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Will Fiji ever again have free, fair, credible elections?

Why do rumours of a coup surface around election time? Why do we invariably have military exercises or parades with armed soldiers in various parts of the country a few weeks before elections? Why do the heads of our security…

Spotlight on Bainimarama’s pay & travel allowance

Bainimarama’s excessive pay as prime minister and his $3000 a day overseas allowance have been the subject of  strong public criticism. Particularly considering that his government has kept the pays of ordinary workers suppressed, refusing, deferring or reducing recommendations of…

Grace Road’s Grip on FF Government

A Fiji official told CNN – Grace Road Group has established tight connections with high-ranking government officials which makes it harder to arrest them in Fiji even if they are involved in crimes.” – Korea Times Question: Why is the FF…

Saneem and his record

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem should admit that his record as SOE has been deeply tainted by the Fiji Court of Appeal ruling against him in a case filed by the 2014 Electoral Commission. The Commission had taken the SOE…

Grace Road and its Fiji nexus

Attorney General Khaiyum says that the operations of Grace Road in Fiji were not affected with the arrest of its owner and cult leader Shin Ok-Joo in Seoul. But Police Commissioner Qiliho announced that Police had commenced preliminary investigations into…

Is another bus fare increase on the way?

Bus operators are agitating for a fare increase following the recent hike in fuel prices.  But have not yet made a formal submission to the proper authorities for an increase.   Fiji Labour Party asks what has happened to the…

Questionable legacy of the Bainimarama government

The Bainimarama government has left a legacy of  crippling national debts, more and more taxes and rising costs of living after 11 years in government, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Just before leaving for yet another overseas jaunt, this time…

Crime rate in Fiji is high: Labour’s Aman Singh

A major cause of concern is the recent closure of a number of Community Police Posts throughout the country. This has left communities with high crime rates vulnerable to thieves and gangsters. In a number of  cases, appeals by residents…

Grim picture of real poverty in Fiji

An average national figure distorts the true and grim picture of real poverty in Fiji. There is gross regional disparity in rates of poverty: Mahendra Chaudhry As a responsible political party, the Fiji Labour Party does not manipulate or concoct…

PM uses Hindu temples to campaign

The Prime Minister must stop using religious events and Hindu temples to campaign. It is a despicable act, showing utter disrespect for Hindu religious rites, to manipulate such events for cheap political mileage:FLP PM Bainimarama stands in a temple to…

Khaiyum’s Band-Aid Budget

Economy Minister Khaiyum’s  Budget fails to address the crucial issues affecting a majority of our people who have to struggle each day to provide for their families. One must question why an important event like the presentation of the national…

Scrapping of Wages Councils unlawful, says Labour

Fiji Labour Party is appalled at government’s unilateral and unlawful decision to scrap the Wages Councils. “The Wages Councils are provided for in law through the Wages Councils Act (Cap 98 of 1960) and cannot be scrapped at the whim…

Democracy in Fiji under question

Fiji today is not a genuine democracy and falls way short of ensuring the democratic principles that the Party upholds. Most seriously, the imposed 2013 constitution is undemocratic and fundamentally flawed as the supreme law of the land, says Labour…

Fiji a Fascist State?

Fiji Labour Party deplores the use of armed soldiers at Bau Island early this morning to arrest Ratu Epenisa Cakobau along with other supporters for questioning.      Whatever the merits of the case against Ratu Epenisa, it was a civil matter…

Does Fiji offer our youth a future: Chaudhry

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry questions whether Fiji had a future to offer its youth given the high rate of unemployment in the country, mounting costs of tertiary education and a stagnant economic climate. “In a nutshell Fiji today is very…

Why corporatize FEA?

Is it a guise, a first step towards the privatisation of the Fiji Electricity Authority or Energy Fiji Ltd (its new name) and the sale of its shares as originally planned by the government? As we see it, FEA is…

Aman to leader Labour to Elections 2018

Human Rights lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh will lead the Fiji Labour Party into the 2018 general elections. His appointment was made at FLP’s National Council meeting in Nadi this morning. More than 40 delegates from around the country met at…

Khaiyum should be taken to Privileges Committee: Chaudhry

“For the chief legal officer of the government to mislead Parliament is a very serious misdemeanour,” Labour  Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said. He is calling on the Opposition to file a motion to have the Attorney General taken before the Parliamentary…

Khaiyum caught lying to Parliament?

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum may have deliberately misled Parliament on Monday when he said no data had been collated on ethnicity under the 2017 Census. Because Census Commissioner Epeli Waqavonovono reportedly said they did collate data based on ethnicity but…

FF in policy theft

Government’s announcement that it will enter into a public/private sector deal to operate our hospitals is nothing new, it is stolen from the Fiji Labour Party manifesto said Labour Mahendra Chaudhry. “A State/private sector partnership to run our hospitals has…

Labour calls for investigation into schools’ rebuilding scam

Fiji Labour Party calls for a thorough investigation into the controversy surrounding the reconstruction of schools damaged by Cyclone Winston two years ago. “Attorney General and Education Minister Aiyaz Khaiyum speaks around the subject but has not told us yet…

The Real Issues behind the ATS dispute

ATS workers’ long standing grievances with its management came to a head when Riaz Sayed-Khaiyum was appointed as Chair of the ATS Board. Two of the three workers’ directors on the Board were fired when they questioned his appointment which…

Protesting ATS workers need our support: Chaudhry

ATS staff have been bullied, harassed, suppressed and ill-treated by the company’s government dominated Board since 2009 despite being shareholders. “ATS which began as a model of worker co-ownership of enterprises, has become a dictatorship operation under a government that…

Why has Abdul Khan not been charged yet?

A Lautoka woman who helped her husband misappropriate $286,000 from the Fiji Sugar Corporation has been jailed for 5 years, but no action is taken against a former FSC executive chairman who siphoned off millions of dollars of FSC funds….

FNPF annuity rates must be restored to 15%: Labour

Labour is calling on government to restore the FNPF annuity rate to 15%, slashed 50% in 2012.  This will be one of the key resolutions at the Party’s delegates conference in Nadi tomorrow. Key speaker at the conference will be…

The $5 million Qorvis COP23 Scam

Qorvis the Fiji government’s image building US-based company, was awarded a $4.7 million contract in March this year to provide communications and public relations services to the COP 23 presidency without tenders being called. The contract breached Regulation 30(1) of…

Dr Ganesh Chand warns on where Fiji is headed

Academic Dr Ganesh Chand has warned that a society where its “mirror institutions” have collapsed and the three arms of government are no longer independent, that society will be doomed. Speaking to the Labour Convention last Saturday, Dr. Ganesh warned…

People in Fiji live in fear: Human Rights lawyer Aman Singh

Human Rights lawyer Aman Ravindra Singh’s message to the Labour Convention on Saturday was for people to stand up and fight against the denial of their human rights in this country. “You must start getting engaged. Talk to your friends,…

Fiji govt. fails to meet standards of good governance: Jone Dakuvula

The Fiji First government falls short of internationally accepted standards of transparency, accountability and good governance, Pacific Dialogue Chairman Jone Dakuvula told the Fiji Labour Party convention on Saturday. “It has sophisticated public relations through its foreign Media agency QORVIS,…

Father Kevin Bar slams crony capitalism: its adverse effect on wages

The “greed and self-interest” of a small lobby of employers who exercise undue influence with the government have successfully blocked wage increases for workers for years, Father Kevin Barr told the Fiji Labour Party convention on  Saturday. Speaking on Social…

Government’s $100m Green Bond contravenes Finance Act: Chaudhry

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry warned that Government’s Green Bond  was issued in contravention of the Finance Act. The Government yesterday launched its sovereign Green Bond issue aimed at raising $F100m for projects aimed at mitigating and adapting to problems created…

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…