Showing posts from January 4, 2009
(G) Qarase was killing the sugar industry
Government Release. Jan 7, 2009.

Laisenia Qarase should be the last person talking about saving the sugar industry as he did nothing in his six years to resolve the expiring land leases situation, the political interferences and the inefficiencies which plagued the industry. These are the comments of Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister as he hit back at Qarase’s comments that polls can save the sugar industry.

Commodore Bainimarama said the Interim Government has been bold enough to improve the ground rental which landowners received through implementation of a 4% rental subsidy. The Government as a result paid just over $3.5 million to landowners just prior to Christmas being for 6 months. These are the types of benefits which landowners stand to gain if they agree to continue to renew expiring land leases.

With regards to bringing about improved efficiencies in the production of sugarcane, industry facilitation and milling operations, I have alre…

Government Refutes Reported Poll Dates

Government Release. Jan 6, 2009.

Government has refuted reports that elections will be held in December 2009. Government spokesperson and Deputy Secretary for Information, Major Neumi Leweni said today that the reports on Fiji returning to the polls in December 2009 have been taken out of context. He stressed that at the recent Bose ni Turaga meeting Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama explained the process towards the elections but did not confirm a poll date.

“The Prime Minister explained to the chiefs that the elections can only be held after the Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress has been implemented and electoral reforms put in place.” He also explained that the electoral reforms itself will take about 15 months.

“There definitely was no mention of a confirmed date for elections,”Major Leweni said
(oB) Multiple Battle Lines
Dr Steven Ratuva
Fiji Times. October 07, 2008

[This is a "must" read because it identifies the many factions which make up the pro, anti, and neutral camps. ACW]

What we are witnessing now is not the normal ethnically bipolar political contestation between indigenous Fijians and Indians, a scenario we are used to and bored to death with, but a multi-dimensional political vortex with intersecting fault lines, never seen in Fiji's history. This has the potential either to lead to more fractures in an already volatile situation, or create a situation of calm as the competing forces reconfigure to create new alliances.

So where on earth are we heading, or rather, appear to be heading?

The indigenous Fijian anti-coup axis
No doubt the most visible fault line is between the anti-and pro-interim government power blocs. Beyond this simple dichotomy, the situation becomes murkier and outright confusing.

The anti-coup alliance consists of an array of diverse g…
(+) Australia and New Zealand's Lack of Diplomacy
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Interim Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
Fiji Daily Post, 26-Dec. 2008.

[Note: This address was given shortly before the expulsion of Acting NZ High Commissioner Caroline Macdonald, who was said to be expelled for reasons similar to Michael Green.]

There has been much speculation in the media about the relationship between New Zealand and Australia on one hand and Fiji on the other and about the acting New Zealand High Commissioner’s stay in Fiji.We want to lay out a number of facts in relation to our foreign relations both with Australia and New Zealand and the other Pacific island countries.The Government wants cordial relationships with all countries of the world. It in particular wants to maintain strong relationships with its Pacific island neighbours including Australia and New Zealand. These relationships, however, must be built on mutual trust, confidence, respect and dignity.Mutual trust, respect …
(o+) Fiji, New Zealand, the Media
Crosbie Walsh. Dec. 2008
(An extract from my seasonal letter to friends)

Fiji continues to be a concern. We spent some years there and people we know and respect are on both sides of the political divide. Perhaps the most disturbing feature is the abysmally ignorant and one-sided stance of our politicians and even worse media coverage. The words “military coup” and “return to democracy” are stamped with a respectively bad and good singularity which is far from the actual situation.

The Fiji parliamentary system was far from democratic. One’s vote was worth much more or much less depending on your ethnic group and where you lived. Generally, rural Fijians and General (not Fijian or Indo-Fijian) voters were over-represented, and urban Fijians and Indo-Fijians under-represented. There had been no census for ten years and the electoral rolls were well out of date. Many people were bribed to vote and hundreds of ballot papers went missing.

The Qarase Governmen…
(o+) Fiji - More than Meets the Eye
Crosbie Walsh
Letter to NZ Listener, 17-23 Jan.2009

I’m not an avid supporter of the Fiji 2006 military takeover or the far-from-democratic regime it displaced. I’m even less a supporter of New Zealand politicians, diplomats and journalists who wittingly or unwittingly continue to misrepresent the Fiji situation. My credentials? Fifty years of study, research and writing; 16 years of work and residence in the Pacific, eight of them in Fiji.
The current diplomatic crisis should cause us to ask what our Government still hopes to achieve, two years after the military takeover, by the indiscriminate application of its travel ban? The young goalkeeper whose fiancĂ© was the daughter an army officer was not closely linked to the regime. Neither is the daughter of the former Permanent Secretary of Health, or the son of the Permanent Secretary to the President. No one questions the President’s legitimacy and his secretary is a career public servant appointed in 2…