OPINON: Mick Beddoes Must Have His Blinkers On

Unrepentant Mick Beddoes is either naïve or deliberately  chooses to ignore the facts. In a response, titled “SODELPA’s  stand on the Fiji media”, to my Sunday opinion column and our
30 Jun 2015 14:09
OPINON: Mick Beddoes Must Have His Blinkers On
Writer says Mick Beddoes is unrepentant.

Unrepentant Mick Beddoes is either naïve or deliberately  chooses to ignore the facts.

In a response, titled “SODELPA’s  stand on the Fiji media”, to my Sunday opinion column and our reports, he defended his decision to ban Fiji Sun journalists from the party’s annual general meeting.

Mr Beddoes: “Just to correct the normal twist and spin on things that the Fiji Sun usually does with SODELPA. As they have done on the meeting of SODELPA held the day before yesterday:

Fiji Sun: There was no spin Mr Beddoes. We reported  and interpreted as best as we could, despite your restrictions, what actually transpired in the meeting.

Mr Beddoes response is yet another spin from him. The fact is he failed to address the main substance of our report.

Mr Beddoes: “Essentially the meeting was to deal with some basic ‘housekeeping’ matters and to summarise the outcomes of a strategic meeting held last month.

Our president had resigned for personal reasons, so that vacancy had to be filled. There were two nominees Anare Jale and Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, both very qualified to serve in that position, such is the depth of qualified leaders we have within SODELPA.

A vote was taken and Ratu Naiqama was elected. It was that simple. There was no lobbying or intrigue or any such thing.

Fiji Sun: Why did Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca go to Ratu Naiqama’s residence, on instructions of his leader Ro Teimumu Kepa, to ask him if he was willing to stand as president.

The understanding was that if he stood, he would run unopposed.

When the time came for nominations, it became evident that there would be a contest. Anare Jale, who failed the qualification criteria to stand in the last election, was nominated by the Nasinu constituency of the party.

Ratu Naiqama was nominated by his subjects from Natewa. As Tui Cakau, paramount chief of Cakaudrove, Ratu Naiqama still commands big traditional support.

This was the intrigue – Ratu Isoa on behalf of Tailevu was supposed to back Ratu Naiqama’s nomination. But he was conspicuously absent. MP Jiosefa Dulakiverata, who was present, could have done it. But he didn’t. So it was left to Naitasiri to do it.

To add to the intrigue, when voting happened, Mr Beddoes himself voted for Ratu Naiqama. But his leader Ro Teiumumu’s hand did not go up.

Her hand, though, was sort of half-raised for Anare Jale. Mr Jale and a delegation from Lau that included Adi Ateca Ganilau had approached Ro Teimumu in Nadera last year before the election to ask her to represent Lau.

Mr Jale was the designated Lau rep. Ro Teimumu accepted the request because Adi Ateca is her niece, daughter of Adi Lady Lala Mara, her older sister.

Members of the party present saw how the voting went and were surprised that Ro Teimumu did not vote for Ratu Naiqama.

In the absence of any explanation they were left to make their own interpretations. Is there a split at the top of the party hierarchy? Ro Teimumu was expected to vote for Ratu Naiqama.

He is one of the most senior members of SODELPA’s parliamentary caucus and is unofficially regarded as her deputy. Despite his suspension from Parliament, he is being seen as Number Two in the party leadership pecking order.

Some party members said although Ratu Naiqama won the vote easily, he should have been accorded that chiefly privilege and respect by letting him run unopposed.

As far as SODELPA’s former president Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa, is concerned, he had worked extremely hard in the election campaign. He was not happy with the support that he got within the party. He did not blame anyone but took responsibility for SODELPA’s loss and stepped down.

He appears to be the only official to have done the right thing and allow someone else to have a go.

Mr BEDDOES: As for our position on the Media, a decision was taken at our SODELPA strategic meeting last month to no longer send statements to, invite to press conferences or allow into SODELPA meetings media reporters or organisations that we believe are biased, not balanced or fair in their reporting and therefore not credible.

The Fiji Sun, FBC and Vijay Narayan of Communications Fiji are the three currently listed as being the firms and individual we will not deal with.

The fact that the reporter was still let into the meeting by a SODELPA member is a lucky break for the Fiji Sun, but her actions does demonstrate that the Fiji Sun does not respect the wishes of the SODELPA, which just adds more weight to our decision.

Despite that lucky break for the Fiji Sun it still does not alter the decision, which we will continue to enforce until the Fiji Sun stops being the propaganda arm of Government.

Fiji Sun: There were two Fiji Sun reporters in the meeting, not one. It was not a lucky break. They were allowed in by SODELPA members who understand the important role of the media.

These are the foot soldiers of SODELPA, members who do the hard grind to build the party image and strength.

They labour in silence but are sick and tired of Mr Beddoes’ rhetorics and innuendos which they say do not contribute anything positive to their campaign.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj


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