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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tui Cakau suspended from Parliament

Tui Cakau
The Privileges Committee has recommended that Tui Cakau be suspended from Parliament for two years for using obscene words to describe the Speaker of the House Jiko Luveni.

The Committee has an audio recording from Communications Fiji Limited where Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu calls Luveni a 'vutusona' and 'cavuka'. The incident took place at a public SODELPA meeting last Thursday in Makoi.

In it's report tabled in Parliament this morning, the committee said:

According to the audio recording, it is clear that Hon. Lalabalavu referred to the Hon. Speaker as “vutusona”. The iTaukei term is extremely obscene and gravely offensive as it literally means anal sex. Following that statement, Hon. Lalabalavu then referred to the Hon. Speaker as “cavuka”, which means retarded or mentally challenged when he had mocked her by saying that she stood up when the Opposition side stood up during a particular sitting. In all these instances his reflections on the Hon. Speaker drew laughter from the audience.

When summoned by the Committee to give his evidence, Hon. Lalabalavu was evasive about what had actually transpired at the SODELPA meeting. He also stated that the slurs in the iTaukei language may not have been necessarily directed at the Hon. Speaker.

Hon. Lalabalavu also submitted that the manner in which the slurs were said did not mean that they were abusive as such, especially since the Hon. Speaker is also a member of the Tovata Confederacy. According to Hon. Lalabalavu, that is the relationship of the “vanua” and in the context of the “vanua”, that is how they engage in such a cultural setting.

However, the fact is that this meeting was a public meeting for which a permit had been obtained. The fact is that this was not a cultural gathering of the Tovata Confederacy. This was a public meeting by SODELPA which advertised this meeting as constituency meeting in which all members of the public were invited. It was not limited to members of the Tovata Confederacy. It was covered by the media for all Fijians.

The committee's report stated:

It should be noted that under section 20(h) of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act (Cap. 5), any person who utters or publishes any false or scandalous slander or libel on Parliament or upon any member in his or her as such commits an offence and such an offence warrants inter alia imprisonment for a maximum of two years.

Hon. Lalabalavu viciously and scandalously attacked the Hon. Speaker and made a mockery of the institution of Parliament and important arm of the constitutional system of government. It was so vicious and scandalous that it would be difficult to find such contempt in other jurisdictions.

Given the above, the Privileges Committee strongly recommends that Hon. Lalabalavu must be suspended from Parliament for at least two years of the term of Parliament, with immediate effect from 21 May 2015. During the period of suspension, he is not allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office. He must also issue a public apology in writing to the Hon Speaker. Immediately upon his suspension, he must be ordered to leave the precincts of Parliament and to remain outside of Parliament precincts. If he fails to comply, necessary enforcement measures must be imposed to ensure compliance. 

The recommendation is being debated in Parliament and it is highly likely it will be passed.

Side note: When Jiko Luveni was illegal Minister for Women she blamed women for getting raped.

She said: "Women should dress modestly and help men in the national campaign to cut down sex crimes.” 

“If a girl is going out to drink with guys in an isolated area wearing shorts or clothes showing off her body, she is inviting trouble."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Khaiyum cites Tui Cakau for 'swearing' at Speaker

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum claims the Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu swore at the Speaker of the House, Jiko Luveni, and has pushed Parliament to discipline him.

Yesterday in Parliament, Khaiyum called the Speaker 'Vutusona' and 'Cavuka' then said he has a recording of Ratu Naiqama saying those same words at the Speaker. 

This recording is yet to surface.

The swear words were apparently used at a Sodelpa meeting last Thursday, not in Parliament. But Khaiyum claims Ratu Naiqama breached his Parliamentary privilege.

Should we then start disciplining any parliamentarian who swear outside of Parliament?

The Fiji Parliament is already a circus, now this.

Khaiyum put this motion to a vote:

  1. Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu be cited for a serious breach of privilege and contempt of Parliament
  2. that the matter be now referred to the Privileges Committee under Standing Order 134(2)(b) to determine the type of sanction for the breach and
  3. that the Privileges Committee must meet today 18 May 2015, and provide its recommendations to Parliament at the latest by Thursday 21 May 2015 as to what sanctions should be imposed by Parliament against Honourable Lalabalavu, after which such action as deemed appropriate by Parliament shall be taken.

A number of members in the Opposition decided not to vote.

The matter is now before the six-person Privileges Committee, one of whom is Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. 

The Committee will deliver its verdict on Ratu Naiqama's fate on Thursday.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

28 years on and fears of another coup looms

Twenty eight years ago today saw the start of the infamous coup culture in Fiji when a third asking officer in the then Royal Fiji Military Forces, Sitiveni Rabuka, executed the first military coup and removed the five week old NFP/FLP Coalition Government of Dr Timoci Bavadra.

Today 28 years on and four coups later, the new 50-member Parliament is meeting in the same hallowed Chambers. And today the exceptionally tight security around Parliament including the closure of the road behind Parliament (the main entry) shows how the government, whose leader and other members are beneficiaries of the 2006 coup, still live in fear of being overthrown.

Fiji Times Front Page May 14, 1987
Why the need such tight security because wasn't the 2006 coup to end all coups?

Why does Frank Bainimarama's government need such tight security?

After all, the military carried out all four coups in Fiji. Even the 2000 coup led by George Speight was carried out with the firepower coming from CRW soldiers.

So why is Bainimarama afraid of the now Republic of Fiji Military Forces - the army that he led for 15 years?

Aren't the current Commander and all soldiers loyal to him?

Why block roads with checkpoints and hinder movement of ordinary citizens?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Terminally ill Bainimarama supporter resigns

A not unexpected statement today from Pio Tikoduadua about his health.

The former Lieutenant-Colonel,  Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Fiji First Minister has resigned from his position in Parliament citing health reasons.

Tikoduadua has been loyal to the regime to the end; support by citizens has over the years been rather ambivalent.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fiji flag, cops and robbers: what a mish mash

And so begins the wait for a flag that personifies the new Fiji.

What will this flag look like and will it unite the country as Frank Bainimarama says it will?
Delana already suggesting flag will be a combination of entries. pic FBC

Remember, he's ditched the current flag for one that reflects a 'modern and truly independent nation state.'

But he may find coming up with an exceptional flag more difficult than he realizes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fiji's ambassador to China getting salary package of $200,000 plus

Yen for travel: Naivalurua
He was getting good money when he was Police Commissioner and continues to be rewarded as a regime stooge.

Ioane Naivalurua's contract as Fiji's newest Ambassador to China shows he's earning less than the base salary he was getting while heading the police force but is cashing in overall because of his allowances.

His contract shows he's now being paid $79,009, which is at the top of the scale (grade
US02), plus allowances totalling $154,702, giving him a total package of $231,711.

Naivalurua's contract to serve 'diligently and faithfully' is for three years and was issued in February. It was signed by the Acting Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Esala Nayasi.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fiji First chief fundraisers rewarded

Last Friday saw the first meeting of the Constitutional Offices Commission and it was evident that Fiji First continues to reward its staunchest supporters.

The Commission has 6 members - the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Leader of the Opposition, two nominees of the PM and one nominee of the Opposition Leader, assisted by the Solicitor-General.

During this first meeting, Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa added her nominee, constitutional lawyer Richard Naidu, while Frank Bainimarama put forward Sanjay Kaba and Ajit Kodagoda.

Both Kaba and Kodagoda are not legal experts therefore their nominations politicise what is supposedly an independent Commission. They were, of course, the chief fundraisers for Fiji First during the last year's election.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bainimarama loyalist Neil Sharma gets boot

Dismissed after conscience vote
Former Health Minister in the Bainimarama regime before the 2014 general election and Fiji First backbencher, Neil Sharma, was forced to resign today by Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sharma was given the ultimatum by Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday to resign this morning or be sacked. 
He opted to hand in his resignation. 
Sayed Khaiyum is not only the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, but Fiji First general secretary and registered officer. 

Sharma has suffered the same fate as former FNU Vice-Chancelor, Ganesh Chand, who was forced to quit in December last year. 
Both were ardent Fiji First supporters and loyalists of Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum.

During the last parliamentary sitting of Friday March 20, Sharma voted with the Opposition on a motion to have a committee to look at controlling Non Communicable Diseases.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another Fijian institution destroyed

Frank Bainimarama's regime government has taken a machete to another Fijian institution - boarding schools.

Adi Cakobau, Ratu Kadavulevu and Queen Victoria Schools will from next year only cater for students from remote areas in a one-eyed plan to level the playing field for Indian students.

All three schools have been prominent for providing quality education and producing great Fijian leaders, many who have gone on to become CEOs, Ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents of Fiji. 

They have also produced notable sports players.

But Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy says the boarding schools were originally meant to cater for students who hailed from the interior and remote outer islands.

He said lately, this privilege had been abused by students within urban areas whom he referred to as the elite group.

"I want to announce today that next year, no boarding space will be given to students from urban areas or the elite in all facilities in the government boarding schools such as QVS, ACS, RKS and the likes.