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Terrorists Breach Bail Conditions And Still Free

Issue No: 276 10 December 2000

At least one of the 4 terrorists released this week has breached his bail conditions.

One of the four, Eroni Lewaqai told today's Sunday Times that he had met politician Apisai Tora on Friday evening and "made up". Lewaqai and Tora were both close supporters of the terrorists, but the two fell apart when Lewaqai refused to work under Tora after a list was published by the media around the time of the release of the hostages which stated that Tora was to be made the Minister for Agriculture and Lewaqai his assistant. Both men have been implicated for their terrorist activities. While Lewaqai was charged, Tora is still under investigation. That Lewaqai met with someone who is still under investigation is a clear breach of the bail conditions. Neither the police nor the military has taken any action on this.

Meanwhile, military's spokesman, Major Howard Politini told this evening's Fiji TV Close-Up programme that the four terrorists released had given interviews on radio and television all over the world, and that the military was concerned with the release of the 4.


Convicted criminals were recruited into police force by Savua

Issue No: 275 10 December 2000

At least 26 special constables recruited by Police Commissioner Isikia Savua after 19 May had criminal records. The 26 were part of the 200 which Savua recruited after the government was taken hostage by terrorists. This was revealed by Fiji TV last night and this evening.

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Defending the recruitment, Savua said that the recruits with criminal records ought to be given a chance to prove themselves.

It is believed that the 26 were suspended by the Acting Police Commissioner when Savua was under suspension recently, but have again reportedly been reinstated by Savua.

Meanwhile the Assistant Minister for Fijian Affairs in the elected government, Isireli Vuibau has questioned whether Savua is the right person to look after the investigations into the May 19 terrorist uprising. Vuibau told this evening's Fiji TV Close-up program that the leader of the terrorists, George Speight had told him when he was a hostage that Savua was negotiating on their behalf with the army. Vuibau also questioned the impartiality of some other police officers now investigating the terrorists since some of them supported the terrorists.

Savua has reportedly told the media that he is now reading the police interview records in the investigation into the terrorists' activities. Many fear that Savua will now carry out a witch-hunt and go on a vindictive mission to settle his personal score with those who have implicated him with the terrorists.


Qarase's reconcile demand hypocritical - PM. Issue No: 274 9 December 2000

The elected Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry has called Laisenia Qarase's demand for reconciliation hypocritical.

Chaudhry stated that the comments by Qarase were time to coincide with the visit of the Commonwealth's Special Envoy to Fiji, Justice Pius Lange, and the forthcoming visit by the Carter Centre's Democracy team. Chaudhry stated: "It's a stage managed show with the regime here wanting to be seen as making the right noises so that it can gain some legitimacy in the eyes of the international community".

Chaudhry further stated: "Mr Qarase should come out clean and explain how reconciliation is possible when the Indian community is being marginalised, stripped off its political and civil rights in this country and subjected to blatant racial discrimination."

He said: "Genuine reconciliation is only possible on the basis of equality for all citizens of Fiji. Unless they are prepared to do this, they can stop making hollow sanctimonious statements. You cant go on beating up a person and keep saying reconcile".

Qarase had demanded that there be reconciliation in Fiji.


Carter Center team to visit Fiji Issue No: 273 9 December 2000

A high level team from the Carter Center will be visiting Fiji next week to assess the progress made here towards Democracy.

The exploratory assessment mission will explore, though meetings and discussions with a cross section of Fiji's people, whether the Carter Center could play a supportive role in national reconciliation through mediation and electoral guidance. The team will meet representatives of the People's Coalition government, the regime, and community leaders.

The Carter Center is a non-profit organization headed by former US President, Jimmy Carter.


Regime's attempt to hijack Envoy's mission fails Issue No: 272 8 December 2000

The Qarase regime's attempt to hijack the Commonwealth Envoy's mission has failed.

According to insiders in the government, the Envoy rejected the regime's attempts to manage the Envoy's program. The Envoy told the regime that he will operate from an independent venue and that his staff will arrange his program of meetings. It is understood that now he is operating from the Centra Hotel and not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office.

The regime had earlier advertised under its banner the visit of the Envoy and called for individuals and organizations to call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make appointments to make submissions to the Envoy. This move drew criticism from Lautoka City Mayor, and trade union leaders.

It is understood that the attempt to manage the program of the Envoy was made by the staff in the interim regime PM's office. The rejection of the regime's attempts by the Envoy speaks strongly for the underhand approach which the PM's secretary Joji Kotobalavu attempted to spring on the Envoy.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that an all male ethnic Fijian delegation received the Envoy at Nadi and Nausori airports. One commentator stated that the purging of ethnic Indians and females from the welcoming group was intended to racialise the welcoming of the Envoy, and to potentially diminish the impact of any submission made by the strong and vocal women's movement in Fiji.


Commonwealth Envoy mission hijacked by regime, allege critics Issue No: 271 8 December 2000

The decision of the Commonwealth's special envoy to Fiji, Justice Pius Langa to operate under the banner of the interim regime has drawn strong criticism.

Justice Langa arrived in the country this week to "act as a facilitator to accelerate the restoration of democracy and to promote national unity in Fiji".

Many have questioned the mode of operation of the Envouy. Some have stated that the regime has hijacked Justice Langa's mission by taking control of his activities and itinerary.

On reading the advertisement in today's papers asking people to make appointments to make submissions to Justice Langa, Lautoka City Council's Mayor, Cr. L P Maharaj stated:

"Why is the Envoy using the regime's office and facilities? And why is the Envoy relying on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise his itinerary? Special envoys utilise their own office and facilities to do their work. Never do they rely on the generosity of one party to the conflict for their work. This can severely compromise the impartiality of the Envoy and jeopardise the mission on which he is here."

The advertisement came out under the regime's emblem. It also stated that those wishing to make submissions should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chief of Protocol to arrange for appointments.

Mayor Maharaj also questioned the need for receiving submissions from individuals and associations. He said:

"It seems the regime is trying to orchestrate submissions to Justice Langa as it has been doing with the Constitution Review Commission. The fact that the Envoy is seeking submissions from individuals shows that he is not abiding by the mandate he has - and that is to facilitate and accelerate the restoration of democracy in Fiji. There are 800,000 people in Fiji. How can he listen to them in 7 days? And how can he facilitate and accelerate the restoration of democracy in Fiji by listening to those who do not want democracy in Fiji?"

A prominent trade unionist also questioned the need to receive submissions. He stated:

"It seems it is now fashionable to receive submissions. We first had the Savua investigation asking for submissions, then we have the Constitution group, and now we have the Commonwealth Envoy. If they are so interested in submissions, why don't they just have a referendum?"

Justice Langa, who leaves Fiji next Friday, has a distinguished record in jurisprudence as well as considerable experience in politics of pluralism and national reconciliation.

END 8 December 2000

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