Fiji’s military are poised to seize Dr Mere Samisoni and haul her up to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks, presumably for re-education, Chinese Communist Party style.
I have been advised of this by a good source who is frankly alarmed over what might happen.
She is facing the same kind of treatment dished out to Sam Speight who was tortured at QEB over a DVD circulating. (click here to watch the videoes)
The military, who have somewhat shamefully taken the route of oppressing the Fijian people, are also working to close down Dr Samisoni’s Hot Bread Kitchen chain.
Back in the days I was allowed into Fiji and camped up at the Holiday Inn, I used to have a early morning ritual.
I would walk up the road to the Hot Bread which, even at that early hour, was open. Customers would often be lining up buying fresh bread.
Not being much of a white bread man myself, I just limited myself to buying the daily newspapers. That was when they were independent, lively newspapers.
I knew Dr Samisoni owned the chain and I knew of her strong involvement with the ruling Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL). At some stage we even came to indirect blows. She wrote a letter to the Fiji Times critical of something I wrote.
I cannot remember what the issue was. The thought, though, that I would boycott the Hot Bread Kitchen because we had a disagreement, simply did not enter my head.
Mature adults in civilised states can have disagreements.
And still break bread, so to speak.
Besides, the Hot Bread Kitchen struck me as a worthy enterprise by locals for locals. It has 400 locals working for it.
Dr Samisoni recently went to Lomaloma, her home village, on Vanua Balavu in Lau. She was setting up yet another Hot Bread – a daunting operation on those distant islands. She had a copy of a DVD that had been the source of trouble for Sam Speight. The DVDs were not produced by SDL. The original piece was sent from Suliasi Daunitutu who was the speaker in the DVD. Fiji Democratic Freedom Movement (FDFM) World Wide Chapters funded and produced the DVDs in Australia. Once the original arrived people dubbed their own. These can also be downloaded from youtube (click here to watch the videoes).
Dr Samisoni told her cousin, the Turaga Ni Koro, that he could look at it if he wanted to. Or not. Up to him. It is not known if he watched.
The military heard word of this, and now I hear she is targeted for re-education at the barracks.
Voreqe Bainimarama’s Price Incomes Board is also being used against her, with rules proposed on the price that can be charged for bread.
Now, at first blush, one can assume that setting a price for bread is a good thing. But in the case it is a military regime trying to stay in office. And as anybody who has followed recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation bulletins, the price of the ingredients needed to make bread have internationally gone through the roof.
How can a military board set a price independent of the world price? Fiji, the way the world should be?
The military have revengeful method in their madness though, and they are using the Incomes Board to get at Dr Samisoni.
The big bakeries such as the Malaysian owned Morris Hedstrom and the small Chinese shops can use white bread as a loss leader. That means they sell it at the board price, at no profit, but make it up on other produce.
If the military demands she comes to the barracks, she should call her solicitor as soon as Police or Army call or visit her. Further that she has a right to remain silent and she tell them that she will maintain that right to silence. Her solicitor can take over when he arrives there. Basically tell them, she will remain silent and they can charge her with an offence(s) or release her, they have burden of proof. It’s not her job to answer their questions and provide them with any evidence.
Fiji, lost now and little noticed in the world, might believe it is able to get away with the kind of oppressive action feared about to happen. Who cares, the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces might say, what happens to an indigenous businesswoman.
Well, here is a piece of news to those soldiers thinking of doing it; you are being watched and you will be named.
At some stage in this whole mess, there has to be a reckoning.
27 March 2011
Michael Field http://www.michaelfield.org/hotbread.htm