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“Christopher Pryde and his hidden prejudices” (7 Jan. 2018)


Christopher Pryde and his hidden prejudices

Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, responded to a Radio NZ story on Fiji MPs’ fear of facing sedition charges for voicing dissent by making the grand statement that “no one in Fiji risks facing sedition charges for voicing dissent”.

How reassuring to the gullible in Fiji and abroad but how utterly unbelievable to those who know what has gone on in Fiji during Christopher Pryde’s stint in high places in Fiji’s legal system.

How conveniently does Pryde forget that Fiji Times publisher (Hank Arts) and Editor in Chief (Fred Wesley) have been facing sedition charges not even for “voicing dissent” but for a Letter to the Editor by a Fijian reader, published in the Fijian vernacular Na Lalakai,  and deemed by the DPP to be seditious in nature.   It was not the publisher or editor “voicing dissent” but someone else who was expressing their opinion through a Letter to the Editor.

How disgraceful that the same DPP’s Office under Pryde has been dragging the prosecution of that that case out for more than two years totally trashing the time honored maxim that “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Or is Pryde mindful of his employer’s strategy that having the Fiji Times owners, publishers, editors and journalists facing some ongoing charge year after year will encourage Fiji times to bnot perform its “watchdog” role on the government of the day, that any good media ought to be doing?

The public should remember Christopher Pryde’s rise to fame under an illegal military dictatorship. He  was appointed as Solicitor General in 2007 after the the 2006 military coup, and in 2009 also appointed as Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice, Electoral Reform and Anti-Corruption.

Then in 2011, he secretly made himself useful to Khaiyum when the Bainimarama Government was in the process of unlawfully terminating by military decree the contracts that FNPF had with its pensioners and unilaterally reducing their pension rate.

A certain economist (Professor Wadan Narsey) who had prepared the economic statement for the Burness/Shameem case and had publicly “voiced dissent” against the illegal actions by the Bainimarama Government, FNPF Board and management, was taken in for questioning by the Criminal Investigations Department of the Fiji Police, for alleged “sedition”, his home was searched for seditious material, and a computer and phone taken away for further investigation.

Under questioning at the CID office in Suva Street in the company of a lawyer (from the firm of Hanif-Tuitoga) the economist had taken along, he interestingly learnt that a certain Christopher Pryde had been formally involved in the meetings with Khaiyum, that led to the CID investigation of the potential sedition charges against this economist.

Interestingly, the economist learnt that Christopher Pryde had requested that “others” be seen to initiate the sedition charges since he was PS Justice. It was only later that Christopher Pryde was was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions.

Radio NZ International should ask Christopher Pryde whether he was  involved in initiating “sedition” charges against Professor Narsey who had “voiced dissent” to the Bainimarama Government’s illegal trashing of FNPF pensioners’ contracts.

Radio NZ International should ask Christopher Pryde why he has not seen fit to pursue charges of sedition against those who openly committed treason and sedition in Fiji in 2006 and 2009 when they abrogated the 1997 Constitution approved unanimously by the Fiji Parliament.

Radio NZ International should ask Pryde why he never sought to prosecute those military personnel under whose authority five CRW soldiers were taken from police custody at the Nabua Police Station after the 2000 mutiny, and tortured to death that very same day (as verified by a magistrate).

Radio NZ International should ask Christopher Pryde why he has not prosecuted those responsible for the other unlawful deaths in military and policy custody after the 2006 military coup.

Radio NZ International should ask Christopher Pryde why he has not persevered with the prosecution of a certain Minister whose driving led to the death of a poor pedestrian.

Christopher Pryde may make as many grand statements as he likes, but his prejudices are not very far from the surface to those who have a longer memory than the intimidated media in Fiji or those abroad, like Radio NZ International.

Christopher Pryde will be remembered in Fiji’s history as yet another expatriate “Flotsam and Jetsam” who drifted into Fiji waters, eagerly serving and benefiting from illegal military coups and governments with little respect for basic human rights or freedoms, while making grand heroic pronouncements.

Sadly, Fiji has no shortage of these expatriate Flotsam and Jetsam which drift to our illegal shores, rapidly rising through eager service to illegality and immorality, while trashing our human rights.

All kudos to international media, like Radio NZ International, for not bowing to the evil forces in Fiji which have succeeded in controlling, oppressing and suppressing local media.



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