A trip down memory lane

As another year comes to an end lets not forget Jannet..

A couple of big balaclava wearing men break into a lawyer’s home and a day later two other lawyers are hauled into military custody.

Coincidence, or is something more sinister afoot in military ruled Fiji where there are emerging signs that its latest coup is leading to a battle over land and race, yet again. Wellington lawyer Janet Mason, whose husband Roger McDonald was bashed over the head during the break-in of her Fiji home, is cautious a political connection. Like the two lawyers grabbed by the military, Ms Mason advises the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), suspended in April by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

 

He staged his coup last December wanting to end what he claimed was a corrupt government while issuing a vague manifesto on a new multicultural society. Ms Mason and Fijian lawyers Mr Kitione Vuataki and Mr Savenaca Komaisavai, hauled into custody, represent chiefs who are challenging in the High Court the suspension of the GCC. They have named interim Fijian Affairs Minister Epeli Ganilau and Mr Bainimarama as respondents. An influential figure in the new regime, academic lawyer and military appointed chair of the Electoral Commission, Dr Shamsud Sahu Khan, wants land laws scrapped.

 

After bitter tribal wars, Fiji’s rulers petitioned Britain to annex the islands, achieved in 1874 with the signing of the Deed of Cession signed between representatives of Queen Victoria and the Fijian chiefs.

 

Part of the deed states: “That the absolute proprietorship of all lands not shown to be now alienated so as to have become bona fide the property of Europeans or other foreigners or not now in the actual use or occupation of some Chief or tribe or not actually required for the probable future support and maintenance of some chief or tribe shall be and is hereby declared to be vested in Her said Majesty her heirs and successors.”

 

Under Fiji’s three constitutions, indigenous land, about 90 per cent of all land, cannot be sold. Ethnic Indians, mostly descendants of indentured labourers imported by sugar plantations, cannot buy land.

Dr Khan’s argument was that Fijians are not entitled to this protection. Land should be state owned.

“There have been a lot of assumptions and practices which may not have been correct from the legation standpoint,” Dr Khan said.

 

“In my submissions it is very seriously questionable as to how as now claimed that some 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the lands in Fiji are native land. This certainly raises very important legal and constitutional issues that need to be properly addressed by all concerned now.” Land had been transferred to “the indigenous Fijians to the exclusion of all other races who comprise more than 50 per cent of the population of Fiji…” Fiji last had a census in 1996 when it found that 51 per cent were indigenous and its Bureau of Statistics estimated that last December the number had risen to 55 per cent.

 

Despite a State of Emergency warning against incitement, the military took no action when Dr Khan floated his idea. When Mr Vuataki and Mr Komaisavai questioned the paper, the military accused them of inciting the indigenous people and hauled them into their barracks for questioning. Ms Mason found that curious. “If Mr Sahu Khan has recently presented this paper without being detained for inciting instability then I would have imagined that, for instance, I should be free to present alternative views at workshops around the country without fear of being detained…

“My concern is that this is meant to be an interim (caretaker) government – they have not been elected – as such, I think it is highly inappropriate that such far-reaching policy changes are being proposed.” Ms Mason says Dr Khan’s paper had very little analysis in it and no understanding of the significant amount of jurisprudence in the common law aboriginal title area. “There is not even a mention of the Mabo case -where the Australian High Court went to great lengths to overturn the reliance on the doctrine of terra nullius – essentially the idea that there were vast areas of “wasteland” that no-one owned as such land was not actively “used” – the courts held that such a view was now outdated as we now know that indigenous peoples had intricate systems and rules and regulations over such land.” Ms Mason, who is of Fijian heritage, believes the indigenous would be overwhelmingly against Dr Khan’s proposals. In the current political climate “this would create certain problems of themselves – there would also be a rather strong reaction from indigenous Fijians.”

 

Ms Mason, a public and constitutional law expert with her own Wellington practice, Pacific Law, was last week in Fiji on the GCC case. Staying in Lautoka she and her husband were disturbed by intruders who grabbed her laptop computer but left her files alone. Her husband was hit over the head with a heavy torch and a brief struggle followed. “There was blood throughout the house. The bigger guy who hit him managed to get away and he ran after him through the house. “It was like a murder scene with blood everywhere. It was a horrible experience.”

 

Home invasions are common in Fiji but Ms Mason pointed to a number of differences in her case: “It’s very difficult to say the motivation. I have no proof either way.” Lautoka police have made no arrests in the case or recovered the property. Mr Vuataki’s crime in military eyes was to question Dr Khan paper and noted that the last time the GCC had been suspended, for six years from 1904, the indigenous people had lost 200,000 acres of land. “We are going to court because we don’t want to lose any more land like the 200,000 acres with the suspension of the GCC,” he said. After spending two days in military custody he was freed and announced he would be more careful over what he said in future. Military appointed Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the lawyer’s detention was in respect of allegations of incitement. “All citizens including lawyers should they breach the law or have allegations of breaches shall be investigated and questioned,” he said. “Miss Mason is unfortunately taking liberties from across the Pacific, in terms of relaying the truth. “There’s absolutely no intimidation of lawyers who are representing various clients of theirs in constitutional matters.” In January prominent corporate lawyer Richard Naidu was seized from his Suva home at night and detained by soldiers for several hours. An outspoken critic of the military he never said publicly what happened and is now silent on the regime.

 

Fiji’s first two coups that were staged by Sitiveni Rabuka against a fear by indigenous Fijians that Indians were taking over the country. He overthrew an Indian dominated government. He lost power in 1999 when Indian Mahendra Chaudhry won an election. In 2000 an extreme indigenous group – personified by mixed blood George Speight – overthrew Chaudhry. Ironically Bainimarama, who had declared martial law at the time, did not restore Chaudhry to power and eventually an indigenous government won two elections.

 

Although Bainimarama is Fijian, the key actors in his regime now are mostly Indian and, oddly, Muslim. Dr Khan and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum are in-laws, the military’s lawyer, Colonel Mohammed Aziz, is occasionally tipped to head the army while in the judiciary the indigenous Chief Justice, Daniel Fatiaki, was sacked after a small group of judges, headed by Justice Nazhat Shameem, advised that he be sacked.

 

Fiji is slipping toward an ethnic conflict with the prize being the land in a country that once billed itself as the way the world should be.

 

Solivakasama is adding  names of the coup supporters in their list send names  you know to   Info@solivakasama.org   ,  the pressure is working.

Bloggers, don’t forget to register on www.solivakasama.org because our smart strategies beginning next year will be lobbying Governments about their citizens involved in treason in Fiji and people like John Samy lobbying his former employer like the ADB to ensure, they do not touch him again for the rest of his natural life!

————–THE END———

24 Responses to “A trip down memory lane”

  1. Cakau Says:

    This is how far we have gone in the last 2 years. We are now talking of one culture, Islamic Religion but our taukei culture. That is what I picked up in this letter, published in today’s Fiji Times.

    Some people are becoming very sure of themselves.

    Bikini billboards

    IT disturbs me to see obscene advertisements on billboards by the road, especially those of girls exposed in a bikini.

    One of the billboards is as soon as you pass Nausori bridge and one is at the junction of Princes Road and Reservoir Road.

    Such ads by the road are hazardous and likely to cause accidents. Drivers could get distracted.

    Such ads clearly show that our cultural and moral values are eroding.

    We have become accustomed to western influence that we accept modern culture as a norm of our society. Gone are the days when tourists came to Fiji to see our cultural heritage.

    What was considered to be a cultural country is no different than any western country. It perturbs me to see that we are sitting ideally and letting westernisation become the norm in our country.

    As chairman of the Nakasi Islamic Committee Centre Trust, I ask the relevant authority to look into the matters and regard society as a morally conserved place to stay in and consider our cultural values before placing ads or billboards which are not morally accepted.

    MOHAMMED RAMZAN
    Chairman Nakasi Islamic Committee Centre Trust
    Nakasi

  2. lutu Says:

    The 3 true Vanua traditional leaders, of Fijian society ,have together taken a much needed leadership stance for their people.I am totally gratified that our 3 Vanuas traditional leaders have come out in full support of our parliamentary institutions and the rule of laws.Without a doubt they are the winners in the current power struggle and this will certainly endear their chiefly institution to all Fijians.Voreqe will not survive this struggle much longer and he will be removed along with his foreign detractors!
    Viva Vanua
    Viva GCC

  3. freedomfighter Says:

    This above letter writer should focus on the stripping of democracy – done with the help of his Muslim brethen and sisters, instead of complaining about bikinis – up in your Islamic face

  4. EnufDictatorship Says:

    @Cakau..my exact sentiments na wekaqu when reading this letter…the Mosel agenda of oppressing/discriminating their women and making them believe frm birth that their ONLY purpose in life is to be the ALL subservient housewives/ baby making machines (and let it be boys cos girls may bring dishonour to their families) crept into this letter in form the sideline.

    So, what if girls are in their bikinis showing off their beauty..it’s their decision and it ONLY affects THEM, NOT A WHOLE NATION…blerry bavulu!!!

    And, on this topic of torture and intimidation, I do wonder WHY THESE LAWYERS HAVE GONE SILENT? WHY????? Did the military threaten to KILL THEM? What happened?

    So disturbing indeed…

    And that figure of 200,000 acres LOST/GIVEN AWAY which coincided with the NO GCC FUNCTIONING MACHINE is really alarming to say the least…so, so far has there been ANY LAND SALES while the GCC is on limbo?

  5. Adi Kaila Says:

    Hey take a look at this one:

    ——————————————————————————–
    Fijian customary practices to be reviewed
    21/12/2008
    ——————————————————————————–

    A review of Fijian customary practices, particularly those that are a drain on the finances of the Fijian people, has been proposed.

    Interim Indigenous Affairs minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau says this proposal was being put forward by the Institute of Fijian Language and Culture.

    “The plea was made that those practices ought to be reviewed or removed to redirect resources to more pressing needs and demands,” he said.

    According to Rt Epeli, the recent Bose ni Turaga (BNT) held at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks, agreed that some of these cultural practices were a strain on the capability of most Fijians.

    However, the chiefs felt that that was something best left to the individual and could not be imposed, he said.

    Fijilive

    —————————————————————————-

    What practices is Ratu Epeli talking about I wonder?

    Has the penny dropped & he knows that he and his wife will not be mourned like their fathers when they both die. It’s ok RE there wasn’t going to be a state funeral for either of you.

    “A review of Fijian customary practices, particularly those that are a drain on the finances of the Fijian people, has been proposed”. Well the customary practice of executing treasonous coups and gaoling all involved would be a great start – ig coupsters are the biggest drain on the finances of the Fijian People – I propose that for #1 to be reviewed and outlawed immediately.

    This is a sly sly lead up to the complete abolition of the Presidency. I’ve never believed there should have been such a seat in the first place, but there’s more skullduggery afoot.

    They want to toss the old President out because one of them is desperate to live in that lovely house on the hill, and whoever that is will have some fancy title made up to justify the move.

    It’s like how vore bhai wants to buy the house in Muanikau that the Qarase Family used to live in – oi lei the Qarases were living there as part of the Prime Ministers package when he was the Big Kahuna with the Merchant Bank – duh!

    Keeping up with the Joneses syndrome – Tamani Bigtime matani ta kunea tiko vei iko vore bhai!

  6. Mark Manning Says:

    Next you’ll have forced marriages of 11 year old girls to old Indian men !
    The problems they have in places like Iran , Palestine , Egypt , Iraq , Afghanistan all stem from Moslem extremism . Making people stick to a strict Islamic code , is the beginning of stability in any society . Imagine a society in Fiji where you already have idolism , soon to mixed with Islam !
    What a mess !
    I still can’t get my head around worshipping idols of elephants with 3 trunks or snakes etc. nor a religion which promotes murder against those who question it’s so called religious leaders and their interpretation of the Koran .
    Fiji is headed down a very dangerous path now and something decisive needs to be done before it’s too late .

  7. Mark Manning Says:

    Again I copy and paste my comment and the replies from September 2007 .
    Who made them is any ones guess !
    Why did they get so upset as to expose their real intentions ?
    Because when i mentioned the Asians taking over , the authors of these 2 replies though that I was talking about the Indians ! Actually I was referring to the Chinese at that time , yet it seems the Indians were the ones that got upset !
    ===============================================Mark Manning of Sydney,Australia (38 minutes ago)
    It matters not what anyone thinks , this regime decided years ago just exactly what it had in mind and how it would achieve it’s goals . Anyone who believes otherwise , is deluding themselves ! The processes this regime have put into place , are merely a smokescreen to hide their real intent . And one can only assume that that is total dominance over all facets of fijian society . Hasn’t anyone in Fiji understood yet , that Fiji is being sold out to the asians from under your feet , by your own countrymen ?
    ==============================
    Indian of India (29 minutes ago)
    To Mar Manning of Sydney Australia-#34
    These silly Fijians do not know- ha!ha!ha!ha!ha! We are controlling their Military now. We will do it slowly until we destroy all the Fijian Institutions and the their land rights. The silly Fijians including the selfish Ganilau and Bai do not know and do not bother. GENOCIDE is the MISSION. It can achieved politically.
    GO INDIA GO.
    =======================================
    Crash Stock Exchange of United States (14 minutes ago)
    To India and Manning
    hahahaha…yeah lets start with crashing the South Pacific Exchange dominated by India and the banks! Maybe the Fijians can start thinking about the 6 billion deal now…hehehehe Take your pick!
    Fijians are lousy merchants anyway because their eyes have always been to big for their stomach(traditionally) thus the need to have a corporate body(GCC new look) to curb the crooks that take advantage of the Natadola projects etc. I say Code of conduct is necessary because no chief should be above the law neither are accountants!

  8. Mark Manning Says:

    It’s about time you guys realised that everything i predicted at the beginning of 2007, is coming to pass .
    What will it take before decisive action is taken . Perhaps human sacrifices to the Islamic Gods !

  9. Mark Manning Says:

    the solution for Indigenous Fijian landowners to not renew leases . the Non Indigenous Fijians would then be forced to leave Fiji for greener pastures in other countries as refugees . This would solve some of Fiji’s problems and the Indians would then have to fend for themselves . Given that they are no doubt the ones behind this coup , they should be made to face the consequences of their treasonous actions .

  10. Ablaze Says:

    This ga is a trip down memory lane.

    What did Rabuka and all the people that support this illegal Regime learnt while they attended QVS.

    This is very interesting and if the QVS (Rabuka, Naiulukau, Gavidi etc etc) old boys took this to heart they would be advising all of Fiji that our chiefly system is not to be messed with.

    Today a commoner, nutty Franky and his Indian mate Samy are sticking their big noses into our chiefly system.

    GREAT BEGINNINGS
    Queen Victoria School was founded in 1906 as a school for the sons of Fijian Chiefs. The school had two main objectives: to provide Fijian Boys with the necessary education and training for leadership and to ensure that Fijian Chiefs would continue to occupy a prominent place in their country. After cession of 1874, there had been much concern expressed about the future of the Fijian people.

    The Fijian Chiefs believed that education of Fijians was imperative if they were to survive as a race in a fast changing and increasingly competitive world.

    The colonial administrators were quick to understand that Fijian society had a sophisticated social structure based on Chiefly authority and they believed and expected that this social structure could be reinforced, through education, to support the colonial administration.

    To achieve this end, the Chiefs were the most logical choice to be given priority in the development of education among the Fijian people with the ability and potential for leadership, testifies to the wisdom of that early initiative. Its impact is evident throughout Fiji’s society.

    The Fijian Chiefs’ decision at the turn of the century to request the colonial Government to develop schools for the education of their sons was motivated by a strong desire to ensure the continuance of Fijian authority and dignity in a rapidly changing colonial environment.

    In this way, they hoped to ensure the protection of the Fijian people and enable them to play a role in the colonial administration.

    In acknowledgement of this the colonial Government built Queen Victoria School at Nasinu in 1906. The seriousness and gravity of the noble goals and Chiefs had for their people is reflected in the choice of the name of the school. The name “Vulinituraga” or “Vulinitu” (a school for Chiefs) was also born.

    Queen Victoria School, as a result of the expressed wish of the Fijian chiefs, began as a unique institution for the sons of Chiefs. As a pioneer in Fijian education it was often identified with the future hopes and aspirations of Fijians. As the nation progressed, Chiefs realized that commoners were beginning to succeed academically so that Vulinitu was open to commoners as well. The rest is history with Queen Victoria School with perpetrating the vision of the Chiefs some ninety eight years ago. Queen Victoria Old Scholars occupy a “special place” in Fiji and have been in all facets of Fijian leadership some ninety eight years ago!

    The spirit to lead is encapsulated in the words of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna when creating a motto for Queen Victoria School ….. “FORWARD FIJI”.

  11. Ablaze Says:

    I was touched and although we are in the 21st century I can’t see why we can’t hold on to these values and incorporate western ways that we see fit to keep up to date with the rest of the world.

    This illegal regime have not given it a thought and if allowed we will end up like the Maoris in NZ, Aborigines in Aust, First National in Canada.

    Mark, it will be interesting to see what you think.

  12. Mark Manning Says:

    I agree ablaze .
    Initially I was supportive of finding a solution for the Indian citizens of Fiji , in regards to landownership , a compromise perhaps . I am beginning to believe that this is no longer possible because of their devious way of doing things .
    If the Indians aren’t happy in Fiji , then they can move to another country , or as I’ve said before , simply return to that wonderful homeland of theirs , India , where there is the cast system , they can worship their idols , abuse their women and have arranged marriages with children under 11 years old . If it’s so good there , then Indigenous Fijians should help them return . One sure way of doing this is to refuse to renew anymore leases . It will resolve the coup culture , but Indigenous Fijians will have to start working harder and learning about business and investment etc.
    Getting rid of the Military would be a good start !
    I was actually at Sydney airport yesterday talking to a lady , part Indian , part Fijian and she could see both points of view . But I said to her , it wouldn’t be right for the Fijians to hand over their land because if they did , they would end up like the Australian Aborigines !
    And she agreed , at the same time , I can see that Indians in Fiji , want to be landowners . She acknowledged that Indians predominantly own the businesses however .
    The solution to Fiji’s problems revolve around the law . But what’s the point of having the Law , if it’s not going to be enforced ?
    Frank should have been arrested at the moment he started threatening the Government ! And anyone who was talking of treason at that time , should have been brought before the Courts also .
    As i see things at the moment , I’m afraid bloodshed is inevitable !

  13. Mark Manning Says:

    And I forgot to mention 250,000,000 unemployed and own nothing and where animals are treated with more dignity than humans . Thankfully , there is a Christian revolution about to hit India as well , and the same is happening in that Godless country , China !
    Soon the only , Moslem country will be Fiji !

  14. Ablaze Says:

    Thanks Mark!

    I felt sad after reading how QVS was founded and only wished Rabuka had taken it into account when he agreed to stage the 1987 coup.

    All QVS current and old students should take note. Fiji will slowly lose its icons.

  15. Mark Manning Says:

    What’s QVS ?

  16. Mark Manning Says:

    Something to cheer you up , the American version and the Australian version :-

  17. Ablaze Says:

    Mark QVS is a school founded for the Chiefs sons.

    Queen Victoria School. You must read the above again. Its beginnings does not comply with their farter charter.

  18. Katalina Balawanilotu Says:

    Ablaze and Mark, great exchange guys !

  19. Peace Pipe Says:

    The atrocities of the army is quite voluminous to date that such vile act committed on Janet by the undisciplined force tends to get buried under the huge pile of their villainous activities. This is the army that has lost its credibility and whose worst and shameful act was to support the coup. If it weren’t for them we would have been the way the world should be but now we are just the opposite of that description. The UN should do more than that to pressure the present regime into succumbing to wishes of the majority. The UN should terminate with immediate effect the soldiers deployment in all peace keeping engagements and not recognise this govt as being legit. The pig has had two years to prove his false claims as his reason for the coup and to return the country to democracy. But the pig seemed more firm on holding on to power and not willing to give up so soon.

    Just to highlight the debased character of the soldier we had recent police reports of soldiers committing heinous act which include incest and manslaughter. It show the low level of dishonor these man have sunk into. Something is terribly wrong with the way the soldiers are being nurtured in camp.

  20. For Fiji Says:

    Thats is true Ablaze I remember here in Adelade during the Rabuka coup we protest on the street here and a few days later we found our name on the pages of the Fiji Times,I wonder who in among us in Adelade was supporting the Rabuka regime.

  21. Adi Kaila Says:

    PP the bipo pig is a bully of the most heinous type – take a look at this – yes it’s about voreqe bainimarama – speaks volumes aye?

    Police investigation
    Police revealed on 14 March 2006 that they were investigating allegations that Bainimarama and his bodyguards had threatened a defendant outside a courtroom in Nadi the previous afternoon.

    Tevita Tuidraki was charged with indecent assault, reportedly against a relative of Bainimarama’s. His lawyer, Eroni Maopa, said that Bainimarama and his bodyguards had confronted him, causing him to fear for the safety of his family. The incident was not the first of its kind, Maopa claimed.

  22. Mark Manning Says:

    What are bullies afraid of ?
    Take out the ring leader ( usually the one hiding behind all the others ) and the whole group just fall apart .
    The ring leader is often the most cowardly and finds his or her strength in a mob .
    Alone , they are pathetic bedwetters !

  23. anon Says:

    MM, you the man !!!!!!!! lol.

  24. george of sydney Says:

    Dr Khan is complaining that Native Fijian owns 90% of the land. Whats he big deal for they are by right the real land owners. Remember Dr Khan land issue are very sensitive. Most of Fijian tribes shed blood to acquire and mantain those ownership right and no government institution or anybody has any right to enact or ammend any land laws and legislations without the endorsement of the required number of support from the GCC members in the senate.
    As a lawyer, the importance of mantaining indigenous rights which is also a very important part of human rights should be farmiliar to you sir.
    There are parliamentary process to follow should any ammended be needed.
    Everyone know that as an Interim Government, they should not be trying to enforce and enact ammendments and legislation which is beyond their juridiction.
    Nailatikau should understand that the GCC and the Bose ni Turaga are not the same. The difference is that the role of the GCC is recognised constitutionally while the Bose ni Turaga is not. That means legally their voice or opinion cannot be assume to be representative of the majority of the indigeneous fijian race. Kua na veivakayagataki tiko me baleta
    The sad part about all this is they are promoting divisions in the Fijian Communities.

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