Politics of Fiji

Why are the Aussies surprised at their snubbing in Fiji?

It seems the Aussies are still up to their old tricks.

This morning’s Fiji Sun has a story which may give us an insight as to what awaits?NZ and how we will handle what is likely to be the same treatment at ?the Waitangi Day celebrations next week in Suva.

Top Government and Judiciary members conspicuously stayed away from the Australia Day celebrations in Suva last night.

It underscored continuing concerns in Suva over attitudes of Australian diplomats here, including High Commissioner Margaret Twomey, well informed sources said.

Among those not at the high commission?s function were Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

All were invited and all were in town.

It came at the end of a day when Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had warmly praised Fiji in a message published only by the Fiji Sun. But in marked contrast High Commissioner Twomey same time barely mentioned Fiji in a message published by both daily newspapers.

This reemphasised concerns of a chasm in attitude towards Fiji. This is between the warmth of Ms Bishop ? potentially Australia?s next Prime Minister ? and hardline bureaucrats and diplomats working in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

These are the people who drove the now widely discredited failed Australian policy of trying to isolate Fiji. ? Read more »

Parliament opens in Fiji

Fiji’s new democratically elected government has sat in parliament for the first time, and the Speaker has been elected.

The new Fiji parliament is in the old renovated parliament buildings, it has had a full makeover in preparation for the return to democracy. Astonishing that none of the media in New Zealand and people like David Farrar were constantly saying the government had no intention of holding elections and returning to democracy, when anyone who bothered to go to Fiji could see for themselves all the preparations for the return, like the makeover of the Old Parliament buildings.

SODELPA even tried to use the renovations to denigrate the PM by stating the dome on the clock tower was signifying that Fiji was to become a Islamic nation governed by Sharia law, despite the fact the dome has always been there and was only more visible after a good water blast and cleaning job.

Dr Jiko Luveni, the former Minister for Women in the Bainimarama Government was nominated and appointed today as the Speaker to the House of Parliament.

Dr Jiko Luveni being escorted to the Speaker's Chair

Dr Jiko Luveni being escorted to the Speaker’s Chair

Read more »

Could Murray McCully sort out his idiot department over Fiji please

Fiji has had the election that was promised, it was declared free and fair by international observers but still New Zealand continues to insult Fiji via MFaT.

Frank Bainimarama has been sworn in after being democratically elected and still MFaT is meddling with advisories.

On MFaT’s Safe Travel website they state:

Fiji

And these words of warning:

Some government departments and statutory authorities are still headed by ex-military personnel.? The government also has a degree of influence over the judiciary and some media outlets remain cautious about reporting anti-government views.

The security situation in Fiji is currently stable, however the elections and process of formation of a new government may result in increased political tensions. New Zealand citizens throughout Fiji are advised to be security conscious at all times and to avoid any demonstrations, large gatherings and areas of military activity.

What a load of horse shit. Frankly that is insulting.? Read more »

Bainimarama sworn in as Fiji PM

 Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

The election is finally over in Fiji and Fiji First won 32 out of 50 seats, with nearly 60% of the vote.

Frank Bainimarama has been sworn in.

Fiji’s former military ruler was sworn in as prime minister after winning 60 percent of the vote in the South Pacific nation’s first elections since he seized power eight years ago.

Fiji, a tropical archipelago about 3,200 km (2,000 miles) east of Australia, has suffered four coups since 1987, the latest in 2006 led by former army chief Voreqe “Frank” Bainimarama, whose Fiji First Party will hold a wide majority 32 of the 50 seats in the new parliament.

Wednesday’s election was broadly praised by a 92-member international observer group, despite opposition accusations of fraud and allegations the regime had used its control of state media to boost Bainimarama’s campaign and ignore opponents.

“I will serve the country as the prime minister of all Fijians,” Bainimarama told Reuters following a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in the capital, Suva.

The election has been closely watched by neighbours Australia and New Zealand, the region’s economic and diplomatic power houses, eager to welcome the country back to the fold of normal relations after eight years of isolation.

Some diplomats I spoke to in Fiji were hoping there would be a thaw in relations with NZ.

That is unlikely.

Fijians are very upset over the way they have been treated by the NZ and Australian governments.

Fiji has made new friends now….ones we let in the door with our intransigence.

The country now has emphatically rejected the racism of the past, and has embarked on a new beginning.

 

– Fairfax

Dodgy ratbag unionists same the world over, this time in Fiji

Felix Anthony, a trade union boss, who has troughed it up large at the expense of Fijian taxpayers has been busted.

Felix Anthony was paid more than $160,000 over three years as a board member of the Fiji National Provident Fund.

The amount also included the fees the then Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary and now leader of the People?s Democratic Party received for sitting on the boards of FNPF?s subsidiary companies.

Mr Anthony was asked during FBC?s 4 The Record television programme on Sunday about the amount.

He replied: ?I don?t recall the exact amount.? ?? Read more »

EXCLUSIVE: An interview with Frank Bainimarama

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Photo/ Whaleoil Media, Steve Cook

On Saturday morning I was invited to an interview with Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Other NZ media other than Venkat Raman from Indian NewsLink were refused interviews.

I was free to ask anything and everything in a wide ranging interview. Some of the insights are very interesting. For reader who don’t know, I was born in Fiji, I am a Kaiviti.

My apologies in advance for the audio, I was using borrowed equipment and lacked a proper mic (which is now on my shopping list)

Read more »

Fiji travel bans lifted, what did they actually achieve?

soper-fiji

The government has finally lifted the Fiji travel bans:

New Zealand is lifting travel sanctions against Fiji, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has confirmed.

In a statement, McCully said the progress Fiji was making towards holding free and fair elections deserved recognition from the Pacific region and international community.

“There are now more than 500,000 people registered to vote in the September elections, electoral commissioners have been appointed and importantly Commodore Bainimarama has stepped down as the head of the Military.

“The visit by the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group in February was a success and the Commonwealth recently acknowledged the progress that Fiji is making.

“Last week the electoral decree was published, an Elections Supervisor appointed, and the 17th?of September was announced as the election date.”

As a consequence New Zealand would end all remaining travel sanctions and would also remove all remaining restrictions on New Zealand Government departments working directly with their Fiji counterparts.

Which is all good, but one wonders what they actually achieved. These sanctions certainly never deterred the government of Fiji from progressing to a true democracy, with one person one vote, and a proper census, complete photo id voter registration and the removal of the electoral rort of the Great Council of Chiefs. ? Read more »

New poll puts Bainimarama way out in front

timthumb

A new poll by the Fiji Sun has current Prime Minister?Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama well in front ahead of elections later in the year.

The Fiji Sun reports:

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is an overwhelming early leader as preferred Prime Minister. That?s according to the first FIJI SUN Poll for the general elections.

The polls are to be conducted weekly until the general elections by the CJP Pacific/Razor market research teams. The first week of polling conducted in the week till February 21 reflects similar results in a trial poll conducted the previous week.? Read more »

Amnesty International caught lying again over Fiji

Amensty International has duped Radio New Zealand into manufacturing news that simply is not occuring in Fiji.

It is outrageous and published without a shred of evidence.

Amnesty International is urging New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCullly, to put human rights on the agenda during his diplomatic visit to Fiji.

Mr McCully and Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, will arrive in Fiji on Friday as part of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Ministerial Contact Group.

During the two-day visit, the delegation will meet a range of groups and Fiji government representatives to produce a report updating Forum leaders on election developments.

Amnesty’s Fiji campaigner, Michael Hayworth, says the ministers should take the opportunity to raise critical issues such as Fiji’s restrictions on freedom of expression.

“In the lead-up to elections, we are seeing a crackdown on free speech, we are seeing people not able to protest, and we are of course seeing people not being able to join trade unions or non-government organisations. Fiji really needs to take a U-turn on these human rights abuses and the Australian and New Zealand governments need to play a role in that by raising their issues with their counterparts.”

Perhaps Mr Hayworth should be called to provide evidence of a crackdown on free speech in Fiji or stand accused of lying. ? Read more »

Has Karl du Fresne been to Fiji recently?

Karl du Fresne normally writes sensible stuff…but today he is off on a wonky jihad against Fiji.

It is so dreadfully wrong in so many respects one must wonder if he has even been to Fiji recently at all, or even bothered to talk to some local people about what is really going on in Fiji. Perhaps the only person he is speaking to is the equally ill-informed Michael Field.

One thing is for sure though, after this article I doubt Karl du Fresne will be enjoying any holidays in Fiji anytime soon.

We don’t seem to hear a lot about Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama these days. Perhaps that’s because we prefer not to think about him.

Our near neighbour ? the Pacific’s only military dictator ? presents a big problem. What he’s doing in Fiji, namely suppressing democracy and silencing opponents, is repugnant. We don’t approve.

Suppressing democracy? Does Karl know that Fiji is having an election this year, probably in September? One where one vote is as equal as the next rather than the corrupt system that existed before.

But what are we to do? Economic sanctions would inevitably punish innocent, ordinary Fijians. Besides, many New Zealanders like their cheap Fijian holidays and wouldn’t take kindly to being told they can no longer fly there.

The net result is that we find it easier to look the other way. Commodore Bainimarama is just too difficult.

Really? I’ve found you can just ring him up, or anyone else for that in the Fiji government. They are pretty accessible. As for sanctions…yeah how’d that work out for us in forcing change? All sanctions did was force Fiji to look northwards, and grow as a nation themselves, ironically one that is more independent as a result. New Zealand and Australia’s influence over Fiji is negligible now, China and India replacing them.? Read more »

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