This discussion is for those who are interested in new developments in Fiji, political or otherwise, as we observe how the "New Fiji Vision" by the current leaders pan out. 

Administrators in Government ministries will be watched like hawks as the government attempts to prove that what was dictated to the people of Fiji and determined by only a handful prior to the last Elections, the new parliamentary system, the new Constitution, etc...etc.. was all a necessity.

Post whatever you might think will make interesting reads ...... 

(Include dates if possible)

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16 more people expected to be charged today

By Ronal Deo

Monday 17/08/2015


Sixteen more people are expected to be produced in the Nadi Magistrates Court pending final approval of charges by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The DPP’s office is expected to confirm the offence and charges.

40 people have been charged and produced in court in relation to alleged seditious acts.

17 people from Ra charged with urging political violence are on bail who will reappear on 1st September.

It is alleged that they were involved in efforts to create Ra as a Christian State.

23 people have been charged with sedition and urging political violence.

They remain in custody.

3 more charged with Sedition and Urging political violence in Tavua

By Dhanjay Deo

Tuesday 18/08/2015


Three people appeared in the Tavua Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with one count of sedition and one count of urging political violence.

The State asked for Ilaitia Korolala, Semi Uqeuqe and Meli Nasalasala to be remanded in custody due to the seriousness of the charges and continuing police investigations into the use of firearms.

The matter has been adjourned till next Wednesday. The three men have been remanded in custody.

Meanwhile, 60 people have been charged with sedition in three separate matters so far.

Wave of arrests in Fiji sparks fears for rekindled democracy

Associated Press in Wellington

Wednesday 19 August 2015 16.35 AEST

 

Authorities say 63 facing charges of inciting unrest, less than a year after military ruler Frank Bainimarama won mandate in elections to become prime minister

 

 Authorities in Fiji say dozens of people have been trying to incite political upheaval or violence, alleging some were involved with a paramilitary-style training group while others were attempting to set up a sovereign Christian state.

In a wave of arrests that has gathered pace this month, 63 people face charges which carry maximum sentences of either 10 years or 15 years in prison.

The arrests come less than a year after the Pacific island nation of 900,000 held landmark elections which many hoped would usher in a new era of stable democracy following years of political turmoil and a series of military coups. Some fear the prime minister and former military ruler, Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, is using the arrests to silence political dissent.

Bainimarama seized control of Fiji in a 2006 coup and ruled as an autocrat before his Fiji First party won last year’s popular vote.

“Put simply any insurrection will be crushed,” Bainimarama said in a speech last week. “Because it is not in the interests of the Fijian people as a whole, who are sick and tired of a tiny minority trying to sow division and insecurity and holding our nation back.”

Authorities have released few details of the allegations.

Fiji’s public prosecutions office said 31 of those arrested were connected with an alleged paramilitary group while two groups of 16, from different parts of the main island of Viti Levu, were allegedly connected with the sovereign Christian state movement.

The group of 31 faces charges of sedition, which comes with a maximum seven-year sentence, and urging political violence, which comes with a 15-year maximum sentence. The others face charges of sedition and inciting communal antagonism, which comes with a 10-year maximum sentence, according to the office.

Of the 63 arrested, 16 have been released on bail while 47 remain in jail.

Those arrested include some indigenous Fijian chiefs, a group which has seen its power diminished under Bainimarama’s rule after he ended preferential indigenous representation in the parliament and abolished the Great Council of Chiefs.

In his speech Bainimarama said it was a lie to say that either Christianity or the indigenous Fijian way of life was under threat.

Lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh, who is representing more than half of those arrested, said many had their rights violated by being thrown in jail without any credible evidence to back the charges.

He said the people posed no risk to Fiji’s stability, especially because the allegations related to events that took place in late 2014.

“If they were a threat to national security I’m quite certain they would have caused all sorts of chaos by now,” he said. “But they’ve continued to live as peaceful members of society and nobody’s had any issues with them.”

Rugby World Cup 2015: 'Fiji will target Wales, but they won't be good enough to cause an upset'
08:40, 19 AUGUST 2015
BY DELME PARFITT


Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac used to coach the South Sea Islanders and says, while they are dangerous, Warren Gatland's side will be ready and waiting.

New Twist In SODELPA Row

New Twist In SODELPA Row
Under fire... SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa.
August 19
12:042015

SODELPA faces mass resignations from its North officials if it fails to start an inquiry into a confidential report by Friday.

Outspoken MP and lawyer Mosese Bulitavu, in an email to the party yesterday, disclosed the threat. He said they would join him to resign on Friday as he had promised if his demand was not met.

The dramatic turn of events came at the end of a day which saw Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa concede that SODELPA’s management board would now handle investigations into the report. Since the Fiji Sun exposed the report last week, Ro Teimumu and her inner circle of loyalists had been lobbying frantically behind the scenes to stop the report from reaching the management board.

Now she and others named in the report would be summoned to answer questions by the board.

She told a caucus meeting at the Opposition Office in Suva because the issue was with the management board that there would be no discussion about the report. Instead the MPs talked about issues for next week’s sitting of Parliament.

But party dissidents in Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata (CBM) who support Mr Bulitavu want the management board to meet this week. But this is unlikely because party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is still in Australia. He is the chairperson of the management board.

A number of fundraising dinners on his behalf have been arranged to the end of the month.

Party general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu had earlier indicated that Ratu Naiqama could return next week. Repeated attempts to contact him in Sydney failed.

It is understood that party supporters, rocked by the row, are shielding him from the media. If Ratu Naiqama is not back in time, one of the two vice-presidents Dona Takalaiyale and Ratu Lote Yavuca can chair the meeting. Mr Takalaiyale is likely to be ruled out because of conflict of interest. He is Ro Teimumu’s traditional spokesperson (matanivanua).

It looks like it will point to Ratu Lote. Mr Tabaiwalu would have to initiate the change after consulting with Ratu Naiqama in Australia.

Mr Bulitavu is not happy. He boycotted the caucus meeting yesterday because  Ro Teimumu had not resigned like he had demanded. His other four allies, Semesa Karavaki, Aseri Radrodro, Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki and Mikaele Leawere attended in case the report was raised.

In his email to the party, Mr Bulitavu said: “Given the situation, the President cannot act (for some reason) that brings the Constitution to a standstill.

“GS (General Secretary) must convene the management board with the vice- President and see that an investigation committee is appointed with terms of reference immediately.

“My seven days deadline as publically said on Friday last week to resign still stands.”

Caucus had met today and the Opposition leader told members that the complaint will be dealt by the Party, she then moved on to discuss matters for next week’s sitting.

“It is now public knowledge that I have challenged her and that I have demanded for her and others in the Opposition office to resign. It is clear that she does not want to step down.

“GS cannot be awaiting the President to give instructions. It is now a state of emergency within the party.

“By Friday, 21 August given the situation the Opposition leader does not want to resign voluntarily with her appointed staffs (who have not been recruited in the normal selection process with no consultation, so they need to leave now) and the party does not establish the investigation committee, I will resign.

“The Management Board must sit without Sakiusa Raivoce and others who have intentions to dismiss the allegations against Hon. Ro Teimumu Kepa. The Opposition staffs must stand down for now as we cannot afford money from government being used anymore for their salaries. If they are still in office and still being paid from the SODELPA OPPOSITION bank account which holds funds for constituency visits then we will be seen to be allowing … to continue. The Opposition leader given that these public funds is now publically known to be funding the opposition staffs salaries and other expenses, she should instruct the bank to freeze the account. A law abiding citizen will do that.

“It is no doubt that the government grant has been used not for the purpose it was given under the law. It has been used otherwise, in a manner that never the intent of the law that created the government grant.

“The other allegations stated by Gaunavinaka can be investigated separately by the Party because it deals with the conduct of a member of the Party. On the issue of the bank statement, it is an issue on its own and that only takes a reasonable person to figure out.

“This is supposed to be a simple and truthful explanation but what troubles me, is that she cannot say “I was wrong.”

“The mandate I have from the SODELPA Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata office that I should not back down and demand that the Opposition leader and her staffs resign pending investigation.

“I have been meeting party officials in Labasa and they have been briefed on the situation’s progress daily.

“I would like to reiterate that if the Opposition leader does not resign and the party does not act by Friday 21 August, I resign and all CBM SODELPA officials will resign from the party.

“I will hold a press release to announce my resignation, reasons for my resignation, thank my voters (they have been coming to the Labasa office daily in support of my stand) and file a formal complaint with FICAC.

“I as a private citizen then can call on the government to expedite the investigation.

“On Sunday, night Hon. Salote Radrodro called me and said that my air fare will be paid to be present at a caucus on Thursday, 20 August. Hon. Dulakiverata called me the following day and I asked him, who is paying my fare. He told me the Opposition office, I said to him, if my fare is paid from the SODELPA OPPOSITION bank account I will not come because that is the very fund that I am questioning.

“I just showed the Opposition leader, that I cannot accept … and that I am a law abiding citizen who took oath to uphold the trust of those who have sent us to Parliament.

“We need an atmosphere that will enable the transfer of good leadership to our future generations.”

Questions sent to the  Opposition Office had not been answered when this edition went to press.

Bulitavu will not step down as MP

VUNIWAQA BOLA-BARI
Friday, August 21, 2015

Update: 12:37PM

 MOSESE Bulitavu is not stepping down from his position as a Member of Parliament.

He confirmed this today after receiving advice from the Tui Cakau and SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu to stay on.

Mr Bulitavu had threatened to give in his letter of resignation today if the Opposition office does not act on the report released by a Gauna Vinaka titled Investigation and Findings: Opposition Office Clean Up Campaign.

He said with Ratu Naiqama being suspended, only he (Bulitavu) and parliamentarian Niko Nawaikula were left to represent the Caukaudrove, Bua and Macuata confederacy, thus the advice from Ratu Naiqama for him to stay on.

Fiji deploys military to 'crush' a plot to overthrow the government

Local media in the Pacific nation of Fiji says 140 soldiers have been deployed to crackdown on an alleged plot to overthrow the government and form a breakaway Christian state


Soldiers buy a snack from a roadside trader as the army patrols the street
Soldiers buy a snack from a roadside trader as the army patrols the street  Photo: AFP

The Commonwealth nation of Fiji has reportedly deployed the military to “crush” a plot by rebels to form a breakaway state following the arrest of more than 60 people on sedition charges.

About 140 soldiers have been deployed to assist police to investigate allegations that groups have been conducting paramilitary training and inciting political violence, according to local media reports.

Some of the 63 people arrested are accused of preparing to breakaway and declare the Ra Sovereign Christian State in the north...; the plot was allegedly led by a British army veteran.

“Put simply, any insurrection will be crushed,” he said.

“It is not in the interests of the Fijian people as a whole, who are sick and tired of a tiny minority trying to sow division and insecurity and holding our nation back … There will be no so-called independent states established in Fiji. Anyone who swears an illegal oath will face the full force of the law.”

Frank Bainimarama speaks to Fiji First Party supportersFrank Bainimarama (left) speaks to Fiji First Party supporters  Photo: Getty Images

Fiji, a Pacific nation of about 900,000 people, has experienced continued political unrest in recent decades, including four coups since 1987. The most recent coup in 2006 was staged by Mr Bainimarama, a military commander who finally held an election last year and won easily.

The sedition arrests have occurred during the past month but few details have been released.

The veteran leading the revolt in Ra has not been identified – and authorities have not confirmed his role – but he is believed to be a Fijian national who served with the British army. The archipelago was a British colony until 1970.

Anam Ravindra-Singh, a lawyer for some of the accused, said the details of the arrests had been shrouded in secrecy and authorities had not yet presented any evidence of the alleged “military-style training”. He said local media reporting of the arrests had been heavily censored.

“What the police and prosecution have done very cleverly with the government of Fiji [is] they have created a climate of fear and insecurity over the people and citizens,” he told ABC Radio.

Flying Fijians squad for World Cup named

VUNIWAQA BOLA-BARI

Friday, August 21, 2015

Update: 7:52PM

NAPOLIONI Nalaga, Seremaia Bai and Timoci Nagusa have failed to impress Vodafone Flying Fijians rugby coach John McKee.

The trio have been named as non-travelling reserves in the Vodafone Flying Fijians squad announced tonight.

Akapusi Qera remains the captain and would be assisted by co- vice captains Sunia Koto and Vereniki Goneva.

The squad:-

Props:- Leeroy Atalifo, Isei Colati, Campese Ma'afu, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo.

Hookers:- Sunia Koto, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Viliame Veikoso.

Locks:- Tevita Cavubati, Leone Nakarawa, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Nemia Soqeta.

Backrow:- Masi Matadigo, Akapusi Qera, Malakai Ravulo, Netani Talei, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Peceli Yato.

Halfbacks:- Nemia Kenatale, Nikola Matawalu, Henry Seniloli.

Inside backs:- Lepani Botia, Gabiriele Lovobalavu, Josh Matavesi, Ben Volavola.

Outside backs:- Vereniki Goneva, Kini Murimurivalu, Nemani Nadolo, Waisea Nayacalevu, Metuisela Talebula, Asaeli Tiko.

Joining Nalaga, Bai and Nagusa in the non- travelling reserves list are Joeli Veitayaki, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Jale Sassen and Savenaca Tabakanalagi.

Fiji Rugby Union CEO Radrodro Tabualevu said Fiji would play a game against Canada before the Rugby World Cup begins in England.

The RWC is from September 18 to October 31.

Dispute over title

Luke Rawalai
Friday, August 21, 2015

CLAIMANTS of chiefly titles need to follow dispute resolution processes, says iTaukei Affairs Native Lands Commission chairman Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula.

Ratu Vananalagi has called on the claimants of the vunivalu of Natewa title to follow the dispute resolution processes if they wanted to challenge Ratu Ifereimi Buaserau, who was registered by the NLC as the vunivalu of Natewa.

On Wednesday, the mataqali Valenisau of Natewa Village traditionally installed Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure as the vunivalu of Natewa, making him the second to be installed within a year.

Ratu Vananalagi said this was not the first time for Natewa to have two chiefs holding the title of vunivalu.

"I would advise the other faction to challenge the registration of Ratu Ifereimi as the rightful holder of the title," he said. "In the 1970s, Natewa had two claimants to the title and a few years ago, this incident happened again and for us, this is nothing new."

Meanwhile, commenting on the installation of Ratu Rakuita, Ratu Ifereimi said the ceremony lacked the support of the chiefs within Natewa. Ratu Ifereimi said the chiefly families closely linked to the vunivalu title failed to turn up to show their support for Ratu Rakuita.

"My grandfather, Ratu Ropate Rakuita, held the title of Vunivalu in 1972, and was challenged by Ratu Tevita Vakalalabure (father of Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure), but the NLC recognised my grandfather who held the title until his death before it was given to Ratu Tevita because he was a member of Parliament at the time," he said.

"The title is passed between the families of Valelevu and Valenisau, but the vanua of Natewa has the final say on who will rule them. In my case, the vanua supported me and this was evident in the chief's presence at my installation."

In an interview, the brother of the newly-installed vunivalu, Ratu Gilbert Vakalalabure, said the title was passed between the families and this was the turn of the Valenisau clan.

Ratu Gilbert also said in the dispute of 1972, the NLC recognised his father Ratu Tevita as the rightful holder of the title.

He said although other chiefs within the vanua of Natewa were not present for the installation, the ones who mattered made it to the event.

Recording not included

Talebula Kate
Friday, August 21, 2015

A RECORDING of the words allegedly uttered by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu for which he was suspended from Parliament for two years has not been included yet in the materials provided to the court.

This was stated in the High Court in Suva yesterday by Ratu Naiqama's lawyer Queen's Counsel Professor Julian Moti when replying to a question by Chief Justice Anthony Gates on whether all relevant materials were before the court.

Prof Moti QC has been briefed by lawyer Simione Valenitabua to argue a constitutional redress motion filed on behalf of the suspended Member of Parliament. He appeared with Mr Valenitabua for Ratu Naiqama when the matter was called before Justice Gates for mention yesterday.

Ratu Naiqama is seeking declarations that his suspension from Parliament for breach of parliamentary privilege and the withholding of his parliamentary pay infringe his constitutional rights under Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma represented Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum pursuant to the State Proceedings Act. Following a report and recommendation of the Privileges Committee, Ratu Naiqama was suspended by Parliament for allegedly uttering words about the Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, at a SODELPA party constituency meeting at Makoi on May 14, 2015.

A recording of the meeting was made by Communications Fiji Ltd.

Prof Moti QC said Parliament never had the opportunity to listen to the recording despite requests by those concerned.

Ratu Naiqama's legal team will be seeking to have the recording produced and played in court .

Meanwhile, Mr Sharma informed the court they had filed an application to strike out and dismiss the motion, stating it was important for the court to decide first if it had the power to intervene in a matter relating to Parliament.

Parties were ordered to file necessary affidavits before the next appearance on September 29.

Armed Force

Mere Naleba
Friday, August 21, 2015

REPUBLIC of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Commander Land Force Colonel Sitiveni Qiliho says the military is taking a proactive stand in deploying its men to the Western Division to assist police in investigations on alleged firearms use.

"The military's concern is if there are weapons involved. I'm not saying there are weapons involved," said Col. Qiliho. He said the 140 troops sent to the Western Division from Suva would assist police following claims that a group of men, alleged to be involved in a military type training, were allegedly using firearms.

"The police investigations as reported widely in the media have reported some military type training," Col. Qiliho said. "If there were weapons, it is a serious concern for the military because the police in Fiji are unarmed. It is (military presence) for their protection, the protection of our brothers and sisters in the police who are doing investigations and for the protection of the people of Fiji who are in that area."

Col. Qiliho said the military had been working with the police for some months now in gathering information.

"We are not taking over the police job. Police are investigating, we are going there as per our role in the Constitution to reassure the people and taking a proactive stance. But like the Commissioner of Police has said, 'everything is under control, we are on the top of it'."

He said the military's role was clearly defined in the two-year-old Constitution that placed the security of the nation and its people under their care. He said people should not create an environment that would bring fear and unjustified alarm among Fijians.

Minister for Defence and National Security Timoci Natuva confirmed that some of the 140 men were initially part of a training group at the Black Rock Military camp in Nadi preparing for deployment to Lebanon in October. He said other members would be part of the second chalk rotation to the UN Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights.

Fiji parliament to hear concerns over election impartiality

Updated Thu at 4:20pm

Comments made by a member of Fiji's Electoral Commission who quit are to be raised in Parliament next week. Professor Vijay Naidu told Pacific Beat earlier this week that he resigned in December for several reasons, including his unhappiness with the way the Commission was treated by the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

He says Mr Saneem appeared to be reporting to other bosses than the Commission, and he disagreed with the treatment of NGOs and trade unions by the elections office.

National Federation Party leader Dr Biman Prasad says the allegations are very serious and need to be debated in the House.

Radio Australia is yet to get a response from the supervisor of elections, Mohammed Saneem.

Source: Pacific Beat 

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