Your views on what has caused the current crisis in Fiji:
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What coup and illegal overthrow are we talking about?
Aust, NZ and UN are quick to jump at Frank for his clean up campaign when they jointly failed to give all races of Fiji back its democracy.
In 2001 Qarase should have been charged for treason / sedition for unlawful overthrow of FLP from Government. All his ministers should have been charged for taking unlawful oath in serving in Qarase's cabinet.
Chief Justice Tuivaqa immediately after the unlawful swearing in of cabinet in August 2001 declared that without FLP in govt, the appointment was unlawful. Qarase didn't agree and wanted FLP to challenge their role through court. After High Court upheld Justice Tuivaqa's extra judicial ruling, at least Qarase should have been charged then for sedition by Hughes and dismissed as PM. This is just one important aspects of Unlawful govt and not a democratically elected Qarase.
And in the latest event why Hughes has not charged Qarase for sedition for threathening to overthrow the governing ministers for voting against 2007 budget that itself is discriminatory & breach Bill of Rights section 38 of the constitution that prohibits discrimination on basis of status amongst others. On status, VAT tax is against the poor and Qarase had threatened to overthrow those who would vote against the budget.
Voting supporting Bill of Rights provision is paramount and not supporting cabinet solidarity is secondary, therefore Qarase has committed sedition.
I fully concur with those who are critics of Australia and New Zealand and their handling of the Fiji situation. I see Australia as wrong on this issue. New Zealand also doesn't want to upset Australia by being different. The positioning of battleships near Fiji was a thinly veiled aggressive act. Also fundamentally I believe the fiji Government is wrong and the army right. People (NZ & AUS), say the previous election that got Qarase in should be respected as a democratic one. Yet at that time I remembered seeing news reports that showed intimidation tactics being used to keep potential opposition voters away for the voting booth.
While we support the ideology of Bainimarama to rid of the current governement, there is madness in his method. A coup is not the answer. The country is finally back on track with it tourism and sugar industries burgeoning and unemployment at a low. We have seen the effect of a threatened coup- loss of jobs and cancellations of planned trips to Fiji. Think of the effects of an actual coup. Violence is going to beget more violence. Let us stop the fingerpointing and hope that someone will come up with a sensible solution that preserves the peace and the economy.
- Mon Maharaj
I totally agree with the other readers, the question I have is who is backing the commander apart from from his loyal troops. Which people are in the shadows of the commander and waiting in the wings to grab the opportunity to grasp power and do what other leaders of Fiji have done "look after yourself and your cronies" the vicious cycle would continue. Nonetheless we all have to be optimistic and see what changes does he bring if any for good of all people of Fiji.
- Dharmash Prasa
The most annoying aspect of this whole saga is the continued reference by some journalists to Racial Motivation for the earlier coups. The fact that the 2000 mutiny was Fijian pitted against Fijian, and the current coup threat is against a Fijian dominated government, underscores the point that Racial Motivation has always been a excuse only....the real motivation has been greed.
Moreover, Mr Qarase is on record for saying that the army is not stoppable because they have the firepower and the rest of the country don't have anything. To this, I may say, when Indians were marginalised in 1987 and 2000, these same people applauded and celebrated. Mr Qarase, this is how Indian people felt back then. I call it "God's Justice...maybe late, but not unfair"
It is refreshing to see that when it comes to planning a coup, the Fiji military have used Thailand as its model and not Chile. Obviously this is going to be an entirely bloodless matter.
But the Fijians have gone a few steps better than the Thais.
The Thais were conventional in that they kept their coup a surprise. This Fijian one is one of the worst kept secrets, with the media stationing their reporters in Suva well in time.
But the deferral of the coup for a game of rugby between those who will be on opposite sides of the coup shows that there is a "Pacific Way" even for insurrections. Perhaps they have got their priorities right?
- Roger Bell
What's happening in Fiji is heart-wrenching. No matter what side of the spectrum one's from, there's no justification for Bainimarama's actions. There's no leg to stand on legally. The silence is deafening from Mahendra Chaudhry & Co and there's even more deafening silence from the Fiji Law Society. Where are you guys? You're always so ready to comment on relatively trivial matters. Are you afraid? Cat got your tongue? Time to stand up and be counted!!!
Qarase's government has been unlawfully elected since 2001.
Bainimarama called for the SDL to resign only after the pre-election agriculture scam during Kunatuba trial 2 months ago reconfirmed that Interim Ministers were involved in the scam. Even Qarase admitted knowing $300,000 worth of scam goods in the ship to Rotuma with the ministry team and Interim Minister who was fighting election from Rotuma.
Any politician has to be suspended for a proper investigation just as Taito Philip Field from the NZ Labour Party. Even Don Brash resigned after the $1m pamphlet distribution scam surfaced.
So why should Qarase be different? Evidence is clear after $15million Agriculture handout did not make the 2001 election Free and Fair, therefore SDL Govt has not been democratically elected.
The Supreme Court Ruled that govt members had benefited from the scam, so they should gracefully resign. This ruling also opens up Qarase's writing off $20million of loan to Fijian Holding Ltd as interim PM not only unlawful, but also a vote buying scam to win support of the 14 Provinces who are the shareholders in FHL. No interim govt has the authority to w/off $20m loan which has already given the FHL $29million opportunity cost savings in accumulated Interest w/off for 10 years.
Fiji Indians have been at the receiving end of the three coups we've had since 1987.
However, this time around Indians are silently backing the Bainimarama to take the Government out. In 2000 the native Fijians, including Laisenia Qarase were on record saying they supported "the cause but not the means" after Seight's takeover of Parliament. This time around it's the Fiji Indians turn to say- we support Bainimarama's cause but not the means. Qarase's biggest handicap is that he hasn't got the backing of Fiji Indians. If he had given Mahendra Chaudhry the respect he deserves in the multi party Cabinet, he would have had the whole country behind today.
Fiji Indians are amused at threats made by international governments of sanctions. Where were the governments in 2000 when Chaudhry was toppled, Indians were harassed and chased out of their homes and their properties looted? Helen Clark and Winston Peters are not winning any Indo-Fijian friends by blindly backing Mr Qarase.
The Fiji situation is very similar to Thailand's. In the end the international community will accept whatever happens. They proved this in 2000.
I agree with Tiko. Regardless of what people may consider to be the 'merits' of Bainimarama's views, staging a coup against a democratically elected government is not the way to advance them. If the government was so corrupt, they should have been voted out by the people, not forced out by the army. By resorting to this behaviour he is attracting (deserved) international condemnation against Fiji, and causing economic and social hardship to her citizens. And, far more dangerously, his coup is gathering support from people who back his mandate yet do not see the long-term negative consequences: the erosion of the rule of law. It is time the people of Fiji realised that the army should have no role in the legislature. Once such behaviour becomes acceptable, society is constantly under the threat of unelected representatives, such as a Commander, taking the law into their own hands. The last 20 years show Fiji to be the classic example of this.
The Australian & New Zealand government need to shut up and mind their own business. But I guess that is what they are doing anyway, after all Australia is only looking after its own interest and not the interests of Fiji. Where were they in the earlier coups? Who put the current government into power? And what ethnicity is the military mainly comprised of? Two possible reasons why the the military is intervening. The first is that the Commodore has a hidden agenda and the other is that the current government is corrupt. Why would a military made up of mostly ethnic Fijians support their commander so strongly that they would overthrow a government that is passing a bill which is favourable to their own short term interests. They wouldn't.
The government is corrupt, "democratically elected" means nothing when those who elected you didn't know what you would get up to during the course of your term. The bills are hugely unpopular and yet are still being passed, if an election was currently held they would probably lose. The Australian/New Zealand government are basically arguing in business terms that a contract is a contract even if one party was dishonest.
Why should Frank Bainimarama get to dictate the coup?? Yes he may be clearing up a corrupt government of Fiji but is this the way to go around things using threats and violence?
If the talks did not go as he planned and his needs were not met then he should have sat there till it got sorted! Now look the people of Fiji are suffering - Businesses are closed for the day - People have lost income due to not going to work for the day - Tourist resorts are not as packed.....Fiji is not all that is shows to be the blue waters the white sandy beaches and friendly people - These people and a majority of them are poor villagers who work very hard to make a life for themselves and their future Dependents. Then you have the rich who will either flee or use bribery...
Now all you need is these two superheroes who really seem not to take into consideration the feelings of others!! NZ and Australia need to butt out!! Where were you guys when George Speight and Rabuka took over the government? Let's do this peacefully Fiji - Bainimarama you're right but sort it out the legal way get the people of Fiji to vote the buggers out - and maybe you should consider leaving the Army and join the political environment?
The current administration of Fiji is racist and self serving. They may be elected into power, but their elections and political structure are anything but democratic. Their proposed legislation would only serve to further widen the rift between ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians, and would retard any hopes for the stability of the Fijian tourism industry. The last thing the country needs is more power and land control to the hereditary cheiftan system to knock it further back into feudalism and poverty. I commend Commodore Bainimarama for taking a stand with the best intentions of his whole country at heart. It takes a big man to speak out against further empowering ones own ethnic group at the expense of others. It is simply a shame that it has come to the threat of military force for this issue to be resolved.
- Nicolas Reid
Why does our govt continue to support a racist and undemocratic country like Fiji?
We should stop all aid, trade , and travel to this racist military dictatorship until a democratic government is in place and the Fijian military are able to be controlled.
The madness of the military has started to affect Suva, with businesses closing early, people running to banks which are also closing early, people are filling supermarkets to buy supplies, and the tension is rising.
The unreasonable behaviour of the military leader, the weakness of the President, and the impotentence of the law, has created a Fiji which is better placed in Africa rather than the South Pacific. The people in Fiji suffer through the reckless behaviour of a few.
What are the next steps for Fiji - a country where if you have power you don't use it for the protection of society, you use it to push yourself forward to gain more power eg. Rabuka, George Speight, and now Bainimarama. Fiji's future is - Loss of normal business, the poor will starve, the rich will flee, and the powerful will become even more corrupt. Whilst suffering, the people will see Fiji become a haven for criminals, drug cartels, money launderers, and terrorists. A lawless society. A place where people live with fear & injustice.
Bainimarama may be right in his assertions but his methodology is wrong. If he wants to be in politics leave the army. If he thinks the government is corrupt, prove it. He wants them out, ask the country to vote them out. Whilst he continues with this current tact, he may as well be likened to any other military thug who has carried out evil in the name of the "people"
So Suva struggles with stressful times. Government departments have closed early, businesses have closed, shops have locked their doors and the army commander has asked people NOT TO PANIC.
What a joke!
I entirely agree that Military cannot dictate to Democratically elected Government. I am against military coup totally in any form, whether it is the current one or 2000 coupe or 1987 coupe.
If I look at the core problem I think the Commander is saying in his own coup words "don't pardon people who involved in coup 2000." I don't agree with his coup threat to punish the previous coup people. But the core problem as reported by your correspondent is Fiji Government trying to enact a bill like our Foreshore rights bill restoring foreshore land to natives and wants to forgive people involved in bloody coupe of the then democratically elected government under Mahendra Choudhary in Fiji in 2000. The bill was deeply unpopular with polls showing significant opposition. Even though it is a democratically elected Government, on major issues like this, the Governments should go back to people with referendum, so that it becomes more democratic than these representatives decide on their own without heeding to opinion polls of people. It comes back to "Democracy is not only on election day- it is a continuing process"
- AJ Subramanian
It is about time someone takes a stand against the current government; they have been irresponsible and corrupt from day one. Ministers in the cabinet are directly responsible for the Coup in 2000. Government expenditure is at an all time high and their pay rises while the rest of the country suffers. The Bills that are being forced by the current government are absurd and express the wishes of the Nationalists who were organisers of the 2000 coup. In the long term Fiji would have suffered more from the actions of the current government then it will from the actions of the military.
We have had a rise in taxes from the government to pay for their wage rise! But no effort is being directed at efficiency or economical decision making.
With the unjust laws being passed - matters would have been a lot worst.
God Bless Fiji.
I am absolutely annoyed with the interest and intervention shown by Australia and NZ for the current crisis unfolding in Fiji. It just shows that Australia and NZ did not stop to think for one second what they actions will portray. In 1987 and 2000, Australia and NZ did not interfere when democratically elected government was overthrown by military and civilians respectively, yet this time around when Bainimarama is cleaning up the crooks from the Fijian Government suddenly Australia, NZ and UN think that he is out of line. Get it right Howard, Clark and Kofi!! Would you rather deal with crook government? Just shows where Australia, NZ and UN loyalties lie... with the crooks!
Many Indians in Fiji are angry at the double standards used by NZ, Aus and UN. When there were two coups against Indian government, we did not hear of any possible intervention by overseas forces and neither did the UN say that they would pull out Fijian soldiers. So why in this possible coup are these nations doing this? Aus and NZ have basically supported the coup because they support the people that took our nation hostage. They support these people by supporting the present government that is full of people that took part in the last coup. If they are so against the 2000 coup why did the not say to the Fiji government to remove these people.
Half of Qarase's cabinet are crooks that assisted in masterminding the last fiasco!? This is why Bainimarama has the support of President Iloilo.
What has caused the crisis:-
Action to take:-
Mind our own business and stay out:-
Cut all ties:-
No inward Fijian passports
No Fijian currancy accepted in NZ
Withdraw NZ Consul
Dismiss Fijian Consul
The current crisis in Fiji is a direct result of NZ, Australia and the western world's abdication of its responsibilities in the Pacific. In the obssessive pursuit of their neo-colonialist economic and trade interests, they have failed to pay any serious attention to the widespread racial, ethnic and economic disintegration that has been simmering across the Pacific for at least the 10-15 years.
Other than David Lange, no other leader from Australia or NZ has demonstrated any genuine sympathy or commitment to resolve the fundamental subterranean issues underlying this recurring phases of instability.
No amount of patronising pontification now from Canberra, Wellington and New York will make up for the decades of political indifference, apathy and inaction regarding the Pacific region.
- Nitya Reddy