December 25, 2012

Fiji Leaks Gift to Fiji: THE GHAI CONSTITUTION: Fijileaks delivers Professor Yash Ghai's "Xmas Gift" to Fiji

Special Guest Contributor


I will be releasing the detailed "Explanatory Report" later in the day; meanwhile celebrate our triumph over secrecy, and remember the immortal words of Winston Churchill:
"You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! - of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic." 
I say with Ralph Waldo Emerson to Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum:
“Every burned book ...[Ghai's constitutional booklet].. enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.”  
Read the Draft Constitution in full, download it, and distribute it to every person in Fiji and beyond her shores! God bless the coup and cyclone victims!

Comic Relief: Shazzer goes to the Burning Constitution Beach Party

 Darling Grubby,

You missed the best Beach party on Saturday Night. It was a combined services party with the police and army in attendance. We had the biggest bonfire made up of 600 copies of the new constitution. Funnily enough they had nothing to light it with so I got out my trusted lighter and it was me that set fire to all waste paper. I felt so honored it was me who destroyed Fiji’s hopes for a democratic future.

We had a really good dinner all cooked over the constitutional bonfire.

Regime Pawns a la Yash Ghai
Christina Murray Cod
Ika Vakatale
Naandan Bread.

To finish off The Police Commissioner Novalorhere opened up the evidence room and we got Peni MoreDrugsPlease to roll joints all evening with that famous branded Fijiian Made Marijuana.

What a night Grubby.

Madam Nazihat von Shameondtme was there making fun of the draft constitution. She said “Yash Ghai has completely lost the plot. The Pacific’s longest serving dictator’s needs a constitution that empowers him and his cronies. It does not need a constitution with all that human rights and legal bull shit. I know these things because I am Fiji’s highest paid legal brain.” She went on to say. “My own constitution will be put forward to the Constituent Aiyarselickers and they will rubber stamp it as ordered by me, their chairman.” With that she marched off muttering under her breath that sand was not good for her jack boots.

The Glorious Leader Frankly Bananas also said a few words about freeing Fiji from colonial Slavery.

“The Frankly Bananas Regime will end all colonial ties with England. The first step was to remove the Queen’s head from the currency. The next step will be the removal of English as the official language of the Bananas Republic. It will be replaced by a new language more suited to a 1,000 year dictatorship. To make it easier on the people of Fiji the changes will be brought in over 5 years.

In the first year, 's' will replace the soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of 'k'. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replaced with 'f'. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

The regime will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' with 'v'.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou' and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of an enslavd Fiji vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking Deutche like gud Nazis.”

Grubby can we be German study partners in the New Year?

Got to dash.

Hugs and Kisses


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

I apologize to all Germans for the abuse of their language and the Nazi references. But it seems as if burning books is only one of many steps undertaken by Frankly Bananas to turn Fiji into a hated dictatorship

Aiyarse will not take a Christmas holiday this year. He will be in the office drawing up extradition papers to bring Yash Ghai back from Hong Kong to Fiji

Fiji draft constitution to be published on website very soon

Posted at 01:54 on 24 December, 2012 UTC

A member of Fiji’s Constitution Commission, Peni Moore, says the country’s draft constitution will be available on the Commission’s website very soon.

The commission’s chairperson, Professor Yash Ghai, handed the draft to Fiji’s President on Friday before leaving the country this morning.

He had earlier expressed disappointment the Fiji regime had scrapped the Commission’s job of getting public feedback on its proposals to be debated next year in the Constituent Assembly.

Ms Moore says 599 hard copies of the draft constitution are now at the office of the interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

    “And I’m actually recommending that people ask the Prime Minister’s office whether they can get copies. We were advised those copies would be used for the Constituent Assembly but we don’t assume there will be that many (needed for the CA), so it would be nice if people could access it.”

Peni Moore says the commssion’s explanatory report on the draft will also be published on the web.

Secrecy over Fiji constitution a worry - Labour

Updated at 10:17 pm on 24 December 2012

The Fiji Labour Party says secrecy over the country's draft constitution will affect the document's credibility.

This follows the Constitution Commission's cancellation of a meeting at the weekend after its chairman Professor Yash Ghai presented the draft to Fiji's president on Friday.

The party's leader Mahendra Chaudhry says the briefing for political parties and NGOs was cancelled under pressure from the regime and the people of Fiji and their mandated leaders are being shut out of the constitution process.

The meeting had been postponed from earlier in the week because of Cyclone Evan.

But a member of the commission, Peni Moore, says they weren't intimidated into cancelling the meeting but simply told their job was over.

The document is next month to come under the scrutiny of the Constituent Assembly yet to be appointed by the regime. Fiji's Labour Party says it fears that debate is likely to be carefully orchestrated.

Professor calls on public to begin with the book

Nasik Swami
Monday, December 24, 2012

FIJI'S new draft constitution which was handed to the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau by the Constitution Commission on Friday is one that holds a bright future for the nation.

This was revealed by commission chairman Professor Yash Ghai in an interview on Friday night.

Outlining some of the important key inclusions in the draft constitution, Prof Ghai said it had areas of economic prosperity, social peace and the wonderful rich culture.

He said the draft constitution would bring the people of Fiji living in different communities together.

Prof Ghai said together with the draft constitution was another book which explained the background to the constitutional process.

"My message to the people of Fiji is thank you very much for your co-operation and participation. The draft constitution is ready and another book which explains the background to the process as well as explanation of what is in the constitution," he said. Prof Ghai said for anyone in Fiji, the book was to begin with because the draft constitution was a legal text and not easy to follow by itself even though simple language had been used.

"Begin with the book and understand the reasons why we have adopted the draft constitution," he said.

Prof Ghai said the commission had done its job. He said it was now time for the people of Fiji to take responsibility of the draft constitution.

December 21, 2012

Blast from the Past: FIJI: THE FAILURE OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY? - Jone Dakuvula

Credit to the Stuck in Fiji Mud blog for this piece.

Asia-Pacific Network: 24 July 2000
A response to Dr Robert Wolfgramm of Monash University published in Fiji's Daily Post on July 15. This article was published in the Daily Post on July 27.


Dakuvula defends 1997 constitution: Who were the rapists of democracy?.

DR ROBERT WOLFGRAMM, of Monash University, published a long article (Daily Post, July 15, 2000) under the title "Why Democracy Has Failed" amongst Fijians. He did not define his subject, "Democracy", and particularly what it means in an ethnically divided country such as Fiji. Democracy as I understand it in a limited sense means elections, civil liberties and the right to organise. 

It could have a more radical meaning but that is the fundamental challenge facing all people of the world including indigenous Fijians in the 21st Century. Wolfgramm asserts that indigenous Fijians have never been asked whether they want constitutional democracy and its values. He believes Fijians still prefer their vanua and to be ruled by their Chiefs. This is like saying indigenous Fijians have not been asked whether they should have the Methodist Church, Capitalism, the modern state, public roads, Fiji Bitter, or academics analysing them for that matter.

Dr Wolfgramm should read Dr Esther Williams' and Kaushik Saskena's (of U.S.P) book, "Electoral Behaviour and Opinion in Fiji". This comprehensive study showed that 44% of the voters said the Chiefs had no influence over their votes in the 1999 General Election. Only 9% said the Chiefs did influence their votes. 36% (mostly Indo-Fijians) did not answer the question.

Contrary to what he asserts, a form of liberal Parliamentary system of Government based on regular elections and written Constitutions (albeit four so far) had operated quite successfully in Fiji for close to forty years since before the close of the colonial era. For most of that period, indigenous Fijian leaders held political power in the modern state, only briefly interrupted by about 13 months of two Fiji Labour Party Governments. Dr Wolfgramm should have asked the more specific mundane questions, such as for example: Why were there military-inspired Coups that overthrew these elected Labour-led Governments? And the answers are fairly pedestrian.

In May 1987 and May 2000, characters such as Sitiveni Rabuka, Apisai Tora, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and George Speight and their followers did not like the result of the Election and got supporters in the Fiji Military Forces to help over throw the newly elected Labour Government. And did they consult the Vanua, Fijian Chiefs or for that matter the Fijian people before they organised the Coups? But rallying some of them after the act was done was convenient and easy because many indigenous Fijians in the vanuas believe that the modern state also belongs to the Fijians, or to the "Vanua," and not to "others".

It is unclear whether Dr Wolfgramm is in favour of election as mechanism for changing government and holding our political leaders accountable. I might be wrong, but he seems to favour the old Colonial System of the Council of Chiefs nominating our Fijian Members of Parliament. He needs to tell that to Speight and his "wannabee Ministers" who prefer to dictate to the Chiefs who they should accept.

But if he still believes in General Election then, the more relevant question is, what type of electoral arrangement and Parliamentary system of Government is more likely to produce results that might avoid characters like Tora or Kubuabola, resorting to other methods that overturn the result! Notwithstanding my reservations about the Alternative Vote Electoral System, I thought the device of requiring the leader of the major party after an Election to invite the parties with more than eight seats into Cabinet is a pragmatic solution to the problems of governance here.

It ensures that all political communities are likely to be represented in a Coalition government. It was not fool proof solution especially with the S.V.T not included, it was free to arouse the Fijians. Any system can be wrecked by fanatics, as we have learnt to our cost.

The 1997 Constitution
Contrary to Dr Wolfgramm's belief, the 1997 Constitution was not the work of what he calls "Constitutional Romantics". The Members of the Reeves Commission were very experienced hard-headed "Constitutional realists". Over a period of 18 months, they received thousands of submissions from individuals, community groups, religious groups, organisations and political parties. They also had the benefit of advice from local and overseas scholars and experts on specific subjects of relevance and from all these, the Commissioners produced their Report with 694 recommendations for changes to our system of Constitutional Government.
Wolfgramm judged the Reeves Report thus:
Realists argue that democracy cannot force itself, it cannot be imposed against the consent of the affected. To do so would amount to constitutional rape.
He makes this assertion even though the Commission had undertaken the widest and most intensive public consultation ever since independence. Thereafter, the Report was discussed over a period of about six months by the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution and, most of its recommendations were adopted with some modifications. A Fijian version of the Report was unanimously endorsed by the Bose Levu Vakaturaga.

In both Houses of Parliament, the Constitution was also passed unanimously in June 1997. If that process is what Dr Wolfgramm calls a "constitutional rape" then we must wonder about his credentials as a student of Fiji's political history.

However, the problem of Dr Wolfgramm is not his scholarship but rather his political beliefs. He seems to support the George Speight-led Coup, whose moment of "Constitutional revolution" was inscribed in Clause B(b) of the Muanikau Accord thus:
The 1997 Constitution which they believe are repugnant to the preservation and protection of the rights and interests of indigenous Fijians in Fiji.
Who were the actual rapists of democracy?
It has been argued by some of Speight's supporters that the majority of Provincial Councils had rejected the Reeves Report, and that this was evidence that the majority of indigenous Fijians had repudiated the 1997 Constitution. And that Prime Minister Rabuka's Government had unwisely implemented the Reeves Report against the opposition of a majority of Fijians.

There is really no firm basis for this belief. Dr Williams' study that I have referred to above revealed 39% of the voters in 1999 thought the new Constitution was a good one, 24% said it was not a good one and 37% either did not know or had no opinion.

At the end of July 1996, Commissioner Tomasi Vakatora was asked by the Prime Minister to explain their Report to the Provincial Councils. He started with the Lomaiviti and the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial Councils. Both Councils supported the Reeves Report.

At that stage however, opponents of the Reeves Commission in the S.V.T. intervened at the Prime Minister's Office and directed that Tomasi Vakatora should stop his visits to the Provincial Councils because they argued it was not his responsibility to explain the Report to the rest of the Councils.

This was to be left to the Politicians. It was these Politicians, Jim Ah Koy, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Koresi Matatolu, Berenado Vunibobo and others, who then successfully campaigned in the other Provincial Councils for the rejection of the Reeves Report, in the expectation that this would put a stop to any further progress at the upper levels. These opponents of the Reeves Commission even succeeded at the S.V.T. Caucus in persuading Prime Minister Rabuka that they be free to vote according to their conscience in Parliament. They were permitted to do so. They did not vote against the Constitution Amendment Bill.

Post 1999 General Elections
However, when the S.V.T. was defeated in the 1999 General Election, they then agreed with members of the Nationalist Vanua Takalavo Party (with Rabuka sidelined to the Great Council of Chiefs Chairmanship), to campaign for the removal of the Chaudhry led-Government. They used the earlier rejection of the Provincial Councils as justification for the removal of the 1997 Constitution. Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and his men from Queen Elizabeth Barracks agreed. They compelled the President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara (illegally and against his will) to step down so they could introduce an "Abrogation of the Constitution Decree". Dr Wolfgramm argues later in his article and I quote:
Those who have had democracy imposed against their wishes will soon want to repudiate it. They will, having had bitter experience of it, become understandably suspicious of its purveyors.
This statement again presumes that there was was widespread repudiation of Constitutional democracy by indigenous Fijians two years later, in 1999. In the last election, many Fijians were disappointed especially with the unexpected result for the S.V.T. under the new Electoral System. But again it cannot be claimed that a majority of Fijians had rejected democracy either in May 1999 or in May 2000. In the May 1999 Election, the S.V.T. got only 34.4% of the Fijian votes. The Fijian parties who joined the Government had 61.3% of the total Fijian votes.

It was clear that there had been a massive rejection of the S.V.T in the last Election by the indigenous Fijians who voted for other parties. In the 1992 and 1994 Elections, the S.V.T. had received about 66% of the Fijian votes. The marches in May 2000 leading up to Speight's coup numbered at most 10,000. They were the consequence of a relentless propaganda campaign, for about one year by the S.V.T. and the N.V.T.L.P, based on misinformation and sometimes out right lies about the Governments Policies. The indigenous Fijians were aroused to a level of suspicion and hatred of Mahendra Chaudhry and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and even Sitiveni Rabuka, as evident in the distorted and false pamphlets written by the S.V.T. and Speight's supporters. These were distributed widely all over the country before and after the coup.

Fijian Chiefs
Wolfgramm claimed that the coup of Speight demonstrated that Fijians were as dedicated as ever to their Chiefs. What in fact the Coup showed was the ruthlessness of some ambitious Fijians who are not chiefs, but who merely wanted to use the Chiefs to get into positions of political power. At the last B.L.V. meeting, George Speight's agents strongly pushed for the B.L.V's final endorsement of all that Speight's group wanted. They were unsuccessful because of the resistance of some Chiefs, who demanded the release of all the hostages first before they could proceed to decide on the Presidency and Vice President.

It may be bad news to Dr Wolfgramm that the last Council of Chiefs Meeting had not changed it's earlier resolutions on how the current crisis should be resolved. The May 25th resolution had supported the 1997 Constitution as the appropriate framework for resolving the crisis. A leading Chief who had attended the last meeting told me that most of the Members of the B.L.V. had not accepted the Military's purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution. Their understanding is that they had merely supported the review of the 1997 Constitution and with possible changes to it if George Speight's grievances, upon examination, are found to be legitimate and amenable to a "Constitutional Solution."

Dr Wolfgramm also seems to be sceptical about the relevance of modern principles of good governance to Fijian institutions such as the Provinces, the Vanua, the Chiefly system and the Native Land Trust Board. I believe that the endurance of the Fijian Vanuas and the system of Chiefly leadership can only be strengthened through the development of a culture of respect for the rule of law and adoption of modern principles of leadership and accountability within the indigenous Fijian social world.

We have to reinvent our traditions. I do not agree with Wolfgramm's thesis that we indigenous Fijians have to choose between liberal democracy and chiefly rule. He has utterly failed in his article to make a credible case that the values and institutions of a liberal constitutional democracy are hostile to or destructive of indigenous Fijian Vanua values. Indeed I believe the continuation of Liberal Democracy and its values is vital for the survival of the indigenous Fijian identity and the Vanua. In his ancestral homeland, Tonga, there is a movement gathering strength for a Tongan version of liberal democracy. In time it will succeed in bringing about popular changes that will give a new lease of life to the Tongan Monarchy. I doubt that even George Speight's supporters will agree with Dr Wolfgramm's argument that indigenous Fijians prefer Chiefly rule to liberal democracy, even though they seem to want to take us to a type of country where competing Vanua and Provincial Warlords decide who will be in power.

Wolfgramm's argument that Fijians prefer autocratic Chiefly rule to democracy therefore has no substance. What does Wolfgramm then make of Speight's supporters' success in rejecting the Bose Levu resolutions of May 25th? Or their persuasion of the F.M.F to force the resignation of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara from the Presidency? Their threats against Ratu Josefa Iloilo? Or their attempt at the last meeting of the B.L.V. to denigrate and diminish the status and influence of the members? Where is the traditional principle of respect and reciprocation that Wolfgramm harps so much about in these action.

Constitutional Change
All that Dr Wolfgramm is doing in his pontifications in the Daily Post is pandering to Fijian nationalist prejudices with his simplistic labelling of people as "Constitutional Romantics." It is he who fits this label, not the U.S.P academics that he wants to denigrate. We are now having to learn the hard way that democratic principles such as equality before the law, equal political rights, indigenous group rights and general human rights are important not just to us but also other nations with whom we have relations in an increasingly inter-dependent global economy. Fijian indigenous rights in particular must be protected in accordance with principles that are universally accepted.

The 1997 Constitution had achieved that, and recognised the Paramountcy of Fijian interests in the COMPACT Chapter as a guiding principle for resolving political conflicts. That is far as we can go, short of introducing political apartheid. We cannot have one special rule for indigenous supremacy for us Fijians and demand that the world either accept or "butt off". Should Speight and his gang win total political power, they will in due course find that their utopian dream of a modern and dynamic Fiji, based on a vague notion of indigenous supremacy will be meaningless with a run down economy, widespread unemployment and poverty, and qualified people deserting for other countries. A Constitution that satisfies the prejudices (or the "souls" as Wolfgramm puts it of the minority extremist nationalists who support George Speight) will then not be worth the paper it is written on. For how can we expect people of George Speight's ilk to respect a new Constitution that they want to dictate to us when they will not abide an imperfect one that had been democratically implemented? If we are to change the 1997 Constitution, let us do it the right way, under the procedures of that Constitution.

The international community is telling us that we risk international isolation and severe decline in our standards of living, if we do not restore fundamental democratic and human rights values in our system of national government and dare I say, in the culture of the Vanuas. Having a totally Fijian Parliament, such as Speight's group are demanding, and depriving our fellow Indo-Fijian citizens of their political rights is not going to do us indigenous Fijians any good. It will reduce us to the status of a Pariah State in the international community. In such a situation, Speight's Fijian supporters will inevitably turn against him and his office seeking colleagues. Meanwhile, Dr Wolfgramm will remain a long distance student of Fijian political changes, enjoying the comforts and security of University in a liberal democratic country, whose democratic values he believes we indigenous Fijians are not good enough to have and to treasure.

Jone Dakuvula is a political commentator and researcher with the Fiji Citizens' Constitutional Forum.

Copyright © 2000

Comic Relief: Cyclone Evan Damage Assessment

Darling Grubby,

You were very wise to weather the storm in Sydney. It’s much easier to cope with a natural disaster watching it on TV with a remote in one hand and a Goblet of red in the other. Actually the TV news coverage was very poor. About the best it got was people posting pictures of bending palm trees shot with their i Phones.  Due to the risk analysis you did on the Ministry of Information, I was not allowed to send any of my staff out to get some good pictures.

Still they made up for it on Tuesday with some great shots of me and the True Leader, Aiyarse, as we did a damage assessment tour. He called me that morning, a bit too early if you ask me, to invite me on the trip. He told me there was a spare seat as the Glorious Leader, Frankly Bananas, was too scared to fly in a helicopter. (I don’t believe the courageous commodore is scared of anything. He probably does not like helicopters because they do not have 1st Class seats and Blue Label whiskey on tap) I of course said yes. I was really pleased it was sunny because I needed to wear my really big sunglasses. I was not looking my best because I had a bit of a session on Monday. I worked really hard on Sunday and made some pre-recorded messages urging everyone to get ready for the cyclone and then get ready for a storm surge. No one was in the office on Monday so I just went home and got stuck in. I had ordered an expensive mixed case of red wine from Victorias Secret, No I mean Victoria Wine. You will be able to open your Victorias Secret Stocking when we meet over Christmas. Anyway I put up the hurricane shutters, closed the blinds and started with a nice light Pinot Noir. As the day wore on and it got darker and windier I moved to a meaty Cab Sav and then finished off with a pretty heavy Shiraz. I was so pooped by the end I thought I was saying Shiraz but my daughter gave me a funny look and asked “Why are you saying that’s a really heavy Shazzer?”

Sorry this letter keeps meandering. I think I am still hung over from all that wine. I managed to drive to the camp where Aiyarse and I got on the chopper. We flew to the Mamanucas to assess the damage on the resorts. Some Captain in the engineers asked me what qualifications I had to make damage assessments. I gave him my killer look and stalked off. Made a phone call to my BFF Colonel Thickoitoga and before we had left Suva air space the impudent officer had his epaulets ripped off and was back in the ranks.

We had a look at a few resorts and villages on the islands. It was very helpful because Aiyarse and I were wondering where to spend Christmas. We decided on Mana Island because that had the least damage to the presidential suite. That’s why everyone is smiling in this picture because they are so excited we will be back for Christmas. I felt like the First Lady I can tell you. Everywhere we went there were crowds of smiling faces to greet us as we stepped off the helicopter. The smiles soon disappeared though as they realized all we had brought was a camera crew and no essential supplies.

One rude and sullen native even had the gall to ask me what was the point of coming, if we were only taking pictures. I told him it was important for people back in Suva to see how the people were coping with the disaster. I asked him to smile at the camera to show courage in the face of adversity. He said “Magaitinana luveni kawa ni butabutako” and then told me to F*** off from his island and never come back. I was upset and in tears and I asked the manager of the resort to sack him. The manager groveled suitably and said he could not as that man was the chief from the local village and his land owner. The sooner Aiyarse has his way and takes all the land from the natives the better for all us Frankly Bananas supporters. By the way I think I have spotted the perfect secluded bay for our secret love nest and if you agree I am sure I will have freehold title before the New Year.

I have to say your flowery contribution to the military submission to the Constitutional Commission was markedly different from the normal concise military style. I thought your introduction was fantastic. “There is a sigh of happiness and a stream of sorrow amongst us as we recall the sacrifices made by numerous Fijians and members of the Armed Forces in their endeavors to achieve this milestone.  Lives were sacrificed by our brothers and sisters at arms in an effort to steer Fiji on a new course, to happy and prosperous times, towards a better Fiji.” Grubby, only you could have made all those butch soldiers sound so gay.

Talking of gay soldiers Major Ben NeverLeaveHereAlive, the torturer in chief, has asked for some new equipment. He wants to fix a dildo to his rifle instead of a bayonet. He says it is better for when he wants to anally abuse prisoners. The commodore has given him the OK and a crack team of POOFTAs (Purchasing Officers Only Field Trip - Asia) are prancing their way to the red light district of Seoul to test the most suitable models for size.

Did you hear about Ana Takeaway at the Style Fiji Fashion Show in Nadi. I know you know who she is because you are always staring at her with your tongue hanging out whenever she walks by on her sexy little heels. She works for Her Royal Highness Madam Nazihat Von Shameonme. She was either very drunk or was making a political statement, I am not sure which. She went to the smartest table and sat on RearArse Khaiyum’s lap (I feel sorry for the boy, what parent gives a child a tautological first name). She lolled around in a very drunken manner and he being the gentleman he is not gave her a great big shove on the backside. She fell on to Aunty Nur and in a bid to stop herself falling to ground, she grabbed Auntie’s pearl necklace. It could not take the strain, broke and the pearls went everywhere. What’s that saying about casting pearls before swine.

As I said she was either very drunk or making a very pointed political statement. We all know what Muslims think of swine.

I hear that when she reported for work to Nazihat’s bunker, The Legal’s Nest, she was in big trouble. As punishment she was made to run around Albert Park in her stilettos and do 50 star jumps opposite the courts. It was quite a distraction for most of the judiciary but Queen Antonia, the CJ, did not rise.

Aunty Nur is very generously leading the donations to the PM’s Cyclone Appeal. As you know she got the exclusive contract for money laundering for the regime. Her normal fee is 25% of whatever she sends overseas to the tax havens. She will donate 5% of her December commissions on transfers to overseas bank accounts in Switzerland, Caymans and Vanuatu. That’s big money because all the officers and ministers are busy transferring their Christmas bonuses at the moment. I also hear both the glorious Leader and the True leader will each donate 1 of their ministerial salaries for the month of December. That means they will only have another 12 to buy their Chrissie Prezzies. By the way what do you think would be a suitable donation by us? I was thinking instead of giving cash you could do an inspirational lecture tour around the evacuation centers. You could give that really interesting talk on how a Fiji boy won a Logie.

Grubby I need you to come in and give some media training to the military. The Land Force Commander Thickoitoga really lived up to his reputation for stupidity on Radio Australia. He came up with the following statement. “The role of the military, certainly, is to make sure that the country is ahhh, ummm…that we have a country.” I am sure I heard Bruce Hill sniggering in the background after he said that.

It may be a sex thing but the boys in green don’t really listen to me and I think if you give them some training with your deep BBC World Service voice they might take notice.

Hugs and Kisses


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

Mana Island survived Hurricane Evan but will it survive Shazzer and Grubby’s drunken Christmas Celebrations?

The Ministry of Information has put in a request for a helicopter in this year’s budget. It is the only way to travel unless you are an easily scared paranoid dictator.

Fresh revelations of Fiji intelligence surveillance promised

Updated 15 December 2012, 12:17 AEST

Fresh revalations about the extent of the surveillance of opponents of Fiji's coup installed military government are being promised by an anti-government blog.

The website Coup Four Point Five this week published a list of 80 Fiji citizens allegedly under surveillance by the National Intelligence Bureau of the Fiji Police Force.

The Fiji interim government has previously dismissed information published in blogs as unreliable.

The person who published Coup Four Point Five, whose voice we have electronically disguised at their request, says the fact that they are being passed sensitive internal intelligence documents shows that support for the Fiji regime is not as strong as it wants people to believe.

The Fiji interim government has declined to respond to the allegations.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: The anonymous person who published Coup Four Point Five

Fresh revelations of Fiji intelligence surveillance promised | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

Now it’s over to the Constituent Assembly

December 21, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

Ghai time ends, audited accounts awaited, says Attorney-General

Source: FBC News

As the draft constitution is today handed over to the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, what does this mean for Fiji? What now for Constitution Commission chairman Yash Ghai and his team?

The following are excerpts from a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) interview with Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum:

AG: Well it means one of the clogs in the wheel to get to the 2014 elections has been completed. So essentially, the Constitution Commission will hand over the draft constitution together with the explanatory note to His Excellency our President who then passes it on to the Constituent Assembly.

Will the draft be made public?

AG: The draft will be made public through the Constituent Assembly. Because, as the Prime Minister has stated through various other communications, also through the Decree and through the advertisements that have come out in the newspapers [calling for Expression of Interest to join the Constituent Assembly] that the Constituent Assembly will be essentially a reflection of the different groups of Fiji.

Whether they are rural groups, urban groups, faith-based organisations, national organisations, whether it’s the RFMF, whether it’s the government, whether it’s groups representing people with disability, youths, women’s groups etc. - the Constituent Assembly will be made up of those people.

The draft constitution, once received by his Excellency our President, will then be handed over to the Chair of the Constituent Assembly who then will obviously give it to the Constituent Assembly members. The Constituent Assembly members will then take it out to their constituents.

And that’s where the actual consultations will take place: between the constituent assembly members and their constituencies. They come back and of course discuss the draft constitution through the Constituent Assembly.

It should also be noted that the Constituent Assembly will be open to the members of the public – so there will be a gallery area where the members of the public and the media will be welcomed.

So will Government be represented?

AG: Yes, of course, the Decree provides for that and not only government but various other groups within our society.

What are the roles of Professor Ghai and the Constitution Commission after handing over the draft on Friday?

AG: Well that’s provided for by the law. The Commission’s work then ends and of course they then go on to their respective occupations that they had prior to this. The Commission’s work ends and then of course the Constituent Assembly begins its work in the New Year.

What does this handing over mean for the Bainimarama government? Is it on par with the timeframe it had set in the lead up to elections in 2014?

AG: Definitely, as the Prime Minister has announced previously that the elections are to be held by September 2014 – we are very much on track with that because as I said earlier the draft constitution is just one of the many things that needs to be done.

The new constitution will tell us what sort of electoral system we will have and then, once we know that, the Elections Office can then prepare accordingly. And that will necessitate the need to educate the members of the public on what kind of voting system we will have.

So there are many things, there are many aspects of the whole process. The drafting is just one of its aspects. The second aspect of course, apart from the Elections Office, is as far as the constitution is concerned, is the Constituent Assembly.

Any other comments?

AG: We are hoping that the Constitution Commission will also, as required by law, produce its audited accounts. As you are aware the amendment to the Decree requires the Commission to publish on a monthly basis its accounts. They have, of course, received some funding from overseas donors. Obviously it’s important for the people of Fiji to know how that money was spent. Even the Government does not know. That’s how independent they are. So that’s one of the aspects – we look forward to seeing from the Constitution Commission.

Fiji draft constitution to be submitted to president

Updated 21 December 2012, 7:52 AEST

The Fijian Constitution Commission is due to hand over its final report on a proposed new constitution to the president.

The Fijian Constitution Commission is due to hand over its final report on a proposed new constitution to the president.

The report ill be delivered to President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on Friday.

Fiji's military has already indicated its forces will continue to play a custodian role after the proposed 2014 elections.

Leaked copies of the draft report, which has heard from more than 7,000 Fijians, has already appeared on several blogs.

The document proposes the same number of seats for Fiji's Parliament, a term reduced to four years and no Senate.

It says the prime minister's job should be limited to two terms.

The report also suggests a review of land laws and measures to address poverty and corruption.

Fiji's military has vowed to ensure that the country's new constitution will incorporate what the interim government sees as the achievements of its 2006 military coup
Post-coup changes
The military says it has its own ideas on what the constitution should contain.

Land Forces Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat that the military government remained determined "to integrate the Fijian society as one, make everybody patriotic to Fiji".

"That is our biggest target and its the biggest challenge that we've had in the last couple of elections, and we want to see that carried through before the next election comes," Colonel Tikoitoga said.

"And it has to be incorporated in the constitution for that to happen."

Colonel Tikoitoga says that unlike previous coups of 1987 and 2000, which he claims gave rise to governments that supported discriminatory policies, the 2006 military takeover was an attempt to support an integrated society.

"Even though it will be argued that the process [of the 2006 coup] was not right, but nobody else could have righted the wrongs that have been done in the past," he said.

"And we've done all the reforms that's been necessary for a true democracy.

"We're changing it for the better and I think it should be appreciated.

"I always tell the people here, maybe historians 50 years from today will write that it was actually the military that actually changed the face of democracy in Fiji and made it better."

Colonel Tikoitoga says the military has made it clear to other groups that it would not support them in any personal, ethnic or political agendas if they were to be elected.

"We want to leave the governance of the country to a proper parliamentary role," he said.

Fiji historian Dr Brij Lal, from the Australian National University, said the military statement contained "all kinds of contradictions and ironies".

"The military is 99 per cent ethnic Fijian and you are entrusting the military, this indigenous Fijian institution, to create and sustain a multiracial democracy - seems to me to be a bit problematic," Dr Lal said.

"It sounds very nice - the military committed to creating a genuine multiracial democracy, religiously tolerant, new Fiji and so on - but the fine print is problematic."

Academic remains sceptical of Fiji military's political intentions

Updated 20 December 2012, 17:30 AEST

The academic who helped write Fiji's last constitution remains sceptical of the military's role after the 2014 election.

Dr Brij Lal from the Australian National University says on the face of it the military's intentions appear okay but what actually happens will depend on the election result.

Presenter:Bruce Hill

Speaker:Dr Brij Lal, Fiji historian, Australian National University

Academic remains sceptical of Fiji military's political intentions | Pacific Beat | ABC Radio Australia

Fiji military insists on post-coup changes remaining after 2014

Updated 20 December 2012, 16:45 AEST

Fiji's military has vowed to ensure that what it sees as the achievements of the 2006 military coup are incorporated in any new constitution.

The Constitution Commission will tomorrow (FRI) hand their final report on a proposed new constitution to the President, Ratu Epeklei Nailatikau.

But the Republic of Fiji Military Forces has it's own ideas on what it should contain.

Land Forces commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, tells Bruce Hill that the army has told the Constitution Commission that it won't allow Fiji to reverse course.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, Land Forces Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces

TIKOITOGA: Most importantly for us is to continue the efforts that we started in 2007. It is to integrate the Fijian society as one, make everybody patriotic to Fiji. There are no discriminatory policies, there are no racial politics being played in Fiji.We would like to be all Fijians, we would like to see the country progress as one democratic society. That is our biggest target and its the biggest challenge that we've had in the last couple of elections, and we want to see that carried through before the next election comes. And it has to be incorporated in the constitution for that to happen. Certainly we'd like to see all the non-democratic government organisations not interfering with government policies or with the governance of the country. Suffice to say there is no other institution other than the government institution or non governmental organisation institutions or any other institutions like the previous Bose Levu Vakaturaga [Great Council of Chiefs] to come into the fore and quite simply to challenge government policies. Likewise, we don't want any preference for any religion, as in the past the Methodist Church of Fiji has had a lot of say in what government, how government is running the policies. Now we want to see all those non-democratic policies leave the political scene and let the governance of the country run by a parliament and a cabinet and no other institution to challenge that policy or to interfere with that process.

HILL: But then a lot of opponents of the coup-installed government would say that interfering in the governance of the country is exactly what the military did in 2006, you overthrew the government in a coup.

TIKOITOGA: Ah, yes. Correct.
But the demographics of Fiji would tell any historian that the ... coups of 1987 was very discriminatory in nature. It was predominantly an i-Taukei or indigenous Fijian led coup, Again in 2000 ... when an Indo-Fijian government came into power it became another i-Taukei military force that went across and took over government. Except for the 2007 where another i-Taukei led group initiated by 2000, and even though it was parliamentary or democratically elected in 2004 to the government it became apparent that they were running discriminatory policies that were only good for the i-Taukei people which demarcated the other nationalities or ethnic groups and also the other religions. So the 2007 or end of 2006, beginning of 2007 military takeover is an attempt by the military to right all the wrongs that were done in the past and now support an integrated society in Fiji. Even though it will be argued that the process was not right, but nobody else could have righted the wrongs that have been done in the past. And we've done all the reforms that's been necessary for a true democracy.

HILL: Should it be the role of the military to have any role in the politics of a society in the first place though? Sure the role of the military is to defend the country and not to get involved in politics.

TIKOITOGA: The role of the military, certainly, is to make sure that the country is ... that we have a country. That's one. And to have a country to need to have an integrated society. You can argue democracy. But you have a discriminatory democracy, you have demarcations between ethnic groups, you have demarcations between religious group, you have all different kinds of non-democratic policies, and people still argue the military has no place. Only the military could have changed. And we're changing it for the better and I think it should be appreciated. I always tell the people here, maybe historians 50 years from today will write that it was actually the military that actually changed the face of democracy in Fiji and made it better.

HILL: Does the RFMF see its role in politics as being extending further into the future or do you eventually see yourselves as returning to barracks and your former role as non-political?

TIKOITOGA: Because we have no made it very plain to the i-Taukei people or the indigenous Fijian leaders that we will not support them in any unnecessary personal agendas or ethnic agendas or political agendas, I think there will be no requirement in the future for any of these groups to instigate the RFMF to do anything other than to protect the government of the day. And that's what we intend to do in the future. We do not want to come back and enter government, even though it was suggested by [Australian foreign minister] Bob Carr when he came across to Fiji on a fact finding mission a couple of years back, he said why don't you have reserved seats in parliament for the RFMF. We don't want that. We'll say no, we want to go back to the barracks, we want to go back to our core role as the RFMF and we want to leave the governance of the country to a proper parliamentary role. And that's what we look forward to.

HILL: And do you think we can get to a situation where there are no more coups in Fiji?

TIKOITOGA: I can tell you we are now in a situation, there will be no more coups in Fiji.

December 18, 2012

Fiji TV licence extended

December 18, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

The Attorney-General and Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has extended Fiji Television Limited’s existing broadcast licence for a further six month period.

This has been confirmed by Fiji Television board chairman, Isoa Kaloumaira, through a release from the South Pacific Stock Exchange who said it comes into effect from December 30.

In a letter dated December 13, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the extension would be until further notice of any additional terms and conditions, including spectrum allocation that may be prescribed.

“Fiji Television shall continue to broadcast under the terms and conditions contained in the existing licence for the extended period,” he said.

Fiji TV operates its free-to-air station in Fiji and its pay TV service Sky Pacific in Fiji and 10 other Pacific island countries.

Fiji TV also owns the free-to-air commercial station Media Niugini Limited operating as EMTV in Papua New Guinea, their only free-to-air commercial station.

Media Niugini entirely owns a subsidiary company in the Solomon Islands, Media Solomon Island Limited.

This subsidiary company has a television broadcast licence and is expected to commence its television service soon.

Fiji looks to rebuild after Evan's wrath

From: AAP December 18, 2012 8:40AM

TROPICAL cyclone Evan is slowly moving away from Fiji, after lashing the island nation with 200km/h winds and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

The Fiji Meteorological Service says the cyclone is tracking away from Fiji in a south-southwest direction.

Strong wind and heavy swell warnings remain in place, but flights to and from Fiji are expected to resume later today.

Thousands of people took refuge in evacuation centres overnight, while roads were closed and power and water supplies were cut to northern parts of Fiji.

Police were restricting the movement of people in and out of main towns and cities to ensure public safety, the Fiji Times reported.

Fiji's second-biggest city Lautoka, near the international airport at Nadi, was severely battered by the cyclone, with resident Janet Mason telling Radio New Zealand that an empty house had "flown through the air" and landed beside hers.

The bulk carrier ship Starford, believed to be carrying equipment for a Chinese firm constructing a highway, dragged its anchor and was pushed onto the reef in Suva Harbour, the Fiji Times reported.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government had received a request for assistance from Fiji.

"We're working through an assessment of the damage and where we might best be able to help," he told New Zealand television.

"I suspect part of it will just be sending money. There's reasonably widespread damage in both Samoa and Fiji, so they'll need to restore a lot of their core infrastructure."

Meanwhile, the search continues for 10 fishermen missing from four boats off Samoa.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion searching for the fishermen found an upturned fishing boat hull on Monday night and it was being towed to Apia by Samoan police.

The Orion could be available for further searches on Tuesday.

Four people have already died in Samoa, and damage to the island of Upolu appeared to be worse than from a 2009 earthquake and tsunami that killed 135 people, according to aerial surveillance, a spokeswoman for the prime minister told Radio New Zealand.

Hit bad where it matters most

Tevita Vuibau And Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TROPICAL cyclone Evan tore through the Western Division yesterday leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

The tourism industry, the hardest hit by the Category Five storm, has said the damage bill to the country is expected to be exorbitant.

Fiji Hotels and Tourism Association president Dixon Seeto said with Samoa's damage bill tentatively pegged at $300million, Fiji's would be significantly more.

"When you look at the areas that were affected from Rakiraki right through to Nadi, there are a lot of factories and industries situated in these areas. And you also have to factor in the fact that Fiji has more built-up areas," he said.

Ba and Tavua special administrator Arun Prasad said early warnings had led to people taking precautionary measures and moving stock to higher ground.

Meanwhile, in Lautoka, the Western operations centre established at Churchill Park had to be relocated after the roof of the iconic stadium was blown off at the height of the cyclone.

Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala said his team's focus was clearing debris before moves would be made to address issues with municipal council properties.

"We want to ensure that business is brought back to normal as quickly as possible and clearing our roads immediately after the storm passes will ensure this happens. Once this has happened we will start fixing our properties," he said.

When this edition went to press at 10.30pm, gale force winds were still battering the Lautoka coastline, uprooting trees and bringing down both power and telecommunications lines.

The Western operations centre was yesterday receiving calls from people in Ba and Nadi pleading for help after the roofs of their houses were blown off.

However, the Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said teams would only be able to assist once there was a break in the weather.

Fiji's biggest sugar mill in Lautoka was not spared the wrath of TC Evan with the roof of one its storage sheds ripped apart, leaving stacks of sugar sacks at the mercy of the elements.

The South Pacific Fertilisers building suffered the same fate as ones at the Fiji Sugar Corporation grounds.

Aussies hunker down as cyclone hits Fiji

From: The Australian 
December 17, 2012 8:18PM

Fiji Denarau
Cyclone Evan hits Fiji's Denarau Island, where Brendan O'Farrell captured the scenes outside his hotel room. Picture: Brendan O'Farrell Source: Supplied
THOUSANDS of people fled to evacuation centres in Fiji today as authorities warned to "prepare for the worst" from a powerful category four cyclone bearing down on the Pacific nation.
Power outages and flooding were reported on the main island of Viti Levu as Tropical Cyclone Evan approached, with all flights to and from Fiji cancelled as a precaution. Thousands of tourists took refuge inside hotels.
At least four people were killed when the cyclone slammed into neighbouring Samoa late last week and the Fiji government said it was taking no chances, shifting tourists and residents from low-lying areas.
The category four cyclone was earlier today about 85 kilometres off Nadi, site of the main international airport and where thousands of Australian tourists are stranded, and officials warned it could intensify as it approaches the coast, packing winds of 270 kilometres per hour.

It is expected to skirt Nadi, which was swamped by another cyclone that killed five people in April, and head southwest, generating 12 metre swells which could exacerbate flooding at high tide at 10pm local time.

“Members of the public are advised to prepare for the worst,” government spokeswoman Sharon Smith-Johns said, adding that 3,500 people were sheltering in evacuation centres and the number was expected to increase.

Among those sheltering from Evan are an estimated 2100 Australians known to be living or holidaying in Fiji.

Brisbane holidaymaker Erica Grey and her husband John were today waiting out the storm in the ballroom of the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, on Denarau Island near Nadi, with another 300 guests, about 70 per cent of whom are Australian.

She said guests and staff were calmly waiting for the storm to pass.

“Beds have been made with doonas and pillows, there is a generator working the lights and air-conditioning,” Ms Grey said.

“We all feel very safe but the winds outside are very strong.

“Everyone is happy people are sleeping, people playing cards and helping themselves to fruit juices.”

At Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa, on Yanuca Island, general manager Michael Monks said guests were staying in their rooms and staff were in a central evacuation point.

“We're battened down at the moment,” Mr Monks said.

About 85 per cent of the guests are Australians.

He said it was windy and raining outside and non-essential staff had been allowed to go home to protect their own residences.

The popular Castaway and Plantation Island resports have been evacuated.

Fiji officials said storm warnings were in effect for the entire nation and all non-essential public servants had been told to stay at home but there were no reports of injuries or deaths.The cyclone is thought to be the strongest to threaten Fiji since Cyclone Kina, which killed 23 people and left thousands homeless in 1993.

Relief agencies were still assessing damage to remote islands in Samoa, where the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre is overseeing a search for three boats carrying eight men that failed to return from fishing trips.

Rescue coordinator Geoff Lunt said there had been no sighting of the boats and debris from the cyclone was creating difficult search conditions.

“There is a lot of flotsam in the ocean which makes the visual search quite challenging but the aircraft will be coordinating their efforts to ensure the search area is thoroughly covered,” he said.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said the Australian High Commission was liaising with local authorities but had alerted the 2100 registered Australians by text message.

“Our key message to Australians is to continue to monitor local weather services and local media and follow the advice of local authorities,” she said in a statement.

“Australia has made an offer of assistance to the government of Fiji if required.”

Additional reporting: AFP

December 14, 2012

Cyclone Evan expected to intensify over Fiji

Updated 14 December 2012, 13:20 AEST
New Zealand correspondent Dominique Schwartz, staff
The storm which killed two people in Samoa on Thursday is expected to intensify over the weekend as it heads towards Fiji.
The storm which killed two people in Samoa on Thursday is expected to intensify over the weekend as it heads towards Fiji.
Cyclone Evan wreaked havoc in and around Samoa's capital, Apia, causing power cuts and flash flooding.
Hundreds of people were evacuated as high winds damaged homes and Apia's Vaisigano River broke its banks.
Samoan police said a number of children were presumed to have drowned after being swept away in the river on Thursday.
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme's meteorology adviser, Neville Koop, told Radio Australia the storm was curving away from Samoa and the worst was over for Apia.
But he said islands in the storm's path, including Tonga, Fiji, and Wallis and Futuna were at risk.
Mr Koop said the latest forecasts had the cyclone moving across Fiji's two largest and most populated islands late on Sunday.
He said the cyclone would potentially be upgraded to a Category Four storm, with winds of over 200 kilometres an hour.
On Friday morning the cyclone was close to the northern tip of Samoa's Upolu island, causing waves of up to six metres.
Fiji's Meteorological Service said the storm will remain around Samoa for the next 12 to 24 hours.
A state of disaster was declared in Samoa on Thursday.
The US territory American Samoa was also preparing to be hit by Cyclone Evan, but so far has only been affected by high winds with no reports of damage overnight.

Amnesty accuses Fiji military of torture

Updated 13 December 2012, 23:58 AEST
Peter Lloyd

Amnesty International says the military regime in Fiji has been torturing prisoners.

The human rights organisation has provided the ABC with a statement that contains credible and specific details about an incident involving the beating and mistreatment of five inmates in September.

As a result of one prisoner's injuries, he underwent an emergency amputation.

Andrew Beswick of from Amnesty is calling on the military government to abide by international norms of justice and stop tolerating the culture of impunity.

"Our concern is that we've received reports about five men who had escaped from prison and were recaptured and subsequent to that they were taken to barracks and repeatedly beaten by military officers," he said.

"We're talking about them being repeatedly beaten, one man was damaged so badly that his leg had an open fracture on it, and that leg later had to be amputated.

"Another man was attacked with a gun and was in fact anally raped and that caused severe internal injuries."

The ABC's PM program has two documents that Amnesty says verify the torture allegation.

One describes a litany of ailments suffered by the victim with the most serious injuries.

He's a 30-year-old man who was beaten and left without medical treatment until it was too late to save his right leg.

It had been badly fractured - and when he was finally admitted to hospital, doctors identified necrosis, or infected and dead skin.

They had to amputate to save his life.

His lower jaw was fractured and needed to be wired shut.

Amnesty's Andrew Beswick says the assault against all five men lasted over two days.

"It's fairly shocking when you go into the detail of it," he said.

"We know that they were taken into a room, they were forced to take their clothes off and left naked in the dark."

"They were hit with the butt of guns, they were sworn at, they were spat on. They had hot water poured on them and, as I said, one of the men was assaulted with a gun."

Amnesty is calling on the Australian and other international governments to pressure Fiji to address the culture of impunity in the military, and the broader culture of fear operating in other parts of Fiji's justice system.

"I think there's definitely a climate of intimidation generally," he said.

"Press is extremely restricted in Fiji. There's concerns about interference in matters before the court.

"I think, you know, people are generally reluctant to speak out on these issues and so it's important that when we do have that information that it is brought to the attention of the government."

The ABC contacted the office of the Attorney-General of Fiji in Suva with a series of questions, but has yet to receive a reply.

Fiji issued a statement responding to the allegations made by Amnesty. Significantly, the regime neither explicitly denies the assault, nor that the perpetrators were soldiers.

It read, in part: "The matters raised are before the courts. The judicial process is independent and it is not appropriate for the government or any other party to comment or conduct a 'trial' outside this process.

"If these prisoners have complaints about the way in which they were treated in custody, it is for their legal representatives to raise these complaints.

"The Fijian government does not condone the use of excessive or disproportionate force in the apprehension of escaped prisoners.”

List of Fijians under police surveillance surfaces

Updated 14 December 2012, 10:36 AEST

A list of Fiji citizens allegedly under surveillance by the National Intelligence Bureau of the Fiji Police Force has been published on an anti-government blog.

Coup Four Point Five has posted a document showing more than 80 people were under some form of official surveillance from January til August this year.

The list includes the leaders of political parties, trade unionists, NGO figures and many others.

One of those named, Shamima Ali, a well known NGO leader, is critical of the coup installed interim government for having such a pervasive system of surveillance, but has also hit out at Coup Four Point Five for publishing the report in full, including often sensitive personal information.

She says the document appears to be genuine.Pacific Beat approached the Fiji government for comment, but they declined the opportunity.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Shamima Ali, a prominent Fiji NGO leader

ALI: It looks like that and also some of us do know that we are under surveillance and various people from within the force also tell us that we are under surveillance. So I would say that this could be a genuine document.

HILL: Assuming that it is, are you surprised by the extent of the surveillance and the type of people that the police intelligence unit appear to be monitoring?

ALI: Yes definitely, I'm quite surprised at the wide range of people they are looking at, and of all the people there's a tiny percentage who might be said to have committed some criminal offences and had appeared in court and have been charged with some offences deemed criminal by the regime. But the rest of the people are honest people going around their daily business, raising their voice every now and then. And to keep them as recent as this year, that is quite surprising.

HILL: And some surprising names, the wife of the President, head of the Employers Federation, I'm not sure these are seditious individuals?

ALI: Yes this is I think it's another case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing, so just following orders but really no clear direction given to them as to what's the criteria for surveillance, and I believe also some of the police officers are very careful about not losing their jobs, including anyone that the regime has ever had any issues with, but that as you say, there's some there who I don't think they've had any issues with.

HILL: There's another aspect to this of course, and that is the actual decision by this blog, Coup Four Point Five, to publish this alleged intelligence report.  It contains some very personal information, in your case, some very personal information. Should they have gone ahead and published this?

ALI: I don't think so. It's brought also a lot of people read this blog and a lot of people actually because we have such huge censorship, both self and otherwise of the media here, that they actually believe the blog. So I just think that personal information of that nature really is very inappropriate for any blog to be publishing that.

HILL: Is there anything that you're going to be able to do as a result of seeing this information, either against Coup Four Point Five or perhaps about the fact that you seem to be under surveillance?

ALI: Yes definitely the fact that I'm under surveillance hopefully I will speak to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum spoke to him yesterday but it was after last night actually who somebody called me from Vanuatu to tell me that I was on this list and to have a look at Coup Four Point Five. So definitely I will try to talk to the Commissioner of Police about the surveillance itself. But some of us are talking about what we can do about Coup Four Point Five and publishing such personal information.

HILL: Do you think they should have shown a little more restraint? Was there a way of getting this information about surveillance out there without embarrassing people or putting extremely personal details of their lives up for public scrutiny?

ALI: I think so, I think a summary would have been good, and actually taking out the personal aspect of people's lives. Already the surveillance is doing so much harm to us, that they're always around or something. But to then have people's personal lives exposed in this manner I believe there's some discretion there, a lot of discretion that should have been exercised.

No electronic voting in 2014 general elections

Publish date/time: 14/12/2012 [07:35]

Fiji will not have electronic voting in the 2014 general elections.

This has been confirmed by the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who also said that processes are currently being analyzed to see if elections can be completed in a day.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the logistical issues are also being considered and how the counting of votes will take place.

The new electoral system is expected to be revealed in the draft constitution. 

However, the final decision on the system and other matters in the constitution will be known after the Constituent Assembly sits and the President accepts the new constitution.

Story by: Vijay Narayan

Republic of Fiji Military Forces submission to the Constitution Commission

Is available here.

The RFMF's (extremely late) submission to the Constitution Commission was also (quietly) made available publicly on the illegal and treasonous Commission's web-site.

Statement by the Constitution Commission on the memorandum, Fiji’s Constitution: A Consultation Document (23 and 24 November 2012)


In November the Commission held a consultation meeting with leading local experts and public servants on some preliminary proposals for the constitution. The purpose of the meeting was to get feedback on these proposals as well as listen, more generally, to their views.

In advance of the meeting all participants were emailed a memorandum with the title, Fiji’s Constitution: A Consultation Document, and hard copies were provided at the meeting.

This document was prepared for the meeting, and it was clear to all the participants that these were preliminary proposals and that their task was not only to comment on the proposals but to make additional proposals. The consultation was very lively and extremely useful—and led the Commission to reconsider some proposals. This is good, standard practice in the drafting of a constitution.

While the document was meant for consultation and we did not expect participants to circulate it, it was not necessarily meant to be confidential (and was not so categorised). Therefore to describe its release to some blogs as a “leak” is not accurate. The Commission’s work has always been transparent and a wealth of information about our activities, including all of over 7000 submissions we received from Fijians on which we relied heavily, can be found on its website.

However, the Commission wishes to alert the people not to regard the preliminary proposals as final. The Commission is pleased to notice the interest shown by the people in the outcome of our process. The Commission is now completing its work, including the Draft Constitution and the Explanatory Report. Our final recommendations will be those which we hand over to His Excellency the President on 20 December.

Yash Ghai
Constitution Commission
12 December 2012

Constitutional expert says Fiji's democratisation could work

Updated 12 December 2012, 18:40 AEST

The leaking of a draft of the Fiji Constitution Commissions report is not necessarily a bad thing if it leads to more public discussion, according to a prominent Australian constitutional expert.

Melbourne Law School Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders has just returned from a visit to Fiji, where she spoke about the current process of returning the country to democracy.

She says it's vital that the Fijian people debate the issues and understand them well.

Professor Saunders spoke to Bruce Hill, who asked her how Fiji's constitutional process compares with other countries which have experienced coups and tried to recover.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders of Melbourne Law School

Cheryl Saunders, Melbourne Law School

Constitution chair clarifies so-called leaked report

07:42 Yesterday (December 14, 2012)

The Chairman of Fiji’s Constitution Commission, Professor Yash Ghai says people shouldn’t regard preliminary proposals for the constitution as final.

In a statement, Ghai says it’s inaccurate to claim that a document with the preliminary proposals is a “leak”.

Australian and New Zealand media have reported the so-called leaked document.

Ghai clarified that the document was circulated for a meeting with leading local experts and public servants on some preliminary proposals for the constitution.

He added the purpose of the meeting was to get feedback on the proposals as well as listen, more generally, to their views.

According to Ghai in advance of the meeting all participants were emailed a memorandum with the title, Fiji’s Constitution: A Consultation Document, and hard copies were provided at the meeting.

Ghai said while the document was meant for consultation they didn’t expect participants to circulate it and it wasn’t necessarily meant to be confidential.

He adds the document wasn’t categorized as so.

The Commission is now completing its work, including the Draft Constitution and the Explanatory Report.

The final recommendations will be those which the Commission will hand over to the President on 20 December.

Not the last constitution

Nanise Loanakadavu
Thursday, December 13, 2012

THE Constitution Commission does not want the new document to be the one to end all constitutions.

During the launch of the Citizen's Constitutional Forum Limited (CCF) documentary, commission chairman Prof Yash Ghai said future generations should also have an opportunity to plan their own constitutions.

"But we do hope that our constitution, if adopted by the Constituent Assembly, will last a little bit longer than the previous constitutions of Fiji," he said.

"I don't want our constitution to be the one to end all constitutions."

Prof Ghai said there was universal condemnation of coups and they were asked repeatedly to make a "coup-proof" constitution.

He said it was a big responsibility to receive such an outpouring of views through the consultation process.

He said the commission hoped that it would do justice to their aspirations.

Prof Ghai said the commission found Fiji as a deeply-fragmented society, deeply divided society, full of anxiety and not able to perhaps cope with the rapid changes that had taken place in the past 20 to 30 years.

He said this was a picture of a country, society and community with a phase of great transformation and great changes taking place.

"It is a big challenge for us to give people sense of all things that are at work, how one can reconcile highly valued traditional principles with change and how we could build a nation out of very diverse communities who are always over suspicious of the others.

"It is a hope and indeed an expectation that when people of Fiji read our constitution they will see something of themselves in that constitution," he said.

Prof Ghai said the framework for decision-making in this particular case was composed of four elements which were: The principles in the decree popularly known as the non-negotiable principles; The views of the people; Past experience in Fiji of constitutions, what has worked and what has not worked; and Their expertise in this area in arriving at the recommendations.

December 12, 2012

Roads dug up by China Railway to be fixed by next year

Publish date/time: 11/12/2012 [16:42]

All roads and footpaths that have been dug up or graded by the China Railway Company and not tarsealed will be sealed by the end of April next year.

This is according to the Water Authority of Fiji who has been contracting the China Railway Company to upgrade sewerage systems around the country.

Fijivillage visited some sites around Suva and raised questions on many of the works carried out where the company has dug up roads, laid pipes and then just covered the roads without properly sealing them.

This has resulted in properly sealed roads getting damaged and many potholes opening up.

This has been left for a few months and is becoming hazardous for motorists.

Water Authority spokesperson Fulori Turaga said it is part of the China Railway Company’s contract that they seal the roads and that they accept that some works have been too slow but have been taking active steps to reduce the repair time with more repairs still in progress.

According to Turaga, the reason why some of the repairs are taking long is that all excavated trenches should settle for the first week or so and this is to avoid the brand new seal from cracking.

Story by: Filipe Naikaso

Pacific Sun flight grounded in Labasa

13:00 Today (November 11, 2012)
Report by: Elenoa Turagaiviu

Pacific Sun’s ATR-42 aircraft has been grounded at the Labasa Airport due to engine damage.

As a result, All Pacific Sun services from Labasa to Suva and Nadi will be affected.

All passengers booked on Labasa flights are advised to contact the airline’s call centre for updated flight times and alternative flights on the airline’s DH-6 Otter aircraft.

The damaged engine will need replacement and Pacific Sun is working to complete it as soon as possible.

Pacific Sun appreciates the patience and understanding of its customers during this unexpected schedule disruption.

Fiji deeply fragmented, report says

Last updated 09:25 12/12/2012

Fiji is a nation in crisis with its two major ethnic groups in conflict, creating deep uncertainty amid a declining economy, a leaked official report says.

And many of the island nation's 837,000 people believe it is only a matter of time before the next military.

The report, written by a commission of experts appointed by military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama, suggests a pessimistic future for a country that has had four military coups since independence in 1970.

"There is a crisis of culture," the commission says in a consultation document.

Indigenous culture had become very encompassing, posing problems for creating a state and planning an economy.

"Privileging one culture or religion above others in a multi-racial society is no recipe for peace, unity or development....," the paper said.

"Perceived conflicts between Fiji's two major communities, which remain unresolved, are a major cause of uncertainty."

Fiji is 56 per cent indigenous or iTaukei, while 37 per cent of the population are descendents of Indian indentured labour imported by the British in the 19th Century.

"The theme of ethnic integration was by no means universally - or even widely - endorsed," the report said.

Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup, has promised elections in 2014 under a new constitution which will be Fiji's fourth.

He has insisted the new constitution contain provision for his immunity, and that of the army, from prosecution once democracy is restored.

The commission said it received more than 7000 submissions with many expressing scepticism about the value or longevity of constitutions.

"Some gave the constitution six months."

Many stressed the harm and suffering to people caused by coups, the heightened tensions and conflict among ethnic groups, damage to the economy, breakdown of institutional trust, and crushing blow to the rule of law.

On immunity the commission said many were dismayed: "many people interpreted immunity as a cynical act - and felt that it had adversely affected the capacity of this process to achieve commitment to constitutionalism".

Many were concerned at the poverty in which many people lived in Fiji.

"Over the last several years, the economy has declined, increasing number of Fijians live in poverty, many highly skilled people have left the country, and many individuals, families and communities worry about what the future holds for them."

Indigenous Fijians, who hold title over the bulk of the land, were concerned about what will happen to it and whether others will take it.

The commission said it had spent a lot of time on moral issues.

"There were numerous demands for corporal punishment at school and home, the disciplining of women, and tighter control of life in villages."

Many wanted Fiji declared a Christian state with considerable ambivalence toward human rights, saying they threaten traditional culture.

Most people saw politicians and senior civil servants as "selfish, focussing on their narrow material interests, exploiting ethnic differences and jeopardising communal peace to serve their own interests."

They were concerned at what they perceived to be corruption in the judiciary and lack of access to courts with serious allegations of routine and systemic corruption within the public service.

The commission laid the blame of many of Fiji problems on its history and
its colonial legacy.

Both Fijians and Indians were "victims of forces beyond them; deprived of free choice and will; both communities suffered greatly in the colonial system. Instead of dealing with the forces that subordinated and in many respects exploited them, they regarded the other community as the obstacle to the advancement of its members - and made little effort to understand the suffering of the other.

"So the colonial policy of pitting one community against another succeeded."

- © Fairfax NZ News