Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ethics in Fiji....

Professor Rajesh Chandra's discourse on Fiji and its purported lack of ethics brings to the fore a very important factor - one we must consider in the next general elections because it is one we tend to brush aside everytime because we don't consider it important enough.

That of good governance and ethical leadership.

Fiji must have a system of governance that exercises power in a manner that provides the conditions needed for human development and growth such as stability, security and a good business climate that fosters investment, growth, jobs and higher standards of living for all its people.

Low investment efficiency and slow human development are almost always associated with bad policies and these are usually the result of poor governance.

If Professor Chandra is correct in his assessment of Fiji's overall growth in the last 30 years - our leaders, evidently, were incapable of managing the country’s resources.

We hear of mismanagement of funds and abuse of office daily. But what is particularly disturbing is that we have come to accept corruption as a way of life and not a serious concern.

Accountability, transparency, equity and efficiency must be in the limelight of the Government-of-the-day's political agenda.

There should be an effective regulatory measure to enhance accountability in government expenditures and increasing support and participation by non-Governmental organisations and other institutions that promote human rights and combat corruption.

Today - we have 4 coups under our belt, an illegal military-run government regime, inept government policies and a declining economy.

We have an ailing tourism industry.. although we wait with bated breath for that influx of asian tourists from China and India to converge on our shores.

We have a virtually non-existent sugar industry...which is bad news for the 40,000 odd people that are directly employed.

And the list goes on...

To cut this article short however, if the current regime sticks to its words in having the next elections in 2009, then we, the people of Fiji, must re-look at how we vote.

Not by racial or religious distinction.

But by ethical standards, and how much of it, those in the running for government have.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I salute you Graham Leung

I have just read Graham Leung's remarks at the 20th biennial LAWASIA conference and hope that all who read it, copy and redistribute it to as wide a forum as possible.

This is one man. Standing up for what he believes in.

He knows there will be a backlash. He knows he will be vilified - if not already. But he stood up at this forum full of his peers and he told it like it was. Without embellishment. He told the Truth.

If there is any time that is right for the people to realise that the coup is not what it seems. It is now.

We have to wake up from this lethargy.

I ask the Law Society to stand up as one behind their own on that march to freedom and democracy.

Your voice has to be heard. For us. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our future.

And we will listen. And we will follow.

Because we are many. We are poor. We are nothing. But we look to people like you to stand up for that oath you took to protect people like us.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A legal dilemma...

The FHRC has come out once again with more verbal refuse, saying Fiji continues to be restricted by the legal dilemma of the legal status of the 5th December coup.

What dilemma? A coup is a coup. Illegal. Constituting treason. Punishable.

This current veto coup against a democratically elected government is wrong.

The courts must declare this illegality. Regardless of their political leanings they must uphold the law. They should never be selective in their administration of justice and prosecution of all coup-related crimes.

On this particular subject - there should be no dilemma.

On another subject - My prayers go out to the parents of Verebasaga, Rabaka, Malasebe and their families. I may not know the pain you all have gone through. I can only imagine. And I am so sorry.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Roadmap to Democracry

The IG has taken quite a significant step this last week towards normalcy by lifting the public emergency regulation.

We are also told that the Public Safety Act of which the emergency regulation comes under is still in effect - but that the police are now the first line of law enforcement....

Does this mean that there will be no more hauling of so-called 'inciters - written or verbal' to QEB for "questioning"?

Does this mean also that the 'travel bans' are lifted? Will ousted PM Qarase be allowed to travel to Suva?

This, I suppose remains to be seen.

But still holding on to the positive side - after this one step, the IG must also make the effort to end all human rights violations.

Then, there must be transparency. Get the groundwork for preparations of the elections out of the way. Let the people vote. Whether the SDL, NFP, Labour or the short-lived Alliance Party wins or not is irrelevant. The people must have their say. But at the end of it all - we must find our way back to democracy and the rule of the law.

In this long-drawn out 5 months of rule under the IG - I have come to the following conclusions as a citizen and a voter:

(a) I have seen the true colour of the politicians in the forefront of this country.

(b) I will never vote for Labour AGAIN if Chaudhary continues to rule the roost. I'm not a racist. I never was. But the antics of the Labour party during their run as opposition and the jump over the fence of some of their own to join this illegal regime has driven me to the very edge of being one.

(c) I will never vote for the Alliance. They have cheapened "chiefly" in all senses of the word.

(d) I might vote for SDL but only if there is some likelihood that the leadership will change. I have one question to ask the ousted PM - Where were you Sir, when the chips were down - when you as the democratically elected leader of my country were supposed to stand fast and tall?

(e) GVP - I could vote for them too. Is Ms Wilson still around? Emelita - please take the reins and move forward.

(g) CAMV -

(e) SVT - I might also swing here provided they let go of their loose cannon first. Methinks he is more of a hindrance than anything else.

But most important of all, I want a multi-party government to run my country and take it forward. I want a clean albeit untainted judiciary system. I want the police to do all the policing. I want the army back in the camp in its originality. And for heaven's sake - NO MORE COUPS!

Now is that too much to ask?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Personal Vendetta??

I couldn't believe my ears when I was told about a circular distributed to all government entities with the directive to no longer use Fiji's most experienced legal giants - Munro Leys and Howards!

A directive such as this is a classic example of the bullying tactics this current regime resorts to when its caught between a rock and a hard place. And that is putting it quite mildly.

These two firms combined include some of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. Lawyers who are willing to stand up for what they believe. Lawyers who make known their honest interpretation of the rule of law because it is their forte.

We now not only have an illegal regime - we have an illegal regime with a personal vendetta!

So...we have the experienced and very-much educated two (small) legal firms on the one hand and the big brother IG on the other.

Reminds me of David and Goliath. And we all know what happened to Goliath don't we?

Monday, May 21, 2007

To Blog or Not to Blog....

So much has happened in my beloved country during my short absence from blogging.

The beatings and warnings continue - Young being the latest victim after Taoi; the suspension of the august GCC; The FHRC is still waffling crap; and continuous attempts by the military to block freedom of speech by trying to shut down blog sites....

None of this has slowed down any of the bloggers however. Intelligentsiya, Good Men and Women, Hearts and Minds, Hyde n Ceek and Discombobulated are still here. Thank heavens for their unbiased forthright opinions :-)

The RFC hosts must be patting themselves on the back as well - they have been a thorn on the side for IG with their spot-on leaks! And there are even newer bloggers springing up each day - both for - and against - the Fiji IG which makes for healthy debate.

What the illegal IG must understand is that blogging is not a weapon. It is our only source of protesting anything that is undemocratic, illegal and against the Constitution.

And this coup is wrong. As was the first coup. And the coups in between.

It makes me sick to hear any educated person - especially people who are supposed to uphold the law - condone this coup. Regardless of how anyone analyses it - any coup is illegal. And that is the last thing a small country like ours need.

Strangely enough - I understand where the military is coming from. But theirs is a motto of discipline and obedience - to the Army first and foremost. Not anybody else. And for anyone to use that blind obedience of any army to further their own agenda - is treason!

Watching Fiji's judicial system fall apart was a sad day for Fiji. These were the people who were supposed to uphold the law. In their arrogance a group of these people helped oust the Chief Justice and invented legal loopholes to support their actions.

Ignoring its Pacific Island neighbours, Australia, New Zealand and the United States etc may not be wise. Ignoring the EU and its conditions attached to badly-needed money is worse!

But thats why I blog. To vent my frustration at how my country is run in the vain hope that someone may take heed.

Anyway - to all my blogging associates - Blog On. Peace.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

EU Roadmap for Fiji's Return to Democracy

Another major neutral entity has made its stand!

Not only has the EU reconfirmed its committment to protecting the poor it has provided a compelling roadmap the IG must follow to pull this country of ours back from the brink of disaster. The roadmap essentially includes the guarantee of normal and independent functioning of constitutional institutions; preservation and the substantial independence and functioning of the Great Council of Chiefs; and that the independence of the judiciary be fully respected,

The IG must abide by the Constitution.

They have to. For the good of this country. For the good of our people.