Showing posts from September 6, 2009

(Bo+) Update on Corruption: Eradication High on Bainimarama's List

One of the reasons Bainimarama gave for the December 2006 was the need to end what he claimed to be endemic corruption. His opponents and doubters have dismissed his "reason" and the extent of corruption.

But in its 2001 report, Transparency International claimed corruption included civil servants in various ministries, government agencies and public sector companies that were "imposing and demanding ‘extra levies’ for provision of services which they were expected to deliver in the normal course of their duties." Its 2005 report placed Fiji in 55th position with a score of only four points (ten being the least corrupt) on its Corruption Perception Index. Neither report was acted upon by Qarase in 2001 or 2005 despite Fiji being a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). In 2006, before the coup, The Fiji Times also accused the Qarase government of corruption.

In one of my first postings on this blog I expressed the view that the NZ government …

(o) Sir Paul Reeves on his Visit to Fiji

Coupfourpointfive has a useful summary of what Sir Paul said of his Fiji trip after his return to New Zealand.

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.

Beautiful Edinburgh Drive

I drove up Edinburgh Drive after about 15 years and marveled because it had always been a beautiful road. Well, I suppose with the road being named after Edinburgh in Scotland and it's association with the Duke of Edinburgh and royalty.

But I was accosted by the stench of rotting vegetation when I stopped to take a picture of Walu Bay. A passerby had a mask over his face and I wondered if it was because of the Pandemic H1N1. He looked like an outlaw cowboy. The only thing missing was the horse and six-shooter.

When he greeted me, he said, “You OK with the smell?” I said that I had just arrived from Lautoka after 15 years and was…

Fiji: Situation Normal

Comments by the editor of the NZ National Business Review.
NBR Editor's INSIGHT 3/9/2009 � Amnesty report on Fiji human rights disappointing

(o) Three-Year Old Editor of Leading NZ Newspaper?

The DominionPost is Wellington's daily newspaper. What it writes rarely passes unnoticed by the nation's policy-makers. The newspaper's editorial of September 4 was headed "Dictator Behaving Like Spoilt Child." This is how it opened:

"Question: What is the difference between Fijian dictator Voreqe Bainimarama and a badly behaved three-year-old?
Answer: The three-year-old eventually works out that it's no fun being permanently consigned to his room with no-one to play with. Unfortunately for Fiji, Mr Bainimarama is a slower learner. Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth is just the latest indignity to be inflicted on the country by the intransigence of its self-appointed prime minister...."

Infantile editorials, that stoop to personal slurs (and are so eurocentric as to think Fiji and Bainimarama's prime concern should be international opinion) written in a major NZ newspaper hardly make one proud to be a New Zealander. From the "Waikikam…

(o) Reactions to the Amnesty International Report

Cafe Pacific has both complimentary and condemnatory comments on the release of this report.
Pacific Scoop is expected to publish my comments tomorrow.

(B) Questionable Dealings in Fijian Holdings Ltd

Former publisher of the Daily Post in Suva Thakur Ranjit Singh details the questionable dealings by Laisenia Qarase and others in Fiji Holdings Ltd, a 14-year old saga that still seeks a satisfactory resolution. This is an important background paper which, if true, shows how sections of the Fijian elite cheated their own people.


How Fijian Provinces were betrayed and looted by the Fijian Initiative
Thakur Ranjit Singh, Auckland, New Zealand
People of Fiji had been told of corruption and questionable dealings by those who were considered the marshals, saviours and guardians of Fijian race. When Frank Bainimarama sacked the government and took charge, his reasoning, among others, was to save the Fijian race from unscrupulous and wanting leadership. My purpose here is to substantiate this through reporting on Senate proceedings of some 14 years ago.When Adi Quini Bavadra was alive she tried her best to reveal the dealings in Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) but people with power …

(+) RealFijiNews Blog Still Receiving Comments

The Pro-Governmnent blog RealFijiNews stopped making postings a week ago but comments from former readers keep coming in. I wish I could say the same for this blog that attracts far too few comments. One of the attractions of blogs, particularly when the Fiji media are publishing virtually no political items, is that readers can comment anonymously on the political situation. Democracy can flourish in cyberspace.

"Brisco's" comment below may be a little "over the top" on Bainimarama, but it does draw attention to Qarase's excesses: his bloated Cabinet with 36 ministers; his questionable dealing in Fijian Holdings shares; and his very generous treatment of Speight and other 2000 coupsters. I reprint it here to draw attention to a blog that otherwise might be thought to have ceased -- and in envy. I wish my readers would comment more often, and vote in the polls noted in the lefthand column.

Here's what "Brisco" wrote in RealFijiNews today.


Revoke Increased Busfares: ECREA

Decision to increase bus-fares must be revoked and a proper assessment done!

ECREA calls on the authorities to bring back the old bus-fare immediately and carry out a proper assessment before increasing bus-fares.“The recent increase in bus-fares is having a serious and detrimental impact on our school children particularly those from lower income earning families.

We have been informed by people in informal settlements of their children not being able to attend school as a direct result of bus-fares increasing”, said Chantelle Khan, Director of the Ecumenical Center for Research, Education & Advocacy (ECREA).

Ms. Khan stated that “Since the new school term has began we are mindful of the fact that many families are now living through this added hardship of increased bus-fares.
We are concerned at the process taken by the LTA to arrive at this percentage increase that has in effect given bus companies the advantage to increase busfares. We also question the calculations ma…

(o+) Amnesty International Report Disappointing

Apology. Josephine, my apologies. You did not deserve my attack. You were asked to report on the content of the AI report, not to comment on or analyze it. I think I "saw red" with the comparision between the Gestapo and Fiji. To my generation, or anyone who knows about Nazi atrocities, there is no comparison, but all you did was quote the uninformed and hysterical words of another. I'm sorry!

Josephine Latu in Pacific Media Watch had to comment and publish the latest Amnesty International report on Fiji, but to do so quite uncritically,with no indication of when the report was mainly researched, and with a headline taken from the emotional outburst of one person interviewed (regime's "gestapo-like intimidation) is not good journalism.*

As for the report itself, I can only say I'm deeply disappointed with Amnesty International, an organization that over the years I have admired and financially supported. Its title tells all: Fiji: Paradise Lost: A Tale of …

(-) Electoral Reform Not About Racial Justice: Narsey

USP's Professor Wadan Narsey has an article on this topic in Pacific Scoop, and a second instalment is to follow.

I believe some of his analysis and deductions are flawed, and shall argue along these lines when his second instalment is published.

Fiji's future political alternatives need to be publicly debated in Fiji's media, and not be limited to blogs and websites published from overseas. Unless Government is privy to information not generally known, the Emergency Regulations need to be lifted and the President's Political Dialogue Forum reconvened very soon. How else can there be constructive feedback on the Government's intended reforms? Meanwhile, check out Wadan's argument. Photo: USP.


Chaudhry's FLP on the Commonwealth Suspension, But Where's the FLP's"Road Map"?

The Fiji Labour Party website reveals something of Mahendra Chaudhry's thinking. He sees Fiji's Commonwealth expulsion as regrettable (but is heartened it will remain engaged in seeking an early return to constitutional rule); largely symbolic (because little technical aid is involved, although Fiji's young people will miss out on the Delhi Games) -- but it does send a "clear message" to Bainimarama to reconvene the President’s Political Dialogue Forum and hold elections by October next year.

In awaiting the arrival of the Commonwealth special representative, Sir Paul Reeves, this week, Chaudhry lists the things the Government needs to do: include the SDL and FLP in discussions; reconvene the PPDF; and re-examine its roadmap.

He has no list of the things his party (and the SDL) need to do. Which is a pity because positive FLP (and SDL) roadmaps just might produce a positive Bainimarama response. The FLP and the SDL need to spell out what they have learnt from t…

High Noon Quiz Answers 3

[Please see Quiz 1 for infomation.]

1. Revs Tomasi Kanailagi and Manasa Lasaro;2. Archbishop Petero Mateca; 3. Horowhenua; 4. Post to a friend; 5. Cairns Forum meeting.

6. 1874 and 1970; 7. Burebasaga, Kubuna,Tovata; 8. Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau and Ratu Enele Ma'afu; 9. Sir Arthur Gordon; 10. Leonidas.

This will be the last quiz. I presume some readers have looked at them but no one has submitted an answer. There seems to be insufficient interest to continue.

(oB) Fijian Commoner 'Should Be Free': CAMV

Politics, especially politics in a small-scale society where personal loyalties and pride are often more important that ideologies and policies, are never simple. I've sometimes wondered whether this is why Fiji bloggers of opposing persuasions first insult and then pray for each other. Today's enemies could be tomorrow's friends, and vice versa, so it's wise to cover your bets.

There have always been shifting alliances within and between Fiji's political parties, and chiefs (often from the same family), business people, academics and civil rights leaders stand on both sides of Fiji's present political divide. But now we have developments and alliances that only six months ago seemed impossible. Two weeks ago we saw old enemies Qarase and Chaudhry unite in a letter to Bainimarama. I put the letter down to a publicity stunt but there could also be real substance in what I called their "arranged marriage."

Now there's an even more amazing development.…

Media Censorship Easing; Methodists ; Tourism Hurting; Howard's Law Office Break-in

Netani Rika, Editor of The Fiji Times

Photo: The younger Netani when interviewed for the USP student journalism paper Wansolwara in April 2002, several years before the 2006 military coup.

Before you read the whole interview and the posting that follows, here are three answers he gave to the student journalist's questions:

How do you reconcile having an opinion column and being deputy editor of your own newspaper?
A good journalist is able to separate himself or herself from personal opinion and the newspapers, and also what is hard news and what is opinion. And you should be able to write a hard news story even though you disagree with the opinion of those who are stating their opinion in your story--2002.

What kinds of responses do you get from different people, people on the streets, politicians, other journalists?
Hate, fear, envy, respect. Over the course of writing there have been threats against me, threats against the newspaper, and threats against my family.

What motivates you t…