Tag Archive | fiji

Evidence & Denial

Vore’s attempts to backtrack out of elections in March 2009 bodes ill for the country, but also give the voters valuable insight into his psychology.

“What I gathered was that he said while you kept the ‘in principle’ in front of the March 2009 it tells the international community you will never have elections so take away the ‘in principle’, keep the March 2009 announcement to them and if there’s any extra time for elections that you want we will be quite flexible coming out with additional timing so I took that on board and that’s how I came up with March 2009 at the forum on the understanding if there’s need to be an extension in time the international community will be very flexible.’

What does this tell us?
* Vore cannot think in sentences.

* Vore’s justification has the ring of a teenager who has just crashed Dad’s car and tries to explain it away by saying “Isa Tamaqu! You said I could take the car! You never said not to crash the thing!”

* Vore has a startling ability to remain in complete denial. It is clear from his recollection, and proved by Dr Sevele’s statement in the Fiji Times, that Sevele was trying to get Vore to commit to 2009 elections.

Tongan Prime Minister and Forum chairman Dr Fred Sevele said they told Commodore Bainimarama if the Forum and the international community were to believe he was serious about an election next year, the phrase “in principle” should not be included in the text of the communique.
“In any case, the Forum leaders did not want such a diluting qualification in the communique,” said Dr Sevele.

Observe how, psychologically, Vore takes a message like Sevele’s, breaks it up into component parts, ignores the phrases that do not serve his intentions and only absorbs the phrases that appeal to him. This is classic denial. The man should feature in a textbook,

Why does Vore think he can now delay elections post-2009? Perhaps unseen polls show that Chodo’s popularity ratings are so low that elections within 12 months will be political suicide. Perhaps he thinks that, like George W Bush his popularity will reach an all-time low and then just plateau. Bush’s popularity has plateaued because as a lame duck, he can do no more harm to America’s interests, and the fundamentalist right still love him. Ain’t no-one lovin’ Vore, except his Yes-men, and that’s not real love now, is it?

So. What Fiji needs now is a poll to measure :

* Chodo’s approval rating
* FLP’s approval rating
* interim regime’s approval rating
* NCBBF approval rating
* Charter approval rating
* approval rating of SDL govt at the time of the coup
* desire for elections
* desired timeframe for elections
* perceived importance of elections

We can all predict now what the results would be. But what we, the pro-democracy movement of Fiji, need is the empirical evidence. Get the stats. Publish them in the media. Then sit back and watch Chodo and his lapdogs squirm.

We need to start making our own weapons, peaceful weapons of democracy to bring down this regime of tyrants.

There is speculation that Tebbutt Research is in cahoots with the regime. If this is true, the agency probably won’t conduct the research, and no matter who carries it out, they will be instructed to publicly scoff at the methodology.

So here’s a challenge to you budding NGO’s and eager tertiary students out there. Listed below is a suggested survey structure. Feel free to add or modify it as you will. Go out in your community and conduct the poll. Make sure your sample represents the people of Fiji (eg 55%-40%-5% Fijian-Indian-Other, 50-50 Men-Women, 20-80 Tertiary educated/Non-tertiary, 70-30 Urban-Rural.) A sample of between 150 – 300 people would suffice. How you interpret the data will be up to you, but I’m sure your teachers will lend a helping hand. (Tip – a good, low budget way of analysis is to use a simple spreadsheet like MS Excel.) Summarise the main points. Publish your findings.

Lecturers who read this blog – you could set this or a similar survey as an assignment for your students (if you are kind, you’ll restrict them a smaller sample).

Anyone up for a bit of fun – conduct this poll around your workplace! Don’t forget to tell your colleagues the overall results of the poll (eg ‘100% of colleagues disapprove or strongly disapprove of the regime’). But if you ARE doing this for fun, please remember it is good manners to respect confidentiality of people’s answers. If they want to tell how they responded, let them. But if you want to be ethical, don’t blab how individuals responded.

Don’t forget to publish your findings! Post them on the internet, send them in to Soli Vakasama, Discombobulated Bubu, Fiji Democracy Now, Intelligentsiya, and the other freedom bloggers.

Best of luck, and have fun!

ALSO – Does anyone know how many polls have been conducted for the Junta? What were the results?

God bless Fiji

A. Which best describes how you approve of Chodopu$$?
1 Strongly approve 2 Approve 3 Neutral 4 Disapprove 5 Strongly disapprove

B. Which best describes how you approve of the Interim Government?
1 Strongly approve 2 Approve 3 Neutral 4 Disapprove 5 Strongly disapprove

C. Which best describes how you approve of the NCBBF?
1 Strongly approve 2 Approve 3 Neutral 4 Disapprove 5 Strongly disapprove

D. Which best describes how you feel about the People’s Charter?
1 Strongly approve 2 Approve 3 Neutral 4 Disapprove 5 Strongly disapprove

E. Which best describes how you feel the SDL Coalition government was performing just before they were overthrown at the 2006 coup-de-tat?
1 Strongly approve 2 Approve 3 Neutral 4 Disapprove 5 Strongly disapprove

F. Which best describes your desire for elections?
1. Strongly want elections 2 Want elections 3 Neutral 4 Don’t want elections 5 Strongly reject elections

G. What best describes your preferred timeframe for elections?
1 As soon as possible 2 Within 12 months 3 Within 24 months 4 Don’t mind 5 We need electoral reform before we have new elections

H. How important do you think democratic elections are to Fiji?
1. Very important 2 Important 3 Neutral 4 Unimportant 5 Democratic elections are bad for Fiji

What is your age? Under 20 ; 20-35 ; 35-50 ; 50-70 ; 70+
What is your race? Fijian ; Indian ; Chinese ; Rotuman ; European ; Mixed ; Withheld
What is your highest education level attained? Primary school ; Secondary school ; Tertiary ; Post-graduate
What is your monthly household income? Under $1,000 ; Under $5,000 ; Under $10,000; Over $10,000

I do not accept comment here because I prefer to direct fruitful discussion to Soli Vakasama, Discombobulated Bubu, Fiji Democracy Now and other freedom bloggers.

Passive Resistance Now!

The illegal regime’s sabotage of Fijian Holdings Ltd is a milestone – it’s the last straw.  

Now is the time for Fiji’s pro-democracy movement to turn words into action.  

Many people, rightly, advocate peaceful, non-violent protest, and I agree with them wholeheartedly.  

Which is why I’ve compiled here a list of things we can ALL do to help bring down this regime, for instance one form of protest we must start is protest marches and walking vigils.  

I’ve also included an excellent list by ‘My 2 Cents Worth’ from Soli Vakasama, March 08 (with slight editing and additions)    

We can no longer allow this illegal regime to bully us, we must fight back – we cannot be Chodo’s victims any more.  

At some point, the people of Fiji must take responsibility for the manner in which we are governed.  

Yes, they have the guns.  But WE HAVE THE POWER.  

God bless Fiji



A) Protest March / Walking vigil. Every week, on Saturday morning, protesters go in to Suva and other main cities from 8 – 10am.  Walk slowly up and down the main street (Suva – Market to Traps, Nadi – Queens Rd, etc) for 2 hours.  As word grows, more and more people will join our weekly walking vigil for the end of this illegal regime.  Free elections is what we need most, and what this illegal regime fears most.  If you want to make placards and hold them that is your choice, but they could make you a target (for soldiers). You can call out slogans like ‘Free Fiji’ or ‘Elections Yes! No Chodo!’ or similar – just not near the Police Posts or military check points.  We might find after a few weeks that there is a better structure for this, and we should remain open to improvements.  But for now, we MUST begin public protests.  

B) When members of the illegal regime speak at public gatherings, protesters in the audience should stand, turn your back on the speaker, and remain standing, facing away from them until they finish speaking.  Stand quietly, solemnly with your back to the speaker.  If organizers try to remove you from the area, it is your choice to go quietly or not.  If no one stops you in your standing protest, then when the illegal regime speaker has finished, turn back to the front, and take your seat. 

C) If Vore is at a rugby match, when the announcer introduces him, stand and turn your back to Vore and keep it turned on him until a minute after the announcer has finished speaking.  Invite other crowd members to join you.  If Vore tries to speak, turn your back on him as in B) above. 

D) IT /EDP guys in the Public Service – ‘repair’ servers for days, keeping them ‘down’ as long as you can.  If you are called to repair a server or terminal, take twice as long as needed to repair it, or waste time by first concentrating on a part that is NOT broken, disassemble and reassemble it, taking as long as you need to, before turning your attention to the real problem. 

E) All Civil Servants (except teachers)

    1. One day each week, take a day off and call in sick.  Make sure you get a note from your doctor.  Each time, tell your doctor you are having headache, nausea, internal pains, blurred vision, fever and chills, pain in the joints, dizziness.  Encourage everyone in your department to do this once per week. 

    2. Go Slow at work.  Work at half of your normal pace.  Don’t slow up enough to get sacked, but slow enough to clog up the system so that this regime cannot govern effectively. 

    3. Take twice as long to process forms. 

    4. ‘Lose’ vital paperwork, or store computer files in the wrong folders.  

    5. Cause equipment (eg photocopier, computer, fuse box) to malfunction. 

    6. Send computer viruses to each other. 

    7. Send requests to other departments to urgently provide you with files from decades ago so that they can waste time researching them in the archives.

    8. If you come across any information relating to the regime’s plans eg to cripple native institutions, rig elections or cover-ups, immediately email the documents to solivakasama@gmail.com or any of the other freedom bloggers.

  9. Take frequent breaks through the day to go to the toilet, or to drink water.  Go slow!  You can catch up next year under our new freely elected government. 

F) Keep writing to the foreign embassies, high commissions and delegations in Suva asking them to continue pressuring this illegal regime to their promised election schedule in March 2009, under the Constitution. 

G) Graffiti campaign – Paint ‘FF’ (short for Free Fiji) on any government property including the side of vehicles, buildings, tables, roads, etc.  Spray paints are easiest for quick graffiti, and also easy to drop if the authorities pass when you are in the act.  Make sure you hold the can with fabric or plastic between it and your hand so you don’t leave your fingerprints on the can. 

H) Boycott – Do not buy any goods from business houses which support this illegal regime. 

I) Sabotage – Send computer viruses to your friends and relations in the civil service.  Do this once a week. 

J) Media – You are the Fourth Estate, the last pillar of our freedom.  Do your thing!

K) NGO’s – Keep writing to your foreign contacts (UN, aid agencies, etc) to keep the pressure on the illegal regime, and to funnel funds where they’re needed – the people, the rule of law, NOT the regime. 

L) Cane farmers – write to the interim Finance Minister asking him where is the Haryana money, and can he urgently send you some.  

M) Come up with your own ideas for passive resistance, and post them on the blog-sites.  Not this one, because I prefer to direct commentary to Soli Vakasama, Discombobulated Bubu, Fiji Democracy Now, Intelligentsiya, et al.  


My 2 cents worth Says:

March 22, 2008 at 1:48 am

Show your passive resistance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the illegal regime to survive it needs money. This comes from your spending (VAT) and taxes (individuals and businesses). If you don’t spend, businesses lose out, the economy contracts, which ultimately means the illegal regime loses out on its operational and capital expenditure. It is a sacrifice for you also in the short term. You may protest in your small way, save your own money, educate your kids and yourself, and stall the money into illegal Government coffers, which is what finances their illegal work. The cash flow will be a problem. Hit them where it hurts. What’s good for you is not necessarily good for the Government in an indirect way. 


Some suggestions

1. Food

A)Take your own lunch from home, do not go out and buy lunch or eat out at restaurants

B) . Start your own vegetable garden and eat from et

C) Give your kids lunch for school – don’t buy lunch, snacks

D) Eat more from the market and less from the supermarket

E) Buy in bulk e.g. flour, rice, sugar and budget it

F) Make your own bread, cakes, jam, pickles

G) Cook outside using wood

H) Have draunimoli instead of processed tea

I) Get food from family in the villages and pay them a fair price e.g. root crops, fish/meat (properly iced) etc

J) Make sure that that children, the old and pregnant women get a balanced meal


2. Water & Electricity

A) Drink water rather than juice, if you have a lemon tree than that’s even better

B) Catch the rainwater and use it

C) Switch off the lights if you don’t need it

D) Flush the toilet only for number 2 (not 1)

E) Wash your backside and save on toilet paper

F) Cook outside using wood

G) Sit outside until it’s dark then go inside

H) Use low wattage light bulbs or fluorescent tubes

I) Paw paw leaves are a mosquito repellant

J) Cut down on washing the car, watering plants, pathways etc.

K) Fill the sink up then wash the dishes instead of letting the tap run

L) Turn off electrical appliances at the main power point after use

M) Save the pieces of soap in the bathroom, it can be used for washing the dishes etc

N) Have a short cold shower


3. Clothing

A) Don’t buy new clothes etc. – only if you really need it

B) Check second hand places out first (e.g. St Vincent De Paul)

C) Hand downs from relatives/friends etc.

D) Sew you own clothes or modify second hand ones you get

E) Fashion your own clothes e.g. tye dye

F) Repair your shoes, don’t buy new ones if you can
 avoid it

G) Forget about what others think, if they really like you they’ll take you for what you are not what you wear


4. Shelter

A) Don’t buy a home if you’re planning to yet

B) If you rent, pay on the day it’s due, not before

C) Bargain with the Landlord – times are hard

D) Get the landlord to make necessary repairs and improvements


5. Transport

A) Walk or catch the bus to work, forget about taxis

B) If you have a car, leave it at home

C) If you plan to buy a car, hold off for a while

D) Get a bicycle, the fuel is free!


6. Health

A) Eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, talk with God

B) Use the public hospitals rather than private if you can


7. Communication

A) Cut down on unnecessary telephone calls, write, text, email for free from a library if you have to (ask yourself – do I really need to make this call)

B) Read the papers in a library or at the office or school

C) Tell visitors to Fiji how you feel about the situation you are facing


8. Church

A) You don’t have to compete for soli’s, choir, dress etc. – God knows – forget about what man says. However ensure talatala has enough to support his family and work

B) Thank God for his blessings however little you feel they may be, and ask for guidance


9. Vanua

A) Have small simple gatherings if you have to for occasions e.g. bose’s, deaths, births, marriages, birthdays etc. – do not drain your relatives and friends as well.  Keep things short and sweet. It’s the togetherness that counts not the lavishness.  Jesus was born in a stable, died on a cross

B) Respect your chiefs and elders, share honestly with them your thoughts and opinions, they should understand


10. Entertainment

A) Cut down on the smoking and yagona unless it is free or supporting the business of a freedom fighter. Dry and tuki the kosa again or smoke Fiji tobacco if you have to. Get it from the family in the village and pay them a fair price.

B) Cut out alcohol altogether so the regime cannot make any money from alcohol tax.  You’ll also be surprised how much time you get to spend with your loved ones when no one is boozing. 

C) Swim free in the sea and parks for picnics (forget about the cinemas – if you have to then watch television – it’s free, and unsubscribe from a paid service if you have it)

D) Stay away from pubs, nightclubs – spent quality time with the family

E) Forget about holidays – stay home

F) Read books (free from the library rather than buying them or watching television) or play cards 

G) Let the kids make and play their own games rather than buying toys from the shop 


11. Work

A) Do only what is minimally necessary to justify your salary

B) There’s no need to excel under the current system – you might get kicked out for being too smart – it’s not for the entrepreneurs, high flyers, ambitious – success is seen as being obtained by dubious means at present, and they don’t want anyone smarter than them.


12. Finance

A) Don’t borrow (if you don’t have it do without it)

B) Pay only what is minimally necessary for loans etc

C) If you have a credit card – pay only what is minimally due then cut it up and throw it away when your balance is cleared

D) Keep your extra money at home in a safe place – the interest rates by banks and their charges don’t justify banking what savings you may have unless it is substantial

E) Start a small sideline business if you can, rotate the money among family and friends eg roti parcel, lemonade stand, shop, etc


13. Education

A) No one can take this away from you

B) Support the children and encourage them, spend time with them every day with their home work and take an interest in their school work, praise them for their efforts even if to you it may seem trivial for them it is a big achievement

C) Learn one new thing every day to better yourself


14. General

A) Support democracy fighter businesses e.g. market, food parcels, juice, wheelbarrow, minibus, village, family, friends. 

B) Most importantly – Ask yourself before you spend something DO I REALLY NEED IT?

C) Remember – Government likes spenders not savers because they always get their cut!  


Chodo – Same sh*t, Different Year

Flicking through “More Letters From Fiji 1990 – 1994 : First years under a post-coup Constitution” by Sir Len Usher, I was struck by Chodo’s total hypocrisy in his role with today’s post-coup illegal regime.

Usher’s letters sketch Chodo’s movements and machinations at the time. A most interesting pattern emerges.

Chodo preferred weapon of choice is strikes and boycotts. In the course of events covered by Usher’s second book of letters, Chodo calls for no less than eight strikes or boycotts in the sugar industry, Parliament and elections.

His second favourite weapon at this time was to use international pressure to force the Government of Fiji to do his bidding. In the four years from 1990 – 1994, Usher notes Chodo’s travels to India, Europe (twice) and USA. He even tried to use his contacts with Australian Trade Unions to enforce a general ban on all trade with Fiji, a request which was declined.

Usher observes Chodo’s sentiment that having a just constitution was more important than economic advantages like the preferential price paid by the EEC for Fiji Sugar, after his return from Europe trying to persuade them to withdraw their trade concessions from Fiji. In other words, he would rather cripple the Sugar industry (of which he is supposedly the steward) and the economy. You have to be an extremely spiteful person to take this kind of stance to such a degree. In today’s world, such sentiments are commonly declared by terrorists rather than men of State.

Mark Twain wrote “to a man with a hammer, every problem is a nail.” Chodo’s favourite hammer was to hold a strike / boycott. His second favourite hammer was to use international pressure, or to appeal to overseas bodies to do his fighting for him. He does not know how to solve problems, except by creating bigger ones. The 2006 coup seems to be the biggest problem he can create in order to ‘solve’  his other problem of the Rabuka-Reddy Constitution.

So what happened? Why has Chodo gone from being the strike/boycott guy, and the ‘get my buddies overseas to beat you up guy’ to being the coup-de-tat guy?

At some point, he has obviously realised that foreign governments and unions do not ‘cross the line’  on issues of sovereignty. Similarly, he has realised that while regimes that do some wrong things are brought into line, regimes that do truly awful things tend to get away with it.

Somehow, he has found a financier in India. He found a willing puppet in Vore. He found sympathetic ears in with the Mara-Ganilau ‘dynasty’.

At some point, Chodo decided to cross the line. In so doing, he went from being an agitator to a despot, a revolutionary to a terrorist, a politician to a dictator.

What can stop him? What wonderful irony, what poetic justice, if Chodo’s regime were brought down by his three favourite tactics – Boycott, Strike and International Pressure.

It’s a different year. But he’s still the same sh*t.

Capitalised text is my emphasis. I have used contractions such titles as GCC for Great Council of Chiefs, NFP for National Federation Party, where Sir Len has used the full name.

9 October 1990. In the national day message from Ratu Penaia as President he put into words the widely felt wish that some day it will be possible for Fiji to regain the lost connection with The Crown, and he condemned attempts to stimulate resistance to the new Constitution from the outside. The reference to outside intervention arose mainly from a VISIT TO INDIA by Jai Ram Reddy, the grey eminence of the Coalition, Trade Union Congress leader Mahendra Chaudhry, and one of the Coalition’s home publicists, Navin Maharaj. Their object was to try to strengthen Indian opposition internationally to the new Constitution. When they came back, Maharaj admitted that their reception was, to say the least, cool.

21 October 1990…. Having failed to damage the interim Government on the political front – including an abortive attempt to enlist support in India – the Coalition leaders have used the weapon of industrial action, and are well on the way to striking a DAMAGING BLOW TO THE NATIONAL ECONOMY…. Cane which had been cut on Viti Levu could not be milled, and the farmers concerned saw their year’s income disappear. This was the signal for increased burning of cane – allegedly by arsonists with a grudge against the owners of the field. Chaudhry, who is head of a canegrowers organisation in addition to the Fiji TUC, has been doing some DOUBLE TALKING – bemoaning the plight of the farmers on the one hand and upholding the union action on the other….. it has become pretty obvious that there is no great wish on (Felix Anthony’s) and Chaudhry’s part to reach an early settlement.

27 November 1990…. At the conference, a USP group questioned the decision by Chaudhry, Jai Ram Reddy and other party officials to call for a BOYCOTT of next year’s elections. There was doubt about the wisdom of the boycott because it would deprive the party of an effective parliamentary voice, but the main thrust of the criticism was that the party officials were trying to IMPOSE IT ON THE RANK AND FILE WITHOUT CONSULTATION OR ADEQUATE EXPLANATION.

10 March 1991…. Meanwhile, another battle is appearing – on the industrial front, with Mahendra Chaudhry, secretary of the FTUC and the PSA and chairman of the NFU of canegrowers, AS A KEY FIGURE…. the Government intends to overhaul labour legislation to curb trade union powers by de-regulating employer-worker bargaining. Chaudhry is threatening to stage ANOTHER BOYCOTT of cane harvesting when the season begins later in the year, though a similar boycott last year delayed harvesting and led to a reat deal of cane being left in the fields at the end of the season. Rivalry between Chaudhry and SM Koya lies at the back of this. Koya is the elected chairman of the legally-constituted Sugar Canegrowers Council. Chaudhry wants this delay to end forthwith because he SEES AN OPPORTUNITY to replace Koya.

12 May 1991…. The long drawn-out strike at Vatukoula took a nasty turn when fires destroyed mine property…. The Government has appointed a commission on enquiry. The union says it will not co-operate. The fine hand of Mahendra Chaudhry, IMPLACABLE OPPONENT of the interim Government and lead of the TUC, may be at work in the decision. He is also head of the NFU, formed as a rival of the statutory SCGC. He is busy trying to persuade farmers not to harvest their cane when the crushing season begins at the end of May – and many of them are listening to him, though a boycott of the harvest means obvious loss to them and to the national economy.

2 June 1991. Chaudhry has worked himself in a position of power, not only as the force behind the TUC but also through unions in the sugar, gold and civil aviation industries as well as being secretary of the Public Service union. As the sugar mills are just about to start the season’s crushing he has ORGANISED A BOYCOTT of cane harvesting and he has been getting substantial Indian support in spite of the FARMERS’ LOSSES from a similar boycott last year…. (The Government) certainly can’t let the economy be DIASTROUSLY DAMANGED by the loss of sugar revenue through a continued harvest boycott. A highly undesirable possible by-product of the dispute is EXACERBATION OF FIJIAN-INDIAN ILL-FEELING.

2 July 1991…. Chaudhry meanwhile IS IN EUROPE, SEEKING TO DRUM UP SUPPORT from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, of which he is an executive board member.

12 July 1991…. Basic confrontation continues, and is particularly worrying because it is taking on an increasingly racial Fijian versus Indian tone. But I’ll write more about this after next week’s general strike date passes and if a Fijian-inspired anti-FTUC and (anti)-Chaudhry MARCH takes place in Suva.

18 July 1991…. The anti-FTUC (and largely anti-Indian) march in Suva passed off calmly…. Rabuka had his moment in the sun when he asked the President to meet FTUC leaders Chaudhry and Micky Columbus, and he was present at the meeting. Chaudhry initially followed the meeting by A DISPLAY OF BAD FAITH in mis-representing to his followers what had been agreed.

28 July 1991…. Continuing the practice of having a Fijian leader, at its weekend conference the Labour Party elected a retired nurse, Jokapeci Koroi, a prominent figure in the Fiji Nurses Association…. Jokapeci is not likely to be much more than a FIGUREHEAD political leader and the Party’s real direction will assuredly REMAIN IN THE HANDS OF Chaudhry and a close associate.

10 November 1991… Amendments to labour laws proclaimed last week have upset Chaudhry and the TUC. Through his NFU, Chaudhry is threatening to call another cane harvesting BOYCOTT in RETALIATION. A three-day boycott last week to protest against delay in holding elections for the statutory SCC coincided with the Diwali holiday and was only partially successful….. (The new laws) also prevent one person from being secretary of two separate unions. This reduces Chaudhry’s influence as secretary of both the PSA and the NFU as well as being executive head of the FTUC.

15 December 1991…. Chaudhry and his Fiji Trades Union Council have been trying to get the equivalent body in Australia to support their AGITATION against the recently introduced amendments to trade union laws in Fiji. They are particularly agitated about the amendment that makes deduction of union dues by employers no longer compulsory. Chaudhry, as head of both the public employees’ and canefarmers’ union, is personally affected by a ban on holding more than one such post. The Australian Council of Trade Unions turned down a REQUEST FOR A GENERAL BAN ON TRADE WITH FIJI but agreed to a one-day stoppage of air and sea transport to coincide with a proposed one-day general strike in Fiji.

14 January 1992…. In response to representations by Chaudhry on behalf of the Fiji Trades Union Council, the Australian Transport Workers Union held up some flights by Air Pacific from Sydney to Fiji. A Government delegation has gone from Fiji to try and counteract Chaudhry’s influence by explaining the new labour laws which he has been ATTACKING. They are in fact very much in line with similar legislation introduced in Britain, Australia and New Zealand in recent years.

24 February 1992…. the Fiji Labour Party and the National Federation Party (the traditional Indian party) finally ended the Coalition which won the 1987 election. Both said they opposed the new Constitution but the NFP said that they would contest the election and continue the fight from within Parliament. The Labour Party, with Chaudhry’s voice prominent, said that this would be tantamount to accepting the Constitution. They would not take part in the election. Then the Labour Party itself split down the middle. Some of the veteran senior officials announced that they intended to stand for election, regardless of the party’s official stand, and they talked of forming a New Labour Party. To add further complication, elections are to be held next month for the SCC and the Chaudhry-led NFU, in unofficial association with the NFP, hopes to get a large majority. Meanwhile, Chaudhry himself has been charged, under revised labour legislation, with holding two trades union posts – secretary of the NFU and the PSA. He is claiming VICTIMISATION and has said that he is willing to go to prison as a gesture against the labour laws.

25 April 1992…. The Indian election situation has become nicely confused. After a period of uncertainty, the NFP… decided to contest the election and last week announced candidates for all the Indian seats…. (The) Labour Party said that to protest against the new Constitution they would, as a matter of principle, take no part in the election. Chaudhry and his ‘no election’ associates, facing growing disapproval from rank and file trade unionists, have now changed their minds and the party is to field candidates after all. They began by saying that they would think about reversing their attitude if the NFP would promise to BOYCOTT the new Parliament. The NFP said “No way”. They intended to use their presence in Parliament to try to have the Constitution amended. The Labour Party say that any of their candidates who win in the elections will refuse to take their seats until the Constitution is changed. The Party now has to find candidates before May 1, and those contesting Indian seats will be confronting NFP head-on.

10 May 1992. There is rebellion against Chaudhry within the FTUC, and growing talk that he will be ousted as general secretary at the equivalent of an AGM timed for this month. We shall see. He is a formidable survivor.

6 June 1993…. (Rabuka) reaffirmed that in any review of the Constitution or the terms of the ALTA the views of the various Fijian provincial and district councils and of Fijian landowners must first be sought, preparatory to consideration by the GCC. This, together with the continued failure to include any Indians in the new Cabinet, caused Jai Ram Reddy and Chaudhry to declare that their two parties… would have to explore ways of getting together to look after Indian interests. But this is an old story, and whether persistent past antagonisms will be overcome in pursuit of a common cause is something that is yet to be demonstrated.

27 June 1993…. Then Chaudhry made a strong anti-Rabuka speech before all the Labour members WALKED OUT of the House and Chaudhry announced that a party convention would be held to decide whether or not to continue the BOYCOTT and to continue support of Rabuka as PM.

14 July 1993…. Chaudhry, as party leader, has said that patience had run out after A YEAR WITHOUT ACTION…. Jai Ram Reddy says that the committee is at least a beginning and is an indication of the reality of Rabuka’s willingness to make changes to the Constitution. Chaudhry’s retort is that this is eye-wash, concealing the fact that the REAL DECISIONS WILL BE MADE BY THE GCC AND THE FIJIAN PROVINCIAL COUNCILS.

21 August 1993…. The Cabinet sub-committee of Ministers plus representatives of Jai Ram Reddy’s NFP has begun work on how to approach a revision of the 1990 Constitution. A report through semi-official channels says that the Government of India is viewing the formation of this committee with optimism. Chaudhry and his FLP supporters on the other hand will have none of it. He returned last week from a mission in Europe to try, among other things, to PERSUADE THE EEC TO WITHDRAW TRADE CONCESSION FROM FIJI and said that he would carry the campaign TO THE UNITED STATES. His stance at a press conference was “No compromise” and said having a just constitution was MORE IMPORTANT THAN economic advantages like, for instance, THE PREFERENTIAL PRICE PAID by the EEC for FIJI SUGAR. I doubt that view is widely shared by his fellow-Indians, especially in the canefields.

27 February 1994…. Chaudhry’s part in organising BOYCOTTS AND STRIKES IN THE SUGAR INDUSTRY, with consequent loss to farmers, is generally held to have contributed to his FLP’s election losses.


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God bless Fiji