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Khaiyum “butting his nose” into affairs of Education Ministry

The FF government is inflicting serious harm on Fiji’s Education service by its continuous interference in the affairs of the Ministry – work  that should rightly be handled by the Permanent Secretary and his staff, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry….

Conditions to civil service pay rise “outrageous” says Chaudhry

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says government’s move to peg public sector pay increases to the requirement that employees sign a new contract is “straight out coercion”. “They are using strong arm tactics to impose shorter term contracts on civil servants…

No benefit for ordinary worker in Budget 2017-18

The ordinary worker gets no benefits from Budget 2017-18, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. “It is a show Budget which flaunts the allocation of big moneys to different sectors but we will have to wait and see how much of…

What is a fair living wage?

With Government and the Unions deadlocked over the issue of a fair national minimum wage, Labour Leader  Mahendra Chaudhry recommends that $3.50 per hour be adopted as an interim NMW to give immediate relief to workers while tripartite negotiations continue…

Labasa Farmers stage protest march

About 400 cane farmers took to the streets in Labasa yesterday to push their demand for a minimum guaranteed cane price of $100 a tonne and a $10 top up from government for their 4th cane payment. It ended with…

Why the delay in making the 4th cane payment?

National Farmers Union is questioning FSC’s delay in making the 4th cane payment which should have been paid out at the end of April. NFU President Surendra Lal says the payment must be made this week if growers are to…

Widening incomes gap under global capitalism

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has described severe income inequality as the biggest risk facing the world. WEF founder Klaus Schwab has observed, ‘We have too large a disparity in the world; we need more inclusiveness… If we continue to…

FEA Bill -abuse of parliamentary process, says Labour

The disturbing manner in which the public consultation process was managed shows a contemptible disregard by the government and the Committee for openness and accountability. More importantly, it is a gross abuse of the parliamentary process, says Labour Leader Mahendra…

Labour slams Tuifaqalele statement

Fiji Labour Party condemns as shockingly heartless a statement by Director Akapusi Tuifagalele, National Disaster Management Committee, that victims of last week’s severe flooding should not rely on the government for food rations (FT 22/12). “Of what use is a…

Why the imposed 2013 Constitution must go

What is wrong with the imposed 2013 Constitution? There are serious concerns over many of the provisions of the imposed 2013 Constitution – quite apart from the fact that it was imposed on the people of Fiji without any consultations…

Why is Abdul Khan still on FSC payroll?

The sugar industry circus continues unabated while harvested cane rots at the Rarawai and Penang Mills. With the Rarawai Mill out of action since Wednesday last week, only the Lautoka Mill remains operative  to crush cane produced in the 6…

FLP’s submission on Information Bill No. 34 of 2016

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the proposed Information Bill denied access to information instead of facilitating it and as such “was nothing short of perpetuating fraud on the people and the Attorney General must be held accountable for this.                                  …

FLP submissions on the Code of Conduct Bill No. 22 of 2016

FICAC should not be the prosecuting authority for the Code of Conduct legislation because it does not enjoy the confidence of the people as being independent of the government, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Mahendra Chaudhry’s full submission on the…

FLP submissions: Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill 28 of 2016

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has labelled as “draconian and pernicious”        harsh penalties that have been prescribed in the Bill against any criticism of  Parliament, the Speaker or a Committee of parliament.                                                                                  The full text of  FLP’s submission on the…

Khaiyum squanders $14m on film making

We are absolutely flabbergasted that Fiji proudly paid $14m (USD7m) hard cash to a US film production company for using Fiji as a location for a TV reality show (FT 11/8). Little wonder the company, Survivor Entertainment Group, was all…

Dubious public consultations?

The FF government is calling for written submissions to 6 new Bills  BUT this times around, public consultations on the Bills are to be highly restricted – both in terms of the time allocated per person/organisation and those allowed to…

SCAM: Hardware companies abuse Help for Homes swipe cards

Fiji Labour Party is calling on the government to put a stop to, and investigate, the scandalous abuse of Help for Homes swipe cards by hardware companies. Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry who is in Ba today said he was appalled…

Cane growers get step-brother treatment: Chaudhry

Cane growers are desperately in need of cash assistance from government to begin preparations for the 2016 harvest, National Farmers Union general secretary Mahendra Chaudhry told the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs during consultations on the Sugar Reform Bills in…

Ra Growers seek special $10 tonne payment for Cyclone Damage

Ra cane farmers are seeking a $10 per tonne special payment from government to assist them recover from the massive devastation caused to crops, farm equipment and machinery by Cyclone Winston. The resolution for special assistance was unanimously adopted by…

Budget 2016/17: Business as usual

Budget 2016/17 fails to provide answers to the major socio-economic problems facing the nation. “Under Finance Minister Khaiyum’s stewardship the Budget process is reduced to being a mere exercise in financial allocation. All he does is increase funding for some…

The FRA SCAM …Now it’s the Bucalevu Bridge

Part of the approach to the Bucalevu Bridge, midway between Rakiraki and Tailevu has collapsed, with the bridge now open to one-way traffic only. Picture below shows the collapsed section on the Rakiraki-end of the bridge. It is clear that…

Respect growers representatives, NFU tells Abdul Khan

The National Farmers Union has warned FSC executive chairman Abdul Khan not to use abusive language when responding to growers’ representatives. “We represent the cane growers of Fiji and Mr. Khan must learn to treat us with respect. The Union…

Labasa growers want extra $10 tonne to begin harvesting

Labasa cane growers are demanding an additional $10 a tonne payment to begin harvesting for the 2016 season. About 500 growers at a National Farmers Union meeting held at the Labasa Civic Centre on Saturday said they did not have…

What legitimacy, Mr Bainimarama?

In his welcome speech to NZ Prime Minister John Key last night, which read more as an apologia than anything else, Voreqe Bainimarama complained that the NZ media still think he and his government lack legitimacy. Referring to the 2014…

No double standards, please, Mr Key!

On the eve of his visit to Fiji, Prime Minister John Key told his country’s media that “his visit was to show support for the restoration of democracy, although it might not be a perfect democracy”.       “I am not saying…

FSC affairs must be investigated, says NFU

The National Farmers Union welcomes government’s decision to suspend the grossly over-priced Rarawai co-generation project and the sugar-syrup making project at the Penang Mill to allow for feasibility studies to be undertaken. But the Union calls for a thorough investigation…

Abdul Khan’s Super Salary

In three years, FSC  executive chairman Abdul Khan and his deputy have picked up a massive $2.4 million in salary – ie  $800,000 per year between them. Assuming a 60/40 sharing formula: Mr Khan would have collected $1.44m and his…

Bills 19 & 20 stifle the voice of the grower: NFU

“This Bill together with its precursor, the Sugar Industry (Amendment) Act passed by the House of Representatives in August 2015 completes the isolation process of the growers from the mainstream of the industry. The voice of the grower has been…

Abdul Khan must explain…

FLP calls for investigation into a conflict of interest between Abdul Khan’s  privately owned company, Pacific Renewable Energy Ltd, which has signed a 12 MW power supply agreement with FEA when he is actively pushing FSC to embark on co-generation…

The Opposition must act before its too late!

It is absolutely shocking to see the FF government continue to shamelessly  manipulate the parliamentary process to gag the Opposition by restricting its right to free and fair debate. In a democratic society, the Opposition plays the critical role of…

Look at your own self first, PM

Prime Minister Bainimarama wants to push special legislation through Parliament to penalise victims of Cyclone Winston who may make false claims for relief assistance. But what is more urgently needed is legislation to hold him and his government accountable to…

FSC’s Cogen projects in serious trouble

FSC’s new $17million co-generation plant at Labasa Mill has been lying idle  and unconnected to the FEA grid due to major technical problems with its newly installed boiler. FSC borrowed $17m from the Fiji Development Bank in 2014 to construct…

Fiji’s muted media

The Media plays a significant role in a democratic society in safeguarding the freedoms of the people. It follows then that restrictions on media freedom lead to a denial of the fundamental rights of our people, in particular freedom of…

Stop corruption, Khaiyum!

Fiji’s economic troubles and the deteriorating state of government finances cannot be fixed just by juggling the financial year as proposed by Finance Minister Khaiyum. The problems associated with this ongoing syndrome have their roots deeply embedded in systemic corruption…

NZ rejects flag change: Fiji wants to impose a change

New Zealand  has accepted its people’s rejection of a flag change but the Fiji regime insists on imposing a change despite vehement objections from its people. In  a democratic decision made through a national plebiscite held on the issue, the…

Cyclone ravaged Taveuni a sadly neglected disaster zone

Desperately needs food, water, clothes and building materials Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry is currently in Taveuni meeting with victims of the cyclone, but his every move is being closely monitored by the local Police, even though he is on a…

TC Winston ‪breaks‬ the ‪back‬ of the farming community

Cyclone ravaged farming families in Dawasamu, Deep Water and Nabilo in ‪Tailevu‬ who lost their homes, almost all their belongings and their crops, were left to survive on virtually nothing until relatives arrived with food rations.  “Even then we had…

Khaiyum’s ‪‎hypocrisy

‬Khaiyum has called on people to “dig deep into their pockets” to assist in the cyclone relief effort (FT online 9/3) Sounds somewhat hypocritical coming from a person who himself has not contributed a cent! PM Bainimarama, Khaiyum and several…

What’s Khaiyum doing on Rosy’s Turf?

How does Khaiyum justify giving away $20m across the board in what he calls “aid” to all families listed on the Social Welfare Scheme regardless of whether they are victims of cyclone Winston or not? This while hundreds of the…

UN must hold Bainimarama accountable

The people of Fiji are grateful to the United Nations and the diplomatic community for its $82 million flash appeal to the international community for disaster relief work in Fiji. According to the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator Osnat Lubrani (FT 5/3/16)…

Victims of Cyclone Winston deserve better

The FF government’s response to the national catastrophe caused by Cyclone Winston would be laughable if it was not so serious. DISMAC                                                       In a media briefing given 5 days after the monster cyclone struck Fiji, DISMAC reported only 8 houses…

Fiji heading for ‪fascism‬ and ‪one‬-party rule

Alarming developments that are taking place in our country should be of serious concern to every right thinking citizen. First there is the case of huge shipments of ‪Russian‬ arms being brought in surreptitiously. The first consignment arrived in the…

Felix ‪Duped‬ again

Felix and company were shocked to see Khaiyum slip into Bill 11 of 2016 to amend the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007, a provision requiring the ‪registration‬ of trade union and employer federations and empowering the Supervisor of Elections (through the…

Bring down ‪fuel‬ prices!

Oil price on the world market has crashed 73% since mid 2014 but petrol prices in Fiji, over the same period, have not reflected this massive reduction. In January, the world price of oil plummeted to a low of $US30…

Hindi‬ under assault

‪Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha is to be commended for its initiative  to make the teaching of Hindi compulsory in all its schools. The announcement by the Acting National Secretary of the Sabha has been welcomed by parents. The move arises…

Where is the ‪MONEY‬, Khaiyum?

$50 million to upgrade rural                          roads,bridges,jetties and  crossings over 3 years is grossly inadequate. Finance Minister Khaiyum announced yesterday that the money given to Fiji Roads Authority is to fund 151 projects to fix rural roads, bridges, jetties and crossings…

The Dubious Midnight Deal

On the very day (29 Jan) the ILO Tripartite Mission departed our shores, the Fiji Trades Union Congress signed yet another agreement with the Fijian government and the employers organization FECF seeking full implementation of their earlier agreement of 25…

Defining the national interest: ILO Tripartite Mission to Fiji

In December 2006 a coup was staged ‘in the national interest”. From April 2009 it turned out to be anything but in the national interest when the authorities abrogated     the 1997 Constitution, imposed martial law on the nation, banned all…

Stop the Circus: Get on with the Inquiry!

The ILO Tripartite Mission to Fiji begins its work next Monday. It is here to:                              (i) review the outgoing obstacles to the submission of a joint implementation report; and (ii) consider all matters pending in the Article 26 complaint the…

Not so Healthy…

Every second or third day Health Minister Jone Usamate is in the news on TV commenting on some health issue here or there. Neatly dressed, jacket and all, shoulders sagging under the weight of the expensive salusalu proffered by the…

Russian arms shipment causes alarm

The arrival of a huge shipment of Russian arms into the country in a highly surreptitious manner is a matter of grave public concern.  It was obviously the intention of the Bainimarama government to smuggle the consignment into the country…

Boorish Bai blunders again!

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s response to the Opposition’s call for dialogue on issues facing the nation is not only offensive, it is demeaning to the high office he holds. One expects the Prime Minister to show respect, and treat other…

Of roads and bridges …

Opposition MPs in PNG have slammed the government for awarding a major roads contract to a company they say is owned by Cabinet ministers (FT 9/12/15). PNG Opposition Leader Dan Polye claimed that the company (Global Construction) has been awarded…

UN Human Rights Day: Where are our Rights?

As Fiji joins the rest of the world tomorrow (10 December) in observing the United Nations Human Rights Day, it is timely to ask what significance the day holds for us here in Fiji where we are still denied many…

Prepare to pay more under Khaiyum’s Budget

‪GEAR‬ UP to pay more for food, household goods and recreational activities come the New Year, say most business houses following their analysis of the measures announced in the 2016 Budget. People may be under the misconception that living costs…

Prime Minister’s hypocrisy!

Baininmarama’s strong denunciation of the terrorism of the Islamic State in France and elsewhere during an address to the ACP group in Brussels this week, rings hollow when viewed against the horrors he supports and condones in his own country….

Bainimarama danger to sugar industry, not climate change

Fiji’s sugar industry is not in any danger from rising sea waters as claimed by PM Bainimarama at the sugar conference in London. It is in danger from Bainimarama himself. The regime’s unilateral policies that have completely marginalized growers, the…

Beware of fake Polls

It is unbelievable that 88% of our people polled thought that Fiji is being ruled according to the will of the people (FT 19/11/2015). We don’t think our people are that ignorant. We question the credibility of the WIN/Tebutt Poll…

Who would believe Natuva/Qiliho?

Defence Minister Timoci Natuva’s statement in today’s Fiji Times that “militarization of the Fiji Police force is impossible” is the worst insult he could have heaped upon himself. It would have been better for him to have stayed mute (as…

Khaiyum’s misplaced confidence

Finance Minister Khaiyum’s reliance on a recent IMF Mission’s brief statement as a testimonial on Fiji’s economy, may be misplaced for two good reasons: The First is that the IMF assessment is predicated on data provided by government sources. This…

Fiji: South Pacific’s first Banana Republic!

The sudden resignation of Police Commissioner Groenewald claiming too much military interference with Police work raises serious questions about the absence of rule of law, and the separation of powers between the different arms of the State. Moreover, the appointment…

Upholding the significance of Diwali

The glow and glitter of Diwali the Festival of Lights is with us once again – many Hindus observe it with week-long prayers culminating in the lighting of diyas (oil lamps) on Diwali night to dispel darkness from their midst….

A Deceptive Budget

Budget 2016 imposes 9% VAT on basic food items and prescription medicine that were previously not subject to VAT. Denouncing the move as insensitive, Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said it is a blow to the poor. “The imposition of 9%…

This is not a time to vacillate!

Fiji Trades Union Congress should stop being an apologist for the FF government on Fiji’s non-compliance with core ILO Conventions on workers’ rights, as portrayed by its national secretary Felix Anthony in today’s Fiji Times. The case is absolutely clear:…

Khaiyum‬ in contempt of the Finance Act

Finance Minister Khaiyum is not complying with ‪accountability‬ requirements under the Finance Management Act and Regulations. The Act and Regulations (Part 7- Accountability Regs 42-48) require the Minister of Finance to table in the House of Representatives quarterly, half yearly…

Bauxite Mining – Who Gains?

NAKALOU VILLAGERS BEWARE – save your land from devastation! Landowning mataqalis in Nakalou Village in Macuata should be wary of the advice given them by Assistant Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Joeli Cawaki, to let their land be mined…

Ra Bridge: A Rip-off!

The newly opened $14m Ra Bridge is a real rip-off. Just 70 meters in length, it cost the taxpayer approximately $200,000 per meter to construct – this includes other associated costs such as building approaches and dismantling and relocating existing…

Workers rights must be respected, and restored

It either complies with international standards on workers’ rights or faces the consequences: Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. It is now obvious that the unions and government have failed to reach agreement on a joint (consensus) report to the International Labour…

Pot calling the kettle black

We agree with the appeal by Finance Minister Aiyaz Khaiyum  (FT 5/10) “to everybody to please not steal from the Fiji people”. But at the same time, we ask him to explain the following: Mr Khaiyum, as far as you…

Exposing Bainimarama’s mythical democracy…

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama told the UN General Assembly of how he “fashioned” democracy in Fiji “on dedication to the rights and dignity of each person in Fiji”. We wonder what he is talking about? The Prime Minister in his…

Landowners must have the final say

The extension by 5 years of Namosi Joint Venture Company’s (NJVC) special prospecting licence by government against the will of the landowners is tantamount to usurpation of their proprietory rights, supposedly guaranteed under the 2013 constitution. Over many years, the…

DOLLAR DOWN, VAT UP as loans take their toll!

Finance Minister Khaiyum with help from a partisan Speaker, debased the institution of Parliament behind locked doors yesterday. But what really confounded the onlooker was the ease with which Members of the Opposition allowed themselves to be locked in like…

Is Fiji going the Greece way?

This is absolutely unheard of! Parliament (the People’s Chamber) meeting in camera? Behind closed doors with no Hansard report of its proceedings? The very concept is a mockery of Parliament. What is so secret in the affairs of the State…

Constitution holiday… an absurdity!

So we are now told to observe 7 September (2016 onwards) as a holiday for a Constitution that is an abhorrent imposition on the people of Fiji. It is the height of absurdity. The 2013 constitution is seriously flawed and…

Cane Growers stripped of all rights in the sugar industry

With one fell swoop of the pen, the FF government today sent cane farmers decades back to the days of the CSR when a master/servant relationship dominated the industry. Amendments to the 1984 Sugar Industry Act passed by Parliament today…

Changes to Sugar Act completely disenfranchises growers

The reprehensible manner in which the government is rushing amendments to the Sugar Industry Act through Parliament, smacks of totalitarianism and makes a total mockery of the parliamentary process. “This is just another authoritarian act. It will likely signal the…

Labasa Mill in serious trouble but FSC remains silent

Labasa mill has been seriously malfunctioning for almost two weeks now causing huge financial loss to growers but Fiji Sugar Corporation has remained silent on the issue. The mill has been running without a shredder after it was removed on…

FLP questions Army leadership change

The people of Fiji need an explanation on the sudden resignation of Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga as Army Commander, says FLP President Lavinia Padarath. “The sudden change in the leadership of the military raises questions coming as it does on the…

FLP Leader denounces Fiji’s quasi-democracy

In his address to Labour’s Annual Delegates Convention in Lautoka, Leader Mahendra Chaudhry denounced the quasi-democratic rule in Fiji and said the party must be strong enough to fight this.   Mr Chaudhry’s full address at the Convention today which…

Troubled Penang Mill

The Penang sugar mill has been plagued with mechanical problems and breakdowns since the start of crush almost a month ago, causing heavy losses to cane growers as well as FSC.                                                                According to farmers from the Penang Mill area the…

PM and Khaiyum’s Pay Scam Questioned

The people of Fiji may soon get to know details of the ministerial pay scam which we first exposed on our website story of 23 August 2010. The scam operated between 2010 and 2013 when, under instructions from the Prime…

Fiji’s suffocating ‘democracy’

FLP had warned well before last year’s general elections that nothing would change after the elections and that dictatorship will continue in the guise of (pseudo) democracy. Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry speaking at the launch of FLP’s election campaign in…

Are our MPs driven by greed?

It is grossly unethical, if not scandalous, for Parliament to appoint its own members to review their own pays. Indeed, the entire review process is just another farce. It should, in fact, be transparent and kept totally at arm’s length…

Labour Turns 30

Fiji Labour Party turns 30 today. And what a tumultuous 30 years it has been for the Party.  Left: Dr.Timoci Bavadra:First Labour Prime Minister and Party Leader   Right: Mahendra Chaudhry: Labour Prime Minister 1999/2000; FLP Leader 1992 – We…

Hands off our Flag!

We are finally presented with 23 designs from which to choose our country’s new flag. And a glance through today’s Fiji Times will provide the first national reaction to the designs – total rejection. A letter writer even labled it…

Why our youngsters say no to cane farming

Bala Dass of FCGA needs to do better than blame the lack of water supply and electricity as factors deterring our younger generation from taking up cane farming (FT 8/6). In fact, most cane growing areas are well catered for…