Friday, September 30, 2011

Tailevu Clan Invests in Ginger

Fiji Times News - 30 September 2011
by Timoci Vula

Nasaumua Village Children at play
MEMBERS of a landowning unit at Naisaumua Village in Tailevu have ventured into ginger farming as it seeks alternative income sources to support them meet church and daily obligations.
The landowning unit (mataqali) Dravolau is working towards a three-year plan to focus on their ginger farm project with proceeds anticipated to be of great benefit to the members.
Mataqali member Ratu Veni Verebasaga said the idea was born out of concerns of meeting church obligations, in particular the annual contribution of members.
"We have seen that our clan members have faced great difficulty to pay their soli so we came up with the idea to set up a ginger farm, which is now a part of our three-year plan," Ratu Veni said.
"We have planted the ginger already and now we will look after it as we wait for our first harvest in February next year. This is the first time we are doing this," he said.
Ratu Veni has also taken up lessons with farmers from the greater Tailevu south region who have been involved in ginger planting over the past years.
"We have also come to understand that the ginger business is very lucrative so we have decided to venture into it.
"It will benefit our families greatly, particularly in meeting our religious obligations but also that of the vanua and our livelihoods," he said.
Ratu Veni said planting materials were brought from Maumi in Tailevu.


Fijian View About Citizenship

Fiji Times News - 30 September 2011

ITaukei view on citizenry

by Shalveen Chand
Fijian Men forced to be labelled as Itaukei by illegal regime
SOME iTaukei people believe that only those registered under the Vola ni Kawa Bula (iTaukei registry) are legal citizens of Fiji, a workshop on good governance and human rights was told yesterday.
The Citizens Constitutional Forum workshop targeting the provinces of Tailevu, Naitasiri and Ra with awareness programs to change attitudes on issues of good governance, human rights and citizenship was attended by provincial administrators of the three provinces.
During a group presentation, it was disclosed that ethno-supremacy still existed in the provinces and there was still much to be done to change the attitudes of people.
A baseline report done by CCF said there were common misconceptions regarding citizenships.
The report also revealed that when questions were put to the control group on citizenship, a large number believe that only the iTaukei are Fijians.
During group discussions issues such as governance were highlighted where the group members said the iTaukei community would not consult government officials readily for advice.
The report said there continued to be a high level of misunderstanding and prevailing ethno-supremist attitudes about citizenship.
CCF chief executive Reverend Akuila Yabaki said the baseline survey revealed significant ground had been made through the advocacy program to change attitudes on issues of good governance, human rights and citizenship.
Titled Scratching the Surface, the baseline survey was designed to look at the effects of human rights, good governance and citizenship workshops in the communities.
"Research results are mixed but basically validate the need for continued advocacy on the three issues in order to build an inclusive society which acts responsibly and recognises the rights of all," said Mr Yabaki.
"The comprehensive research, funded by the UNDP Pacific Centre for Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development Small Grants, also shows, however, that many strong views remain on a perceived special status for the iTaukei."


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Fiji and its China Connection

by Ratu Tevita Mara - 06 September 2011

The Fiji problem is being viewed by all as purely a political matter. From my perspective however, as a former Fiji Senior Military Officer, it also has pertinent security and defence implications and applications for the South Pacific Region, and particularly for Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.

The Cuban Relevance

If we look at history and to what happened in Cuba then we should be able to benefit from its lessons. Cuba’s situation is very similar to what is happening in Fiji.

Like Fiji, it began with a revolution. In January 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban Government of President Fulgencia Batista.  Today, some 52 years later, Castro has stepped aside because of health reasons, and his brother Raul is now President. 

Fidel, in the early years, like the murderer Bainimarama, also spoke of elections to return the country to democracy. It did not happen, it has not happened and it will not happen. Cuba was expelled from the regional Organisation of American States and the United States severed relations with it. Too late, way too late, there was a US sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion but it failed. In the meantime, the vacuum created by the US’s stand-off, led to the then Soviet Union moving in to Cuba and controlling it. 

Cuba then began to reach out to the countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, the same as Fiji is going with the MSG countries and some Polynesian countries. It led to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union. As other Caribbean countries fell under the influence of Cuba, the US invaded Grenada and removed the pro-Cuba government. We can avoid a similar situation if we act now.


But history has a nasty habit of repeating itself. China, recognizing an opportunity from the coup in Fiji to expand its power of influence and to make the Pacific Island Countries geo-political, and a possible Sphere of Influence, acted quickly. It expanded its influence over Fiji with speed. So why didn’t Australia, New Zealand or the US do the same?.........this is for another statement.

No criticism is being levelled against China. The PRC is acting in pursuit of its national interests, which dictates its foreign policy.

The murderer and military Junta ruler Voreqe Bainimarama became a close friend, ally and collaborator of China. The PRC lavished attention, huge financial grants, excessive loans, private sector investments, and most important and relevant, Military Training and the supply of military material. Fiji is now a “satellite” of China. This situation is a carbon copy of the Soviet Union and Cuba. 

China, with Fiji’s illegal Chairmanship of the MSG, expanded its relations with MSG countries. In July 2010, China participated in the MSG Summit post-dialogue at the Fiji Inter-Continental Hotel in Nadi. It also participates in the Donors’ Conference at Pacific Island Forum Meetings. China also engages with some Polynesian countries and is also one of the most influential countries in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Under the influence of China, Fiji joined NAM.

This situation is certainly not in the national interest of Australia and New Zealand and its regional foreign policy.  Both South Pacific powers need to act condignly, purposefully and effectively to bring an early end to the Fiji military Junta led by the murderer Bainimarama. The Fiji problem does not inhere with China. China saw an opportunity and grasped it with both hands. The problem lies with the Fiji military Junta and Fiji’s true enemy, the murderer Bainimarama. 

The ANZAC powers should not only be concerned but must also act to bring about the collapse of the Fiji Military Junta, as soon as possible. They should be informed by the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Castro Communist 52-year rule and its similarities to Fiji... with a Dictator Bainimarama, no rule of law, no fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, total military control, no media freedom, no freedom of speech, no right to dissent, no right of assembly, no trade union movement, restriction on Churches and NO FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.

The United States

It is also, in the interests of security and defence, that the United States collaborate with Australia and New Zealand to bring an early end to both the Military Dictatorship in Fiji. 

The Pacific Island Countries geo-political region is becoming a Sphere of Influence for China and this is not in the interests of the United States, Australia or New Zealand. The South Pacific ocean lanes are vital to the defence and security of the United States.  

Australia and New Zealand, close allies, have always been and should also remain the major powers in the South Pacific.  With China’s growing presence in the South Pacific and its location in the North Pacific, its relations with North Korea and influence in the Pacific far east, it would have control of the Pacific seaboard of the United States. 

China also has an influential presence in the Caribbean and Latin America and the southern flank of the United States.  With its massive Official Development Assistance (ODA), private sector investments and technical assistance, China is being called the new Super Power by military and political analysts.


It is not in the national, defence and security interests of Australia, New Zealand and the United States for the Pacific Island Countries South Pacific geo-political area to become a Sphere of Influence of China. It is not in the interest of Australia and New Zealand to allow Fiji to become the Cuba of the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand and the United States must act in concert with alacrity to bring an end to Bainimarama’s military junta in Fiji.  

The hold off in the belief that the illegal Fiji regime will hold elections in 2014 is ill-advised. Castro promised elections in Cuba in 1959 and today, 52 years later, there have been no elections. Elections in Fiji in 2014 will never happen. Australia and New Zealand must review its role in the Forum and, especially, their decreasing influence in the Pacific. The Fiji problem is not solely political, it also has defence and security implications for Australia, New Zealand and the United States.  Action now, rather than later, will be of benefit to the region as a whole and free the oppressed people of Fiji.