Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement Statement - 09 January 2011
The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement would like to condemn and rebut illegal Prime Minister and Military Dictators New Year’s Message as silly and nonsensical. In essence, Bainimarama’s New Year’s message is just a lot of hot air.
Bainimarama is simply singing his own tune and continues to sound like a broken record while trying once again to brainwash the people of Fiji with lies and nonsense.
The Commodore again attempts to make the people believe that his way is the right way and the only way – which totally violates the principle of the rule of law and in fact denies any democratic and fair processes to be implemented and actioned.
Commodore Bainimarama starts off by commending how innovative his illegal government is. If increasing the hand out of food vouchers is his idea of innovation, then God have mercy on Fiji because we are going to need it.
Creating a welfare system (such as food vouchers) can be of advantage to those in need, but it can lead to people relying on handouts rather than being provided with resources (equipment, advice, education) to be able to have sustainable work and business opportunities. To have a good welfare mechanism in a county, the rights, and voice, of the people must be heard and not be denied.
The key issue is in fact, why have the Fijian people become so poor that an increase in the welfare budget is needed? It is because there is a low level of confidence from the people, the economy is barely surviving and young people, in particularly are struggling to see a successful future for them in Fiji.
To address this fundamental issue a democratically elected government is needed in order to give confidence to the people and to potential foreign investors so that economic growth can be stimulated and to restore and grow national institutions and control mechanisms like an independent judiciary and a thriving legislature and National Human Rights Institution.
In regards to Bainimarama’s comments on Fiji’s National Superannuation Fund FNPF and that ‘it pays to be honest’, this is an irony in itself when in fact every time he speaks he is just trying to cover up for his own illegal actions of treason and gaining power through the barrel of a gun.
The truth is FNPF contributors have been disadvantaged because of the coup and in Bainimarama illegally taking over the FNPF operations. How can he say ‘honesty’ has brought FNPF an increase in its net surplus when he does not act honestly in his own dealings? For example, nepotism in who he is appointing to key government and organisational positions and that he paid himself a sizeable amount with money that the nation could ill afford to use for such purposes in the difficult economic conditions.
The Chiefly system is an integral part of the social fabric of Fijian society. The Dictatorship’s decree that all lease monies shall now be distributed equally amongst all the members of the respective landowning unit brings disrespect to the chiefly unity that has long been understood and acknowledged by those owning the land.
A chief gains their status through hard work and the process of time. As it is now with the new system, basically anyone can just step up and have part of the money distributed to them – isn’t this like saying a Class 1 student is at the same level of experience and understanding as a Class 8 student.
This supposed ‘modernising’ strategy by Bainimarama is simply an attempt to destabilise the Fijian societal system – first it was the Great Council of Chiefs that was dismissed and now this New Year decree to further break down the Chiefly system.
It is also an act of revenge on his two biggest critics Ro Teimumu Kepa and Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu who are chiefs that benefit from huge lease monies as paramount chiefs of confederacies and Turaga i Taukei to a large swath of land.
In allowing equal access to lease monies Bainimarama is arguably appealing to young Fijians in an effort to ‘buy back’ their loyalty, but in years to come Bainimarama will see the repercussions of this ill-timed decision.
Many young Fijians want to complete their studies and get good jobs so they can contribute to their families, but lack of money to complete studies and then a very slow employment market makes it difficult for young people to become active and contributing members of their communities.
Bainimarama shouldn’t be talking about such things as increasing public expenditure (welfare, education etc) or decreeing how lease monies should now be distributed, but instead focus on when the elections are going to be held. How is he going to create jobs and when are he and his soldiers returning to the barracks and restoring freedom and democracy in Fiji?
The date of the removal of the PER (Public Emergency Regulation) is always being extended – how is this democratic if people cannot speak out against the government and the nation’s news is continually censored?
In conclusion, Bainimarama is still the illegal Prime Minister. Fiji is not a democratic nation – the majority still have no voice and are being silenced. Therefore his recent criticism of indigenous Fijians living overseas as not knowing what is going on is fallacious and wrong.
Fijians living overseas are actively criticising his government because they are not subjected to the propaganda and censored media the people living in Fiji and subjected to and get first hand news of what is happening because they live in a world of free media, freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
They can see clearly what is really going on and a large proportion of them left Fiji after the 2006 coup in utter disgust at the suppressive life Bainimarama has illegally brought upon the Country. (FDM statement)