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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nod from China and India - but at what price?

Big powers swarm Suva: what will be the implications?
Are we now heading towards an open door policy for Indians - just as we've been promised visas on arrival there?

And is this what we want?

Fiji has signed three MOU’s with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi but another 15 are supposed to be in the pipeworks.

The MOU’s allow Fiji to exchange land for a new chancery building in New Delhi, Fijian diplomats to be trained and for funding for an electricity and cogeneration plant.

“This is only the beginning,” we’re told. Beginning of what?

Fiji is already in debt to China: are we dabbling in the same bad medicine with India?

Australia has just signed a free trade deal with China and the labor movement there is already worried at the waiving of visas to allow skilled Chinese workers to be brought in to fill labour shortages on huge infrastructure deals.

Aussie jobs are already being outsourced to India.  Australia is a bigger country with a stronger economy - if sections are nervy about the price they're paying for 'stronger ties', can the smaller, weaker Fiji fend off unwanted trade offs?

The ties with China have already led to the number of visitors from there leap dramatically - will there now be a similar  influx from India? And what land was exchanged for the chancery?

In fact, what price is Fiji paying for the glory of hosting two emerging powers?

“I apologize to you, Prime Minister Modi, on behalf of the people of Fiji, for this inexcusable behavior, which does not have anything to do with the relations between our countries. It only shows that some of us have some lessons to learn about democracy, statecraft, and nationhood.”
Bainimarama says the government after elections should be about finding ways to work for the common good.
Bainimarana added that among other rights democracy includes political rights, economic and social rights—the right to medical care and a healthy environment.
The SODELPA members of Opposition had earlier today boycotted the special Parliament sitting because they believe the government deliberately excluded them from the planning of Modis’ state visit.
The government on the other hand had yesterday released a statement saying the planning of the trip was the government’s responsibility.
- See more at: http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/24622/bainimarama-apologizes-to-modi#sthash.y6yG2E4a.dpuf

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Murder of Aussie woman another blight on Fiji tourism

Tracy Maw: Returned to Fiji to reconcile with lover.
It's the lifeblood of Fiji but the death of another tourist will surely hurt the industry the regime takes such pride in.

The discovery of the decomposed body of Australian woman, Tracy Ann O'Brien Maw, has been publicised widely in Australia, since she was found on Monday.

Both the details of her death and her relationship with a married Sigatoka local, plus the police investigation, have painted a picture of Fiji that is feral.

Media reports reveal she'd been in a relationship for four and a half years and had told a Facebook group she'd lost $42,000 plus her house as a result of it. She said she'd been sending him money regularly but he was probably spending it on his wife and family.

Relationship: She told friends she'd been ripped off.
"... when you come home to Aussie you really DONT know what they do when your not there. sad hey when we give them honesty and they just laugh at us in there lingo, even while we sit with then! How do we know what they saying?”

This is not the first time the death of a tourist has put the microscope on Fiji but the stories that have emerged about Ms Maw's relationship and the pictures plastered across the pages shows it as a country where you get ripped of, can't take your safety for granted or trust local authorities.

Police commissioner BJJ Groenewald insists a post-mortem could not determine the cause of death and Ms Maw had to be cremated 'because of the total decomposed situation of the body.'

Her family are less than satisfied: this is not a new complaint - the loved ones of other tourists who've had to turn to authorities have spoken of incompetency and lack of confidence in them.

A man was arrested yesterday and police say he is known to Ms Maw but are not in a position to release his name.

According to Tourism Fiji, visitor arrivals in September were up 4.5 percent from last year.

The Fiji Bureau of Statistics said there had been 64,000 visitors so far and the final number should surpass the 675,000 peak recorded in 2011.

Visitors from New Zealand and the US were up 15 per cent, while arrivals from China jumped 25 percent. Australian arrivals had dropped 0.4 percent.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The bombshell Auditor General Reports for 2007 to 2013

The evidence of the Auditor General Reports indicates Bainimarama and Khaiyum obtained significant personal financial advantage by paying themselves large increases in salary, decided by themselves.

By Professor Wadan Narsey
Fiji tax-payers have received an absolute bombshell
regarding the use of their money by the Bainimarama Regime, with the simultaneous release of the Auditor General Reports for the years 2007 to 2013, all 28 volumes of them. (very much in keeping with the Diwali fireworks and in anticipation of the now forgotten Guy Fawkes night).

These reports are detailed audits of government incomes, expenditures and borrowings, usually tabled annually in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, as a "report on the performance of the government" for the previous year.

All taxpayers must understand what is in these reports, given that annually at least 25% (or more than a billion dollars) of their total incomes is forcibly taken from them by the government as taxes, hundreds of millions further are borrowed by the same government to be paid by the current and future tax payers, and the entire revenue is then spent allegedly on tax-payers’ behalf.

The Auditor General Reports try to verify whether the taxes are being collected according to the law, whether loans are being borrowed responsibly and as planned, and whether the revenues are being spent the way that parliament approved or as stated in the Annual Budget documents, or whether there are deficiencies in the above.

Upon tabling in parliament and with the elected parliamentarians, the Auditor General Reports are usually released to the media, and hence to the public to monitor and act if they see fit.
That is what used to happen annually for forty six years after independence in 1970.
Then the cycle was broken by Commodore Bainimarama who seized power through a coup in December 2006.

Principles of a sound audit
It is useful to first outline the basic principles which the owners of all organizations, private or public, expect from a good audit whether in accounting, economics or management:

The Auditor General must be totally independent of the Fiji Government (reasonably so) and must be adequately resourced (not so, according to his reports);
The government ministries must give the Auditor General every information that they ask for (they refused in a number of cases);
The audit must clearly point out the major faults (done pretty well), as well as the remedies to the owners, the people of Fiji (not so good);
The owners must be able to make the organizational changes that are necessary to eliminate the faults pointed out (little chance of that);
The next audit must check to see if the faults pointed out the previous year have been rectified (often not rectified) and the public notified of these failures (not done).

Busted by auditor general's report

Despite the Auditor General’s best efforts, some of these principles have been significantly compromised by the Bainimarama Government (as given in the brackets above), the most obvious being the complete failure to report annually.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How will Fiji repay the $US20m Qatar paid to free soldiers?

Fiji soldiers freed: at what price?
There'll be many issues for the Opposition to dig into with the budget due later this month but one it can't lose sight of is the deal made by the regime with Qatar to free the 45 peacekeepers.

A deal was made that much is certain: we're only missing the finer details. 

Some of the answers are already there for us: look to the speech Epeli Nailatikau gave detailing the plans of 'his government'. We quote:

"With a view to reducing fuel prices and increasing our
Israel TV footage: UN finalising deal with Al  Nusra
buying power, my government will follow the lead of Mauritius in taking control of the import of all fossil fuel, such as petroleum and gas, in place of the existing private companies. We will call for international tenders for the supply of fuel and the existing companies will then buy that fuel from the government.

"As well as being able to negotiate lower prices in the international marketplace, the government will generate revenue from the sale of fuel, establish price stability and be able to pass on the benefits of competitive prices to consumers."

Fiji has tried this before and it did not work: it ended up in debt. But what's in it for the key players who hustled the deal: Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Inoke Kubuabola and Robin Nair?

So much of Fiji has already been sold to China; we need to know what else is now being peddled without our knowledge or mandate.

This was a deal, too, that narked the international community: while the United Nations insisted it didn't deal
Robin Nair: Fiji Day in Abu Dhabi
with terrorists, it facilitated negotiations for Qatar to pay the US$20m ransom sought by Al Nusra.

Israel TV footage clearly shows UN officials and Al Nusra finalizing the deal, despite the US and the UK saying they don't negotiate with terrorist organisations and even as the terrorists continue to hold and behead journalists and aid workers.

Qatar pays ransom: international report

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fiji regime presents 'clean' human rights report to UN

The regime delegation to the UN: 'We're all happy in Fiji'

First the Auditor's General report now human rights.

A regime delegation is in Geneva presenting a Human Rights report to the United Nations claiming to have resolved breaches.

Led by Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the delegation delivered a 22 page report saying Fiji has met 97 out of 103 recommendations by the UN.

Here's some of the bullshit presented to the UN:

Khaiyum told the panel Fiji will ratify human rights treaties and is committed to making changes, where needed, to align local rights laws and policies with accepted international standards. 

He promoted the 2013 Constitution at length, describing it "as an expression of will of the people" that reflects values that provides for, protects and promotes rights of all its citizens and should be aspired to universally.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bainimarama punishes North for promising to vote for him then voting SODELPA

Now starts the era of revenge.

Frank Bainimarama claims "Nobody will be left out” and yet two years ago he withdrew aid from two cyclone-damaged villages because they refused to swear allegiance to him.

Media coverage and stories such as “PM: Supporter first on my list” during the weekend tell us exactly where taxpayer and international aid money is going to be spent by Fiji First.

If Bainimarama has his way, the North will go begging because according to him he was betrayed by villages that said they would vote for Fiji First but voted instead for SODELPA.(Fiji Sun October 26)

The Opposition has been quick to remind Bainimarama the country’s coffers are not his personal funds.
Bainimara cited in memo: evidence villages were punished.

"Everyone pays tax - either it is through VAT, income tax or licence,” says Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa. “The people are entitled to any developments required.”

The party’s Shadow Minister of Itaukei Affairs, Naiqama Lalabalavu, says Bainimarama's threats to cut off SODELPA supporters show what type of government is in office.

"It is consistent with what he did in early 2013 with the Tui Vitogo and his people,” he says.

“It is similar to the threat he made to Niko Nawaikula’s supporters." 

Lalabalavu also asks:

Vitogo village bore brunt of Cyclone Evan
"How does he know who did not vote for him? What does he have from the Elections office that will allow him to identify who did or did not vote for him?”

Foreign aid donors are being urged to note Bainimarama’s bias and to secure guarantees to any funds given to Fiji. 

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.

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.

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."