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Academic condemns Fiji fugitive colonel’s ‘democracy’ support for ousted chiefs

Ratu Tevita Mara

Ratu Tevita Mara ... criticised over his support for the "racially biased' Great Council of Chiefs. Photo: PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

A former regional Pacific university academic turned publisher of a Fiji blog has condemned fugitive colonel Ratu Tevita Mara’s support for the ousted Great Council of Chiefs, saying this was an unelected body that would have embedded political racism and protected chiefly political and financial interests.

Professor Crosbie Walsh, now retired from the University of the South Pacific after being foundation director of development studies at the institution, said today on his Fiji blog that the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV, or the Great Council of Chiefs), and the race-based Qarase government deposed in the 2006 military coup, had failed to acknowledge that the truly  “aggrieved” parties in the 2000 coup were the ousted Fiji Labour Party-led coalition government whose members had been kidnapped.

“Together with Indo-Fijian shop owners in Suva whose shops had been looted and ransacked; countless numbers of  Indo-Fijian farmers who were forced to flee their farms, and many others — all Indo-Fijian—who were terrorised in their homes,” wrote Walsh.

“Many have since been forced to abandon their farms, some adding  to the urban squatter population, and a sizeable number of mainly skilled Indo-Fijians have emigrated.”

Ratu Tevita is seeking permission by New Zealand immigration authorities to enter the country while lobbying for “democracy” in Fiji, ruled by a military-backed regime since the December 2006 coup by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

He was one of the military leaders of that coup but after fleeing Fiji early last month after being freed on bail on sedition charge in an alleged counter-coup plot he has becomne a bitter critic of the regime.

Ratu Tevita wants the BLV to take over from the Bainimarama government pending a new election.

Racial provisions
“He also seems to want elections conducted under  the racial provisions of the 1997 Constitution, which in turn protected chiefly political and fiscal interests, giving them the authority to appoint the President and much more. We need to take a closer look at the BLV,” wrote Walsh.

His commentary said that during the May 2000 coup by George Speight, who is now imprisoned for treason, the BLV passed several resolutions:

“Four of which I cite in full because they show the sort of institution Ratu Tevita supports:

  • “The BLV agrees that amendments be made to the 1997 Constitution and that these amendments should embrace all concerns that have been expressed by the Taukei.
  • “The BLV agrees that HE the President has sole authority to appoint the Council of Advisors and that some of these advisors be selected from the group led by George Speight.
  • “The BLV agrees that HE the President be requested to exercise his powers to pardon all those who participated in the forcible take-over of Parliament and the kidnapping of the People’s Coalition government.
  • “The BLV agrees that HE the President be requested to give full and urgent attention to the grievances as raised by the various Taukei groups during the recent protest marches with special attention given to ensuring that the position of President and Prime Minister together with other senior government positions (unspecified) shall always be held by indigenous Fijians and Rotumans.

“This is the unelected, one-race body Ratu Tevita wishes to see reconvened with all its previous powers, irrespective of their endorsement of resolutions that would have embedded institutional racism; irrespective of the fact that the BLV is heavily politicised;  speaks only for one race (and by no means for all of them, or their chiefs) and has sought on more than one occasion to undermine democratic processes.

“It should be noted that the  BLV (and the Qarase government)  failed to acknowledge that the truly  “aggrieved” parties in 2000 were not the itaukei or the Speight kidnappers, but the deposed FLP-led government whose members had been kidnapped together with Indo-Fijian shop owners in Suva whose shops had been looted and ransacked; countless numbers of  Indo-Fijian farmers who were forced to flee their farms, and many others — all Indo-Fijian—who were terrorised in their homes.

“Many have since been forced to abandon their farms, some adding  to the urban squatter population, and a sizeable number of mainly skilled Indo-Fijians have emigrated.

“The Qarase government elected in 2001 in the aftermath of the Speight coup and again in 2006 acted on some of these BLV resolutions — by seeking to exonerate those who took part in the coup (the Reconciliation, Tolerance, and Unity Bill) and promoting ethnic Fijian interests (most especially those of the bureaucratic elite,  for ordinary Fijians would have benefited little, if at all) at the expense of their fellow citizens.

“Make no misake about it, this is the Fiji to which Ratu Tevita apparently wishes to return when he talks of a ‘return to democracy’.”

Ratu Tevita and the Great Council of Chiefs: Damned by their own words

3 comments:

  1. Gone Qase, 9. June 2011, 14:16

    Mara you can travel to NZ, Australia, or where ever, but you are not welcome back to fiji…you try to preach about democracy, based on the old racist and colonial ideas.. you can take that and sholved it where it hurts, because Fiji has move on to the future…with equal rights to every men women and child, e-regardless of race, religion or class.. we are the new Fiji.. not the one that you and your corrupted chiefs still want to hold on too.

    You can sing – Isa lei gauna moni lesu talemi, but Im here to tell you the very bad news.. Time has moved on with you…”go fiji go”

     
  2. Julez, 10. June 2011, 11:08

    Ok thats wrong. Mara said he wants the 1997 Constituion restored, but wants to do away with the communal voting system which is the base and source of all the racial divide. Crosby Walsh is nothing but a bitter man.

     
  3. Thakur Ranjit Singh, 11. June 2011, 10:39

    What a pity the Ostrich Syndrome of NZ Foreign Policy is further going to isolate, Fiji, a former close ally of NZ. The fact the Key and Mc Cully are even contemplating having this “refugee’ in NZ is shocking. NZ should encourage the Pacific neighbours space in which to sort out their differences. Unlike Australia’s myopic stance, NZ should not rush to give Ului Mara a visa to give support to a hollow democratic movement that is promising to give power back to the racist sharks who have been feasting on Fiji’s brand of democracy with elections, devoid of social justice and equality. To see that developed neighbours like Australia and NZ are willing to reveal their neo-colonist attitude in interfering in local domestic squabbles show that these countries are out of tune with happenings in their neighbourhood. I have stressed on this since 2006, but nobody is prepared to pay heeds to those who understand the local issues.