Monthly Archives: November 2009

International news headlines..


Anger over perceived delays in the processing of a medical visa for the sick child of a Fijian judge prompted the expulsion from Suva of acting New Zealand deputy High Commissioner Todd Cleaver.

“The New Zealand government will now consider the appropriate steps to take in response to today’s expulsion, and also assess the impact of this action on the already depleted resources in our Suva High Commission.”

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key said he was in a state dinner with Prince Edward this evening, and was not sure if he had been briefed on the expulsion.

Wellington – Fiji’s military ruler, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, ordered senior diplomats from New Zealand and Australia out of the country Tuesday, accusing them of waging a negative campaign against his government, which seized power in a bloodless coup nearly three years ago. Bainimarama, who said his Pacific island neighbours were “engaged in a dishonest and untruthful strategy to undermine our judiciary, our independent institutions and our economy,” also ordered his country’s high commissioner in Canberra home.

In a televised address, Bainimarama said the senior diplomats of New Zealand and Australia were “refusing to engage with government and engaging only with those Fijians who have a political interest in holding Fiji back.”

Bainimarama said a judge on Fiji’s High Court, Anjala Wati, had been “harassed and humiliated by the New Zealand High Commission in Fiji when she applied for a visa on medical grounds to take her baby son to New Zealand.”

But the New Zealand High Commission in Suva issued its own statement, saying an application for a visa on medical grounds by Wati was not rejected.

FIJI’S strongman, Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, has expelled Australian high commissioner James Batley and his New Zealand counterpart in the latest diplomatic standoff.

Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Batley and New Zealand’s envoy Todd Cleaver would be given 24 hours to leave the country and that he would recall Fiji’s top diplomats in Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Batley is understood to be outside the country and is not expected to return to Suva, as planned, later this week.

Commodore Bainimarama said the expulsion order was the result of recent decisions taken by the Australian and New Zealand governments concerning Fiji, which he believed amounted to interference in the country’s internal affairs.

He said yesterday that Australia and New Zealand had engaged in dishonest and untruthful strategies to undermine Fiji’s judiciary and weaken the economy.

The expulsions come soon after Fiji Chief Justice Anthony Gates, who holds dual Australian and British citizenship, complained bitterly about separate incidents involving travel bans on Fiji’s judges.

When outlining the two incidents on Sunday, Justice Gates accused Australia of interfering in the judiciary of a Commonwealth country because Australian consular officials had counselled the Sri Lankans against working in Fiji.

Australian officials had earlier made a low-key approach to Sri Lanka’s judicial authorities informing them that the integrity and independence of the Fiji bench was in doubt.

Justice Gates accused New Zealand of “begrudgingly” granting a visa to the daughter of a Fiji judge who was suffering “full retinal detachment”.



New Zealand 4th time lucky – Kicked out AGAIN!!!

It is the first time Australia’s top diplomat has been shown the door in Fiji, although it is the fourth time New Zealand’s top-ranking official has been expelled.

“We’re gravely concerned (about) Fiji’s continual withdrawal from the international community,” Mr Smith said.

“Cdre Bainimarama has chosen to go down this path – it’s most regrettable – and in a matter of minutes and hours, rather than hours and days, I will announce what Australia’s response to this action is.”

Check Mate but what’s next!

australian flag reduced
What the Aussies are saying…
THE Australian Government won’t rule out further sanctions against Fiji following the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner from the country.

The move, which has given High Commissioner James Batley 24 hours to leave Fiji, was regrettable and unreasonable, a spokesman from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said. Self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama ordered the Australian and New Zealand envoys out of the country late today.

It was an apparent retaliation to incidents in which both countries had refused visas to Fijian judges.

“This regrettable step will further isolate the Fiji regime and will contribute nothing to a prompt return to democracy or the rule of law,” the DFAT spokesman said.

“This is a provocative and unreasonable reaction to questions relating to the application of travel sanctions to judicial appointees, particularly given that Australia had formally expressed its willingness … to discuss this matter.”

It was the people of Fiji who will continue to suffer as a result of Commodore Bainimarama’s “ill-considered and destructive decisions”.

“In response to these developments, Australia will give careful consideration to the question of possible further measures against the Fiji regime.”

AUS/NZ tampers with Fiji’s Judicial System





















Mr Bainimarama visited Vice President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau yesterday to discuss the impact of the Australian and New Zealand governments position in relation to members of the judiciary.

He said the decision to recall the heads of mission from the two countries was made in consultation with Ratu Epeli.

He said he met Chief Justice Anthony Gates earlier in the day, where the chief justice reiterated his position that the interference by the two governments in the judiciary undermines the judiciary.

“The Chief Justice told me that this policy of the Australian and New Zealand governments stops him from nominating credible, well qualified individuals to serve on the Bench.

Mr Bainimarama said the Sri Lankan lawyers who had agreed to come to Fiji were contributing to the enforcement of the rule of law and they had shown fortitude and a commitment to the law.

He said the travel sanctions against him and members of the Government was understandable but there was no need to punish those who had taken up judicial posts and those holding posts in statutory organisations.

“It is my Government’s duty to ensure that no foreign government should interfere with such judicial independence

Australia and New Zealand Kicked out of Fiji

james batley














Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced last night that the Fiji government has notified the governments of Australia and New Zealand to recall their High Commissioners who are based in Suva, by later today.

The Fiji High Commissioner to Australia Kamlesh Arya has also been recalled to Fiji.

The Deputy High Commissioner for New Zealand to Fiji is Todd Cleaver while the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji is James Batley.

While delivering the national address, Bainimarama confirmed that he was briefed by Chief Justice Anthony Gates on the problems the Fiji judges are currently facing.

These issues included the problems faced by Justice Anjala Wati who faced a number of issues while trying to get a visa for urgent eye surgery for her 22 month old son in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister was also briefed on the problems faced by the new Fiji judges who were trying to get a transit visa through Australia, to come to Fiji.

Bainimarama said he had to take the step to send the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners back to their countries due to the continued interference in Fiji’s judiciary, which he termed as a well planned out policy to sabotage the Fiji government’s efforts to build strong institutions in the country.