Ban on Dancer "Appalling," Australian Rules, Fiji Times Reports, Tourism, Provincial Development

Short Briefs

Vou dance groups' principal dancer has been refused a entry permit to perform in Auckland Pacific Festival.  This is an international festival organized by our Pacific Islands community and should be exempt from the bans.
Photo: Fiji Times.

NZ readers are urged to write, email and  otherwise contact their MPs and any others, including the festival organizers,  who may help to reverse this appalling decision, and if this is too late, to record their protest.  We note that often-quoted Nik Naidu of the Auckland-based Coalition for Democracy is reported by RadioNZ to have said the decision is "fair."  Does anyone know how many members Nik's group has, and how representative it is of the Auckland Fiji  community?  I continue to press for more flexibility in the bans, which most  informed observers now agree have been ineffective and counter-productive. The festival starts tomorrow March 6.

No vote, we're playing Australian Rules. Jenny Hayward-Jones seems to think Australian aid gives it a claim to lead Pacific nations. "This is the only region," she says,  "that Australia - which is giving more than $1 billion of development assistance this year - can reasonably claim to lead." Well, I never!

Assassination trial
The Fiji Times reported "a charged silence followed by outpourings of disbelief" when the assessors' verdicts were read in the High Court on Wednesday, while "Ratu Inoke was a picture of stoic acceptance and so were the other accused, politely nodding while dealing with apologetic handshakes and embraces."  

The Times, that has until now been rather sparse with its court coverage,  did, however, have the good grace to note that the jam-packed courtroom included family members of the accused, a following from the legal fraternity, and members of SDL party. But I wonder: if censors were responsible for its earlier lack of coverage, why did they allow this? 

One anti-government blog  chose to report what Ballu Khan had to say (but not Judge Madigan) while another called it a kangaroo court, despite the fact that the decision of  all five Assessors was unamimous, and all five had been accepted by both prosecution and defence lawyers. I fear that dialogue with such bloggers, and the people they speak for, is pointless. Their minds are set in concrete. Perhaps more generally this is what Bainimarama has already decided. There' s little point asking a  concrete or brick wall  for an opinion.

Tourism. There were Some 45,362  visitor arrival in January, an increase of 38% on January last year, despite negative publicity in the main source countries. Australia still topped the list (up 65%) ; New Zealand was up 50%, UK/Europe  up 22%, USA up 4%, Taiwan up 219% percent from a small base, and several other Asian countries showed increases. Visitors from Japan, Canada and the Pacific Island countries declined 13%.  The figures indicate a welcome return to normal after 2009, that had the "worst figures in recent years."  Jetstar will  soon join other airlines (Air Pacific, Air NZ, Qantas, V Australia and Pacific Blue) flying into Nadi. 

Modest economic recovery. Fiji’s economy is expected to make a modest 1.9 percent recovery in 2010. The positive outlook fis supported by economic recovery in selected trading partner countries, with an expected pick up in export demand and higher visitor arrivals.

The Ministry of Provincial Development is seeking to complete major projects -- better roads, water, electricity supply and farming assistance -- some of which were promised by previous governments. This is part of the Roadmap.

Free advertising? Many blogs, including some anti-government blogs, include advertising for which blog their publishers are paid. I am considering including non-obtrusive free advertising for companies that help the Fiji economy. What do readers think?


comsens said…
I am surprised that you are questioning Nik Naidu's credentials and whether he has the support in numbers to make statements regarding NZ government policies in relation to Fiji.

Yet you do not appear to question whether Bainimarama has the right to speak on behalf of the people of Fiji and whether he has the numbers to support his outrageous pronouncements on behalf of Fiji.

Also, I am intrigued that you have not to date made a mention of the latest amendments to Administration of Justice Decree No. 3 of 2010. It will be interesting to see how you justify this particular repressive act of the regime?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Comsens, Carefully reread. I did not question Nik's credentials or his right to speak. We both had a reasonably amiable discussion on the radio a week or so back. I merely wanted information on his NGO. It appears to have no website. Can you oblige?

On the Justice Amendment Decree, all employers, including the NZ and Fiji governments, have the right to state employee conditions of employment and levels of remuneration. Fiji govt's aim is to restructure and downsize the civil service. Civil service reform is part of the People's Charter. As announced, Government will still honour pecuniary obligations owed to civil servants. I take it that your objection is that these decisions cannot be challenged.
Avinesh said…
I have just returned from a trip to Suva from NZ where I have lived for the last 7 years.
While I expected that the economy would have deteriorated I was shocked by the poverty and general state of disrepair of the country.

I visited all my friends and relatives all around Viti Levu and found a general apathy to what was occurring in the country. Every one is in fear of the government. This is not right.

I left the country in disgust at how Qarase was running the country but even he cold not have done as good a job of destroying the country as this administration. If Frank thinks he has the Indian community behind him he is in for a rude shock when it comes to a vote.

I expected that Frank and Co would have had found majority support from all sides in his attempt to clean up the country but he has failed abysmally.

While I would never call for the return of either the SDL or FLP something needs to be done urgently to remove the idiots currently in control.

I had a rude shock in my two weeks at home and believe that any person pushing for Frank to stay should at least spend a few weeks in modern Fiji before opening their mouths.
WTF said…
I always stunned to learn rather educated people the flaws and benfits of 'this decree or that'. The country is ruled by an illegal regime no different in substance to Burma, Gambia Zimababwe or any other illegal regime. What good they claim to do hardly matters does it, would homosexuals be celebrating that they finally got themselves out of the penal code at the point of a gun and to detriment of everyone elses' rights , i hardly think so.
Croz Walsh said…
@ AVINESH, I see this "comment" is a re-publication of what you wrote on another blog, one that, like all the anti-govenment blogs, rejects my comments. It would have been courteous of you to say the comment had been published elsewehere. Sorry the trip went badly. It would have been interesting to learn what your relations actually said. Others describe a different situation with respect to attitudes to the Government. See, for example, Subhash Appana's earlier post on this blog by writing his name into "Search this blog" in the left column.
FiiToday said…

Avinesh made the same comment on a posting on our site and we published it as a post as it was of interest.
He did not offer it as a post only a comment.
FijiToday has never rejected any of your comments. While being anti Frank we seek constructive comments.
TheMax said…
@ Avinesh

Government of previous years in the last 22 years never made any tangible and meaningful development that gets the economy running at full throttle. What the current government under the leadership and direction of Bainimarama and the military council are trying to do is level the playing field and remake the country so that all citizens are equal no matter your colour, creed, or what not. It's a big task and obviously there will be some who may become disadvantaged in the short term while the government goes about remaking everything in Fiji.

While you may have experienced a different perception of the current leadership in wherever you went to, on another side of the scale some people are happy and full of praise of what the government is doing. For example, in some rural Fijian villages and some provinces, they are coming forward to support Bainimarama because they have now since real developments done in their community, province, etc.

So your generalization only shows how narrow you understand and how little knowledge you have about what the RFMF are trying to do. The RFMF are doing what they are are doing not to win a popularity contest. They are doing what they are doing for the sake of re-establishing the people's trust in government institutions and machineries to perform their task to benefit the people. Hence they are not there to win votes.

Lastly, you may also need to know that the Fiji economy does not operate in isolation. The world is undergoing a recession so obviously all economies are affected including Fiji.

In the meantime, you naysayers keep on spreading negative vibes to your like-minded colleagues who got their Qarase lollies and ice cream taken away by the RFMF. The new Fiji is moving forward. It's going to be painful for some but we are persevering for a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren.

I say let's have some patience and come back in 2014 and you'll see the new vibrant and robust Fiji economy and people all working as one country, one citizenship under one name.
Confused to the Max? said…
Ok, so how about a drivel on who does the balances and checks on RFMF excesses in the last 3 years? Given that they've religiously busted their budget continuously over the years and blocked their employer - Government's own Auditor from auditing their books.
Qanibulu said…
@ croz,

"Avinesh" is here just to stir the pot. This sounds like the rantings of one of the rejects from the other racist blogsites.

Dont waste your time responding to this dipstick.
TheMax said…
@ Confused

Didn't you hear Bainimarama back in 2007 talking about this auditing of accounts? Goes to show you were not following what he said back then on Fiji TV. You merely got your news from anti-Bainimarama media reports.

Also why don't you show us your facts and figures about the RFMF excesses.
Croz said…
@ Fiji Today, my apologies. Yours is by far the most reasonable anti-government blog, and you do accept comments. Croz
Croz Walsh said…
@ Fiji Today, Having apologized and re-visited your site for the constructive comments, I see hidden within them a string of vicious, insulting and highly personal comments directed at me that most certainly were not constructive. I know it's difficult to rein in the exuberant but wonder what you will do about them?
FijiToday said…
Our apologies. We were slow off the mark in sorting this out. We have had a "scare" recently and may be considerable quieter in the immediate future.
It appears the Intell boys now have satphone tracking gear.
Anonymous said…
Why do you humor him Croz?
I hope they catch him. He is an annoying flea that deserves what he gets.

Intell boys on satphone said…
Were sitting on our satphone but nothing is happening??? Sorry we upset you Croz - like our boss you like to dish it out to others - especially Fijian patriots - but can't take it yourself - pussy!!!
comsens said…

I'm surprised that as a former academic you see nothing repressive or alarming about Decree 3 of 2010(amendments to the Justice Administration Decree).

1. It represses trade union rights allowing the cash-strapped govt to move at will on public sector salaries. If salaries are slashed unions have no avenue for redress.

2. Allows Ministers to give themselves and their cohorts hefty pay rises that no one can question - or even get to know about

3. Equally alarmingly it gives absolute powers to the State to sell off Fiji's public assets to whomsoever it wills. This is dangerous in terms of accountability and transparency - government will brook no opposition or be answerable to anyone. It also sets the stage for high level corruption.

With such absolute powers, how can one trust that an unaccountable, unelected government will do the right thing by the people of Fiji. Who is to expose their blunderings? As it is there is increasing concern about the tens of millions of dollars being borrowed by the regime - huge overseas debts that future generations will be left to service.

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