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Reconcile what? Reconcile with whom? Monday, May 16, 2005 |

The Qarase regime does it again! In case you haven't heard, it is the PROMOTION OF RECONCILIATION, TOLERANCE AND UNITY BILL 2005 that I am referring to.

I don't quiet understand the need for this bill. Who are they trying to reconcile? Who are they trying to unite? It's been 5 years since the May 2000 coup and a lot of the perpetrators of coup have already been brought to justice by the police and the courts. Some are still being investigated and will hopefully see their day in the courts soon.

So who are they trying to reconcile? Is this bill only going to create a ghost commission with nothing to do? Perhaps jobs for a few jobless crooks?

The objectives of the commission are as follows:

" The objectives of the Commission shall be to promote reconciliation and unity amongst the people of the Fiji Islands in a spirit of tolerance and understanding by -

1. assessing, by itself or through its relevant special purpose Committee, admissions and voluntary disclosures received from any person relating to the causes, nature and extent of the violations of human rights committed during the designated period, including the antecedents, circumstances, factors and context of such violations as well as the perspectives and motives of both the perpetrators and victims of such violations;

Can't this objective be dealt with by the Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC)? The FHRC is a statutory body.

2. holding, by itself or through its relevant special purpose Committee, hearings for the purpose of carrying out such assessments;

Another story telling session I suppose. And through the creation of yet another "special purpose Committee", more jobs for the crooks.

3. facilitating the restoration of human rights and civil dignity to victims of violations of such human rights and civil dignity by granting them an opportunity to relate their own accounts of such violations of which they were victims;

"Restoration of human rights and civil dignity", what load of nonsense. You mean the victims are still living undignified and without human rights for the last 5 years since May 2000? And somehow relating their accounts of what happened to them is somehow going to restore all of that? Nonsense!

4. granting reparation measures or awarding compensation to any person whose claims as victims of gross human rights violations during the designated period are established;

Victims can already seek such compensation through the assistance of the FHRC, the Police and the courts.

5. facilitating the granting of amnesty by the President to persons who make full voluntary disclosures of all facts relevant to acts or omissions constituting or causing a violation of human rights associated with a political objective committed during the designated period; and,

Ah huh! So this is what this is all about. Allowing criminals such as the already convicted Naiqama Lalabalavu to go free. Hell if this is what this is all about, then why don't they already just do it! They've done it in case of Naiqama and that too without any commission.

For goodness and fairness sake, "persons who make full voluntary disclosures", are confessing to crimes! They ought to be dealt with the law of the land, not set free!

6. compiling full reports on such assessments and facts relevant to them accompanied by recommendations to the President and the Minister on measures to prevent future gross violations of human rights.

Facts are already known on how the state can "prevent future gross violations of human rights"! This exercise is bullshit. If the government needs more assessments and facts, why not employ the FHRC?

This Bill is a charade by the government to divert attention from the important issues affecting the country. A move to create more controversy and appear noble by constantly aligning the proposed commission to the likes of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The South African commission was born out of a greater history of what all abuses were committed during the Apartheid era. In our case, the number of direct victims were far fewer and the perpetrators or also far fewer. The numbers of people directly affected can easily be dealt by the current legal system. The direct victims were all victims of crime and the perpetrators are criminals. The victims can sue civilly and the perpetrators should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted in the court of law.

There are lots of people and organisations quite obviously opposed to this bill. Among them the Army, the Fiji Human Rights Commission (FHRC), the opposition MPs from the Labour Party and the National Federation Party.

Infact, according to the FHRC, the bill might actually be in conflict with the human rights act. What I don’t understand (and I am repeating the point), why the hell couldn’t they use the FHRC to conduct this kind of exercise? Of course I am totally opposed to any amnesty type law, but the cases of abuse of human rights could quite easily be investigated by this body already charged with investigations of this nature.

Amnesty, restorative as opposed to the retributive justice! What a load of crock! This Attorney General seems to be quite creative when it comes to the law. If the restorative justice is so much better, why not adopt it as an overriding system to the current one? Of course not! And there’s a definite reason why. It is for this reason this bill is utter nonsense!

Chief prescribes isolation for AIDS - Fiji Times Online Headline Thursday, May 05, 2005 |

Judge for yourselves

Chief prescribes isolation for AIDS - Fiji Times Online: "PEOPLE with AIDS should be sent to an isolated island so they do not infect the population says Rewa chief Ratu Isoa Damudamu.

Speaking at a Rewa provincial workshop yesterday, he said since there was no law for everyone to have their blood tested, there should be a harsher move by the Government.

'Nothing can be done because if they are around those who are not infected, they could cause problems including wiping out a whole generation because most people with the disease are still out there.'

He said church youth groups should be abolished because it was a meeting place for youths to indulge in immoral activities.

He said the Coke Games was a meeting place for youths and children to indulge in such indecent activities and could get infected with the disease.

He said since the agegroups of most infected persons were between 15 and 29 years, youths were the main carriers."

What a stupid man! Wednesday, May 04, 2005 |

All I can say about Vosanibola, is that he personifies "stupid" in the current government. Much like the same office holder during Mr. Chaudhry's term, who's name escapes me.

What is this? A Vosanibola State?

Vosanibola order 'naive': Chaudhry - Fiji Times Online: "AN ATTEMPT by Home Affairs Minister Josefa Vosanibola to intervene in discussions between the police, military and Opposition Leader Mahendra Chaudhry was labelled 'naive'.

Mr Chaudhry said any member of the public had the right to speak directly to the disciplinary services over matters of concern.

He said Mr Vosanibola must be naive to think he needed to go through his office for matters he wished to raise with the two chiefs of the disciplinary services.

'Minister, not only does a politician have that privilege but, in a democratic society, ordinary members of the public must also have the right to an audience with any civil servant, irrespective of status or rank, in respect of matters which concern them that is fairly basic, Sir!' Mr Chaudhry said in a letter of response to Mr Vosanibola.

He was responding to a letter of March 29 sent by Mr Vosanibola titled 'correspondence and information requests from yourself to the Commissioner of Police and the Commander of the Fiji Military Forces'. Mr Vosanibola said 'all correspondence and requests are to be routed through myself and not addressed directly to the Commissioner or the Commander'.

'This will avoid any future misunderstandings or potential political compromise of the offices of the Commissioner and the Commander, or of my role as Minister responsible for both offices.'

But Mr Chaudhry said he was not a civil servant and was not bound by civil service rules. 'As an elected representative of the people, and more so as the Leader of the Opposition, I have personal access to both the commissioner and the commander on legitimate official business and I must thank them for their willingness to co-operate,' Mr Chaudhry said.

Commissioner Andrew Hughes said he would abide by the 'clear' instructions of Mr Vosanibola. Military spokesman Captain Neumi Leweni said Mr Chaudhry had raised issues of national importance.

Mr Vosanibola was in Vanua L"

My money used to build a $20m complex for some old fogies! |

It is unbelievable that $30m dollars have been granted by the government to the Fijian Development Trust Fund. On the other hand, perhaps not so surprising in the murky world of the current governments racist agendas.

What the hell for? Why do we need to fund such trusts? As it is the Natives own most of the land in this country and thus own most of the resources. The government policies are eskewed towards them. They make up majority of the civil service (whether they deserve to be there or not).

With all the investments they've already made from the trust fund, it is quite clear what this racist governments long term agenda is. Simply to create large monopolies with owned mostly by the indigenous fijians. Under the guise of indigenous people's empowerment, nothing will ever be done to in terms of government policy to foster fair competition in private sectors in which these large companies will do business.

Such grants are daylight robberies committed upon the taxpayers of this country.

Dividends are being used to fund another monolith! Do the useless chiefs or this country really need such an expensive complex? I can imagine lots of other ways in which the dividends can be used. I hope the construction quality is of good order though. I hope the ceilings holds for the long term, unlike the parliament house. :-)

Trust funds GCC $20m: "INCOME from $30million in State grants given to the Fijian Development Trust Fund is being used to finance the new Great Council of Chiefs complex in Draiba, Suva.

The Trust earns $1.96m in dividends each year from $20m it has invested in Fijian Holdings, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings and R B Patel Group since 2002.

Prime Minister's Office special projects deputy secretary Jone Navakamocea made the comment during a Rewa Provincial Council workshop yesterday.

He said the Government had given the Trust - which comes under the Fijian Affairs Ministry - $10m a year since 2002 to invest for the benefit of provinces.

'The Government has been providing $10m a year apart from the $100,000 that is given to the provincial councils every year to help with their own provinces,' he said.

Mr Navakamocea said the first dividends that the trust received in 2002 valued at $1.96m were used to start the new $20m GCC complex. He said other dividends earned from the investment in shares over the next few years would also be used to pay off the GCC complex.

Construction is expected to be finished by mid-next year.

Roko Tui Dreketi and Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa launched construction of the complex last month.

Mr Navakamocea told delegates that the other $10million given to the trust fund was put on the securities market.

'There is also $11.8million on the securities market and this is something that would be good for the trust,' he said.

The comments come as Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase called for Fijians to support an Act to grant GCC more power.

Opening the Rewa Provincial Council workshop, Mr Qarase said the Government wanted the GCC Act in place before next year's elections because chiefs needed more power to look after the welfare of their people.

Mr Qarase said the Act would look after the GCC's affairs, which falls under the Ministry of Fijian Affairs."