Showing posts from December 13, 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.

Kindness of Strangers

It is being echoed in all quarters of Fiji that times are hard. I was at the Lautoka Fiji Electricity Authority  office paying my bill having a yarn with a fellow citizen and lamenting our high electricity bills. He said that family members from the islands were home for Christmas and that he had to stretch his pay. He wished he could spend Christmas with just his with his wife and two kids.

As I followed him out a beggar was having a meal on the footpath outside. It looked like an empty bag of chicken bones and chips that had been discarded by an uncaring person. He also had a nearly empty and dirty bottle of coke. We stopped, feel…

(o+) Yabaki on Ridding Fiji of its "Coup Culture"

Rev. Akuila Yabaki  argues Fiji must rid itself of its coup culture through seeking an egalitarian, non-race-based constitution.  Click here for a full report in Pacific Scoop by Thakur Ranjit Singh. 
To read Akuila's "From Paramountcy to Equality" download from Mediafire by clicking  here.

One person commenting on the article said: "I have lived in Fiji for 20 years. This sums everything up. NZ and AUST politicians should read and act accordingly on this sensible and true statement..."

Extracts from the report on his talks in Auckland
The constitution should not be allowed to give legitimacy to a race-based politics and elections in this modern world. Removing the race-based politics would endanger support for political parties; hence their narrow political vested interest was the cause of reluctance in supporting this process, especially the Methodist Church and Qarase’s SDL Party.The rationale for militarisation at the positions of power was to increase effici…

(+) NewstalkZB Host’s Visit to Fiji

Read what readers say. Click "Comments" below.
This is a long posting. You may care to digest it slowly, over two of three readings. It is important because it is the first long "pro-Frank" programme broadcast in NZ, and because Leighton records what many "ordinary" people have to say about Fiji.

NewstalkZB’s talkback host Leighton Smith spent an extended weekend in Nadi Fiji (Dec 4-8,2009).This is what he said on Wednesday Dec 9th in a lead up to Thursday’s discussion:

“Much of the time that I was there was spent working (and) discussions with many people, suffice to say it confirmed firmly my belief that Australia and New Zealand have approached Fiji in totally the wrong way. We are dealing with Fiji out of ignorance, superiority and quite frankly political stupidity and I will do my best to convince of exactly that (if you need convincing by the way)…………An Australian up there said to me, (one of the number I spoke with), ask people who think that Fiji …

(G-) Fiji Times, Fiji TV Not Included in Media Decree Consultation

Government says the Fiji Times and TV Fiji will not take part in the consultative process on the proposed Media Decree due to come into effect early next year because "they have demonstrated through their perverse publication and broadcast respectively that they do not recognise the contemporary Fijian legal system, the status of the Bainimarama government, are partisan and not Fiji focused".

Consultations will only include "media organisations and other relevant stakeholders which recognise the Bainimarama government and who have an interest in moving Fiji forward." If they want to be invited they must "change their partisan editorial, publication and broadcast positions and policy." 

The decision is understandable but regretted because Government must engage with its opponents if these and other consultation outcomes are to be accepted as credible, not least by Government well-wishers in Fiji and abroard. ANU's Brij Lal sees "parallels with a…

(-+) Fiji Times: Parrot or Echo? Patriot or Parrotriot?

First, we have managing director and publisher Anne Farrell  say, "We are very supportive of responsible journalism which we believe includes presenting all sides of any issue so that the people of Fiji can consider issues affecting them armed with as much information as possible."
And then, some days later in almost identical words, Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika says, "We remain very supportive of responsible journalism which we believe includes presenting all sides of any issue so that the people of Fiji can consider issues affecting them armed with as much information as possible."

It's not often one sees journalists so stuck for words that they plagiarise their managing director. But once again, the Fiji Times is up to its old tricks trying, as I wrote about Anne's statement, "to score another 'political point' (for that is what your statement is) under the guise of innocent reasonableness."

Netani says the "Times has been nothin…

Immense Cyclone Damage

Readers wishing to learn more of the effect of Tropical Cyclone Mick are referred to the Fiji on-line media, most especially Fiji Live, Fiji Times, Fiji Sun. This Fiji Live  link reports that PM Bainimarama, at Nadi airport and about to leave for Copenhagen, cancelled his trip on learning of the weather situation from the Chief Meteorologist.  Information so far idicates four, and possibly 5, dead, 400 families homeless, 4000 evacuees, severe flooding at Navua and along the Rewa river,  villagers in Bua and the Rewa moved to higher ground, Nausori airport closed, Navua, Nausori and Vunisea (Kadavu) hospitals closed, major roads now reopened, 80% of the country without electricity, many without reticulated water, and severe damage to food crops. The Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC), assisted by the Fire Service and the military, appear to have the situation under control although isolated cases of looting were reported in Lautoka.   No estimate is yet available of the damage but …

(o-) New Crime Decree Mixed Benefits

The new Crime Decree 2009 to come into effect in February has many commendable features; one understandable feature (on prostitution) is an improvement but prostitution is still illegal; and one feature (on abortion) that one reader calls "draconian."  The Decree is taking a while to be published on the Government website so my comment is based on media releases only. First the commendable features:

The  Decree is the first revamp of crimes legislation in a hundred years. It includessound and generally progressive provisions relating to corruption, rape, and procurement of prostitution. New offences such as genocide, crimes against humanity, slavery, sexual servitude and deceptive recruiting and trafficking in persons and children now also fall under this decree. Previously Fiji was not compliant with international laws on trafficking. Internet and cyber offences will also be criminalised. Click for link onetwo. Provision is made to ensure greater consistency in sentencing fo…

(o+) Letter from Sydney: Just Back from Fiji

"I left Fiji after the 1987 coup and now live in Sydney. I have regularly visited Fiji in the last 20 years with a number of cousins etc still there although every year another one or two leave Fiji.

On principle I could not agree with the 2006 Coup although I am pragmatic enough to move forward at some stage. I have just returned from a holiday in Fiji and can tell you that Fiji is as normal as it ever has been in the last 22 years. You would not know there was any political issues on the streets on Suva or any other town.

There is a strong minority who have lost out a lot after the change of Qarase Govt who are still doing their best to destabilise the country but they are a decreasing minority. Can I please suggest you ignore the anti blogs  as they need ozygen to survive and they are being ignored. Sure, there are a couple of dozen people who write and comment  to these blogs but if you read them, you will see there are a few people involved.

The one thing that …

Tropical Cyclone Mick


UPDATE: The cyclone is weakening but still threatens islands in central and southern Lau. Eighty percent of Fiji is still without electricity.

Snippets: Sanctions, Citizenship, Tappoo City, Poverty Money in Wrong Hands, 55 Too Young to Retire

(+) "Smart" Sanctions, Indeed
Fiji's Solicitor-General Christopher Pryde, a Kiwi represents the irony of ‘smart sanctions. Foreigners like Pryde can take up government positions with no penalties, but Fiji citizens are placed on  travel bans.

The so-called "smart" sanctions were supposed to apply to military and senior government people (and their families) but seem to have been indiscriminately applied to anyone holding any senior Government appointment extending even  to membership of the University of the South Pacific Council. Ikbal Janiff’s membership was renewed by the post-coup regime and he is banned from traveling to New Zealand. I understand also that Reserve Bank Governor Sada Reddy has had his NZ Permanent Residence status revoked.

(o) Sane Words from Akuila Yabaki
The executive director of the Fiji Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) says there’s no point holding an election in Fiji until the country’s deep seated racial problems are addressed.Rev. …

“Government Will Not Tolerate Dishonesty or Corruption” -- Khaiyum

In marking International Day of Anti-Corruption on December 9, Attorney-General and Minister for Anti-Corruption, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, sent out a clear message. He said, “Government will not tolerate dishonesty or corruption.” The Minister said Government had put in place and would continue to support measures that would eradicate systematic corruption.

These measures include the successful establishment of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), the unreserved ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the Prevention of Bribery Promulgation, and the modernization of the Penal Code through the Crimes Decree. The Minister said that in May last year, Fiji ratified UNCAC, making the country one in three Pacific Island nations to have done so to date. At the same time, Fiji had volunteered to be part of a pilot project sanctioned by the United Nations to be scrutinised on the steps Fiji has taken in its fight against corruption. We must th…

(+) How Many "Sides" Makes Responsible Journalism?

"SUVA (Radio NZ International Online/Pacific Media Watch): The Fiji government is in the process of finalising a piece of legislation which it says will effectively control irresponsible reporting by the country’s media." Full story.

Commenting on the new decree and hoping to be included in consultations, Fiji Times managing director and publisher Anne Fussell (photo, left) said, "We are very supportive of responsible journalism which we believe includes presenting all sides of any issue so that the people of Fiji can consider issues affecting them armed with as much information as possible."

All I can say to this is -- codswallop!*

Since 2006, and on at least two occasions earlier when the Bavadra (1986-7) and Chaudhry(1999-2000) coalition governments were in power, the Fiji Times was supportive of very irresponsible journalism. Since 2006 their idea of "all sides" was to cite four or more anti-Government sides to one Government side on each issue. And the…