Today, the real story on how Fiji's Green Gold has been divvied up by the illegal regime.
While Frank Bainimarama last week announced an American company, the Forestland Group, would manage the billion dollar industry, he failed to reveal his officials locked out the long-established Fiji Sawmillers Association, from the inaugral meeting of the Mahogany Industry Council.
The Sawmillers Association, which employs almost 13-hundred people and represents $60 million worth of business, was originally invited to take part in the meeting.
But while individual landowners were included in the pivotal discussions, officials withdrew the Association's invite at the last minute, without explanation.
Angry sawmillers have since written to Bainimarama denoucing his plan which clearly plays up foreign interest at the expense of local involvement.
In his speech at the Inaugral Mahogany Council where he boasted the bold new steps the regime was taking to propel Fiji's Green Gold industry, Bainimarama had trashed the industry and the way it was managed by the Fiji Hardwood Corporation saying 'What existed could barely be described as an Industry at all.'
The letter from the Sawmillers Association challenges Bainimarama's 'reforms' and the issuing of licences to what appear to be mainly overseas companies, saying it shows 'bias against local businesses and resource owners' and will create 'disharmony'.
It goes on to say the recommendations seem to be directed at driving out ' local competitors.'
The Sawmillers Association had originally been in touch with the regime over concerns in September.
Coupfourpointfive understands members had been trying to talk to the illegal attorney general and Bainimarama for some time without success.
Dear FSA Members,
Please be informed that FIJI SAWMILLERS ASSOCIATION has been formally invited by the Office of the Prime Minister to attend Mahogany Industry Council meeting at 9:30am Thursday, 15th November at the GCC Complex, Nasese.
According to PM’s office this is the only opportunity provided to FSA (industry) to air our views/ grievances to the forum which will be chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister himself. FSA position has been made clear in our letter dated 24th September, 2012 to the PM and the subsequent meeting with PSPMO in relation to the recent recommendation of licenses by the Ministry of Pubic Enterprises.
Please note that we will not permit any other persons to be part of FSA other than those in the mailing list above as names have been handed to PM’s office for the list of attendees for their records.
The Program is as follows:
9:30am to 10:00am Assemble & Registration
10:00am to 10:20am Welcome & Introduction by PSPMO
Opening Address by Chair of MIC – by Prime Minister
10:20am to 10:35pm Overview of Mahogany Industry by Attorney General
10:35am to 11:00am Question and Answers by Industry
11:00am to 11:30 am Morning Tea and Stakeholders Disperse
From 11:30am onwards is only the MIC meeting and Industry will not be allowed to be part of this.
Members can meet before the meeting at Holiday Inn at 8:30am for coffee and preliminary discussions only.
Please ensure that you all be part of this ONE and ONLY opportunity to air our concerns and ALL FSA members MUST attend.