nods like a first class dolt and then occassionally looks after each country intervention to visibly grapple with the f*** heck is going on.

The icing on the cake comes 47 minutes into the debate when Bainimarama actually begins to chair the interactive panel.

Yes citizens and taxpayers of Fiji, this is what you pay for against your will and now the planet has seen on the world stage the calibre of the person pretending to represent your interests at the United Nations.

September 21, 2011

FHL spin uncensored for now

FInally. It took Pio Tikoduadua's fingers-in-the-cookie-jar letter as posted up today, to release Sharon Goebbel's muzzle over the media to allow Fiji Village news to run a still non-news spin of the Fijian Holdings debacle.
Special Audit conducted on FHL Chairman
Publish date/time: 21/09/2011 [12:59]

Officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance are currently conducting a Special Audit in relation to certain allegations leveled against Fijian Holdings Limited Chairman, Carl Cameron.

Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua stressed that there are no changes in the Chairmanship at this stage and the audit will determine their next step.

Colonel Tikoduadua said the final decision will be made soon as the Special Audit is expected to be completed within the next few days.

Story by: Vijay Narayan
Intelligentsiya understands that the allegations levelled against Carl Ngamoki-Cameron as received via complaints to Bainimarama and which his audit team are investigating are:
1) That he requested management to customize the official appointment letter to himself with new clauses without Board's approval;
2) That he verified unilateral appointment to several subsidiaries as Chair without consent and consensus of other Directors;
3) That he did not consult other Directors nor given them adequate opportunities to be part of subsidiary Boards;
4) That we willfully obstructed payments which are contractually due to other Director namely Mr. Lutu for insurance;
5) That he facilitated a friend to conduct an internal examination of MF at company cost;
6) That he applied undue pressure at the HRM, Management and Directors, to recruit that consultant as the GM for Merchant Finance even when the consultant has not applied for the position;
7) That he did not follow the process even after being reminded by the HRM and acting GM-MF;
8) That he penalized acting GM-MF for highlighting the wrong process;
9) That he acted against the agreed majority decision at interview panel at the interview of GM-MF;
10) That Board of MF were not consulted in the appointment of the new GM and not allowed to facilitate setting discretion of authorities limits, KPI;
11) That he incurred capital expenditure without due board approval process.
The unauthorized expenditure were for:
(i) Apple noteback which was not compatible with FHL system. No quotes were called for and was purchased by you in Auckland and demanded reimbursements for;
(ii) Purchase a second notebook, IPAD from friend GM-MF and requested reimbursement from FHL;
(iii) Purchase of a wireless printer from FHL funds.
12) That he incurred unauthorized expenses such as phone bill, subscriptions course fees;
13) That he used FHL office for private work including use of office phone, board room for meeting with private clients;
14) That he caused selected management staff to report directly to him;
15) That he communicated directly with staff and suppliers without following proper process;
16) That he willfully delayed to review expired staff contracts (7 middle managers);
17) That he selectively invited shareholders to a part(y) at Suva Yatch Club using company funds - Directors and Management were not invited;
18) That there were no justified reasons for a quick travel to PNG at an exorbitant cost without prior Board approval. During this travel he incurred a cost of 14K to travel back to attend a private Fiji NZ business council meeting;
19) That in the trip he was accompanied by newly appointed GM and MF;
20) That he approved the sponsorship of FRU without prior board's approval;
21) That he used external consultations/friends for BLC and PR consultant for FHL without Board's approval; and
22) That he made unilateral decisions without giving due respect to other Board members

If these allegations are found to be true, the FHL Board members need to also reflect on their spinelessness in allowing ad hoc processes instituted by Ngamoki-Cameron to run amok and they should have been more vigilant so that agrieved parties could seek redress and solace inside the organisation.

Intelligentsiya understands that the final audit report is to be ready by tomorrow (22nd October 2012) and directed to the Office of the PM as the illegal and treasonous "Minister" in charge of Fijian Affairs (we do not subscribe to the i Taukei fallacy).

As this audit is in the public interest and has been undertaken by civil servants and therefore taxpayers money, it is incumbent on the regime to make it public and transparent. Values which we know are not within the realm of these military and treasonous sorts.

Intelligentsiya would also strongly urge Lt Col Pio Tikoduadua to exercise caution and restraint on whatever he is trying to hide because we've got his numbers. All of them.

Pio Tikoduadua puts his neck on the line in Fijian Holdings shenanigans

As we leaked earlier, the Fijian Holdings shenanigans continue.

Lt Col Pio Tikoduadua is adamantly (yet delicately) continuing to bat for the stood down Carl Ngamoki-Cameron and his stooge at one of Fijian Holdings subsidiary bodies Merchant Finance (MF), Greg Cathcart.

We suspect Sharon Goebbel's efforts of the In flagrante delicto nature could also be at play here.

We understand that Cathcart is currently in Vanuatu on unauthorised company costs and is seeking legal advice on his options. Good luck with that one mate because your "legal status" in this country could nullify any of those "legal options".

We post here a letter that implicates Tikoduadua and his delicate "invitation" to the board to reverse their decision and reinstate both Ngamoki and Cathcart.

In doing so, Tikoduadua is in fact trying to pervert the course of justice and undermine what Bainimarama has mandated to be done.

Now any right thinking person would be asking what Tikoduadua's interest in Fijian Holdings is (apart from Sharon's needling). And the answer where any of these illegal and treasonous military regime members are concerned is, as usual, MONEY.

Tikoduadua has a standing loan account (that has failed to be serviced for some time now) at Merchants Finance for about FJD$65K.

With the status of Tikoduadua's health in question, what he owes to Merchant Finance and therefore shareholders -- such as retirees, dalo farmers, cane farmers, copra farmers, yaqona farmers -- is at risk of being written off and one can only surmise that he was hoping to get it written off sooner by taking a hit for his mates.

September 20, 2011

Nazhat Shameem's brazen self-promotion

Now we're guessing that as the illegal and treasonous Nazhat Shameem delivered what would otherwise be a fine speech, the shameless hypocrisy and irony of it all is completely lost on her.

As a "legal consultant" commissioned to address such an auspicious gathering of heads of corporations in Fiji, Shameem does not blink an eye as she puts her husband on an pedestal and creates a need for her services while she's at it. The matter of such things being a gross conflict of interest in the context of good governance, is also a matter of "selective amnesia".

Shameem may like to offer her services to other illegal and treasonous sorts such as the CEO of Air Pacific, Dave Pflieger and his personal patron, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum who are probably agitated about being sprung by fellow blog C4.5 as a result of whistle blowing.

Whistle blowing policies a must, says former judge
Felix Chaudhary
Monday, September 19, 2011

LOCAL organisations can protect themselves against prosecution by implementing internal whistle blowing policies.

Legal consultant Nazhat Shameem said such a measure would encourage employees to ask questions and help companies confront unethical or illegal practices early. She said employees who brought wrongdoing at their own organisations to the attention of superiors could do it anonymously as was practised by Vodafone Fiji.

Ms Shameem made these remarks while speaking at the annual Top Executive Conference last Saturday. Addressing delegates in the governance segment of the two-day event, she spoke mainly on "directors liabilities, roles and responsibilities of board of directors".

"Companies can now be prosecuted for everything, rape, murder, bigamy, if they have allowed the commitment of such an offence," she stressed in a speech that mostly called for the appointment of qualified boards who were educated on the law, especially the newly-introduced Crimes Decree 2009.

Boards, she said, should insist on legal and ethical compliance and a board should also be able to recognise the first signs of fraud and corruption.

"How do you know when the red flag's gone up, how do you know when you should start poking your nose? The first sign of corruption in an organisation is lack of compliance with procedure. When people start writing you anonymous letters saying financial controller is having an affair and there's corruption in the Nadi office, that's a red flag for you, that all is not well."

She said sexual harassment was "high risk" for companies and any complaint should be dealt with decisively.

"It is not enough to have a policy, there has to be education and training and decisive sanctions.

"People go to the PM's office to complain because corporate bodies have no whistle blowing processes. There is nowhere to go so of course they will go to the PM. If a company does not have a whistle blowing policy then they will find other ways of venting their grievances which at the end of the day looks bad on your organisation."

Fiji, she said, had a bad and shocking history of governance so it was important that a responsible board and chief executive officer was appointed.

"And so this is the time, it is at forums like this that CEOs and directors need to do some kind of post mortem to ask themselves what went wrong and how to ensure that the risks in running business in Fiji are avoided."

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum consolidates control over government machinery

While those politically ignorant cheer, clap and salute the illegal and treasonous regime's appointment of a (first ever) female Fijian (we don't subscribe to the itaukei farce) to the position of chief of our national Foreign Policy bureaucracy, the underlying currents point to a whole different ball game.

Firstly, it is no secret that in any foreign policy of a nation, bilateral and multilateral "cooperation" is always underpinned by the promise of trade relationships. No one "cooperates" internationally out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. Foreign policy and trade relationships provide sovereign nations with carrot and stick leverage and all over the globe the two functions of cooperation and trade are almost always inextricably tied -- you have to know the credibility of one's relationship (cooperation) with another country before you can trade with them.

So when the illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum starts grunting warnings about him controlling who Fiji can and cannot trade with, and slamming trade relationships that have fared us well within the Pacific region wearing his hat as "Attorney General", the situation is glaringly clear.

Aiyaz trusts only his boy (and a fellow muslim to boot) to handle trade under his direct command while the foreign policy folks will be limited to shallow roles such as "meet and greet" of international counterparts.

In other words, fellow regime supporter Rt Inoke Kubuabula's role, just like Solo Mara the former chief of Foreign Affairs, has being weakened and they will be put out to pasture very soon.

And that means that as Khaiyum consolidates greater control of the government machinery, the rest of the regime are powerless and are essentially sitting ducks. Even Bainimarama.

AG warns against signing deals
Elenoa Baselala
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ATTORNEY General and Minister for Industry and Trade Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum warned against Fiji ratifying or signing up to trade agreements that did not benefit the country.

Speaking at the opening of the Top Executives Conference held at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa in Nadi last week, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said past government's were quick to sign up to regional and international trade agreements without carrying out a thorough investigation on the merits of doing so.

"If you go back, even Fiji's hurried agreement to sign up to the World Trade Organisation when many other advanced economies did not because of the provisos in signing up with WTO. Perhaps governments in the past have been prone to looking good in front of the public and the media to please the international community at the expense of being able to control your own destiny to an extent- whether it be tariff control or whether it be incentives to direct businesses in a particular direction," he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this government's commitment to encouraging regional and international trade with the interest of the country put first and foremost had clearly been outlined in recent times.

"From Monday, the international trade arm that exists in Foreign Affairs will move to the Ministry of Industry and Trade to provide the synergy that is critical in terms of whenever we have our own trade officials negotiating trade agreements or discussing trade internationally, they need to be first and foremost, mindful of what will the impact be in Fiji-for business houses, for employment, for our ability to grow our businesses," the AG said.

As part of the move to improve trade relation negotiations, former deputy permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Shaheen Ali, replaces Saipora Mataikabara as the new PS for Industry and Trade. Ms Mataikabara will assume a post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The unfolding Fijian Holdings drama: Shareholders Beware

Now that the unfolding drama about Fijian Holdings has been conveniently muzzled by Sharon Smith Johns, we can confirm that the chief propagandarist is smack "bang" in the middle of this "affair" which explains the sudden yanking of the FHL story by censors.

The now "sayonara-ed" Chair of Fijian Holdings, Carl Ngamok-Cameron and his stooge in Merchants Finance, Greg Cathcart, have both been told to stand down while the audit takes place. It is believed that the axe will indeed fall on them both.

It has also come to light that this Maori, Carl Ngamoki-Cameron's entrance into Fiji was by way of his professional links with Nur Bano Ali under BDO.

Ngamoki-Cameron who has absolutely no business in heading this fijian owned corporation, is meanwhile enjoying an "up close and personal" linkage with Sharon Smith-Johns, another opportunist.

As of yesterday, it appears that Sharon may have manipulated Bainimarama's recently-returned-from-Asia, throat-cancer-patient and stooge, Pio Tikoduadua, to defend Ngamoki-Cameron (and therefore Smith-John's indirectly) despite his busy schedule as illegal and treasonous Permanent Secretary in the PM's Office and Director of government owned entities such as Airports Fiji Limited, the Housing Authority and the Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority,

What the frail and feeble Tikoduadua cannot defend however is plain evidence of abuse of shareholders funds and corruption at the highest level by the Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum nominated (and duly signed off by another clueless military hatchetman, Ben Naliva) Carl Ngamoki-Cameron.

It is said that Khaiyum, upon smelling the steaming sh** on the proverbial fan, has totally washed his hands off the whole affair, leaving Smith Johns to actively defend Ngamoki-Cameron's plight using any and every means possible. What Smith-Johns fails to realize, is that by implication, she is going against an audit into Carl Ngamoki-Cameron endorsed and approved by Bainimarama himself.

Fijian Holdings as a shareholder owned institution has severed all financial links to the government machinery by paying back its FJD$20million investment grant in June last year, but the entity continues to be the playground for illegal and treasonous military appointees and their puppets.

Ngamoki-Cameron during his short stint as Chair, helped himself to shareholders funds by buying himself the latest MAC gadgets, and flitted around all over Melanesia among other flagrant misdemeanours.

Ngamoki-Cameron's buddy that he appointed at Merchants Finance, Greg Cathcart, did not apply for the post but was leap-frogged through the recruitment process and suddenly came out smelling like roses over other local candidates with bonafide street cred. To aggravate the situation, Ngamoki-Cameron had previously sold Cathcart a piece of property in Fiji at a highly inflated price which would to normal people, look- feel- and smell- like a kickback.

The whole disaster was a ruse by some individuals like Nur Bano and Sayed Khaiyum to get into this fijian owned corporation, control and sell off all its various organs, at bargain basement prices while disempowering fijians.

The same kind of politics is currently being played out at the Fijian Affairs Board, where scholarships earmarked for Kaiviti are in danger of being subsumed by the Public Service Commission, and the proponent of this initiative being Parmesh Chand (undoubtedly at the nudging of someone else).

We urge shareholders of Fijian Holdings to scrutinize the dealings of the the body carefully and vigilantly and vociferously  guard their financial interests.

As for the failed rugby world cup song pushed by Ngamoki-Cameron? Sources say there are thousands of CD's of the appalling tune, paid for by shareholders, that they cannot move (ie sell).

All of this will come to light very soon.

September 19, 2011

Fiji Village confirms our Fijian Holdings news

As we broke this morning, Fiji Village has now confirmed our lead.

PM orders special audit on FHL chairman
Publish date/time: 19/09/2011 [13:03]

A team from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Finance is now conducting a special audit on the Chairman of Fijian Holdings Limited, Carl Cameron.

FHL has announced that Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has appointed a committee to undertake the special audit regarding the allegations received against Cameron.

The FHL board met this morning and also appointed Iowane Naiveli as the Acting Chairman until the special audit is completed.

The board said at this stage the audit is focused on corporate governance related issues and the recent appointment of the General Manager for Merchant Finance, Greg Cathcart.

Cameron was appointed as the Chairman of Fijian Holdings on the 27th of June this year and is also the Chairman for Merchant Finance and Investments, Fijian Property Trust, FHL Logistics Limited, Blue Lagoon Cruises Limited and PNG based Pasifika Holdings Limited.

Meanwhile, the FHL board said it is business as usual for the company and the enquiry will have no impact on the day to day running of the group’s business activities.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Fijian Holdings Chair under investigation

The newly appointed Chair of the Fijian Holdings Board, Carl Ngamoki-Cameron, is currently under an audit investigation by the Prime Minister's office as approved by the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama.

Among the litany of Ngamoki's transgressions is the approval of the shoddy rugby world cup song and music video.

With such an appalling tune meant to inspire being a total mis-fire, it is absolutely no wonder that the national team was pulverized by South Africa on Saturday.

Judge it for yourself.

September 14, 2011

Radio Australia: NZ Law Society head says Fiji drifting to totalitarianism

Updated September 13, 2011 16:43:41

The New Zetland Law Society says the political situation in Fiji is so serious that would be tourists should seriously consider the implications before taking holidays there.

The society's President, Jonathan Temm, says the recent crackdown on the Methodist Church, and revelations about people being prosecuted for political reasons by the coup installed military government are profoundly disturbing.

He describes Fiji as drifting towards totalitarian government.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Jonathan Temm, President of the New Zealand Law Society
Listen here.

TEMM: Oh I think there's a grain of truth to what's been said, in fact there's more than a grain, there's a real ring of truth to the various information because it's coming from so many different quarters now. The reality is that the New Zealand Law Society is concerned about the path that the military regime is taking, it seems to be heading away from a democratic process and the path towards that, and heading in quite the opposite direction.

HILL: Well what if anything could the New Zealand Law Society do about this? This is happening or is alleged to be happening in Fiji, a completely separate jurisdiction?

TEMM: Well that's right, there's little that in reality the New Zealand Law Society can do, although we need to publicise the fact we have these concerns to draw to the attention of our own government and our own New Zealand public and point out to New Zealanders who are going to travel to Fiji that many of the rights and freedoms they enjoy in New Zealand no longer apply in that country, and when they travel there they need to be aware of it.

HILL: If you did that and this had some effect and people stopped going to Fiji, might not that negatively impact on Fiji's economy and cost the jobs of quite innocent Fijians involved in the tourism industry?

TEMM: It may well do, but let's be candid Bruce since 2006 Fijian tourism and indeed the economy in that country's been severely affected and it continues to be affected now. Part of that effect is people not travelling, part of it's the world global financial crisis and the consequences of that. So there's already been a consequence. But I suppose taking a philosophical position and a principled one, the quality of life for indigenous Fijians is already affected, it's affected significantly and they on the ground there know that. So whether you paper over those cracks and pretend it's not happening and try and achieve the least impact to them, the reality is they're already suffering significantly. As you know you can't assemble in Fiji without permits, there are a lot of emergency rules apply and the decrees, and they're all run by a very small cabal of people. This organisation now, this military regime really has all the attachments of a totalitarian state, a small cabal of unelected people are dictating to the entire population of Fiji what they can and can't do, including rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and so the people in Fiji are already suffering hugely, and it's probably the responsibility of the other Pacific countries to bring this to an end sooner rather than allow it to drift on endlessly.

HILL: If something like this is going on inside another country's legal system, is there anything that other countries can really do about it though?

TEMM: Well you're really asking then for some intervention on the international stage, there's foreign affairs departments, foreign affairs ministers and so forth who have that role. But this is a breach of UN conventions on political and civil rights for people in relation to what's happening to the Methodist Church, the freedom of assembly and the freedom of religion. There are steps that can be taken but at a practical level Bruce those things are much likely to be done more in review when this regime comes inevitably to the end that it will. The reality of human history, and if you look at any event that you want, is that this regime will run its course, it will come to an end in one way or another. The people who are responsible for these decisions will later be held to account, and the important thing to do now is to keep a documentary record of the conduct of these people, and that's certainly occurring.

HILL: What about the role of Australian and New Zealand legal practitioners who are in Fiji acting as lawyers and also officials for the government?

TEMM: Well I'm not aware of so many, my understanding is that predominantly Sri Lankans have been imported into Fiji, although I believe the position in Fiji has been misrepresented to them and on arrival in Fiji they find out the position is different from what they expected, and that's why you're now getting a sudden drift away from Fiji for those people who arrive. I'm not aware of a great deal of New Zealanders and Australians who are practising there, but I do notice that even Fijians themselves do want outside lawyers to come in because it's only then do people arrive with their own sense of what is the rule of law, what is fair and just in a justice system, and then when they see it not operating they protest about it and the Fijian military regime is forced to terminate those people and send them away. Now if you have that constant sort of cycle going on then there's just more and more record building of the abuses by the regime in Fiji. So it's a betwixt and between, if you go to Fiji it'll usually be misrepresented to you as to what you're going to find, and when you get there it's vastly different from what you would expect from a normal, proper justice system, and then you keep a record and a path, that's a matter for the individuals to decide what they want to do. But I do notice indigenous Fijians and some of the human rights activists in that country are now living abroad do want people to continue to go to Fiji and to see for themselves just what exactly is going on there.

ILO expresses concerns over "Essential Industries" decree implementation

Statement on Fiji, by ILO Director-General Juan Somavia
Statement | September 13, 2011

The Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Juan Somavia, expressed deep regret at the decision of the Government of Fiji to proceed with the publication of regulations to implement the Essential Industries (Employment) Decree which was gazetted in late July.

The decision, announced on 9 September, designates eleven named corporations in the financial, telecommunications, civil aviation, and public utilities industries as falling under the application of the Decree with very far-reaching implications for the exercise of trade union rights. They include the ending of existing collective agreements, the designation of new bargaining agents which may not be trade unions, and the possible imposition of compulsory arbitration of disputes and other limits on the right to strike. The Attorney-General has said that other industries could be added to the list at a later date.

Mr. Somavia’s statement follows the visit of a High-Level ILO secretariat mission to Fiji in August which had raised the Organization’s concerns about the Decree with the Government and advised it on the negative implications for Fiji’s international obligations under ratified ILO Conventions.

He said that “By going ahead with this Decree the Government has demonstrated the same lack of concern for the views of the international community as it has for the rights and aspirations of its own people. What is really essential for Fiji is that it change course now. That means reversing this and other restrictive labour decrees, a return to dialogue with trade unions and employers, an end to assaults on and harassment of trade unionists, and the immediate restoration of basic civil liberties.”

He highlighted the importance of the communiqué issued by the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting (Auckland, New Zealand, 7-8 September) which expressed their “continuing deep concern at the deteriorating human rights situation and serious political and economic challenges facing the people of Fiji”. The ILO had presented a submission on Fiji to the Forum in which it warned of “the danger of a serious degradation of the situation in the near future”.

Mr. Somavia added that “the Government must understand that meeting these challenges, and the success of the reforms to which it claims to be committed, cannot be achieved through the denial of fundamental rights. The people of Fiji deserve better.”

Note: Read the ILO submission to the PIF Ministerial Contact Group here.

The Telegraph: Mystery over spate of tourist deaths on military-controlled Fiji

A spate of mysterious deaths on the military-controlled Pacific island of Fiji has led to accusations that authorities are censoring media coverage to protect the multi-million dollar tourism industry.
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
7:00AM BST 13 Sep 2011

A Japanese woman, an American businessman and two New Zealanders have died on Fiji in the past three months.

The latest death was Mami Nakamura, 27, a Japanese student at an English-language school, whose decomposing body was found among mangroves on September 5.

Ms Nakamura was last seen heading to a beach party in Nadi, the main resort town, six days earlier but news media on Fiji gave the incident no coverage until a few days ago.

Government censors control every newsroom in Fiji and sources say authorities allowed media reports to be published only after the news leaked out through anti-government blogsites.

Coup Four and a Half, a leading dissident blogsite, claimed local media had been warned not to report the foreigners' deaths by a regime fearing negative publicity would keep tourists away.

It said of Ms Nakamura's suspected murder: "Attempts to get the full story out in the local media were impeded yet again by censors, with the unelected government running scared because of the implications with the Japanese government."

But Sharon Smith-Jones, a spokesman for the Fiji government, attacked the blogsite's credibility, dismissing its claims as "completely untrue".

She insisted all of the incidents had been well covered by the Pacific island nation's media.

Brigadier Ioane Naivalurua, the police commissioner, told the Fiji Times: "We don't give up or rest until we discover the truth of what happened to Ms Nakamura."

Meanwhile, family members continue to fund a private search for Don Nicholas, chief executive of a medical institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, who disappeared on July 15 while surfing off Natadola beach, near Nadi.

They have set up a website called to seek information and have posted a reward of US$100,000 (£63,000) for information.

In New Zealand, relatives and friends are puzzled by the fate of Greymouth man Tony Groom, who died days after being badly beaten up in Nadi on July 8.

Fijian police ruled that he had died of natural causes and no investigation into his death was carried out.

The first death was that of Chelsia Mary Lo, a 33-year-old Auckland woman who is understood to have fallen off the luxury superyacht Alani II in the Blue Lagoon resort on June 13.

No post mortem is known to have been conducted, and her family say her body was cremated before they were officially informed of her death.

Ms Lo's sister told the Sunday Star Times newspaper: "I thought it was strange for someone to be cremated on the same day their body was found."

Fiji has been under the control of military leader Voreqe Bainimarama since he seized power in a coup in 2006.

He has promised elections in 2014.

September 12, 2011

The Khaiyum’s and Tappoo’s – More Dodgy Dealings

The illegal AG’s younger brother placed an order for 9 vehicles with Madhu Tappoo over dinner on Saturday night.
Tappoo’s launched a new Kia car on Saturday 3rd September at their showroom in Suva. The chief guest was none other than the illegal “Minister of Everything that Makes Me Money” Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. We had the usual plaque unveiling, the usual mutually congratulatory speeches and the usual ass licking. 
After the launch and cocktails, the entire Khaiyum family, Mummy, Daddy, Ag. Riyaz and their wives went to a private dinner. The only other guests were the entire Tappoo family.
It was over dinner that the real business of the day started. Riyaz the CEO of FBCL was sitting next Madhu Tappoo, the CEO of the Group. He turned to Madhu and said “I need to buy 9 vehicles. Can I buy them from you? The answer was of course yes, the price was set and the deal was done.

So shortly we will see FBCL execs and managers driving a range of Kia cars in the coming weeks.

What we want to know is the following:
  • What about the Tender Process? Riyaz we are not talking about how tender the beef fillet was at dinner either.
  •  What were the prices paid?
  •  How much cash was passes under the dinner table to Riyaz Khaiyum as a thank you?

This sounds like a job for FICAC. Oh no they only investigate the AG’s enemies not his relations and fellow corrupt citizens of Fiji.

September 09, 2011

Dr Wadan Narsey: Shoddy Tebutt Opinion Poll by the Lowy Institute

The interpretations that the Lowy Institute and coup supporters are putting on the recent Tebbutt Research Poll in Fiji would be laughable, if only the long-term consequences of such propaganda were not so tragic for ordinary people of Fiji.

Students of survey methodology should find this “Lowy Institute Poll” extremely interesting, in a perverse kind of way, on how not to conduct, and how not to interpret sensitive opinion polls in a Fiji, dominated by a climate of fear and intimidation.

A number of relevant questions need to be asked:

1. is the poll genuinely representative of the views of Fiji people?

2. could the questions be understood by ordinary Fiji citizens in the time given?

3. could citizens honestly answer, given the climate of fear in Fiji (cf the Charter)

4. why did the Lowy Institute not report all the tables?

5. which tables did the Lowy Institute choose not to release?

6.  Why did the Lowy Institute ignore the political climate of fear in Fiji? 

7. who financed the poll and their interests in Fiji.

8. links between Tebbutt Research and the Bainimarama Regime and functionaries?

1.  The Tebbutt sample was not representative of Fiji but systematically biased.
The experts in the Household Survey Unit of the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics will tell you that to randomly select and poll even one thousand households from the 180,000 households  throughout Fiji, is extremely difficult.

You would need to use the 2007 Census locations for all the households through Fiji (urban and rural, including the islands) and randomly select a properly stratified sample of 1000 households, a very technical and difficult statistical exercise in a country like Fiji. Secondly, it is a logistical and cost nightmare to train, transport and accommodate interviewers throughout the length  and breadth of Fiji.

No doubt, to save time, effort and money, the Tebbutt Poll restricted itself to urban and peri-urban areas on Viti Levu: Suva, Lami, Nasinu, and Nausori in Central Division, and Nadi, Lautoka, and Ba in the Western Division.

In other words, all households in rural Viti Levu and rural and urban Vanua Levu, and all other islands were left out.

Rural households are the traditional supporters of Qarase and Chaudhry both marginalized by Bainimarama.  In many rural areas, their traditional leaders continue to oppose the Bainimarama Regime: Naitasiri (Takiveikata in gaol); Rewa (Ro Temumu Kepa continues to suffer persecution by the Regime), and Cakaudrove (Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu forced to lie low). 

The ommitted rural households have also fared very badly since 2006, while urban households  have not suffered so much.

The results of the latest poverty analysis shows that, between 2002 and 2009, poverty in rural areas has worsened:  the sugar industry has been decimated and most of the farmers and cane cutters dependent on the sugar industry will not have been polled. 

While the polled urban households generally gained between 2002 and 2009, largely because of their dependence on formal sector employment (with wages and salaries not being cut despite the  economic depression) and large remittance inflows from abroad.

The poll was therefore systematically biased towards favourable responses (even if they were genuinely given) and left out rural responses which would have been more negative.

The Lowy Report tries to create the impression of the poll being very scientific. It claimed (in italics) and my comments (in parentheses) (page 23 of the Report): 

“The sample was stratified by ethnicity (iTaukei, Indo-Fijian, and other ethnicities), gender, age, and location”.

[The statisticians at FIBoS and Australian Bureau of Statistics would laugh at how Tebbutt Poll would have done this incredibly difficult exercise, which even FIBoS struggles with].

“Start points were selected at random, and respondents were selected at random from within the household, to quota.”

 [Start points may have been selected at random, but it is extremely unlikely that the interviewers would have randomly chosen all the next households to interview, until they reached their “quota”. Probably those closest to the man roads.  More laughs]

“Data was post-weighted to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics population estimates (based on the 2006 census)”.

[All the Tebbutt Poll would have done was ensured that the responses were scaled up to the same national proportions of the ethnic groups recorded by the 2007 Census.  But there is absolutely no way that urban responses on Viti Levu can be scaled up to represent possible rural responses throughout Fiji, or both urban and rural Vanua Levu. More laughs from the statisticians if this survey claims to represent all Fiji.]

And the final outrageous statement suggesting great statistical accuracy “at 95% confidence level”:  

“A truly random survey of the sampled population with this sample size, surveyed with 100% response rate, would produce results with a maximum ±3.04% margin of error at 95% confidence level.”

Yes indeed, this might be true IF it was a “truly random sample”.  But it blatantly was not a random sample, instead, systematically biased towards favourable responses given under fear.

The Director of Polling (Fergus Hanson) and Research Consultant (Sol Lebovic) should be hanging their heads in shame that they did not point out all these very serious statistical qualifications that were omitted from the Lowy Report (deliberately or otherwise).  Just as well for Caz Tebbutt that it is not her Report but the “Lowy Report”.

2. The totally unrealistic questions asked
There were some 25 questions in each interview lasting a total of 10 to 15 minutes according to the Lowy Report, or roughly 24 seconds to 36 seconds per question.  Let us just say 30 seconds on average.

But look at the questions below and imagine how they would have been understood by average Fiji persons, in English or, heaven forbid, in Fijian or Hindustani translations.

On average, it would take at least 20 seconds to ask most question (some would take five minutes), leaving 10 seconds for the person to think about and given their answers.

Table 1a: Please rate your feelings towards some countries, with 100 meaning a very warm, favourable feeling, 0 (zero) meaning a very cold, unfavourable feeling, and 50 meaning not particularly warm or cold. You can use any number from zero to 100: the higher the number the more favourable your feelings are toward that country.

There were 14 countries to comment on, in 10 seconds?

Table 1b: Thinking now about the Fiji Government’s relations with governments from other countries, do you personally agree or disagree that it is important for the Fiji government to have a good relationship with the governments of each of the following countries…

Again, 14 countries to choose from:  and what could the answer possibly be except yes to all.

But wait: note the rankings of the countries in Table 1b:  At the top are, in order of popularity:  Australia, NZ, US, and UK.  All countries who have totally disapproved of and acted against the Bainimarama Regime in stopping aid from the EU and getting expelled from the Commonwealth and Forum. 

China and India, the countries that have supported the Bainimarama Regime come only fifth and sixth, while the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries who Bainimarama has been actively courting, come even lower down.

Table 2a: Do you personally agree or disagree with the approach the Australian Government has taken towards the current Government in Fiji in response to the 2006 coup?

Table 2b: Following the 2006 coup, the Australian government imposed travel sanctions against members of the Fiji Government and Military and supported the suspension of Fiji from the Commonwealth. Which one of the following approaches do you personally think the Australian government should now take?

How on earth could an average Fiji citizen assess such a complex foreign policy measure by Australia, which flummox even academics and Think Tank experts, like Jenny Hayward-Jones.  But hold it. An amazing 36% of Fiji citizens agreed with the sanctions?

Table 3:  Foreign countries should try to pressure for democratic elections in Fiji, OR Foreign countries should allow Fiji to sort out its return to democracy on its own

Table 4A:  Do you personally agree or disagree with Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth?

Table 4B: Do you personally agree or disagree with the decision to exclude Fiji from participation in the Commonwealth Games?

What on earth can be the normal reaction of ordinary citizens to any kind of sanctions against one’s country and one’s people?

Table 5: Due to travel sanctions, Fiji’s rugby team might miss out on participating in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. I am going to read you three statements about this, and please tell me which one you agree with most.

Astonishing for rugby mad Fiji, 37% agreed that the sanctions were necessary.

Table 6A: Do you personally agree or disagree that Fiji currently plays a leadership role in the Pacific?

Table 6B: Thinking back to Fiji’s leadership role say 5 years ago, and comparing that to nowadays, would you personally say that Fiji’s leadership role in the Pacific is now stronger, weaker or about the same?

What on earth is happening?  45% of the respondents said that Fiji’s role in the region was now stronger?

Table 7: Please think now about regional organisations. Overall, which one do you personally think is more important for Fiji…

Only 16% thought that MSG was more important for Fiji, compared to 51% for Forum.

What? The organisation that Bainimarama is most contemptuous of, got four times the approval that the MSG gets?

Table 8: Do you personally think that Australia/New Zealand) should be a member of the Pacific Islands Forum?

Now which Fiji citizen would know about the implications for the Pacific countries of having Australia and NZ as members or not members of the Forum?

Table 9: Do you personally agree or disagree with Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum?

What on earth could be the answer to this from ordinary Fiji citizens?

Table 10: Overall, how good a job do you personally think Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is doing as Prime Minister?

Wow.  66% approved of his role as Prime Ministers.

Which person in his right mind in Fiji today would dare tell some interviewer from Suva (who could well be an informer for the army) that Bainimarama was not doing a good job?

What does such a question mean, if there are no alternative Prime Ministers given such as Qarase, Chaudhry, Mick Beddoes, Jai Ram Reddy or Madraiwiwi?

Note: Wikileaks has just revealed that John Samy admitted to the US Ambassador before departing for New Zealand that the alleged public approval of the Charter was strongly influenced by the army intimidation. But no public revelations yet.

Table 11: Overall, do you personally think that things in Fiji are going in the right direction or in the wrong direction?

How on earth could this question be interpreted by the average Fiji citizen?  Right direction?  Wrong direction?  With respect to what policy?

Table 12: Overall, would you personally say the government is doing a very good job, a fairly good job, an average job, a fairly poor job or a very poor job of listening to the views of people like yourself?

87% allegedly said this Military Regime is doing a good or average job of listening to the ordinary people?

In a country where the Parliament (of ordinary people’s representatives) has been closed, whose GCC has been shut down,  where sports organisations have been taken over by the Regime; where legitimate gatherings of (some) churches and unions are banned and people prosecuted; where dissidents are taken up to the camp for “questioning”; where a regional university can be financially blackmailed to get rid of questioning academics?

Table 13:  How good a job do you personally think the Government is doing in terms of delivering services in education, health, transport:  More than 69% said good.

Which ordinary citizen being polled will know how much this coup has cost the country in terms of lost incomes and government revenues and services (more than a billion dollars over four years) in return for a few tens of millions thrown at school busfares or squatter housing? 

Which ordinary citizen being polled will know about the hundreds of millions of dollars of tax-payers’ funds gone missing and four years of Auditor Generals Report not being released by the same Bainimarama Government?

Table 14: How would you rate what the Government is doing in terms of working on…

More than 80% said good or average for the following (but, the facts say otherwise).

Ending racial inequalities and divisions (worse new)
Improving land ownership laws (nothing doing)
Increasing employment opportunities (worse now)
Improving the economy  (worse now)
Reducing poverty (worse now)
Preparing to draft a new Constitution  ( what’s the hurry- wait another 3 years?)
Making progress towards elections (what’s the hurry? wait another 3 years)
Reforming the electoral system (hey, what’s the hurry? wait another 3 years)

Table 15: Thinking about what effect the new constitution will have, please say whether you personally agree or disagree with the following statements…More than 70% agree:

            Will lead to a better democracy in Fiji
            Will end racial inequalities and divisions in Fiji
            Will end the coup culture in Fiji

Table 16: Please say which one of the three statements comes closest to your own personal views about democracy.

Preferable to any other kind of government 53%
Non-democratic government preferable under some circumstances 25%
Doesn’t matter to someone like me 21%

What on earth will ordinary citizens (or even the experts) say about questions 15 and 16, when they don’t even know that the Charter, Roadmaps etc are all repetitions of whatever is there in the 1997 Constitution, and they have no idea at all of what a genuine democracy is, or that a “non-democratic government” is here a surrogate for an illegal  treasonous military Regime?

Table 17: Do you personally think that the Church and other religious organisations should be involved a lot, a little or not at all in politics?

66% said “Not At All”, obviously thinking only of the Methodists being currently bashed by Bainimarama- not of the Hindus, Catholics and Muslims who politically and actively supported Bainimarama’s 2006 coup and his and John Samy’s Charter charade.

Table 18A: Overall, do you personally approve or disapprove of the RFMF’s role in Fiji at the moment?  68% approved. 

Who in Fiji would dare to tell an interviewer that they disapprove of the army in the current climate?  How much do the ordinary citizens know about how much extra tax-payers funds the military has been illegally swallowing up since 2006, denying them funds for health (shortage of basic medicines at hospitals- buy your own says Neil Dharma) education  and social welfare. 

But hold it.  31% actually said they disapproved, even in this biased sample?  What would the number be without the media censorship, Public Emergency Decree and arbitrary arrests?

Table 18B: Still looking to the future, do you personally agree or disagree that the Republic of Fiji Military Forces should play a permanent role in politics?  53% agree.

Well, well, well. 

Table 19: Since the December 2006 coup, do you personally think the local media
in Fiji has become more reliable and trustworthy, less reliable and trustworthy or is it about the same as before the coup?

In a country which continues to suffer from total media censorship, with one newspaper owned by a totally pro-Bainimarama business (which also has extended its tentacles to  the Fiji Pension Fund and the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority), one newspaper whose owner is in gaol and facing more charges, one radio station run by Aiyaz Khaiyum’s brother, and a television station whose control is about to be taken away from Yasana Holdings (the current majority shareholder), by the Military-controlled Fijian Holdings Limited.  A country where no critical news are allowed about the missing hundreds of millions at FNPF, all kinds of secret under-the-table deals bypassing the tenders board, pensioners’ views on the imminent cutting of their pensions not allowed in the media, or the views of some economists critical of this regime ....

43% of the poll respondents said the media was now more reliable;  31% same; i.e. 74% said the media was the same or more reliable after the 2006 coup.

This must really take the cake as far as the reliability of the Lowy Institute Poll is concerned.   Heh heh heh heh heh heh.  Please pick me up from the floor. 

20.  Importance of human rights:

The right to freely express yourself (no such freedom in Fiji)
The right to freely vote in national elections (no such freedom in Fiji)
The right to a fair trial (no such freedom in Fiji)
The right to a media free from censorship (no such freedom in Fiji)

With no Bainimarama presence hovering over this question, more than 95% of the respondents said yes. 

Yet the Bainimarama Regime has deprived Fiji’s people of all these basic human rights.

What is reported and what is not reported
Earlier Tebbutt Poll reports (for The Fiji Times) usually gave break-downs by ethnicity, age, gender and division.  They consistently showed greater Fijian support for Qarase than for Bainimarama; and that Indo-Fijians showed greater support for Bainimarama- largely because of his rhetoric of racial equality.

Whether that Indo-Fijian support would still be there today in a secret referendum is an interesting question, given that the sugar industry has significantly declined, casual wage earners (mostly Indo-Fijian) have suffered badly because of the stagnating economy, and Indo-Fijian leaders have been marginalised  (a few swallows don’t make a summer).

The detailed ethnic break-downs are not given for every table, however dubious the results.

Were the rural areas to be randomly polled as well, all the results in support of Bainimarama would go down, despite the upward pressure from the “fear factor”.

Clear Lowy Report bias towards Bainimarama
The Report may be easily characterised as portraying the Bainimarama Regime in a good light, not just from the cover picture of a very respectable looking Bainimarama speaking at the United Nations.

The introduction to the Lowy Report alleges that the differences between the Qarase SDL/FLP Govenrment and Bainimarama emerged over the three contentious Bills- Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill, the Qoliqoli Bill and the Land Tribunal Bill.

But more and more evidence is coming out that Bainimarama had been planning the 2006 coup from the time that the Qarase Government wanted him prosecuted for the several deaths in military custody, surcharged for over-spending the military budget in 2004, 2005 and removed as Commander for insubordination. 

Some allegations are now being made by Major Mara that Bainimarama may have initially supported the 2000 coup and the removal of Chaudhry’s Government.

But the Lowy Report simplistically claims  

“When the government did not meet all the military’s demands, Bainimarama seized power and assumed the position of Prime Minister, which he has maintained to date. He promised to engage in a clean-up campaign to rid Fiji of corruption and to eliminate racial inequalities in Fiji. Bainimarama said elections would be held when the country was stable and when appropriate electoral reforms were implemented”.

No comment at all on all the broken promises since 2006 or the final treasonous abrogation of the 1997 Constitution in 2009, by a manipulated senile President.

The Lowy Report is full of strange strained logic which puts a positive spin on the Bainimarama Regime, and tries to ultimately suggest that Australia is out of line and should lift all its sanctions and restore all links with the Bainimarama Regime.

This is the line that Jenny Hayward-Jones has consistently taken over the last couple of years, driven largely by the view that Australia has been out maneuvered and being displaced in the Pacific by China.

It would be more honest of the Lowy Institute if they were to honestly come out and maintain their arguments purely on foreign policy interests of Australia vis a  vis China.

There was no need to engage in a statistical charade of an opinion poll, with unrealistic questions being asked of ordinary Fiji citizens in a climate of fear, with outrageous conclusions being reached based on the unreliable responses received.

It does not help that Caz Tebutt has personal business interests in pushing the Fiji Australia Business Council line for restoration of normal Australian relations with Fiji: her opinion poll business took a nosedive with the 2006 coup and Australian sanctions on Fiji (but ironically encouraged her to extend her business to the Pacific and earned her an Exporter of the Year Award). Her business could do with a revival of the Fiji economy.

It is not plausible of the Fiji Regime spokesperson (more than a passing acquaintance of Caz Tebbutt) to claim that the Regime had no idea that such a great expert survey was being conducted.  Nor is it plausible for Tebutt Research to claim that they did not ask for permission from the Regime but just “sought legal opinion”.

It also does not help the Lowy Institute reputation that this poll was co-financed privately by one Mark Johnson AO who supposedly has mineral exploration interests in Vanua Levu. 

Given the positive spin that this Lowy Poll has put on Bainimarama, Johnson will no doubt be glad to have Bainimarama’s goodwill over the next few years when his business interests in Fiji come on stream and he has to negotiate taxation regimes with the Regime.

Dishonest pressure on Australian Government
It is ludicrous that the Lowy Institute should use the dubious responses from a 1032 ordinary relatively under-educated citizens of Fiji, to place pressure on the Australian Government to change its foreign policy stance on Fiji.

Or to pressure the Forum countries to do the same.

It is dismaying that writers like Graham Davis, who are given credibility by national Australian newspapers like The Australian, should contemptuously contrast the “high popularity rating” of Bainimarama from the grossly biased Tebbutt Poll with the allegedly low rating of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Australia.

Davis and other coup supporters like Croz Walsh should note that for a proper comparison to be made, Julia Gillard would have to:

* use guns to remove a lawful government and make herself Prime Minister
* illegally over-spend tax-payers funds amounting to more than twice the Health Budget
* stop five years of Auditor General’s Reports on Government revenues and expenditure
* hide reports on the losses of hundreds of millions of dollars of pension funds resulting from decisions made by boards appointed by herself;
* illegally pay herself 30 years of back-pay for leave she allegedly did not take
* stop the audit of Regimental Funds abused by successive Military Commanders
* pay herself multiple salaries through a private accounting firm which also receives large business deals without going through proper tender processes
* have total media censorship in place, with a Public Emergency Decree that bans all meetings not wanted by her
* and ensure a judiciary that enforces Military Decrees including those which state that the Regime may not be taken to court for anything.

The list is still growing. Fiji is a small place and truth will eventually come out about  everything.

Simply because this regime had maintained a stranglehold on Fiji for the last five years does not in any way make it right or that it is going to be good for Fiji in the long run.

Nor does it mean that neighbouring Forum countries should just accept the “bad boy” back in the fold, as Anote Tong (Kiribati President) so naively suggests.

Forum countries who keep supporting Bainimarama for whatever reason they have, need to think about the day when their own soldiers or police forces may forget their oaths of obedience to the lawful elected government of the day and copy Bainimarama.

We Fiji people know now that we cannot expect any support from the US Government who (as Wikileaks has revealed) knew all the dirt on the Bainimarama Regime, but chose to not support Australia and NZ pressures on Fiji, because of their own foreign policy need for Fijian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (likewise the morally bankrupt UN). Tough luck for human rights and democracy in Fiji, eh?

For the Pacific, the Lowy Institute has just undermined itself very badly as an independent and objective “Think Tank”.

It shows itself to be just a private lobby group, indulging in propaganda, manipulating shonky opinion polls, to justify its foreign policy view for Australia, based largely on fear of China.

The Australian Government needs to ask whether the Lowy Institute really deserves Australian tax-payers funds in order to so contemptuously undermine long term law and order, constitutionality, and basic human rights in Pacific Island countries.