|Happier times: Aziz and Rokomokoti|
Fiji's law profession has taken another battering with the fiasco involving Renee Lal, Amani Bole and Jamnadas Associates but plenty more are heading into the job.
Twenty one law graduates were admitted to the bar on February the 4th, among them the former senator, Dr Atu Amberson Bain.
Doing the honours was the illegal Chief Justice, Anthony Gates, who urged the newbies to use their skills to help the community and to avoid controversies.
That speech is far too late for the likes of Ana Rokomokoti, the former Iron Lady of the Fiji Military who is trying to salvage her career by opening her own law firm in Nabua, Suva.
Rokomokoti was given the push at the end of last year by the illegal regime, losing her job first as the Chief Registrar of Fiji's tainted judiciary (she was replaced by a Sri Lankan expatriate) and then finally shuffled out of the army altogether.
One of her mates had been Pita Driti but the deposed Land Force Commander was unable to save her, let alone himself.
Close buddy Brigadier General Mohammed Aziz was once a protector, too, but he's also been brought to heel.
In fact, we hear thanks to having a finger (or is it gorging?) in several lucrative pies, Aziz is about to be sent to far away lands - Brazil where he'll be Fiji's new ambassador.
The appointment is being described as a 'face saving' exercise for the hierarchy.
Talking about departures, the former publisher of the Fiji Times, Dallas Winstead, seems to have a story to tell, though whether he coughs remains to be seen.
He's posted the following open letter on the blog, Café Pacific, and it makes for interesting reading, though some of what he says, and hints at, is known to us. Note the tone of disenchantment in his letter towards the end.
People keep telling me I’m getting the occasional mention on blogs (which I don’t read). Anyway, it would be a good idea to share with anyone who is interested why I left The Fiji Times.
1. Motibhai, the new local owners of the paper, could not organise insurance nor medical evacuation for me, a requirement of our contract.
2. This became an issue for both them and I and they agreed to pay out the remainder of the work permit, four or five weeks.
3. I am tremendously proud, in fact exhilarated, by what I achieved with the full-blooded co-operation of some 160 The Fiji Times employees, as they embraced the job of resuscitating the newspaper the government intended to close.
4. The newspaper published its editorial charter on October 9 in which we stated that we supported the Prime Minister’s dreams of One Nation One People. We made it clear we would not be kissing arses but nor would we be instinctively kicking them. Like every decent paper in the world, we have kept that promise.
5. The government continues to subsidise the opposition newspaper, the Fiji Sun, with about 3000 pages of advertising a year. In return it publishes verbatim, mostly, all government releases. It is a shameless, even dangerous, publication.
6. Depending on what happens in Fiji in the weeks ahead, I may, or may not, fill in the details of that journey other than to take this opportunity to thank those dozens of the business, academic, legal, diplomatic and public servicemen and women who shared frank and revealing conversations with me about the way Fiji works.