(o) Brief Shorts Tues 23.2.10

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.

My posting exposing Sailesi Daunitutu's "600,000 petition" has been taken up by at least one NZ blogger with close government ties, and RadioNZ, perhaps coincidentally, is now referring to two "letters" and not a "petition" signed by more than the total adult Fiji population, but it has not publically apologized or withdrawn its earlier releases. PM Bainimarama has called the petition "toilet paper".

PERS and Dialogue
(+) National Dialogue Forum.The chairmanship and membership of the government's proposed National Dialogue Forum is still to be finalised. The forum, initially scheduled to hold its first meeting this month, is expected to lay the groundwork for a constitutional forum in September 2012.  Link.

(o-) PERS, the Public Emergency Regulations, have again been extended for 30 days, to March 2. The late promulgation of the regulations (22 Feb.) actually results in a nine day extension.   Earlier, Government had given its assurance that PERS would be lifted once the new Media Decree is in place. This would mean the lifting of present restrictions on rights of assembly and free speech deemed acceptable while ensuring "acceptable" standards by the media. I fail to understand why government is taking so long to publish the Media Decree and explain its implications. It seems strange to moot a National Dialogue while preventing the very sort of open discussion that dialogue presumes.

As argued many times, government has far more to lose by curtailing informal dialogues (presently prohibited by PERS) as the much needed broad public platform for the more formal National Dialogue than it does by lifting PERS -- unless, as also previously stated, there is a real security risk.

But if this is the case, it is surely possibly to continue the ban on large public assemblies while permitting people to talk politics over coffee or a bilo of yaqona. Blanket bans win few friends, as NZ's blanket travel bans have shown, while most people would accept the need for more finely tuned assembly and travel bansLink.

Fiji-NZ Links 
Fiji Sun editoral on Fiji-New Zealand links. Link NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully has agreed "in principle" to informally meet PM Bainimarama at next month's Hong Kong Sevens but for some unfathomed reason PM Key thinks that both of them going to Hong Kong is a "spooky coincidence." Perhaps they both enjoy Sevens football. But if Key  is right, my bet would be on Bainimarama beating McCully to the stadium.

Reserve Bank governor Sada  Reddy and the NZ travel bans. Link.  

Today's speech to the House on Fiji by Minister McCully that clarifies some issues.  Link.
(+) Roadmap
Micro-finance: part of the Roadmap to reduce poverty. The new 11-member National Financial Inclusion Taskforce chaired by Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) governor Sada Reddy, with members from banks, micro finance organisations and the business community,  wants 150,000 people to have access to banking services by 2014. The body was established to spearhead government’s microfinance campaign.  Link.

Corruption. Ministry of Works and Transport sacks 50 "corrupt" workers.Link.

Shortage of land surveyors Link.  The shortage has been given as one reason for delays in land transfers and leases.


Typoid outbreak.The Ministry of Health has confirmed 32 typhoid cases, following earlier reports of the disease in Suva's upgraded Jittu Estate squatter settlement and its spread to other parts of the country. Typhoid is a water-borne disease and no threat to people drinking directly from properly regulated reticulated water supplies. That said, I'd be boiling all my drinking water for a while. One wonders whether constant metropolitan water cuts has been a factor in the spread of the disease. Click on "Comments" below to read what an informed reader has to say on the outbreak.


Qanibulu said…
The outbreak of Typhoid is of great concern. This disease has the potential to spread like wildfire and reach epidemic proportions if steps are not taken to contain it.

But the alert from the Ministry of health leaves a lot to be desired. It merely advises people to be careful handling food and to wash their hands. Contrary to popular belief it is not the tap water that is contaminated - it is the infected person who comes into contact with the water that spreads the bug.

In a country like Fiji where the consumption of kava in a communal environment where everyone drinks from the same bilo, the spread of typhoid increases tenfold. It is the worst possible scenario. The water used to mix the grog is never boiled and the tanoa is never disinfected. If one person has typhoid, you can guarantee that by the end of the night all the drinkers will have contracted the disease and become carriers. This scenario is repeated in just about every village and drinking hole around the country. It is scary stuff.

The Ministry of Health should spell out the message loud and clear - if you are sick do not engage in kava drinking. Better still, drink on your own at least until the outbreak is over.

Containment is essential, people need to be told how the bug is spread. A seemingly harmless kava session has the potential to wreak disater and death.
joe said…
It is a good sign and a step in the right direction from NZ. What our neighbours should know by now is that our govt is working hard to restore a true democracy in Fiji, and we will go to polls in 2014. It cant be done any sooner. These things take time, and we are in no hurry either, as this is the best govt that Fiji has ever seen. May I remind OZ & NZ that a large chunk of ex Fijians live there, and are watching. You 2 will go to polls before us.
Proud Fijian said…
@ Croz

There has been some deportations of Indian and Chinese nationals recently.

Intelligentsia Blog said this was a waste of taxpayers money.

I would like to know if this statement was actually correct.
Proud Fijian said…
@ Croz

I meant if the Governement actually paid for the return Flights
Qanibulu said…
@ Proud Fijian ..

These undesirables broke the law - I believe they were involved in prostitution. They probably came in on visitors visas with little or no money.

It would be cheaper for the government to deport them and bring about closure rather than incarcerate them and incur further costs down the line.

The Aussie government have their hands full trying to decide what to do with those "refugees" on Christmas Island. It is costing the Australian taxpayer millions of dollars keeping them there for months while the political stalemate about their future drags on.
Qanibulu said…
On McCully's speech to the House, it is good to see that diplomacy in small measured steps is being implemented. Sensitive bilateral discussions in the early stages is a much better option than the full frontal attack by all and sundry witnessed in previous encounters.

And he does make mention of the inaccurate reporting by certain media organisations.

I think this time round, there is greater understanding. Much more will be achieved.

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