Showing posts from June 7, 2009

(G) Government to Work on Timetable, Reforms for Elections

Update. FijiLive reports the PM as saying "a national roadmap" to be launched in the "next couple of weeks" will replace the Presidential Political Dialogue Forum. A political leaders' meeting will be used as "a forum for government to launch a roadmap” and the United Nations and Commonwealth will be invited to sit in the political forum discussion.

I will delay detailed comment on this latest Government release on its "way forward" but as it stands it does not look good. The absence of UN and Commonwealth participation is not as great a concern as the suggestion that the whole Dialogue and People's Charter process has been put aside. Government cannot surely intend to "go it alone" on the reforms, but that's what this "half" release infers!We'll have to wait and see.

Fiji Village June 12 2009

The Government will not go back to the United Nations and the Commonwealth to try to continue with the Political Dialogue F…

(+) Snippets: Complaints Against Lawyers to be Investigated

Q.What's the difference between a lawyer and God?
A. God doesn't think he's a lawyer. So far 50 lawyers have registered with the Chief Registrar's office; the remainder have until the end of the month to do so. Graham Leung, a staunch opponent of the Government and former Fiji Law Society president, has decided not to practise again in Fiji and will not be one of them. FLS's lawyer registration duties were annulled following the Abrogation of the Constitution, and many observers feared this could lead to anti-government lawyers (and the appointment of judges under the same decree) being denied licences. So far this does not appear to be the case. A new unit is to be established within the office of the Chief Registrar to investigate 283 pending cases against lawyers. More than one complaint may pertain to a lawyer, but 283 seems an extraordinary high number of complaints given that the Fiji Law Society has only about 168 registered members. Acting Chief Registrar An…

(-+) Brij Lal’s Speech that Could have Been

Thanks once again to Coupfourpointfive, this time for publishing the address Prof. Brij Lal would have given to the Accountants' Conference had Government not decreed otherwise. Its publication by at least two blogs supports a point made in his speech: “The whole exercise of controlling speech is futile and self-defeating.” To read the full address on the topic of ‘Fiji and the International Community: Acceptance or Isolation: Are these the only choices?’ click here. SummaryOn Fiji's relations with the international community, his main points were: Fiji cannot go it alone; Australia, the EU and New Zealand want to help but need evidence of “progress” from Fiji; China's interests in Fiji are limited. “Many initiatives contemplated by the interim administration [IG] are praiseworthy, and I have no doubt that there would be a meeting of minds on many of them. That is why there is an urgent need of tact and diplomacy.”He thought the situation had deteriorated sharply since A…

(-) Graham Leung's Address to Accountants

There can be little doubt the invitation to Brij Lal, Richard Naidu and Graham Leung, three prominent anti-Government people, to be keynote speakers at the Fiji Institute of Accountants' Conference, meeting at Nadi today, was intended to deliberately provoke Government. There was no way Graham Leung's "call to arms/stand up and be counted" address, copied below thanks to Coupfourpointfive, would be allowed during the Emergency, although with no media present (another Government stipulation) no more harm would have been done than by Coupfourpointfive and this blog publishing his address. The Conference was allowed to proceed, sans media and keynote speakers. Graham Leung is a former president of the Fiji Law Society. To read his address in full, click here.

I do not share all his views but his general account of Fiji's coup culture is fair, and the ideas he advances towards the end of the address on how to resolve the political situation are a good starting point …

(o) Emergency Extended: Poor Call

PER (the Public Emergency Regulations), introduced on April 10th, extended in May, have been extended again for another 30 days until July 10th due, says Government spokesman LtCol Neumi Leweni, to the security situation in the country, but he did not say what the security concerns were.

Could the "concerns" include expected backlashes from the Methodist Conference, now cancelled by Government, despite the Church saying that politics will not be discussed? Or the Fiji Institute of Accountants' Congress due to start on Friday, but with keynote speakers anti-Government Brij Lal, Graham Leung and Richard Naidu now removed from the billing at Government insistence? (The reasons the Institute invited them are pretty transparent but I doubt the trio's oratory would rouse the masses.)

Or a once again hostile print media only temporarily held in check by the Regulations? Or revived negativity from the ousted political parties, at present totally silent in Fiji for the same re…

(+) Methodist Leaders in "Denial"

"It is time the Christian churches step away from politics once and for all for the benefit of the nation. For too long the failure of the churches to separate their pastoral role from national politics has fanned the flames of unrest."Fiji Times editorial March 17, 2009.

What a pity! There seemed to be some hope for a Government-Methodist rapprochementafter Rev Akuila Yabaki's plea for dialogue (see previous post.)

But no. Fiji Live reports the Methodist Church's stance is unchanged.

I can understand the Church's refusal to sack Revs Lasaro and Kanailagi (photo), as requested by Government, but not for the reason given. I also have reservations about two other Church statements. My comments refer to elements within the Church; not the Church as a whole.

Gen.Sec.Rev.Tuikilakila Waqairatu said the Church does not believe the ministers have offended. If this is the case, members of the Standing Committee need to look very closely at the Church's Christian foundati…

(+) The Mad Hatter's Petrol Party

Coupfourpointfive has published six photos of a Saturday May 30th arson attack on the Knolly Street office of the Fiji Post & Telecommunications Employees Association, of which Attar Singh, a very vocal Government critic, is the secretary.

They are: an empty plastic bottle (smelling of petrol); a jug (used to pour the petrol through an open louvre window); the charred lounge floor; a charred chair; a charred office table, and " A farmer's hat normally worn by soldiers was left lying on the steps of the front door entrance to the office."

I would prefer to have commented directly on this post but Coupfourpointfive has not accepted my comments on three other previous postings, and my emails to one of its bloggers have been rejected by the server. Two equally well-meaning blog sites should speak with each other.

My comment would have been brief: "If your post was intended to implicate the military, the "evidence" would have been more persuasive had you n…