SVT Behind Destabilisation/Terrorism
Issue No: 102; 11 October 2000
The SVT was behind the destabilisation campaign to overthrow the Peoples Coalition Government, and the terrorist activity on and after 19 May.
This is revealed in an article written by SVT member Jone Dakuvula in today's Daily Post.
"Speight's coup is indeed a stepchild of the SVT. I maintain the ideas gestated from the time when Ratu Inoke [Kubuabola] took over the leadership and began meeting Apisai Tora, Reverend Lasaro's affected group in the VLV and the FAP members. There was a discussion group and network when I was still in the SVT Office.
"I heard accounts of what were being discussed. Ratu Inoke himself admitted to me that he was 'frightened' by the ideas that were being proposed then from the Nationalist Party supporters"
Dakuvula argues that the destabilisation was aimed at a violent overthrow of the elected government. On the 19th of May, Ratu Inoke went up into the Government members office in the Parliament Complex and told the Labour Party Leader, Mrs Jokapeci Koroi, to clear out as they were taking over the Government. [SVT Senator Berenado Vuinibobo and Rotuma Island Council nominated Senator, Col. Paul Manueli were also with Inoke Kubuabola.]
Dakuvula also wrote that on 19 May, Ratu Inoke told Speight and his supporters that they "should consider themselves under his `protection'".
It is believed that the Speight terrorist group has a tape recording of conversations between them and Ratu Inoke, Apisai Tora, and numerous ethnic Indian businessmen financing Speight. In one tape recording from a phone conversation, Ratu Inoke and Apisai Tora advice Speight's men to shoot Chaudhry in the leg.
It is further believed that the Qarase cabinet is divided on what to do with the Speight group, with strong demands coming from Kubuabola, Tora and others to get them released.
Meanwhile, Speight and his band were to brought to the magistrate's court this morning for fresh charges of treason. The prosecution has also appealed against the Chief Magistrate's ruling that Speight and his group be granted rights which are well over what other prisoners in custody have - like mobile phones, personal doctors, and regular visits by spouses and next of kin at state expense.
In another development, the Fiji Times reports today that the Police Department is continuing to receive threatening calls believed to be from Speight's people. Earlier reports on continuing violence, and the evasion of terrorists Tevita Poese and escapee Alifereti Nimacere were linked by the military to the access to mobile phones by the terrorists. It is believed that Speight's group is in regular contact with the terrorists still at large and those released on bail.
11 October 2000.
US Rejects Qarase Plan
Issue No: 101; 10 October 2000
The United States Government has rejected the interim regime's plan for constitutional democracy in two years.
Speaking to the media today in Suva, the US State Department's Deputy Director of the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Affairs, John Sequeira questioned why it should take two years for Fiji to return to constitutional democracy. He also questioned the need for a new constitution when the 1997 Constitution was "okay a year ago", and was approved and and accepted by all political parties as well as the Great Council of Chiefs.
Sequeira meets the interim regime people tomorrow (11/0ct). He told the media that the US was considering whether it should apply unilateral measures or multilateral measures to see the restoration of democracy in Fiji as soon as possible.
10 October 2000.
Issue No: 100; 10 October 2000
More evidence has been revealed that one of the main persons behind terrorist George Speight was Police Commissioner, Isikia Savua.
Today's Fiji Sun published 4 articles which reveal that Savua was deeply involved in the terrorist take-over of the Parliament. The following were revealed:
a.. Savua ordered that police provide escort to a vehicle transporting arms smuggled from the military armoury to the Parliament Complex on 20 May at around 2.30 am. b.. At 9 am on 19 May, the police riot unit was disabled by Savua by ordering its vehicle to pick up his children from school, posting guards at his residence, and later posting the vehicle to guard the entrance of the Parliament Complex. c.. Prior to 19 May, 65% of the officers of the Police Mobile Unit, the elite anti-riot unit, were taken off elite training and duties and dispatched to police stations around the country. d.. In place of those sent out of the unit, territorial soldiers without any training or qualifications were recruited in the Mobile Unit under Savua's instructions. e.. Three weeks before the terrorist struck, 100 new recruits were absorbed in the police force of which only one was ethnic Indian. f.. Savua ordered the police force to provide a vehicle to be used by the terrorists to transport food from Muaniweni to the Parliament Complex on 29 May. The food was stolen from farmers there who were terrorised. g.. Savua and George Speight were in regular contact before, on, and after 19 May, including contact by mobile phone. h.. Savua threatened an assistant superintendent of Police at gunpoint. i.. Savua had packed all his belongings in his Police office during the week before 19 May and told a staff officer that he would be moving to the Prime Minister's office as PM. When Savua's involvement was highlighted, he sent this officer on an overseas mission. Numerous other evidences have come forth on Savua's direct involvement.
The President of the Fiji Labour Party, Mrs Jokapeci Koroi, had called the military immediately when Speight entered the Parliament. She was told that the police commissioner informed them that there was no need for the military to intervene as he had the situation under control. The police kept the military out for about 1 whole week. (Under law, military steps in only when the Police request it to do so).
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Poseci Bune, and the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Gaffar Ahmed, have also given extensive submissions to the tribunal inquiring into Savua's role.
10 October 2000.
Qarase doesn't want Peoples Coalition back
Issue No: 99; 10 October 2000
The Peoples Coalition Government should not come back to power, believes the interim regime Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase.
Speaking at the USP yesterday, Qarase told the audience that indigenous Fijians must be in control of the government in Fiji. This was because of the perception that their lack of control will see their interests not being protected. Qarase ignored the fact that 12 out of the 18 cabinet members in the Peoples Coalition were ethnic Fijians].
The speech came on Fiji's Independence Day holiday.
Where on the one hand, Qarase called for prayers for unity and reconciliation to mark the Independence Day, on the other, he tells another audience on the same day that he and his band will have `unity and reconciliation' only on their terms - that the Peoples Coalition does not lead again, and that ethnic Indians and general voters, comprising about half of Fiji's population, be excluded from political decision making in the country.
10 October 2000
Issue No: 98; 10 October 2000
Squatter population is rapidly rising in Fiji.
After visiting one area only - Seaqaqa - the interim regime Minister for Housing has expressed concern at the rising squatter population there. He told the media: "This problem of illegal settlement has to be nipped in the bud". But in the next breadth, suggested that the landowners reach some kind of arrangement with the squatters to avoid this problem - indicating that the problem will continue since arrangements do not solve the problem.
At the end of 1998, about 14,000 families - about 10% of the population - were squatters. On coming to power, the Peoples Coalition Government had focussed on solving this problem. Numerous squatter resettlement plans were drawn up and funds allocated. Numerous projects had begun during year 2000. The Government had planned to eliminate the squatter problem within 5 years of its terms.
The concern now expressed by the interim regime housing minister that squatter population is rising is indicative of the interim regime's lack of concern for the rising problem.
The regime fails to realise that squatter population will rise by leaps and bounds as the economic collapse forces more families to the margins of society, and as families on native owned land are evicted. Between 1997 and end of this year, 975 agricultural leases are to expire; the expiry rate will escalate in years to come. Each lease has more than one family dependent on the farm.
Fiji is, therefore looking at hundreds of additional families to join the ranks of those who are already marginalised from the mainstream, and those rapidly joining the list due to the collapse of the economy after the terrorists take-over of the Parliament. A major human settlement disaster is on its way for Fiji.
10 October 2000.