Having faced down SODELPA and sent Aseri Radrodro to the back bench, the Prime Minister has removed the principal obstacle that prevented him from carrying out his cabinet reshuffle last year. So after a brief period of letting the dust settle, can we now expect to finally see the reshuffle that Sitiveni Rabuka was forced to reverse in humiliating fashion in October and that severely dented his authority in the country?
There is a pressing imperative to remove the Attorney General, Siromi Turaga, who as we’ll see in a future posting, has had an official complaint lodged against him by the Fiji Law Society for his multiple violations of the Constitution, which the Prime Minister now says must be respected. But there’s another compelling reason for a cabinet reshuffle and that is to remove Lynda Tabuya from the portfolio of Minister for Women and Children and rid the Coalition of a festering political sore.
Having sent her lover, Aseri Radrodro, to the back bench, few people now think that Sitiveni Rabuka can save Lynda Tabuya without that running sore pursuing the government all the way to the next election. She is simply too high profile and the details of her alleged transgressions too grave and salacious for her to be able to survive the guns now being trained on her.
The current inquiry by the Disciplinary Subcommittee of the People’s Alliance Party into Lynda Tabuya is examining the available evidence against her, including the Australian E-Safety Commissioner’s order to Grubsheet to remove leaked intimate images of her not because they are fake but because I didn’t have her permission to share them. It is hard evidence of the truth of the allegations against her and has turned out to have been a very foolish complaint for Lynda Tabuya to have lodged.
Rather than shutting down the story of her drug-fuelled sexual encounter with Aseri Radrodro in Room 233 of the Windsor Hotel, going to the E-Safety Commissioner has completely backfired. Indeed it has provided the Committee and the nation with the strongest evidence yet that the images and texts that have been published by Fijileaks and Grubsheet are authentic. They are not fake, they are real. And they are of Lynda Tabuya because the Australian Government’s E-Safety Commissioner has effectively said so on her own representation.
Yet there’s another potent dimension to the Lynda Tabuya scandal and that is her reported drug use – the “weed” ( marijuana) that her leaked text message to Aseri Radrodro refers to and “plenty” of it in her room at the Windsor Hotel. Leaving aside the gross hypocrisy of a prominent anti-drugs crusader evidently taking drugs herself, where did the “weed” come from? Did she carry it to Australia in a “diplomatic bag” – as Victor Lal has reported a third party as saying – or did she obtain it in Melbourne? These are all questions that need to be asked and answered.
Aside from the dual hypocrisy of Fiji’s biggest anti-porn crusader sharing pornographic photos of herself with a fellow government minister, there’s renewed interest in the drug element of this scandal arising out of the mass arrests of a large number of Fijians – including the ubiquitous Justin Ho – after the discovery of a massive haul of methamphetamine in Nadi.
The timing of all of this couldn’t have come at a worst time for Lynda Tabuya. Because it underlines the seriousness of the drug threat in Fiji and the unsustainable position of the Minister for Children if it can be established that she is a marijuana user.
Where are we at with the PAP inquiry? Grubsheet understands the next step after all the evidence is collated is for the Committee to frame the charges against Lynda Tabuya and begin the process of establishing the veracity of the evidence against her. But any suggestion of a whitewash that sees her exonerated without a thorough investigation is reported to be no longer an option. Telling Australia’s E-Safety Commission not that it isn’t her but that Grubsheet didn’t have permission to share her images has been a grievous blow to her credibility. But drugs are also a potent aspect of this investigation, as Victor Lal reminds us in his latest Fijileaks article on the scandal.
Lynda Tabuya’s public claim that these images and texts are fake and have been generated by artificial intelligence has effectively been blown out of the water. But what about the “weed”? The wonder of it is, given the gravity of these allegations, that Lynda Tabuya hasn’t been stood down while the official inquiry is carried out. Instead, as someone comments below, she continues to preen and pose on Facebook as if nothing has happened, having succeeded in getting Grubsheet’s page removed with another complaint to Facebook’s owner, the Meta group.
Only in Fiji, eh?