Words Frank, Just Words

Monday 01/05/2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

The Australian assistance for Fiji’s COP23 presidency has been the subject of talks in Sydney between the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

The Prime Minister is in Australia for a four day visit and left soon after arriving to meet Turnbull at his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Bainimarama told Turnbull that it was critical to preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions to arrest the current rate of global warming and reduce the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as Tropical Cyclone Winston.

He says Fiji had deeply appreciated Australian assistance in the wake of the devastation caused by Winston last February.

The PM also asked Turnbull to use his influence with countries like New Zealand and Japan to fully support Fiji’s leadership of the ongoing UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November.

During his visit to Australia, the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote address at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne today.

How About some action at Home Frank….

Less than three years ago, I was given a verbal assurance by Fiji’s top mover and shaker (while his 6 bodyguards kept a cautious eye on me) that given all the tourist development proposed and existing at Vuda and in the Nadi Bay area, the government would not allow new ocean pipelines for the discharge of Residual Fuel Oil (HFO) into Vuda Point storage tanks
This type of fuel oil can be made from high sulphur Middle Eastern Crude in which case the fuel oil will have a high sulphur content which will necessitate using more expensive lubricating oil in the engines and also doing something to scrub the exhaust gases so that you don’t just put nasty oxides of sulphur up the chimneys, which will give children and adults living in the area of the power station asthma and respiration problems, over time it also corrodes everything made of steel. It has a high specific gravity and might be borderline in terms of whether or not it floats.( which means it is extremely dangerous to marine life in the event of a pipe leak or accidental discharge).
It could be made from low sulphur South East Asian Crudes – like Tapis for example. In that case it will not have such a high sulphur content but it will be waxy which means that it will be solid or semi solid at ambient temperatures (high pour point) and will certainly need heating for storage and handling.
In short it is a low cost product with disadvantages that Fiji really does not need.
However guess what???, contractors are currently installing the new pipeline to handle this product, and we are advised two new fuel storage tanks are to be built at Vuda.

Have the public, or the residents of Vuda, the investors in hotels and developments in the area been advised or consulted??. Not to my knowledge.
It is rumoured that the local land owners have been paid a pittance to obtain their approval for an additional pipeline, but were they fully informed about its proposed use.

Has our erstwhile PM, whilst campaigning against air and ocean pollution been kept advised. Has he advised his peers on the world stage that Fiji is facilitating and encouraging the use of this product, in one of Fiji’s main tourist areas.???

One thing is certain, trust has been shattered and nothing can mend it.


The Buffet Rule





Let’s see if these folks understand what people pressure is all about.


Salary of retired US Presidents .. . . . .. . . . . .. . $180,000 FOR LIFE.


Salary of House/Senate members .. . . . .. . . . $174,000 FOR LIFE. This is stupid


Salary of Speaker of the House .. . . . .. . . . . $223,500 FOR LIFE. This is really stupid


Salary of Majority / Minority Leaders . . .. . . . . $193,400 FOR LIFE. Stupid


Average Salary of a teacher . . .. . . . .. . . . . .. .$40,065


Average Salary of a deployed Soldier . . .. . . .. $38,000


Here’s where the cuts should be made!


Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:


“I could end the deficit in five minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election”.


The 26th Amendment ( granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds ) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.


Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.


Warren Buffett is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.


In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.


Congressional Reform Act of 2017


1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman / woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they’re out of office.


2. Congress (past, present, & future) participates in Social Security.


All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.


3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.


4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.


5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.


6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.


7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 3/1/17. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.


Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.


If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, then it will only take three days for most people in the U.S. to receive the message. It’s time!




If you agree, pass it on.


The PM is Correct







Money in The Bank



Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says they deposited $9.7 million lease money in the HFC bank last week.

This was highlighted by the Prime Minister during a public meeting with sugar cane growers in Ba today.

Bainimarama who is also the Chair of the TLTB says the money was deposited following their meeting last Thursday.

He says this is the money that belongs to those who are 18 years and below and are registered in Vola ni Kawa Bula.

Bainimarama says the money will be equally distributed and they will be only able to withdraw the money when they are 18 years old.


Do not be Sexist, Shake Hands !

Sometimes it’s the little things that are most telling.

In Switzerland it has long been customary for students to shake the hands of their teachers at the beginning and end of the school day. It’s a sign of solidarity and mutual respect between teacher and pupil, one that is thought to encourage the right classroom atmosphere. Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga recently felt compelled to further explain that shaking hands was part of Swiss culture and daily life.

And the reason she felt compelled to speak out about the handshake is that two Muslim brothers, aged 14 and 15, who have lived in Switzerland for several years (and thus are familiar with its mores), in the town of Therwil, near Basel, refused to shake the hands of their teacher, a woman, because, they claimed, this would violate Muslim teachings that contact with the opposite sex is allowed only with family members. At first the school authorities decided to avoid trouble, and initially granted the boys an exemption from having to shake the hand of any female teacher. But an uproar followed, as Mayor Reto Wolf explained to the BBC: “the community was unhappy with the decision taken by the school. In our culture and in our way of communication a handshake is normal and sends out respect for the other person, and this has to be brought home to the children in school.”

Therwil’s Educational Department reversed the school’s decision, explaining in a statement on May 25 that the school’s exemption was lifted because “the public interest with respect to equality between men and women and the integration of foreigners significantly outweighs the freedom of religion.” It added that a teacher has the right to demand a handshake. Furthermore, if the students refused to shake hands again “the sanctions called for by law will be applied,” which included a possible fine of up to 5,000 dollars. Continue reading

Who Can We Trust ?


“Apart from this [dangerous driving causing death] charges against PRAVEEN BALA the Attorney-General AIYAZ SAYED KHAIYUM very well knew of his illegal activities because I had personally briefed him. I had also briefed the former CP Teleni and his deputy and had showed evidence against PRAVEEN BALA and others for their involvement in 2000 Coup and the attempt to kill the Commander Bainimarama…I was stopped from directing the investigations” – former ACP Nasir Ali, on his Facebook posting, 13/6/2016

We Pensioners know we cannot trust the writer and instigator of Decree 51, so that eliminates one of them.

A Rose By Any Other Name ???

Minister for Trade

Update: 11:39AM THE title ‘Minister of Economy’ is an appointment used in Arab and Islam countries says Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca.

The Opposition Whip made these remarks while responding to the 2016-2017 National Budget debate in Parliament yesterday.

He termed the change as “unprecedented” for Fiji saying it would make the “Minister of Economy” the most powerful man in Fiji.

“A promotion of no separation of powers under the false pretence of a Democratic Fiji,” he said.

Ratu Isoa said: “This was clearly demonstrated in the removal of two Opposition MP’s through the total disregard of their own Constitution and Standing Orders. The Prime Minister must understand that such action promotes ill will or hostility between communities in Fiji.”

Parliament in Chaos

The Fiji Parliament under the rule of the person now known as King Khaiyum has become less of a debating chamber and more of a Big Stick Arena, how much worse can it possibly get…

Suspension of indigenous MP in Fiji underlines government’s stranglehold on freedom of expression

3 June 2016, 16:28 UTC

The Fijian parliament must overturn the suspension of an opposition MP for merely exercising her right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

“Parliaments can only be worthy of their name when all members can speak freely on all issues,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

“Unless this suspension is immediately reversed, the Fijian authorities are proving they are intent on silencing critical voices.”

Tupou Draunidalo, an indigenous Fijian parliamentarian and member of the National Federation Party, was suspended following a parliamentary motion on 3 June 2016 for calling a government minister “a fool” while responding to comments deriding opposition members of parliament.

Draunidalo asked the government minister if he was suggesting herself and other indigenous members of the opposition were “dumb natives”.

Under the terms of the suspension, Draunidalo will not be able to sit in parliament for the remainder of its term. She was elected to parliament in September 2014, in Fiji’s first election in eight years.

The suspension underlines the Fijian authorities’ ongoing hostility to criticism, including persistent and wide-ranging restrictions on what journalists can report.

Since 2010, Fiji’s media has been subject to undue restrictions laid out in ‘The Media Industry Development Decree,’ which includes potential imprisonment for news editors who do not uphold “the national interest.”

“If Fiji is serious about its bid for the UN Human Rights Council, they must demonstrate they are serious about upholding human rights at home,” said Rafendi Djamin.

“Letting Draunidalo take up her rightful place in parliament, with all due protections for her right to freedom of expression, will be an important first step.”



Decree 51 was and still is a Crime

Prof WN

Report commissioned by David Fowler Burness v Fiji National Provident Fund and Republic of Fiji and the Attorney General of Fiji Civil Action: HBC No 183 of 2011

Professor Wadan Narsey

School of Economics

Faculty of Business and Economics

The University of the South Pacific

1. I, WADAN LAL NARSEY of 27 Gardiner Road, Nasese, Suva state as follows:

I have been requested by David Fowler Burness to provide an economic analysis in relation to the proposal of the Fiji National Provident Fund „Board‟ to reduce the pensions of FNPF beneficiaries, including David Fowler Burness, the Applicant in the action for human rights redress pursuant to section 38 (5) of the Human Rights Decree.

I am qualified to make this report, having a number of relevant university degrees (a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Science from the University of Otago, a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of West Indies (Jamaica) and a DPhil from the University of Sussex in UK) and having analysed and written on the problems associated with the FNPF for many years.

In addition, I have the following work experience (with the details provided in my CV):

1.0 Employment and significant publications:

1972: Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics;

1973: the University of the South Pacific ( lecturer in Mathematics and, later, Economics).

I have been employed at USP since then, including three years as USP‟s Director of Development and Planning (1993 – 1996)

1996: Elected unopposed into Parliament until 1999 when I returned to USP.

From 2004- 2007 semi-retired independent consultant.

From 2007 to current- USP‟s Professor in Economics.

Over the past 38 years I have conducted numerous consultancies for regional governments, donors, regional and international organizations. In the last ten years, my consultancy and research work has focused on Fiji and Pacific development problems and applied policy. 2

Recent books published:

(i) Just Wages in Fiji (for ECREA)

(ii) Poverty in Fiji ( for Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics)

(iii) Gender issues in Employment and Unemployment in Fiji (for AusAID and FIBoS).

(iv) Numerous other publications in eminent journals and books too many to mention but can be supplied upon request.

I have extensive workshop and training experience in Fiji and the Pacific on the subjects of poverty alleviation, social justice and civic responsibility, employment and unemployment, gender, regional trade, and development issues in general.

I have written more than a hundred articles for the Fiji media, on economic, political and social issues, including many on the problems of the FNPF (see the attached CV).

2.0 Professional Credentials and Appointment to Government Boards (1999-2005)

In 1999, I was appointed by the Fiji Government (led by the Fiji Labour Party then) on the

Fiji National Provident Fund Investment Committee, on which I served for three years.

I was also appointed by the same government on the Asset Management Bank Board (tasked with recovering the “bad debts” resulting from the National Bank of Fiji disaster) on which I also served for the full three years.

In 2004 I was appointed by the SDL Government on the Board of FIRCA (Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs authority) from which I resigned on issues of principle.

I have also made presentations to numerous Fiji Government Cabinets in respect of major development projects for the SDL/FLP Multi-party Cabinet, as well as on poverty and poverty alleviation issues in Fiji (the latter with a team from the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics).

Three years ago I was also invited by Commodore Bainimarama to chair the FNPF Board, which offer I declined on principle, as I informed him that I was personally opposed to military coups removing elected governments, since my personal economic analyses of previous coups had led me to the conclusion that they did great economic, political and social harm to our country.

I have disclosed to Mr Burness the fact that I am the recipient of an FNPF pension (ie a beneficiary) but have also disclosed that I have written as an economist, on issues pertaining to FNPF since 2002, that is, prior to my receiving the pension, while contributing on the 1998 FNPF Amendment Act in Parliament. 3

3.0 Questions asked by Mr Burness

I have been asked to address a series of specific questions, as follows:

Question 1

Question 1 (a) Can FNPF pensions be legally reduced?

Answer: No they cannot be, pursuant to the FNPF Act.

Question 1(b) Can FNPF vary the pension rates differentially for high/low income pensioners?

Answer: The FNPF Act states they cannot.

Question 1(c) Does FNPF have the financial capacity to pay existing pensions at their current rates?

Answer: The provisions of the FNPF Act and the existence of the Buffer Fund, which has wrongly been denied interest payments from 1975 to the present, suggest without any doubt that they do have capacity to pay, for another 18 years or more.

Question 2:

Should there be an official inquiry into the Fiji National Provident Fund in relation to investments, related issues with respect to the Burness legal action, and the planned implementation of the review by the FNPF and on what economic basis?

In my report below, I outline the many reasons (including possible actuarial errors by the ILO and Mercer studies) why an Expert Commission of Inquiry is necessary to make certain recommendations which may then be considered by an elected Government.

4.0 FNPF issues prior to 2006 – economic analyses

FNPF has been larger, in total, than all the other private financial institutions put together. FNPF, is the biggest lender to the Fiji Government, as well as the largest player in the financial market. By purchasing majority shares in ATH, FNPF also became the biggest stakeholder in the telecommunications market, with its numerous monopolies, which have constrained the Fiji economy for decades, particularly in the last twelve years under FNPF influence.

I have published a number of articles, on how FNPF has over the decades come to its current crisis. These can be supplied upon request, as follows: 4

In “The ATHL monopoly: between the devil and the deep blue sea”, The Fiji Times, 6 March 2002, I wrote:

How FNPF’s purchase, at an extremely inflated price, of majority shares in the ATH

super monopoly condemned to a quandary where to protect its investment, it would

have to squeeze maximum dividends out of its ATH shares, and hence the maximum

from Vodaphone, Telecom Fiji and FINTEL (over which it only obtained “management rights”, not actual ownership of shares. The PS Finance then (Narube)

was also then the Chairman of the FNPF Board.

In the “The Reserve Bank and the FNPF: funny business for the guv”. The Fiji Times, 12 March 2002 I pointed out:

The massive conflicts interest for the Governor of the Reserve Bank who

was also appointed as Chairman of FNPF and he also accepted Chairmanship of

FINTEL: with the RBF forcing FNPF to bring back its investments (thereby losing

revenue and risk minimisation for FNPF), RBF’s role as regulator of Fiji’s financial

system while FNPF was a huge player in the financial market, etc. A similar conflict of

interest was also always there with the Permanent Scretary of Finance, or other

Permanent Secrataries being appointed as Chairman of the FNPF Board.

In “Communications Monopoly monsters at work” The Fiji Times, 21 May 2004, I wrote:

How the communications monopolies were doing huge damage to Fiji economically

and socially, and FNPF, to gain short-term dividends, was harming itself in the long

run by supporting monopolistic practices which squeezed the economy, reduced

economic growth and job creation and thereby squeezed its own long-term growth in

contributions from existing and new members.

In “Auditors between the devil and the deep blue sea”. The Sunday Times, 14 August 2005, I wrote:

that the implications of the Professor Michael White’s analysis of FNPF

accounts by auditors on how FNPF would appear to be far worse if proper

accounting procedures were to be followed in respect of the massive premium paid by

FNPF for ATH shares, and the likely loss of value once competition was brought into

the telecommunications industry. This was a very prophetic article, as well the

analysis by Professor White.

In “Stock markets, sharks, suckers and victims”. Islands Business, May 2006 I wrote:

While stakeholders in the Fiji Stock Exchange had been attempting to encourage the

public to convert their savings into shares in the stock market, it points to

the dangers lurking in the future, especially if governments, under pressure from

WTO or just a good change in policy, try to reduce monopolies, such as cement

producing companies, or ATH. There would be inevitable losses in share value, 5

which stock market stakeholders were not pointing out. FNPF had even been

encouraging, in my view wrongly, its members to use their FNPF money to buy

shares in ATH, the monopoly.

5.0 Post 2006

Since the events of 2006, there have been massively increased government borrowings from the FNPF, and massive losses in some large investments.

I have written the following articles, which have had direct or indirect bearing on the FNPF:

“Coup wolves circling FNPF” Fiji Sun, 14 March 2009 and The Fiji Times 13 March 2009.

Early warning: Fijian Holdings Limited, a company controlled by the Military

Government, tried to borrow more than a hundred millions from FNPF, when private

banks had refused. Thankfully, FNPF refused. More ominously, the Military

Government wants to borrow hundreds of millions, basically to sustain their increased

recurrent expenditure and military over-spending. The private banks, local or overseas,

will not oblige. Should FNPF oblige? Will FNPF oblige? If FNPF continuously gives in

to such lending pressures from Government, without economic growth, it will only

encourage inflation to rise in the long term, thereby slashing the real value of everyone’s

savings and pensions. And if ever pensioners totally lose confidence in FNPF, it may

become insolvent, with future pension rates slashed, and even existing pensions reduced

in dollar terms. The key issue is that the FNPF Board is now controlled by an unelected

Military Government’s appointees and we the FNPF contributors who own the savings do not have a single direct representative on the FNPF Board who can be accountable to us.

In “Saving FNPF and Fiji” 12 May 2010 (Pacific Scoop- online media), I wrote:

Worrying news about Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and the Reserve Bank of Fiji

(RBF). FNPF announced a $327 million “write down” in its investment value (with

some $300 million of that due to the Natadola loan). But FNPF also has some other large

exposures which are not looking good: Momi, FSC and other private sector borrowers.

And very strange that RBF has lent $22 million to the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC).

These are all extremely worrying developments for FNPF, RBF and for Fiji. Urgent need

for Public Inquiry. How did these massive losses take place? Who should be held

responsible? Might it get worse for FNPF? And how should FNPF management be

strengthened to prevent further unwise decisions?

In “Helping FNPF, despite media censorship”. Pacific Scoop. 18 January 2011, I wrote:

With a stagnating economy FNPF revenues have been severely constrained. Few new

jobs have been created and existing incomes have not grown; many loans are nonperforming; returns on FNPF investments have been declining; and large amounts of

capital values have been written off because of mismanagement. But collectively, FNPF 6

contributors and pensioners remain the largest group of spenders in the Fiji economy.

This article constructively suggested how FNPF contributors and pensioners could direct

their consumption expenditure towards FNPF investments (such as Holiday Inn,the

Intercontinental, and Tappoo City), and change FNPF policies for the better. How FNPF

management could encourage this by providing financial incentives and changing their

management structure. Called on FNPF stakeholders (FNPF itself, unions, pensioners,

civil servants etc) to conduct marketing campaigns in the aid of FNPF assets and loans


In “Your money is not fully yours”. The Fiji Times 7 May 2011, I wrote:

..while Fiji citizens technically own their personal monetary holdings, they and their

institutions (like FNPF) are not free to invest it where they wish to- they must obtain RBF

permission to invest abroad. FNPF, which used to keep moderate amounts of their funds

abroad in order to diversify their investments, have also been forced to bring them back,

wherever there have been foreign exchange reserves crises, and suffered losses as a

consequence. Whatever the FNPF loses in income, is gained by the RBF, which passes it

on to the Government of the day, to spend and enjoy. Fiji citizens, who were forced to

keep their investments in Fiji, have paid a heavy price, periodically.

In “FNPF sinks lower” Pacific Scoop. 26 May 2011, I wrote:

That the FNPF symposium being organized by the FNPF and the Miliary Regime was a

farce. The FNPF management and Board, under orders from the Bainimarama Regime,

will continue to hide all the reports that would reveal that the Bainimarama Regime is

itself directly and indirectly responsible for a large part of the mess that the FNPF is

currently in and the urgency of needed reforms; The Bainimarama Regime will continue

to milk the FNPF cow, which, with increased contributions and reduced payouts, will

give them even more of our savings to use ad misuse, however they wish. The

contributors to FNPF and the pensioners of FNPF, will have no choice in the matter.

With media censorship, they cannot even publicly and freely discuss these massive

changes to your pension fund.

Called on the contributors and pensioners of FNPF to demand the public release of all the reports by IMF, WB, ILO and recent independent consultants; demand the release of all the reports on the investigation into the investments at Natadola, Momi; demand that the majority of the FNPF Board Members must be democratically elected by the current

FNPF contributors and with pensioners having separate elected representation; demand

that the Chairman of the Board must be from these elected Members and definitely not

some foreigner as currently; demand that any decision on changes to the FNPF must be

made by the elected Board and not the current Board and Management; demand that

FNPF must be allowed to invest as much of its funds abroad as is prudently advisable and that RBF must recompense FNPF for all the lost earnings because of foreign investments brought back; demand that the FNPF management swear oaths of allegiance to the real owners of the Fund- the contributors and the pensioners, and not to an illegal Military Government. 7

In “Consultants helping the Fiji military milk the FNPF cow”.Pacific Scoop. 2 June 2011 I wrote:

While consultants were recommending significant reductions to the annuity rates for

future pensioners, serious questions may be asked, for example, whether the Mercer

calculations are correct, especially their assumption of Fiji’s future mortality patterns

following Australian patterns. While these consultants and FNPF management talked

about accountability and transparency, and the need to protect “whistleblowers”- they do not apply these same principles to themselves with their data and analysis. The

Promontory recommendations on the “Restructured Board” are a total sell-out of sound

principles of accountability of the FNPF management and Board, to the real owners of

the FNPF. These consultants’ direct involvement in the politically inspired symposium

sadly shows how supposed independent experts will compromise their professionalism

into illegal processes being stage-managed by this illegal Military Regime. These

consultants’ recommendations also make sure that they will continue to earn further

consultancies well into the future.

In “End FNPF subsidy to Fiji Governments- linking the many battles” Pacific Scoop. 20 July 2011 I wrote:

The FNPF Board and Management conveniently ignore that FNPF has been giving large

subsidies (amounting to hundreds of millions over the last forty years) to successive Fiji

governments through easily available loans, at interest rates much lower than that

charged by commercial banks. The legal battle by current pensioners against FNPF and

the Military Regime, should point to these massive FNPF subsidies to Fiji governments

as a moral justification for Fiji Government to finance any future shortfalls in the

liabilities to existing pensioners. To help FNPF’s revenues and current contributors and

pensioners, these interest rate subsidies to Government should also be ended. For that to

occur, both pensioners and contributors need to fight Battle 3, which is to have an FNPF

Board completely accountable to its members. Continue reading