#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beddoes fights on

  "......we 'punched' a big enough hole in the side of the Bai-Kai ship that now they have to contend with 18 pairs of eyes bearing down on them every day...'

There is no doubt the regime and the Fiji Sun have it in for veteran politician Mick Beddoes so it's not surprising both have kicked up a stink over him getting into Parliament, albeit it as the Principal administrative Officer for the Opposition Party.

Beddoes has yet to be officially appointed and is currently a volunteer but has been asked to take up the position by Ro Teimumu Kepa, who clearly wants to ensure an effective Opposition.

He wasn't elected but excelled in the lead-up to the elections in singling out the key issues and getting publicity on them and his absence is a loss to the Opposition.

In an interview with C4.5, he says he's honoured to have been asked and expects to bring some very useful advice to the Opposition.

C4.5: You've been around a long time - how would you describe your particular skills?

Beddoes: Having spent 6 years as an Opposition MP and 3 of those years as Opposition Leader, I think I have developed a few skills that might prove useful to our members.
Remember, in my days there was 2 verses 50, so with 18 Members to confront the government with, I think we will be in great position to keep them on their toes.

We also have the added advantage of a highly academically qualified and experienced group of individuals in their own     right, which I think is pretty impressive.

C4.5: What do you bring to the Opposition in this current situation that will be of value to them?

Beddoes: The majority of our Members are new to 'politics' while a few of us have been at it for a while and I have been involved all of my adult life. So I think I can provide some useful advice and guidance, as well as try to alert them to some of the pitfalls.

They all have to come to terms with the fact that they are now public figures and therefore they will be subject to a lot of scrutiny, so they need to be ready for this. They need to know how to handle negative press and know when to respond and when not to.

Just judging from their first performance, I have no doubt the people will be very happy with the Opposition's performance as it unfolds over the next 4 years.

C4.5: It must be rather bitter sweet to be working in the back rooms when you should've front bench?
Beddoes: I would have loved to have been one of the Members in Opposition; the other side  would have been ducking for cover every time my turn came around, but that's not the way the chips fell and I accept it.

I always understood that coming from the smallest population base, it would be an uphill task. And without a defined province of my own to work with, I knew I was spread too thin and with limited resources, it was always going to be difficult.

But my family motto is 'Strive to the very end' and that's what I do and this time around it meant a lot more to me because my children got involved so I had my fiancee and kids backing me all the way with my close mates and friends, and it was a good feeling despite the results. And strangely enough, I felt no regret.

Of course the down side to this role in the Opposition Chambers for me at least is that my freedom to speak out and go on the offensive when I see any wrong doing as I have done all of my life, will be curtailed somewhat. 

That's the biggest sacrifice for me, but it also presents me with a new challenge and that is how to assist the 18 Members in Opposition maintain that necessary pressure that I have done as an individual ever since 1987 on government and any wrongdoers.

It will probably do me the world of good to step back a little and play a supporting role for a change.

C4.5: What feel do you have for how things are going at the moment in the so called 'new Parliament?'

Beddoes: I think the first few sessions will be a kind of warm up match and then the people can expect to see some real debates and I am very confident in the 18 Members' ability to deliver the goods.

I am looking forward to working with the Members to ensure we keep the government of the day on its toes all of the time. It will definitely not be business as usual for them this time around.

Commentators would say Frank won, we lost? But I say 'Did he win?' He said he would win all 50 and after 8 years in total control and all the resources and managing the entire campaign, they failed to achieve their stated objective of 50 seats. 

On the other hand the Opposition parties had 3 months to campaign, limited funds,a not so fair and balanced media and an uphill battle that no one expected us to win, yet we 'punched' a big enough hole in the side of the Bai-Kai ship that now they have to contend with 18 pairs of eyes bearing down on them every day and going from zero to 18 seats is not in my book a loss.

Full democracy is a work in progress and we have just breached their first line of defense, so now we must regroup, change tact and over the next 4 years push the 18 seats up by just another 10 and the job will be done.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Award for excellence - and yet deaths in custody

Incompetency awarded:
Two of the country's most incompetent agencies have been singled out for their so-called 'excellent' service.

And yet both have been involved in ugly and controversial beatings of Fiji citizens, including prison escapees, some of whom have lost limbs or who've died in custody as recently as August.

The government run Corrections Services and Fiji Police have been recognised for their service to the community, while ironically the recent death of Vikilesa Soko is being investigated, and other cases remain 'unsolved' or closed.

Torture of Benedito and another prisoner.
Both Corrections and Police have had poor public relations records in recent years, with cases such as that of Iowane Benedito going uninvestigated despite the perpetrators being identified.

Now, with Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA), Fiji Corrections has taken the 2014 Excellence (SEA) Prime Minister's award, with Fiji Police being named in the Service Excellence Award - along with a number of government departments including the Prime Ministers Office and the Ministry of Information.

FIRCA, too, has had a questionable role in some of the fraud and corruption cases brought against Fiji citizens, working hand in glove with FICAC to pursue targets generally accepted as reflecting biases and the settling of old scores. 

The awards seem to have been given out indiscriminately with almost every government agency and Ministry being rated. One has to ask: how believable is that?

2014 Service Excellence Commitment Award
'Traumatic' injuries: Soko's report talks of assault.
Lost limb: Escaped prisoner.
Fiji Sports Council, Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development & National Disaster Management, Ministry of Justice

2014 Service Excellence Achievement Award
Office of the President, Judicial Dept, Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Local Govt, Housing and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Information Technology Services, Ministry of Public Enterprises, Ministry of Sugar Industry, iTaukei Affairs Board, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Immigration, National Security and Defence

2014 Service Excellence Award
Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Auditor General, Public Service Commission, Ministry of Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations, Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information and National Archives, Department of Immigration, Fiji Police Force, Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and Medical Services

2014 Service Excellence Prime Minister's Award
Fiji Corrections Services, Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nawaikula fights back on 'out of context coup threat'

"Bainimarama must understand he is now a Prime Minister, not a Dictator with a mandate to govern, he must exercise his powers with humility, respect and accountability"

Nawaikula: Bainimarama is fear mongering
Quick and sharp response today from Opposition member, Niko Nawaikula, after Frank Bainimarama accused him of threatening to carry out a coup.

Bainimarama was quoted in the Fiji Sun as saying Naiwaikula had threatened in his maiden speech that if the Constitution was not amended it would be Parliament's invitation to another coup.

In a veiled threat, he went on to say government, RFMF and police were working in unison and would stop any attempted coup.

 was quick to front the claims and the 'alleged threats against him' saying he had said nothing of the sort.

".... Prime Minister Bainimarama and the Fiji Sun would do well to read the context in which I referred to coups in the Hansard - if they had, they would realize that their claims that I ‘threatened a coup‘ were not only baseless, but deliberately distorted to ‘sensationalize’ the issue for their own benefit of fear mongering."

Authorities forced to respond to Ebola concerns

Fiji police: due home from Liberia.
Is Fiji ready for the Ebola epidemic?

The question is a fair one but not one Parliament is ready for – or wants to discuss.

An urgent question was filed yesterday by Fiji’s Opposition member, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, but it was rejected by the Speaker.

The epidemic is sweeping several West African countries, with new cases reported in the U.S. and Spain and Germany but there have been no reports of the virus in Fiji or anywhere near the Pacific.

Fiji police, however, are stationed as part of the United Nations peace keeping mission in Liberia, one of the hot spots for Ebola.

Fiji has now been forced to respond with the Assistant Health Minister, Veena Bhatnagar, saying safety measures have been put into place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

MPs use maiden speech to target Constitution

Early days yet but the maiden speeches give some idea of who to watch.

SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula twisted the tiger's tail with his comment the 2013 Constitution did not have the people's mandate and that the best parts should be extracted and the rest discarded.
Niko Nawaikula

“The question I ask Madam Speaker is, Is the 2013 Constitution the People’s will? The straight answer is, it is not and this has been imposed on us."

The lawyer was reprimanded several times by the speaker for saying the Constitution was an interim measure only as Fiji morphs and seeks to achieve true democracy. 

He said a true Constitution reflected the spirit of the people.

“It is common will of the population," said Nawaikula. "It guarantees the rights of all its citizens and by that I mean individual or fundamental Rights, indigenous group rights, Minority rights, Worker’s rights, women’s rights and all other rights that are now established by the UN convention.

“It provides within it mechanisms that provides a clear
Mosese Bulitavu
separation of power, and it provides within it provisions that guarantees accountability, transparencies and good governance."

The leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, also focused on the Constitution saying the history of the Deed of Cession wasn't even mentioned in it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bainimarama slaps photographer at Fiji Day event

Prime minister by title but thug by nature.

A second citizen has been attacked by Frank Bainimarama -
Earlier incident: Bilitaki beaten.
a photographer who was slapped across the face after being ordered to stop taking pictures.

The incident happened on Friday evening at Government House during the Fiji Day cocktails and was witnessed by at least two people.

Witnesses say the newly-elected Fiji First leader slapped the photographer, who is believed to work for the Ministry of Information or the Corrections Services, and swore at him because he didn't wanted pictures taken of him and his family.
Injuries documented: Investigation underway.

The incident occurred at about 11.30pm.

The 2006 coup leader also ordered youth who were at the event to leave.

Bainimarama told them: "Raica dou kua tiko ni veitaba, dou vinakata meu cemuri kemudou ike" meaning "Look, don't take photos or I will chase you out of here."

Ructions already with albatross MPs slapped down

Ructions within the ranks already with reports Frank Bainimarama is unhappy with Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's ministerial appointments and ministers already talking about a major reshuffle because some of their appointed colleagues are not even capable of public speaking. 

Put in place: Bala
Parveen Bala, whose is due to answer to the charge of death by dangerous driving, is proving to be the predicted albatross for Fiji First and has been growled at for announcing municipal elections just after being sworn in.

He's been warned not to make any announcements without consulting Khaiyum and told there will be no elections in towns or cities. 

Growled at: Rosy Akbar (left).
Womens Minister Rosy Akbar has also been told off for saying women are lazy and need to work hard to get out of poverty.

Veena Bhatnagar, the assistant minister of health, has been dubbed 'the biggest joke of the Health Ministry' after Neil Sharma was sidelined because of corruption allegations. 

The budget is expected to be announced in the last week of November - and will be the first test for the Opposition parties: while they can't bring a vote of no confidence against Fiji First, if 9 Fiji First MPs join the 88 opposition MPs in voting against the budget, the president will have to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections. 

A restructure has meanwhile been announced for the fuel industry to allow fuel to be bought directly. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fiji's class of 2014 - winners or losers?

Class of 2014: Who'll be the stars, the duds, the saboteurs ... the power brokers?

Much crowing over Fiji First's 'first' win over the position of deputy speaker but given the numbers, hardly surprising. 

With the regime led party having 32 seats, the script as some are boasting, 'is written for the next four years' looks all too predictable.

Frank Bainimarama and his lot don't get off to a shiny new  start, though - too many skeletons to remind us of who they really are. Look no further than the beating of composer Josefa Bilitaki.

Questions also continue to dog Fiji First about its election victory with the International Trade Union Congress this week adding its weight to the belief the poll was anything but free and fair. 

Par for the course as it has been for the past eight years, so we're in for more of the same, albeit thug Frank Bainimarama is now sitting inside Parliament instead of dictating from outside.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Composer beaten hours after being told to 'fuck off' by Bainimarama

The composer of the songs used by the regime led party, Fiji First, during its election campaign has been beaten after complaining to Frank Bainimarama about copyright.

The family of Josefa Bilitaki say he was attacked by army soldiers just hours after his conversation with Bainimarama.

The elderly man remains in the Colonial War Memorial Hospital almost a week after the incident.

Bilitaki's family say he was taken away and beaten by four army officers last Friday after he rung and complained to newly-elected Frank Bainimarama about Fiji First using his songs without his permission.

The composer's daughter, Asenaca, says it's not known where her father was taken but it wasn't QEB.

She says Bainimarama swore at her father, a former teacher, during their conversation, yelling "Fuck off SODELPA".

This is not the first time Bainimarama The Thug has abused citizens or has used the country's soldiers to beat, brutalize and kill their own people.