Monday, June 23, 2008

State action baffles Fijians

State action baffles Fijians - 6/23/2008

The indigenous and the business communities are baffled by the interim regime’s attempts to undermine Fijian businesses and institutions, says a political party.

President of the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party Solomoni Naivalu says the interim regime is promoting anti-Fijian policies.

“It is clear that the interim administration is using its power derived from the barrel of the gun to promote the racist and anti-Fijian policies of the Fiji Labour Party,” said Mr Naivalu.

“The attempt over the last week to fiddle with the Board of Yasana Holdings and to orchestrate a hostile take-over of the Fijian Holdings with the collaboration of questionable people of other races, is only one of the many agendas of the FLP.”

He said it was interesting to note that among the people who stood to benefit from provincial developments that flowed out of the success of Fijian businesses like Fijian Holdings were the very Fijians on whose shoulders the burden and responsibilities of the military rested.

“They comprise no less than 99 per cent of its composition,” he said.

He said other FLP policies on land commissions, land use and renewal of sugar leases outside the Native Land Trust Act, had featured prominently in the FLP past manifestos since 1987.

He said the way these had been handled by the FLP had not gained favour with the Fijian people including the Great Council of Chiefs.

Brave Fijian trio take on the Taliban

Brave Fijian trio take on the Taliban

6/23/2008 - -

Three Fijians in the British Army are making a difference in Afghanistan operating in the notorious Helmand Province as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

According to the Captain Jim Crompton, the Media Officer for the Brigade currently deployed in the war-torn country, the three are making an impression on good soldiering work.

Private Josua Nasavu, 23, from Kadavu is on his first operational deployment in Afghanistan and is operating with Alpha Company.

He will be located at Forward Operating Base Delhi near Garmsir in Southern Helmand. The location is austere with no running water, solar water bag for showering and toilets that do no flush, and the waste has to be burnt every day.

Private George Magnus, 24, from Suva will be operating with Bravo Company at Lashkar Gah the Provincial Capital of Helmand Province.

This location is far better equipped that the Forward Operating Bases and has hot showers, toilets that flush, a restaurant for three prepared meals a day and lots of gym equipment.

Private Mosese Kurulala, 22, from Naitaisiri will be operating with Alpha Company in Southern Helmand.

Captain Crompton said the soldiers would be going on offensive operations as well as disputing the Taleban during their tour of duty.

"One of their main jobs will be to ensure security for the local people by dominating the local area and engaging in hearts and minds,'' he said. Private Kurulala said: "Working here is very demanding due to the heat and long hours, but our priority is always to support the local people by ensuring the security in the area is maintained. We patrol with lots of kit, kit we need to sustain ourselves for the duration of the patrol. We have to drink about 10 litres of water a day due to the temperature being nearly 50 degrees. All this water needs to be carried by the soldier as we do not drink the local water source when on patrol."

Private Magnus said: "Working with the other guys is great. We have lots of other Fijians in the Battalion so we are never on our own. The other guys have told us that it is extremely dangerous and you have to be switched on all the time and expect the unexpected. The welfare facilities are very good with telephones, internet access and BFBS television including Sky sports". Private Nasavu said: "I can really feel the temperature difference and the heat is unbearable by about 1pm. The environment is harsh and the ground is extremely difficult to cross and the dust gets everywhere, in your eyes, your kit and all over your equipment, but you soon learn to live with it. Everywhere you go you see signs of conflict all around you and the local people live a harsh life." Captain Crompton said: The soldiers will complete their tour of duty around October and return to Canterbury where the Battalion are based. There will be a number of home coming parades throughout Scotland and England around the end of the year. All the guys enjoy rugby, are keen to play at Battalion level and compete to as high a level as possible."

Of his family, Private Kurulala said: "I would like to say hello to my lovely mum and dad and all my family back home. A special hello to my young brother Tuivuna who is 13. Please make sure you study hard for your exam and work hard on the rugby park. See you all soon for Christmas."

Private Magnus said: "I would also like to say hello to my mum and all my family back home and I am looking forward to seeing you all in November. My only wish would be to have my father alive to see me join one of the greatest armies in the world.."

Private Nasavu said: "I would like to say hello to my lovely mother and all my family especially to my little boy Ovini Saro Nasavu who is one month old and my girlfriend Tarisi Yauviri who I miss and love very much. A special hello to my grandmother whom I will visit after my tour of duty."

Naitasiri, Lomaiviti Won’t Submit Names

Naitasiri, Lomaiviti Won’t Submit Names - 24/06/2008
The Roko Tui Naitasiri and Roko Tui Lomaiviti will not submit any names to the new Great Council of Chiefs after the GCC Review Taskforce Chairman Ratu Josetaki Nawalowalo requested all the 14 Roko Tui’s to submit the names before the end of this month.Roko Tui Naitasiri Ratu Jo Navakaroko said they have followed the proper procedure outlined by the interim government that the GCC members should be decided by the Bose Vanua. He said the Naitasiri Bose Vanua had met and decided that they will not submit any names and he will respect that.The same sentiment has been echoed by the Roko Tui Lomaiviti Ratu Jolame Lewanavanua who said the chiefs of Lomaiviti will not submit any names.Meanwhile, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo said if the Roko Tui’s do not submit any names, there is a plan B in place to choose who should be the members of the new look GCC.

Unique farewell for Tui Levuka

Unique farewell for chief
UNAISI RATUBALAVU - Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Tui Vagadaci, Ratu Isoa Saqacala, holding an iri (fan) to perform his traditonal role of chasing away bad spirits from the late Tui Levuka Ratu Kolinio Rokotuinaceva
IT was one of the most unique chiefly funerals ever witnessed on Ovalau after his people, family and friends bid farewell to the late Tui Levuka, Ratu Kolinio Rokotunaceva, yesterday.
After the a requiem service at the Levuka-Vaka-Viti Methodist Church, three prominent chiefs led the two-mile walk from the Levuka-Vaka-Viti Church to Vuma Village where Ratu Kolinio was finally buried at the tomb at Ucuikoroisutu.
Bau chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Tui Namosi Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Ratu Meli Vesikula from Verata, Tailevu, and other chiefs from several provinces braved the burning sun to bid farewell to Ratu Kolinio.
Students of Delana Methodist High, Levuka Public and St John's College sat on the roadside, and even the people of the island Part-Europeans and Fiji-Indians included sat with their heads bowed as warriors of the Tui Levuka carried Ratu Kolinio's casket on a specially built platform.
Tui Vagadaci Ratu Isoa Saqacala, in his traditional attire, was seen fanning away bad spirits' about 50 metres from the casket, as he led the walk from the church to Vuma Village.
At the church service, the chiefs who spoke all said that Ratu Kolinio was one chief who was humble and full of respect for all the people whom he lived with.
His only daughter, Adi Siteri Waqanivalunaweni Rayawa, dressed in traditional attire was followed by the women of Noco, Rewa, could not hold back her tears as she went to her chiefly home of Vunisinu to farewell her Ratu before the church service.
Then it was Ratu Kolinio's grandchildren, 26 of them who came to say good-bye to their grandfather for the last time.
Reverend Manasa Lasaro, who presided over the church service, said Ratu Kolinio was a man of honour and respect.
About 2000 people packed the Levuka-Vaka-Viti Church and later Vuma Village, young and old, all of whom came to say good-bye to Ratu Kolinio.

Tradition and choices

Tradition and choices
SWANI MAHARAJ - Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A traditional yaqona ceremony ... tradition applies to a very wide range of practices the time honoured ways and observances of a community
Over the past few days some so-called community leaders have gone into a frenzy to prove that I have stated that Fijians must get rid of their culture in order to succeed in business.
Firstly, this is impossible there is no such thing as a community without culture. Culture' is a very wide term, applying to the entire way of living of a people and including its arts and crafts, values, belief systems, artifacts, etc. Tradition' applies to a very wide range of practices the time honoured ways and observances of a community.
Secondly, I am in no position to destroy' Fijian culture, I have no desire to do so, nor anything to gain from it.
While every human community treasures its culture, culture is not something that is inflexible, static and unchanging. In fact it is quite the opposite - every culture changes in order for the whole community to adapt to changing circumstances so that the community:
survives physically, and
is able to retain its core values.
We live in a world where fast paced technological innovations demands immediate adaptation and change at the personal and social levels. In its endeavour to survive, every community discards customs, practices and beliefs that become meaningless and onerous. If it doesn't, the community cannot cope or survive.
Let me give an example from Indian culture. In the past, the woman's dharma was to look after her family, learn the appropriate arts of housekeeping, etc., and learn religious/ traditional values and observances for culture transmission. Girls never stepped out of the house or spent a night anywhere. The man's sacred duty was to provide and protect his joint family.
As the world changed, we started sending our girls to school, then to university- while parents worried about their safety far away from parental care. When needed, women started earning, complementing the man's income. Once, a large family was a blessing, but now we choose smaller families in order to provide essentials such as education, house and health care.
Not everyone succeeds in making the correct choices at the correct time for example even today there are people who, desiring a male child, have numerous daughters whom they may not be able to feed, clothe or educate.
These choices are always painful and traumatic but they have to be made. Traditions and ways once held sacred and beautiful must be shed to cope with the demands of a harsher reality.
I know a Brahmin who worked as a sweeper in town, while being a part-time pundit. Traditionally they are keepers of sacred knowledge and the thinkers of society, who do not take up menial or physical tasks. This may have been a painful option but it was one he had to make given the changing world around him.
There is a misconception that every Indian is rich statistics prove otherwise. Nor is every Indian a successful businessman.
Also, the Indian business success stories are founded on generations of toil, perseverance, tremendous self-denial and 20 hour work days, seven day weeks for years on end.
Culture and business
These choices have also been made by the Fijian people their culture today is not what it was at the time of contact.
Those who have jumped at my throat calling me egoistical, insensitive, etc., actually expose their own ignorance since many Fijian traditional practices have been abandoned.
These uptight critics who twist my words and ignore my constructive suggestion in order to make out that I am insensitive to Fijian culture are nothing but mischief makers. They are engaged in an unoriginal attempt to perpetuate the propaganda that Indians are insensitive, ruthless and self-seeking.
They have taken up this selective and blinkered bias to appear' as protectors of Fijian culture. To cover up for the fact that they are not doing their fair and enlightened share to help their own community to cross the bridge from a traditional subsistence economy to this fast paced modern one.
The report clearly quoted me as saying, They have a traditional thinking of giving and it will be difficult for them to refrain from this tradition and I believe that business is for those who have the conviction and the drive to make it in the business world'.
What sane individual would interpret these words as a demand to abandon Fijian culture? Or as arrogant and egoistical? In a non-judgmental manner, I am merely stating a fact that Fijians have a certain culture of sharing and compliance to requests.
The same report carries Ratu Joni's comment which states the same fact while Fijians wished to participate in the commercial world, they are simply reluctant to abandon the costly rituals and obligations that are such a part of the Fijian social life' (Fiji Sun, 17.6.08, pg 2).
I wonder why those who jumped at my throat did not say a word about Ratu Joni's comment.
One wonders at this warped response, especially when Ms Samisoni herself admits that some of our habits are without doubt, completely antithetical to sound business practice'.
Culture and conflict
Business has not been a part of Fijian culture as it has been of Indian culture. Indians have the oldest tradition of accounting and probably the world's oldest economics text the Arthashastra'.
I had given an example about the types of challenges that Fijians may face in business because of their collectivist' culture as Ms Samisoni calls it. But the news report omitted it, so I will give it now.
I had said that if one had a thousand dollars at the end of the day one would know that only so much is the profit and the rest must go back into costs. Now if a request was made for $500, the business person would have to refuse, which is not very acceptable in Fijian culture. This creates a dilemma cultural expectation versus business necessity.
Or take the case of a farmer: say it is vital for him to immediately attend to his crop when he is informed that there is some traditional obligation to which he will need to commit the next few days. Again the dilemma should he refuse? Dare he refuse? Should he risk losing his crop and the months of labour, and the profit which he desperately needs in order to pay his children's fees, buy food, medicines, books etc?
Guidance by Fijians
Ms Samisoni refers to the Japanese economic miracle who doesn't know that story? But why has she omitted the base upon which this was achieved their phenomenal work ethos, dedication to the organisation, amazing discipline and zealous national pride?
Ms Samisoni is a wonderful success story herself. She and others like her would be the best people to mentor Fijians venturing into business, as well as in developing the Fijian equivalent of the Japanese Kaizen' so that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water.
Also, not every Indian is a successful business person kismet, chance and personal abilities are variables beyond anyone's control.
Being a shrewd business person does not automatically mean one is heartless. The numerous successful business people in Fiji, Indians and non-Indians, are some of our finest citizens who are the most generous donors for any worthy cause.
The chamber has undertaken the mentoring role and an award was given to the company that was most successful in mentoring Fijians in business.
But the Indian business person cannot dictate to the Fijians what cultural changes they must make in order to succeed. This can either come from the individual himself/herself or from the guidance of successful Fijian business people.
In this regard the hysterical, shallow and prejudiced comments that have appeared in the dailies recently have simply whipped up a maudlin fear of culture loss and anti-Indian sentiment. They have not contributed anything positive. In fact they have probably frightened many who may be thinking of stepping into uncharted waters.
This country belongs to all of us and Fijians must be equipped to take the reins of its economy in their own hands.
This cannot come from abusing Indians but from some honest soul-searching and wise and constructive decision making.
These are the personal views of the writer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Naitasiri Province questions GCC team

Naitasiri Province questions GCC team - 6/18/2008

A province has questioned the purpose of consultation visits by the Great Council of Chiefs taskforce to provincial council meetings.
Naitasiri Provincial Council chairman Ilaitia Tuisese yesterday said if the interim government was intent on choosing members of the new-look GCC, then it was pointless sending out the taskforce team to the provinces.

He was reacting to comments made by taskforce chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo that the interim Fijian Affairs minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama would choose members of the GCC if provincial councils failed to nominated council members.

Mr Tuisese said the province expressed its opinion and views on the changes made to the GCC and agreed that the members of the old GCC body remain.

“This is the people’s frank view and opinion of the matter and it would be respected,” he said. He said moves by the interim government to impose its choice on the people were unreasonable.

“Why come and ask us for our view in the first place, when eventually they are going to have their way?” he said of Ratu Josateki’s announcement.

“We can’t say much because this is the province’s stand,’’ he said.

“We have not come up with any names for the new GCC.”

Tui Namosi maintains stand on legislation

Chief maintains stand on legislation - 6/18/2008

Namosi high chief, Turaga na Tui Namosi, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua yesterday reaffirmed Namosi’s stand against the new Great Council of Chiefs legislation.

The high chief also raised his concern on a media report about a meeting between Bulou Silivia Matanitobua and interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and later a meeting to be held at Veivatuloa village to choose the three chiefs to represent the province in the new GCC.

“I must admit we had a meeting at Veivatuloa yesterday and Bulou Silivia was there but we met to discuss our trip to Levuka to offer our last respects to the late Tui Levuka, Ratu Kolinio Rokotuinaceva,” the Namosi high chief said.

“Bulou Silivia never raised the matter up.”

Ratu Suliano said the people of Namosi had made a decision and would not change.

He said the people of Namosi were not happy with the amended legislation as it would not allow their high chief to be a member of the new GCC.

In an earlier interview Ratu Suliano said: “In my province, there is only one Turaga i Taukei and that is the Tui Namosi. There is no one else. If I do not go in, where will they get the three members from?”

The people of Namosi only supported the old GCC as it was constitutional, he said.

He said the media report on Bulou Silivia meeting with the PM and the meeting at Veivatuloa was one-sided because he was not contacted to make a comment.

Military warns Qarase on FHL - 6/18/2008

The military warned politicians not to turn the management changes at Fijian Holdings Limited into a racial issue.

Ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase claimed the military was behind the mass resignation of managers and directors of the investment company to put their own people in place.

Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni advised Mr Qarase to stop making any more comments on the company.

“Mr Qarase has in the past played on the emotions of the Fijian people and is now doing exactly the same thing,” he said.

“It would be best for Mr Qarase to await the outcome of the investigations on Fijian Holdings before he makes any further comments.”

In a surprise move last week, some directors of the company resigned along with managing director Sitiven Weleilakeba and chairman Joe Mar.

Mr Qarase said he was informed the group was pressured to resign by the military leadership.

New company managing director Sereana Qoro said the changes were made in accordance with related operating regulations..

“In accordance with Article 78 (of the company’s memorandum and articles of association) the (interim) Minister of Fijian Affairs has the right to appoint six out of the nine directors on the board as representatives for B-class shareholders,” she said. She reassured shareholders that it was business as usual for the company.

Provincial councils and districts make up most of the members, which fall under the Class B shareholders category.

The Kadavu Provincial Council, which holds 43.501 shares, is not sure on where it stands in the company.

Chairman Ratu Varani Raiyawa said he is yet to be briefed on the province’s shares with the company.

Except for Cakaudrove and Bua all other provinces are shareholders with the Fijian investment company.

On Tuesday, the South Pacific Stock Exchange announced the suspension of the company from trading.

However, at the open of trading yesterday SPSE chief executive Jinita Prasad announced that FHL was back on the board and the suspension was lifted.

She said they made the decision after the company explained its case and proved that it worked within the requirements of its articles of association.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fijians should ‘refrain from traditional obligation’

Fijians should ‘refrain from traditional obligation’ - 6/16/2008

Fijians have to first get away from traditional thinking for them to become successful in the commercial sector, Fiji Chamber of Commerce president Swani K Maharaj.

Mr Maharaj was responding to calls made by Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi that business community should take the responsibility of mentoring Fijians in a more viable and organised manner to be successful in business.

“This idea will work but Fijians will have to make an effort themselves,” he said.

“They need to get away from traditional thinking only then, they will be able to succeed in the business world.” Mr Maharaj said in business, one has to be shrewd.

“It is difficult for Fijians to get into business because of their traditional obligations,” said Mr Maharaj.

“They have a traditional thinking of giving and it will be difficult for them to refrain from this tradition and I believe, business is only for those who have the conviction and the drive to make into the business world.”

Mr Maharaj suggested for Fijians to direct their attention into commercial farming.

“They have land and this is one area of business that Fijians will succeed in,” he said.

“They should plant their land and sell to bigger companies.

“If they do this, they will continue to have cash.”

Ratu Joni earlier said while Fijians wished to participate in the commercial world, they are simply reluctant to abandon the costly rituals and obligations that are such a part of the Fijian social life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cakaudrove Province Won’t Send Names

Cakaudrove Province Won’t Send Names - 12/06/2008
The province of Cakaudrove will not be sending the three names of the chiefs to represent the province in the Great Council of Chiefs meeting in August.Tui Cakau's Spokesperson Ratu Jekesoni Yavalanavanua confirmed they will not change their stance as discussed in the Bose Vanua last month in Somosomo. They will await the court's decision on the challenges by the ousted GCC members against the interim government, before they move forward.During the Bose Vanua, the chiefs and the province disregarded the new GCC promulgation and the Peoples Charter process.

Chief faces eviction

Chief faces eviction - FREDERICA ELBOURNE - Thursday, June 12, 2008
Ratu Loco Qiolevu of the Matanikutu clan holds the original Native Land Commission document and the eviction letter at his home in Tamavua.
A CLAIMANT of the Qaranivalu title has warned half of Suva to prepare for eviction if he is removed from land he claims is his.
Ratu Loco Qiolevu lives at the top of Cunningham junction and yesterday claimed he was being evicted from his land by a disgruntled faction of his tribe.
"I am the head of this tribe, the Matanikutu, and they dare ask me to leave?" he asked.
An eviction letter signed by lawyer Akuila Naco served to him this week gave him 21 days to vacate. If he does not go, he would be charged with trespassing.
Ratu Loco claims he took a sworn oath during an inquiry by the Native Lands Commission in April 1997 where he became the legitimate holder of the title Turaga na Qaranivalu which is bestowed on Naitasiri's paramount chief.
"There was an objection period of 90 days after I took the sworn oath but no one objected so I settled here. But 11 years later, there is objection. In my ancestral lineage, I come from the head of the tribe of the Qaranivalu.
"I am a direct descendent. I am the turaga i taukei, turaga ni matanikutu in the district of Naitasiri. I am the paramount chief of this place. If anyone wants to evict me, they have to prepare to move themselves because I am the boss. This is my land. If I move, they move too. All the embassies in Suva should prepare for eviction if my detractors are prepared to evict me. All the businesses, Tamavua hospital, radio telephone satellite, all will go when I go because I gave them this land."
Ratu Loco said those bent on evicting him were jealous of him.
"These people have their own traditional duty. One tribe mixes my grog, another cuts firewood and so forth. They don't know what they're doing and don't know who they're dealing with. They don't even know who they are. They need to study themselves and my background to understand where I come from."
Ratu Loco said he raised his concern with the interim Prime Minister's office yesterday and was assured the matter would be dealt with.
A spokesman for PM's office said Ratu Loco met with them.
Meanwhile, Mr Naco said last night the NLC had affirmed and installed Ratu Inoke Takiveikata as the Qaranivalu.
NLC chairman Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua said Ratu Loco was residing on land which belonged to Kalabo.
"Ratu Loco's land is in Navuso."
Ratu Viliame said he would comment further on the matter today

Bau prepares home for new Vunivalu

Bau prepares home for new Vunivalu - 11 JUN 2008
Islanders on Bau are busy maintaining a historical building ahead of the installation of the Vunivalu - the paramount chief of Kubuna confederacy.‘Vunirara’ was used to accommodate Prince Charles in 1970 when Fiji gained independence.The building is expected to be the residence of the new Vunivalu.Former Vice President Ratu Jope Seniloli told Fijilive that before all the historical buildings on the island was repaired and maintained by government but it has stopped.When asked whether the Government is providing money for the maintenance, he said in Hindi “Kuch nai, khali pathar” meaning “nothing, only stones”.Ratu Jope said that the maintenance is done by the Bau people, not the Government.The title of Tui Kaba was once held by Ratu Seru Cakobau, the ‘King of Fiji’ who ceded the country to Great Britain in 1874 and is considered by many as Fiji’s highest-ranking traditional chief.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New GCC won’t get our mandate: Kepa

New GCC won’t get our mandate: Kepa
Rewa high chief Ro Teimumu Kepa is adamant that the new-look Great Council of Chiefs proposed by the interim Government will not get the mandate of the chiefs.The GCC taskforce, which is consulting the 14 provinces and Rotuma have so far only got the support of the Macuata Provincial Council.Kepa suggests that the high chiefs are unhappy about the tactics employed by the interim Government.“It’s inevitable that the taskforce and the interim Government are trying to force these changes and sweet talk us through,” she said.“Burebasaga has made it clear that we will not be part of this new changes to the GCC and if they want our support then reinstate those who were in the council before.“By moulding and bringing in new changes to the council will not change the way we feel.”Kepa and other high chiefs who were members of the former GCC prior to its suspension last year will not qualify to sit in the reconstituted GCC.The interim Government has set new rules to prevent the politicisation of the august body.However, Kepa said the taskforce will not succeed in their mission to reconvene the GCC if chiefs are not automatically reinstalled in the council.Taskforce chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo maintains that the council will sit in two months time even if it does not have the support of the disgruntled chiefs.“It is evident that some chiefs are trying to sabotage this meeting by influencing others not to join but let me make it clear that this meeting will go on.”Ratu Josateki said some chiefs have declared their interest in joining the council.

Plans Underway To Install Vunivalu

Plans Underway To Install Vunivalu - 09/06/2008
Plans to install the new Vunivalu are now underway.Discussions are currently underway among members of the Tokatoka Vunivalu and Mataqali Tui Kaba and this will follow the normal tradition to appoint the Vunivalu, who is the paramount chief of the Kubuna confederacy.Speaking to Fijivillage from Bau island, the Tunitoga who is the Vunivalu's traditional spokesman, Ratu Veiwili Komaitai said two meetings have already been held with the members of the tokatoka. He said they had cordial discussions on the matter and he is expecting to call another meeting soon.The five likely contenders for the title are Ratu George Kadavulevu, Ratu Joji Cakobau, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau and Interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau's great grandmother was Ratu Seru Cakobau's sister. Ratu Seru was the self proclaimed King of Fiji and he ceded Fiji to Great Britain in 1874.The Tunitoga, Ratu Veiwili Komaitai said according to the tradition only males have been appointed to the chiefly position and this could mean that Adi Samanunu may be excluded from holding the title. According to tradition, members of the mataqali Tui Kaba decide among themselves who should be installed as the Vunivalu before the Roko Tui Bau traditionally installs the Vunivalu. The Roko Tui Bau Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi currently holds the kingmakers title.The Vunivalu title has been vacant for more than 20 years. The title was last held by the late Vunivalu and former Governor General Ratu Sir George Kadavulevu Cakobau who passed away in 1989.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Namosi Province seeks rental solution

Province seeks rental solution - 6/7/2008

The company responsible for the affairs of a provincial house in Suva hopes Government finds a resolution soon regarding the rental payment for the house.

The Namosi Provincial Development Company wants an amicable solution found soon on the rental agreement regarding the Namosi House.

Company chairman Ratu Kiniviliame Taukeinikoro said the situation was complicated

“Kadavu House had signed a tenancy agreement with the interim Government which meant that rent had to come in because there was a contract, even though there was no tenant” he said.

“With the Namosi House, we are operating on a Memorandum of Understanding between the council and the Government, but unfortunately, the interim Government refuses to acknowledge that.”

He said there would be a meeting with government officials on Wednesday and he hoped a solution would be found.

Ratu Kiniviliame said the initial agreement with the interim Government was to have them pay $25 per foot of space, but Government has requested that $25 be reduced to $24, something the Namosi Provincial Development Company can’t accommodate.

“We have to make repayments to our lender and our repayment is in accordance with the $25 per foot,” he said.

“The bottom line is, something needs to be done about the situation or we just might lose the building.”

Another provincial house had initially gone through the same problem but that has been solved after it chose to end its agreement with its tenants.

The interim Government paid close to $1million to Kadavu Holdings Limited in order to end its tenancy agreement over Kadavu House on Victoria Parade.

A clause in the contract says that if the tenant wanted to end the agreement it would have to pay six months’ rent from January to June this year.

Commission to settle Bau chief title

Commission to settle Bau chief title - 07 JUN 2008
Bau island chiefs are expected to meet the Native Land Commission next week to discuss matters surrounding the installation of their high chief. The title of Tui Kaba was once held by Ratu Seru Cakobau, the ‘King of Fiji’ who ceded the country to Great Britain in 1874, and is considered by many as Fiji’s highest-ranking traditional chief. Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, one of the contenders for the title confirmed they will meet with the commission next week. He did not specify the reasons for the meet but said that the NLC will play an integral part in accommodating his Kubuna confederacy before and during the installation. The commission, established in 1880, has the power to settle disputes about the head of a matagali (clan). Ratu Epenisa also said that three other contenders, Ratu George Kadavulevu, Adi Samanunu Cakobau, and Ratu Epeli Nailatikau are still very much in the race for the title. “Talks are still ongoing but nothing has been decided yet until we meet the tribunal,” he said.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bole to retrieve Deed of Cession

Bole to retrieve Deed of Cession
Friday, June 06, 2008 -
THE official Fijian interpretation of the Deed of Cession would be handed over to the interim National Heritage Minister Filipe Bole in Levuka today.
Mr Bole left for Levuka with a government delegation yesterday afternoon.
A statement issued by the Department of Information yesterday said the document would be brought back to Suva for tests and possible restorative works at the National Archives of Fiji.
The document was discovered by chance when the government archivist heard of the presence of a so called "Fijian Deed of Cession" during a meeting with other heritage custodians and he made inquiries.
The archivist had visited Levuka and confirmed that the document was the authentic document.
The statement said the authenticity of the document was later confirmed by sighting of the other original held at the National Archives in the United Kingdom.
Mr Bole will make a traditional presentation to the Tui Levuka before proceeding to Nasova, the site of the signing of the Deed of Cession for the handing-over ceremony by the Tui Levuka.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Parliament needs to approve 50-year lease: Qarase

Parliament needs to approve 50-year lease: Qarase


The legality of granting agricultural leases of 50 years is doubtful if not approved by Parliament, says ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.
He was reacting to a statement by the interim Sugar Minister Mahendra Chaudhry that the Native Land Trust Board was considering extending the term for agricultural leases to 50 years.

“Agricultural leases are essentially governed by the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act,’’ he said .

“ ALTA is entrenched legislation and provides for agricultural leases of 30 years only. Sp extending the lease period to 50 years will require an amendment to ALTA through a specific majority in parliament.”

He said Mr Chaudhry had continued to ignore the interests of landowners when it came to the land issue.

He said ALTA provided for agricultural land rent of up to 6 per cent of the Unimproved Capital Value of land.

He said this land rent was one of the lowest in the world and he questioned Mr Chaudhry’s intention of opposing an increase to 10 per cent of UCV.

Mr Qarase said Mr Chaudhry wanted to continue to marginalise landowners while favouring the tenant community which comprised his political power base.

“Mr Chaudhry may argue that government has agreed to subsidise land rent by 4 per cent of the UCV of land, thus increasing rent income to 10 per cent of the UCV land,” said Mr Qarase.

“This is fine but it is only a temporary solution. The long term solution would be to amend ALTA to increase rent to 10 per cent of UCV.”

Mr Qarase said the public should know that in 2005, the Soqosoqo Duvata ni Lewenivanua government had introduced an ALTA Amendment Bill to extend agricultural lease terms to not less than 50 years and increase rent to 10 per cent of UCV.

This Bill was strongly opposed by Mr Chaudhry and his Fiji Labour Party.

“Given his latest assurances to canefarmers in the North, he has already started his campaign for the next general elections at the expense of taxpayers,’’ he said.

“Apart from this promise of 50-year leases he has also promised massive government assistance to cane farmers. In doing so Mr Chaudhry has marginalised the interest of landowners.”

Stop relying on State’s fund: Tui Namosi

Stop relying on State’s fund: Chief


A chief has called on his people to stop relying on the interim government’s funds for development.
Speaking at the Namosi Provincial Council meeting yesterday Tui Namosi Ratu Suliano Matanitobua said that it better for the people to utilise their resources.

He pointed out that they have many resources to utilise and people should stop asking the interim government for money.

Ratu Suliano is a former government minister in the ousted SDL government.

At the Bose vanua, last month Namosi chiefs had decided not to support the new changes in the GCC promulgation 2008 and the proposed People’s Charter for Change, Progress, Peace and Prosperity.

lls Not Racist: Qarase

Bills Not Racist: Qarase -
Publish date/time: 04/06/2008
Ousted prime minister and leader of the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party Laisenia Qarase stressed that policies like the Qoliqoli and Indigenous Claims Tribunal bills are not racist and he still aims to implement them when they come back into power.

Qarase said the proposed legislations are necessary for the protection of the resources of the indigenous Fijians and there is nothing racist about it.

Although the military has stressed that the bills dealing with the Qoliqoli and Indigenous Claims Tribunal were racist policies, Qarase said there is nothing wrong with the proposed legislations.

Qarase is hoping the SDL will return to power as he has a passion for the protection of indigenous Fijian rights and property and he has unfinished business to complete. However, he stressed that the protection of indigenous Fijian rights does not mean that the other communities will be ignored as their rights will also be protected.

Vunivalu title talks ‘progress smoothly’

Vunivalu title talks ‘progress smoothly’
03 JUN 2008

Talks to determine the rightful holder of the chiefly Vunivalu of Bau title are progressing smoothly between the chiefly families of Kubuna, Fijilive has established.

One of Bau’s chiefs, Ratu Tu’uakitau Cokanauto told Fijilive that talks were continuing with no exact timeframe set on when to wrap up talks with an expected concrete outcome.

“The chiefly families of Kubuna have been meeting and these talks have been ongoing. It’s going smoothly,” Ratu Tu’uakitau said.

“And it is progressing though we do not expect any decision to be made so soon,” he added.

Fijilive had earlier established that two meetings had taken place on Fiji’s chiefly island last month.

Suva lawyer Savenaca Komaisavai, who has close links to Bau, confirmed to this news web portal that the contenders for the title are: Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau (Fiji’s former High Commissioner to Malaysia), her younger brother Ratu George Kadavulevu Cakobau, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and interim Foreign Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

Ratu Tu’uakitau said the families wanted to meet and hold thorough and consultative meetings to discuss issues on the title of the Vunivalu of Bau, a title that had been vacant since 1989 after the death of the last Vunivalu, Fiji’s first local Governor General Ratu Sir George Cakobau.

He said the meeting would not involve the Tailevu Provincial Council reasoning: “It is none of their business”.

It is understood that recent moves to fill the post have been prompted by the policy of the current administration to only include traditionally installed chiefs in the Great Council of Chiefs.

The Native Land Commission may have to adjudicate on the matter if the Bau chiefs do not agree on a name.

One of the contenders to the title, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, told Fijilive that he would meeting officials from the NLC today.