Showing posts from August 2, 2009

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Babies' Clinic

The babies’ clinic that used to be situated near the ANZ Bank in Lautoka has moved up to the new Vidilo House situated atop Old Hospital Road.

Many poor mothers benefitted when the clinic was in the old place, it was more convenient, it was mother/baby friendly. Now, during clinic days one can see mothers struggling up the road. One can almost cry when one sees a mother struggling up with two other toddlers in tow. Many fathers cannot leave work to accompany their wives and babies because of work commitment, because they lose a days’ pay if they do so.

With no offence to anyone, to make it worse the road is like a dried up river bed, if …

Snippets: Kubuabola New Foreign Minister; Murder Charges; Methodist Dialogue; Sugar and the EU; Lau Wants Help

Government has announced that RatuInokeKubuabola, former leader of Rabuka'sSVT party (1999-2000) and SDL Minister in the Qarase interim government following the Speight Coup of 2000, is the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Corporation and Civil Aviation. Prior to his appointment, he was High Commissioner to PNG and more recently Fiji's Ambassador to Japan.

Murder Accused: Shades of Ballu Khan
The pre-trial of eight men, arrested in 2007 and accused of plotting to kill PM Bainimarma and other government figures will be held in September, and the full trial next February. NZ readers will remember the alleged plot because it involved Ballu Khan, the so-called NZ businessman, who was later aqcquitted of conspiracy to murder. Go to Read this Blog and type his name for earlier reports.

Radio NZI Suva correspondent MatelitaRagogo had this to say: “A mixed group really. There’s a high chief among them RatuInokeTakiveikata; the former intelligence unit di…

NZ Travel Advisories: Fiji "Some Risk"; New Caledonia..?

NZ's MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) offers travel advisories to all countries. At present, Afghanistan is shown as extreme risk; the borders of Iran extreme risk, elsewhere some risk; Fiji and the UK some risk; New Caledonia no risk was noted.

MFAT should listen to Radio NZI. Striking domestic airline workers in New Caledonia have blockaded and shut down the administration in Poindimie in the NE of the main island; and in the capital Noumea, to the south, employers blocked access to a key industrial zone in protest at the disruptions by the strike that has shut many businesses for a second week. "The violence has prompted the territory’s president, Philippe Gomes, to pull out of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Cairns, sending instead the Congress president, Harold Martin."

Sorry, MFAT. The dig was irresistible, especially when you persisted in labelled all of Fiji as some risk, when all of Fiji outside Suva has for a long time been no risk, and when n…

(+) The Less than Hon. Toke Talagi, Premier of Niue

Unlike many other blogs on Fiji, I do not publish personal attacks on those with whom I disagree, but I’m making this one exception, regrettably on a friendship that goes back over 30 years. Sorry, Toke, but you cannot expect to escape unscathed from your ill-advised, inflammatory remarks in Cairns. I’ve made only minor changes to the email that follows, to protect the identity of the sender, although he didn’t think it necessary. Bula, CrozI have been in Fiji for about 18 years now, and understand very well the nuances of Fiji society, and have abhorred the blatant manipulation of the ordinary Fiji bloke and the corruption that appeared to be entrenching itself ever deeper into the ‘elite’ with every passing year.I am the manager of a large business in Fiji and therefore responsible for the daily welfare of a lot of people.Consequently, it is of great concern when I see on the Aussie news tonight, that the Premier of Niue, the equivalent of a small town mayor in NZ (population-w…

(+) Cairns: What's Going On Here?

One of my informants in Fiji writes:

"An interesting development (yet to be confirmed) is that a number of Fijian groups and people strongly opposed to Fiji's regime have been invited to Cairns by the Forum Secretariat. They include lawyers, women's groups and human rights people. If true, this is a very surprising move and a very biased one, carefully calculated to incite opposition to Fiji."

Photo: One-eyed pirate.

(o)Fiji's Isolation Must Not be Ignored by Pacific Leaders

Some critics of the Fiji military regime condemned the presence of two representatives of the interim administration at the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) conference in Port Vila last week. Lance Corporal Talei Tora, who studied at the University of the South Pacific's regional journalism programme and is a former radio broadcaster, was a surprise speaker on a "Shooting the messenger" panel. She said the military had every right to be at the convention as a paid member of PINA.

AUCKLAND (NZH Online/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji is far too important to be left out of the Pacific Islands equation. This week's Pacific Forum leaders' annual meeting in Cairns has regional trade and the global financial crisis on its main agenda. Fiji - which has dominated the past two forum meetings - is rather determinedly relegated to the margins, but its shadow is bound to creep over the deliberations.

Like it did at last week's biannual media summit of the Pacific Island N…

(B+) The Forum "Line Up" on Fiji at Cairns

One wonders how Australia will handle the Fiji issue at the Forum meeting in Cairns. Chairing the meeting gives it some room to manoeuvre discussion away from Fiji if the discussion is not going its way. It could, for example, put a time limit on discussions (or perfunctorily close the discussion as happened in Apia) saying that climate change, the global economy, and the PACER discussions to follow, are more important.

Whatever it does will require a greater understanding of Pacific sensitivities than has been evident so far, when Australia and New Zealand, with support from Samoa and smaller Island countries, clearly pushed the Forum to suspend Fiji.

The present line up seems to be: Solomon Islands and Vanuatu strongly pro-Fiji; PNG and Kiribati only a little less so; with Tonga, Tuvalu, FSM, Palau and Marhall Islands likely also to support Fiji if the issue is not well handled. On the other side of the ball park are Australia, NZ, Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and possibly Nauru. Ass…

(o+) "I Will Not Meet Commonwealth Deadline" : Bainimarama Reforms First, then Elections

As predicted -- and as the CMAG group must have known -- Fiji will not comply with the Commonwealth ultimatum to announce elections by September 1 and hold them in November 2010. PM Bainimarama says Fiji will continue on its path to elections in 2014.

There was a time when Government critics accused Bainimarama of inconsistencies and backtracking on promises. No longer. For a long time now, he has been unwaveringly consistent on the reforms he sees as needed before truly representative election can be held. Since Australia, New Zealand and the PI Forum, from whom the Commonwealth takes its lead, are likely to see changes in their stance as a loss of face (not in my book), one hopes that behind-closed-doors diplomacy will now increase, with Fiji being offered all the assistance needed to design and implement the reforms and hold elections no later than 2014. I say "no later" because continuing internal and external obstructions may cause further delays.

My advice to my own…

(o+) Is Convicted Con-man Peter Foster Telling the Truth? If so, the 2001 and 2006 Elections Were Rigged!


"I don't expect anybody for one minute to believe one word Peter Foster says. I'm just a silly bugger who wore the video camera and listening device. Listen to what they say."-- Peter Foster.

Australian convicted con-man Peter Foster (photo*) has been jailed in six countries, been charged with money laundering, selling slimming products without a licence, work permit violations and dubious political and land dealings in Fiji, and has only recently been released from jail in Australia. With this reputation he's difficult to believe, but he's also been an undercover agent for the Australian and British police; a backer of Tupeni Baba's NLUP party in the 2001 Fiji election; a confidant of SDL 2001 and 2006 election strategists Navitilai Nasori and Jale Baba, and, in early 2007, he was "wired" by Fiji's military to secretly tape a meeting…

Snippets: Commonwealth Decions; Methodist Rapprochement? President,Fiji Holdings Debt Free

Commonwealth Issues Ultimatum
The CMAG has decided not to fully suspend Fiji, as wanted by NZ, but has voted (all decisions have to be unanimous) to fully suspend Fiji if it does not announce an election date by September 1 for an October 2010 election.

CMAG has also called for the Government to reactivate the President's Dialogue Forum process, facilitated by the Commonwealth and the United Nations.In their statement, they also added that the dialogue must be independent, inclusive, time bound and without any predetermined outcome and should also lead to credible elections in October 2010. Based on Fiji Village.

The new deadline is technically possible but it leaves the Government too little time to bring about the social, infrastructural, judicial and electoral reforms it seeks before holding elections. In effect, Fiji has been given four weeks to decide. It is doubtful a rushed election will bring any permanent benefits to Fiji, although there is good reason to advance t…