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Archived News: August 2000

From Alan Howard in Honolulu (8 August 2000)

We have received a copy of the documents and petition circulated by Dominion of Melchizedek representative Taraivina Rae Costello and Henry Gibson. It consists of several parts, as follows. We present the documents here as faithfully as possible, exactly as typed originally.

[I.] THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF ROTUMA

This is to state that the Government of Rotuma has duly been formed and is now active from this day dated the 18th of July.

The Government for the Sovereign State of Rotuma formally announces that this is the official acceptance of portfolios from the following people of Rotuma.

Priestly King and Sovereign Head of Rotuma

Gagaj Sau Lagfatmaro the second

[signature affixed]

Prime Minister

Mr. Hiogi Apao

[signature affixed]

Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Ian Croaker

[signature affixed]

Secretary of State

Taraivina Rae Costello

[signature affixed]

Minister of Home Affairs

Gagaj Rafiok

[no signature]

Director of Immigration

Venaseo Savea

[signature affixed]

Attorney General and Minister for Justice

Gagaj Sau Lagfatmaro the second

[signature affixed]

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests

Susau Uruvaru

[signature affixed]

Minister for Transport and Tourism

Michael Croaker

[no signature]

Minister for Infrastructure

Voi Muaror

[signature affixed]

Minister for Health

Dr. John Fatiaki

[no signature]

Minister for Women's Affairs and Social Welfare

Maria Bernard

[signature affixed]

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources

Fuata Susau

[signature affixed]

Minister Communication and Civil Aviation

Afaret Aropeo

[signature affixed]

Deputy Minister and Director of Telecommunications

Freddy Emosi

[signature affixed]

Minister for Finance

Gagaj Kausakamua

[signature affixed]

Deputy Minister of Finance

Temoteo

[signature affixed]

Minister of Rotuman Affairs

Gagaj Kausiriaf

[signature affixed]

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Taraivina Rae Costello

[signature affixed]

Minister for Education, Youth and Sport

Jone Tani

[signature affixed]

[Note: Since some people listed claim they did not sign the document it should not be assumed that all affixed signatures belong to the persons named.]

[II.] PLENIPOTENTIARY FOR THE SOVEREIGN STATE OF ROTUMA, South Pacific.

This is to certify that the Ambassador for the Dominion of Melchizedek, Taraivina Rae Costello has Plenipotentiary or Power of Attorney for the Sovereign State of Rotuma.

I Gagaj Sau Lagfatmaro the 2nd, King of Rotuma and Sovereign Head, give the Ambassador the right to negociate all concerns for Rotuma dated this day 18th July 2000.

[signature affixed]
Gagaj Sau Lagfatmaro the Second
King and Sovereign Head of Rotuma
[III.] ROTUMANS ACCEPTING INDEPENDANCE
18.00 In Witness Whereof, the undersigned have duly executed, in convention, the foregoing Costitution of the Sovereign State of Rotuma, commencing on this 18th day of July 2000.

[Note: There follow seven pages containing 82 signatures, including multiple members of some families. In some instances it is evident that one person signed for all family members. It is not clear how many of the signatures belong to children rather than adults.]

[IV.] Sovereign Master Lease

On this 22nd day of January 2000, Anise Ferati, co-sovereign owner and sole representative of the other family owners of more than 50 acres of real estate on the main island of Rotuma, Juju District and Malhaha District hereafter referred to as the Leasor, hereby extends an irrevocable sovereign master lease for a period of 99 years, consisting of all of his families rights, title and interest in all of his copra lands in Rotuma to the government of the Dominion of Melchizedek, hereafter referred to as Leasee, on the following terms and conditions:

  1. That Leasee pay to the Leasor $100 Fijian or Rotuman dollars per annum.
  2. That Leasee develop the copra lands and share joint governance of said lands with Lessor creating a condominium state..
  3. That 30% of any net revenues generated from all business activities on said lands on Rotuma owned by Leasor be paid to Leasee annually. And 20% be paid to the entire community fund of Juju under the Juju Steering Committee.
  4. That 50% or more of the employees on said lands be Rotumans related to the Lessor and his clan.
  5. That Leasee form a Rotuman or Dominion corporation named The Rotuman Copra Corporation to own all businesses on said lands and the shares will be initially distributed 45% to Leasee, 5% to Taraivina Rae Costello, 30% to Leasor and 20% to the Juju Steering Committee.
  6. That Leasor begin to build a processing plant to process copra within 2 years from the date hereof.

This Lease is binding on the heirs and successors of the Lessor.

Anise Ferati
[signature affixed]
Head of the House of Elders of the government of the Dominion of Melchizedek
[signature of Ben David affixed]
Taraivina Rae Costello, Minister of Environment of the Dominion of Melchizedek
[signature affixed]
Approved by: Chief Titofaga Gagaj
[signature affixed]
Approved by Sub Chief, Toaniu Gagaj
[signature affixed]
Winessed by: [signature affixed]

[V.] Sovereign Master Lease

On this 21st day of January 2000, Hiagi Apao, the sovereign sole owner of Solkope Island, hereafter referred to as the Leasor, hereby extends an irrevocable sovereign master lease for a period of 99 years, consisting of all of his families rights, title and interest in Solkope to the government of the Dominion of Melchizedek, hereafter referred to as Leasee, on the following terms and conditions.

1. That Leasee pay to the Leasor $500 Fijian dollars per annum.

2. That Leasee develop the island and have all rights to govern its national affairs from Solkope..

3. That 50% of any net revenues generated from tourism on Solkope by Leasee be paid to the Leasor.

4. That 20% or more of the employees on Solkope be Rotumans related to the Lessor.

5. That Leasor grant access to Solkope from his families property immediately across the water from Solkope.

This Lease is binding on the heirs and successors of the Lessor.

Hiagi Apao
[signature affixed]

Head of the House of Elders of the government of the Dominion of Melchizedek
[signature of Ben David affixed]

Taraivina Rae Costello, Minister of Environment of the Dominion of Melchizedek
[signature affixed]

Witnessed by: Varea Vasilo
[signature affixed]

Approved by: High Chief Maraf Solomone
[no signature]

Approved by: Makrava, Chairman of the Rotuman Council
[no signature]


From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (20 July 2000, posted 3 August)

Dr John Fatiaki danced the Rotuman tautoga at the Losa Conference. He danced well and enjoyed the maka along with five of his children, who also performed. The Conference started off with a church service, then lunch, and the tautoga afterwards. A total of F$15,036 was collected.

Mission Impossible: The DOM representative, Taraivina Costello, joined hands with cousin Henry here in Rotuma. They sweet-talked some of the natives to sign a petition to declare Rotuma independent on the 18th of July; BUT they think they're more clever than our FBI here in Rotuma! The flight left Saturday the 15th with them and our DPO Eastern, Mr Fereti Susau, and his people. At the airport Fereti put a stop to Henry's followers performing their ui 'uga, blowing their conch shells, so the two men exchanged words. Henry and Taraivina were reportedly drunk. Tuipeua was there, too, and a few others, but the majority of people were at the Conference at Losa.

The police were waiting at Nadi airport for their arrival and they spent the night in a jail cell. Between the two of them they arranged that Henry will be the "priestly king" of the Dominion of Rotuma. A number of other people were also given positions. Hiagi Apao of Rocky Point would be the prime minister. Mostly people from Juju signed the declaration, including their chief, but he denied it at the Council meeting yesterday. Oinafa chief Kausiriaf also denied signing although he was supposedly given a minister's portfolio.

The Council met yesterday and decided to ban Henry and Taraivina from Rotuma. Discussions on these matters will be dealt with later after the chairman sees a lawyer. The chairman is going to Suva and will also meet with officials from Sunflower Airlines.

The land of Rotuma has teeth and eyes, so the saying goes. Our beautiful island should be protected from all these types of people who are a bad influence. They have to discuss things first with the Council before helping themselves--no manners! Not that we didn't advise her.

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