back to news archives for 18-31 August, 2000
USP Journalism Programme
CLOSED POLICE CHIEF INQUIRY BRANDED 'SHOCKING'

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SUVA: An inquiry into the conduct of Fiji's Police Commissioner Isikia
Savua during the May insurrection has opened with the Daily Post
newspaper today condemning it as "shocking decision" to bar the news
media.
Opening the disciplinary inquiry yesterday, Chief Justice Sir Timoci
Tuivaga said people who could help verify allegations of misconduct
against the police chief had until September 12 to testify.
Witnesses could remain anonymous if they feared reprisal or
victimisation, he said.
The public was excluded from the hearings after the chief justice's
opening address.
But the deposed elected coalition government expressed concerns over the
independence of the judiciary over court moves involving constitutional
legal challenges.
Calling in an editorial for an open inquiry, the Daily Post said:
"What's good for the geese is also good for the gander.
"Similarly, what's good for coup maker George Speight, must also be good
for Police Commissioner Isikia Savua."
It was questionable for the chief justice not to allow the news media to
be present for testimony, the paper said.
"It is indeed a shocking decision. Sir Timoci agues that the tribunal is
essentially a disciplinary inquiry which is of immediate interest and
concern only to Savua and his employing authority, the Public Service
Commission.
"[This inquiry] is not purely incidental as Sir Timoci leads us to
believe.
"It must be remembered that the inquiry has come about as a direct
result of a public outcry. It has come about because members of the
public began questioning the role Commissioner Savua played during the
events of May 19 and its aftermath.
"What is there to hide? Do we have two sets of rules applicable in our
effort to bring about transparency - one for the elite in society and
one for people like George Speight and others who now suffer the
indignity of open court...
"Let's thrash it out in the open. Too many people have suffered and are
carrying the scars of May 19. If we believe in open government, this is
our chance.
"Give justice a chance, after all the truth will always prevail."
Meanwhile, the Fiji Labour Party has expressed concern over reports that
the chief justice had sought to transfer a case from Lautoka to Suva.
Former deputy Prime Minister Dr Tupeni Baba said the interferences
within the judicial system were serious.
"There may be interferences occurring on our writs where we are
challenging the legality of our dismissal," he said.
Dr Baba said the deposed government's cases against their economic and
political overthrow were filed in the Lautoka High Court.
"We will be keeping a close eye on things. The chief justice's exercise
is questioning and shocking," Dr Baba said.
"The goings on in the High Court are deeply worrying," said the Fiji
Times in an editorial.
"Why the chief justice should seek to instruct a High Court judge to
step aside in favour of another judge remains something of a mystery.
"Nevertheless, it smacks of judge shopping."
+++

Title -- 2938 FIJI: Closed police chief inquiry branded 'shocking'
Date -- 30 August 2000
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pasifik Nius
Source -- PN/Daily Post/Fiji Times, 30/8/00
Copyright -- PN
Status -- Unabridged
-------------------

FIJI - CHEAP HOLIDAY: PACNEWS PACNEWS 3: Wed 30 Aug 2000 3.50

Fiji offers cheap holiday packages to lure tourists

30 AUGUST 2000 SUVA (Pacnews) - Fiji's national carrier Air Pacific is leading the drive to lure tourists back into the island nation suffering from the economic impact of the forceful ousting of its government in May. Air Pacific is offering airfares as low as FJ$499 (US$227) return for would-be tourists from New Zealand and Australia, a statement from the Fiji Visitors Bureau (FVB) said. FVB said other resort and hotel operators in Fiji are complementing the reduced airfares by offering discount room rates.

"Most of the major resorts and hotels have slashed their room rates by at least 30 per cent plus many are also offering additional 'value added products' such as resort credit for meals and beverages," the FVB statement said.

"Air Pacific is offering first-in-first-served return airfares with those missing out on the $499 airfare still getting a very good deal at $599(US$272) return. These special airfares have been matched by Air New Zealand and Ansett Australia.

" Fiji's tourism bureau said the low airfares can be purchased from 27th August to 30th September and travel must be completed by 15th December 2000. There is no surcharge for school holidays and the special travel packages are based on a minimum of a five-day stay with a maximum of 21 days.

The launch of the campaign follows New Zealand and Australia joining Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom in changing their travel advisories on Fiji. These countries had previously warned their citizens against travel to Fiji following the May 19 coup.

FVB said the special travel to Fiji campaign is being advertised throughout Australia and New Zealand with a budget of about FJ$5 million (US$2.27m). ... PNS (ENDS)

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