Showing posts from September 27, 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.

Sugar Exports
It is heartening to read about the $32m sugar export, however, we all know that we are capable of exporting more. The Fiji Sugar Corporation had trouble starting the mill. We all know that things could have been better, but that’s another story. Sugar can still be the backbone of our economy, or run parallel with tourism. Agriculture can be the sustaining force propping up everything else.

If we have to, let’s give the land to those who are better toilers and farmers, those who have a greater desire to work a little bit harder. Let’s give the land to those who have a little more endurance than us and let’s all benefit a little at a time.

Having …

(o) People Who Deceive Lose Credibility: AI, Apolosi Bose, Peter Waqavonovono

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An email from Peter Waqavonovono of the Fiji Young Peoples Concerned Network invited me to read "a new report by Amnesty International of Fiji condition." He said the report, published on 8 September, "reveals Fiji's human rights violations."

The"latest violations" reported and written by AI's Apolosi Bose ( a Fijian national) were the detention of Adi Teimumu Kepa and the Methodist ministers who violated the public emergency regulations in July. But, coupled with violations and alleged violations dating back to 2006, all these earlier events were fuzzily presented as recent.

Whatever they might think of the Bainimarama Government, the recycling -- and repetition-- of old news as new, and urging people to act on it, is just straight-out deceit. People who deceive lose credibility.

(+) Blog Rumour Foul*-Mongering and PERs Backfiring

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Some blogs are built on gossip, rumour and hopeful speculation. In the case of Coupfourpointfive, the usually more reasoned of the anti-government blogs, most rumours concern different government officials getting sacked or being moved on. My guess is that their purpose is to keep the pot boiling on supposed divisions within the military and Bainimarama government. As the saying goes, "If you throw enough mud at a wall, some of it is sure to stick." Another blog, based on its "reliable sources", had the military about to revolt and Methodists determined to hold their conference, whatever the odds.

Sometimes the rumours prove true, but most times one waits in vain for the axe to fall on an unsuspecting official. Coupfourpointfive never comments, corrects or apologies for its errors.

(B) Election Formats: Part I Narsey on Proportional Representation and the List System

In this two-part series USP economics Prof. Wadan Narsey and I come to rather different conclusions on the possible outcomes of electoral reform. Wadan's two related articles, Electoral Reform Not about Racial Justice and Does the Military Really Want Electoral Reform? were previously published by Pacific Scoop. I abridge and summarize their contents here with a link to the originals. Part II Walsh New Election Playing Fields and Outcomes will be published next week.


My heart goes out to the people of Samoa, American Samoa and Niuatoputapu, Tonga, and their friends and relatives world-wide. I am sure all readers feel the same.

(o) CCF Media Release

The Citizen's Constitutional Forum Welcomes CMAG Support for
Dialogue Geared at Restoring Democracy
The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) welcomes the call by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) for Fiji’s Interim Government to urgently confirm its readiness to resume a dialogue process. In the statement (26/09/09), CMAG reiterated that the Commonwealth was willing to remain engaged with Fiji in support of any good faith efforts towards the restoration of democracy, including the facilitation of a credible political dialogue process, in accordance with fundamental Commonwealth principles.“CCF urges the Interim Government to commence a nation wide dialogue process earlier rather than later because political power is liable to become corrupt and abusive without the guiding instruments of parliamentary democracy,” CCF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rev Akuila Yabaki said. CCF is aware that a dialogue process had also been envisioned in the People’s Charter for Change, P…

(o) Money Matters

NZAid is to provide F$330,000 to fund Habitat for Humanity Fiji, an NGO that assists low-income people, to repair and retrofit 105 houses damaged by January's floods. F$159,167 has has already been given to the Fiji Red Cross for a Disaster Risk Reduction project in flood-affected villages and settlements. The funding is part of a NZ$3m package to support flood recovery work. --NZAid.

Fiji's Infrastructure Money Situation
Loan. $40m (Exim Bank,Malaysia) to upgrade roads, especially in outer islands. Approved.
Loan. $70m (Exim Bank, China) for Housing Authority and Public Rental Board housing. Approved.
Loan. $240m - total soft loans being sought from China
Non-loan. $190m, Fiji's share of IMF global economic crisis assistance. Received.
Non-loan. $85m, EU, for development assistance (on hold)
Non-loan. $300m, EU, for restructuring sugar industry (on hold)
Undisclosed further amounts sought from International Monetary Fund and World Bank

The Governor of Fiji’s Reserve BankSada Redd…

(o) How Many Others in MFAT Agree with Terence O'Brien?

Diplomats, of course, are diplomatic. They are very careful to say nothing critical of their minister's views until after they retire, when from their many years of experience, typically far exceeding that of their former ministers, they can say what they think. Former NZ senior diplomat Terence O'Brien, who recently chose "hamfisted" to describe NZ's efforts to have Fiji excluded from UN peacekeeping missions, had 40 years with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Its present Minister, Murray McCully, has one.

Kiwi 'Fair Go' Philosophy

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Dear Croz,

Having lived in Fiji for three years from 1990, with visits since, I have a certain understanding of the country and its unusual politics. Like you I believe our government and Australia's are strangely shortsighted. In fact I am at a loss to discover any good reason for the continuing hard nosed stance. I cannot believe it is so petty as to punish them for disobeying the rules, or pique for reneging on a promise made in Wellington in November 2006 and expelling diplomats since. And we certainly don't worry about dictatorial governments when it comes to trade relations. I can only feel there is an underlying power play we know nothing of.

At the same time, it seems that ordinary Kiwis who know a little about Fiji are also puzzled at the apparent unfairness of the situation. Is there something in the Kiwi 'Fair go' philosophy which could draw together the sort of support which woul…

(+) Bainimarama: Why the “Old Elite” Must Go

Fiji will have to get rid of its old elite and their influences before it fully embraces democracy, PM Bainimarama told world leaders UN General Assembly on September 26. “The way of the old elite must never triumph again.” Click here for full report.

(o) Immigration Officers Arrested on Human Trafficking

Click here for full article.

(o+) Why UN and Commonwealth Demands Not Good for Fiji

Minor revisions, 28.9.09
It's not been a good last few days for Fiji internationally. PM Bainimarama called on the UN General Assembly for "patience and understanding" but it is doubtful any of the powers that count took any notice. That's what happens to little players on the international stage. He expressed disappointment that Fiji troops had been barred from new UN peacekeeping operations, despite its long "proud record" since 1978.

There was no doubt who he was referring to when he said, “Our people pose no threat to anyone, least of all to the big powers of the South Pacific who have abrogated to themselves the right to dictate to us our future and the way we govern ourselves. In all of this, they have used their extensive diplomatic and financial resources to deny Fiji to participate in new peacekeeping operations."

Not for the first time he said overseas critics had little understanding of the Fiji situation. They still seem "largely unaw…