Friday, January 30, 2009

ENDURING MYSTERIES : Naria 3 Sisters : Episode 2

 For a small island nation, we do have our fair share of mystery and intrigue. From  individuals vanishing without a trace to millions disappearing from secure bank vaults. We have it all.


In coming weeks, Loyal Fijian will be running a series titled " Enduring Mysteries" where we examine mysteries, conspiracy theories, and look for answers to questions left unanswered.
Continued from Part 1
After the phone conversation with Mr X, Dip Chand confessed to the murder of the 3 sisters.


However, few believe this story.


No trace of the 3 sisters has ever been found. No clothes, no body parts, nothing. They simply vanished off the face of the earth.


Police investigators reviewing the mobile phone records of Dip Chand found that he had made a number of calls from his mobile on Sunday 26 June after he had left with the girls in his fishing boat.


To this day, there are more questions than answers:


Why would the mother of the 3 sisters in a conservative rural community allow her 3 young daughters to go on a picnic with a drifter of ill repute?


Why did not the family raise the alarm until the next day?


Who were the people that Dip Chand called on his mobile?


Is Dip Chand covering for Mr X and the illict activities that have been going on in and around Naria involving local drug cultivators and yachties?


It is also reported that young girls have previously disappeared from their homes in Naria never to be heard of again. In one case, an Indian girl of 19 was last seen standing outside the village shop. When the shop owner asked the girl who she was waiting for, she responded that a friend from her computer school in Rakiraki town was going to pick her up.


She was last seen getting into a blue vehicle which to observers was not one seen previously in the area and has not been seen since that day .


A number of scenarios have been suggested for the disappearance of the Naria 3 sisters. These scenarios are:


Scenario 1 : The 3 sisters were Kidnapped and Sold to Human Traffickers

Scenario 2 : 3 Sisters were Killed but not by Dip Chand Alone

Scenario 3 : Dip Chand was on a Drug run, Girls killed by suspicious Yachties

Scenario 4 : Girls family were complicit in the whole saga

Scenario 5 : Dip Chand is telling the truth and nothing but the truth



The first 4  scenarios will be explored in detail in later posts. Scenario 5 doesn't need any further elaboration. Keep tuned.

Monday, January 19, 2009

ENDURING MYSTERIES : Naria’s 3 Sisters

For a small island nation, we do have our fair share of mystery and intrigue. From individuals vanishing without a trace to millions disappearing from secure bank vaults. We have it all. In coming weeks, Loyal Fijian will be running a series titled " Enduring Mysteries" where we examine mysteries, conspiracy theories, and look for answers to questions left unanswered.

Sunday June 26 2005 started like any other day for the residents of Naria, Rakiraki, a quiet rural community not unlike many others around the country.

By days end , however, this small community would become the focus of the whole country .

The day will forever be remembered as the day when 3 young sisters vanished leaving behind a trail of mystery and intrigue that to this day has not been solved.

According to the Fiji Police files, Ashika Sherin Lata 19 a supermarket cashier, Renuka Roshni Lata 18, a computer student and Radhika Lata 17, a form six student decided to go for for a picnic with Dip Chand, 42, whom they called "aaja" (grandfather) on Sunday, June 26, 2005.

Dip Chand, a bachelor, was known through out the community as a drifter who had more money than could be provided by his day job of occasional fisherman. Rumour has it that most people put this down to him doing occasional work for a powerful local politician. The type of work involved using his boat and knowledge of the waters off Naria to interact with visiting yachties, possibly supplying locally grown marijuana.

Naria is a well known transit point for yachts travelling out off NZ and Aust.

It was also known by many in the community, including his own family and the mother of the 3 girls, that Dip Chand was investigated by Police for rape. It would later emerge after the disappearance of the 3 Naria sisters that Dip Chand had raped 3 possibly more girls in the age group11 -17 between 2001 and 2005.

It is undisputed that the 4 made their way to a nearby island known as Malake Island for a picnic.

What happened in between Sunday June 26 2005 and the following day when Dip Chand was found drifting in his boat with visible signs of blood in the boat is a mystery.

Dip Chand initially claimed that his boat was attacked by a group of Fijians who kidnapped and took away the girls.

Under intense interrogation, he allegedly asked to make a phone call to a certain person. This is where the mystery deepens. To be cont...


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Indiscriminate Logging A Factor in Fiji Floods

In China, a wealthy business man wishes to decorate his new million dollar executive suite with exotic wood panels. He is willing to pay a high price.

In New York, a CEO of a merchant bank eager to out do his friends, purchases furniture made from hundred year old native timber, so rare now only found in small Pacific Island countries.

Flooding like we have never seen before is not an isolated incident.

We live in an increasingly connected world.

Those familiar with the "Butterfly Effect" will see similarities in the devastation that has been wreaked upon Fiji by the floods.

A Butterfly flaps its wings in Venezuela leading to a possible thunderstorm in New York.

Stuff of wild imaginations ?

Not really.

Cause and Effect folks.

The Mayor of Nadi and now the Principal Disaster Management Officer Aisea Quminakelo have both spoken out on how the indiscriminate logging in the Nausori Highlands is contributing to the flooding in and around Nadi Town.

Loyal Fijian raised this issue in our last post. Increasingly developed countries which can rely on developed industries to drive their economies are putting greater restrictions on logging so logging companies are venturing out into countries where natural resources are the principal contributors of revenue.

One cannot blame resource owners for exploiting what resource they have to build schools, hospital and roads for their people.

Its a bit fanciful for environmentalists to sit in the comfort of the air conditioned 5 bedroom brick homes with 3 Plasma televisions and 3 cars in the garage and demand that developing countries not harvest their natural resources.

Often we read in magazines and see in movies how green activists travel from far off lands to organise anti-logging campaigns in remote forests of Amazon or in Papua New Guinea railing against the evils of logging or mining companies.

They complain how the lifestyles of remote tribes are being destroyed. But these same activists at the first sign of their 3 year old son Thomas catching a cold run to their nearest doctor, 4 yr old Jane goes schools equipped with laptops for every child and surf the Internet, 5 yr old Robert wears designer Calvin Klein jeans .

Children in Fiji walk 5 km to get to school, the nearest health centre is 12 km away and the doctor has not returned from leave.

The people of PNG , the Amazon and in Fiji want the same things these activists have. They want hospitals, schools and roads and they can only get these by harvesting the resources they have.

No one can demand a complete stop to logging.

That wont happen.

But we must ensure that logging in ecologically sensitive areas is managed and controlled. We must ensure that the landowners get a fair share, unlike what is happening now where landowners are being cheated.

Corrupt officials taking a cut and leaving the landowners high and dry must stop. It is possible for development and nature to co-exist. Blind pursuit for profits only wreaks havoc as we are witnessing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rain, Rain and More Rain

Wheres all this rain coming from?


Its raining like you wouldn't believe.

Seven people have now died in flooding.

Thousands more have been forced to flee their homes and are taking shelter in evacuation centres and with family.

The Government has declared a State of Emergency as the flood takes a massive toll on Fijis economy.

Looting as seen in the past did not eventuate as curfews were declared in three towns, including Nadi.

Sigatoka River burst its banks and flooded the town centre for perhaps the first time since Cyclone Kina.

Flights out of Nadi and Nausori have been cancelled and hundreds of tourists are stranded in their hotels.

Just where is all this water coming from?

Inadequate maintenance of drainage, large scale felling of trees may be contributing factors, but at the end of the day, there has been so much rain, some flooding was inevitable.

As if it wasn't enough already, another tropical depression was forecast to be heading towards Fiji, potentially bringing more torrential downpours.

Take care and keep dry folks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vodafone v Digicel : Its War

Vodafone and Digicel, two mutli-billion dollar telcos are waging war.
Its not the lucrative Indian market or profits to be made in China, no its little ol Fiji.
Yep, Fiji.
Good question.
Everywhere you look, the two rivals are going at it hammer and tongs.
Vodafone's $29 phone and $100 talk time has been met by Digicel's $15 phone with radio. The radio has proved to be quite a hit. The phones they offer are very old models, but hey, a phone is a phone right.
Coming down from Princes Rd in Suva, the french bakery opposite the great big intersection has been painted red by Vodafone. Digicel, not to be outdone , has gone to town in downtown Suva.
In most towns , small phone booth size booths have sell recharge cards. Mobile sellers are in on the act too.
Its on for young and old.
Dont we love competition.
Consumers are the winners here and so it should be.
Its not uncommon in Fiji these days to find 12 yr old kids with their own mobile phones (until credits run out). All these cheap phones have also led to a new problem.
Changing mobile numbers and pest callers.
Its hard keeping track of your friends and relative now. Its an new mobile number every 3 months.
Another problem that the Ambulance service is facing is crank calls.
As everyone knows, once credit runs out, only emergency calls can be made. Bloody kids are using this service to drive the guys at the ambulance service up the walls.
So much so that, the ambulance brigade has banned calls from Digicel phones.
So if you are dying from a hear attack and have nothing but a digicel phone, bro, are you in trouble?  Keep two phones says LF, applying the "outside the box" thinking that we are so fond of here at LF.
On the bright side, People who had to walk for kilometers to find a phone, now call all over the world with their own mobiles.
But still, as everyone knows, mobile phone companies make money from selling recharge cards, not phones. The phones are free. It will be interesting to know how many phones sold over Christmas actually recharge once credits run out.
Fiji is a very small market and these guys are big rollers.
They deal in billions.
Its hard to see how Digicel will recoup its investement in the short to medium term.
LF admits, it doesnt have all the answers. But tell you what, it is a very good question.and no one at LF is complaining if the consumers are winning.