Transparency, Land, Sugar, Abuse of Office, Rinakama, Methodists, Biosecurity

Brief Shorts
Photo: filipspagnoli
(+) Transparency lacking. Speaking at the corporate governance workshop on Monday, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum  said he is worried about the way decisions are being made in some corporations because those decisions do not illustrate transparency.“I have noticed decisions being made before positions are advertised or before expressions of interests are called for service."  People, he said, talk about good governance but do not understand the real meaning of the word or apply it in their lives. The need for transparency and good governance was amply indicated in yesterday's post on the National Bank of Fiji and Agricultural scams, and is further illustrated by the following four  stories. Getting rid of abuse of office and the "culture of corruption" is part of the government Roadmap.

(+) Land a political football.
Landowners who failed to plant sugarcane on land they took back from mainly Indo-Fijian tenants now owe the Native Land Trust Board $3.6million in lease arrears. NLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki explained that rental payments were to come from cane payments made to NLTB by the Fiji Sugar Corporation through the Master Award. "When there are no cane proceeds due to non-cultivation or insufficient cane proceeds, NLTB rent is not paid. 

The Committee of Better Utilisation of Land was looking into unproductive cane farms and land, and Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said landowners were being urged to lease land out to salvage the sugar industry when they were not using it themselves. He said most land was idle in the Western Division and could be put to good use if diverted for use for the sugar industry. The extent of unused land due to the non-renewal of leases to mainly Indo-Fijian tenants, from which no one benefits, is an indictment of the racially divisive practices pursued by some former NTLB administrators and politicans. 

(+) FSC chairman Gautam Ramswarup is also  urging farmers to use land lying fallow and plant new cane to help salvage the sugar industry, saying that production in recent years had declined to levels that threatened the very existence of the Fiji Sugar Corporation. Some 6,000 hectares of land are available for cultivation, which if used, would produce a sugar cane harvest in 2011 of 2.6 million tonnes, up one-quarter of a million tonnes from average production in the past three years. If land is made available, the replanting programme now underway could take production to 4 million tonnes by 2014. Land under production is not the only problem facing the sugar industry but it is certainly one of them.

(+) Abuse of Office? Former Commissioner Central Inoke Devo, charged with abuse of office, admitted in court today that he had authorized his staff to collect alcohol from various outlets and night clubs for their social function and an election workshop using the official government vehicle. He claimed, however, that some items were paid for and others voluntarily donated.

(+) Audit Discrepancies?
The Land Transport Authority CEO Etuate Koroi has been sent on leave while certain allegations made against him are being investigated following an internal audit raised a number of discrepancies.

(-) Rinakama situation still unclear. One of my readers says he say Rinakama in Marks Street last Saturday but another reader close to government said he tried to get information about Rinakama but "got a wall of silence. I am not sure what happened, or what the situation is now."

It is not sufficient, as two of my readers have said, to forgot Rinakama and move on because one person said he's alive and well. Why have others not confirmed this story? Why no word from the man himself?  Someone is not telling the truth. Who is it?

(o) Methodist Church leaders meeting with PM Bainimarama today produced nothing new. Annual Conferences and monthly circuit meetings will not be allowed until 2014. They were told today's meeting attended by 130 church leaders is where they should discuss issues about the church and their members. The situation is unlikely to change until the church replace ministers known for their extreme ethno-nationalist position and governmnent is convinced the church is apolitical.  One rather unkind wit described the church as the SDL party at prayer.

(o) Suva harbour biosecurity officers found a giant African snail in in-bound cargo recently. The snail which can grow to 30cm and weigh 1kg is one of world's most destructive pests of fruits and vegetables and a host to the lung worm parasite which can cause meningitis in humans. The snail, now found in many Pacific Islands, is an hermaphrodite and prolific breeder capable of laying 1,200 eggs per year.  The incident highlights the importance of Pacific-wide co-operation, presently undermined by PI Forum and other regional sanctions.


Anonymous said…

Wow - where to start ?

The AG's comments on transparency make sense - if only the Government and Military would take the lead. Everything seems predetermined and all decisions are made behind closed doors. There are no avenues for redress. After 7 years of this how will government suddenly become transparent ?

If we are going to look back at the NBF dissater we really have to look at the role of the RBF and in particular current Governor Sada Reddy. You can't just blame a coup, but if you do why would the latest coup not also lead to similar dissasters. Why does this military government think they are so different ?

Travel bans blamed for lack of board appointments. This is a regular excuse used by business people (including me)not to join boards. it's a easier than saying no and facing the backlash. Joining is no fun either because you are not really independant and must adopt a military style yes sir a board member !

Finally government needs to learn to do more things at once (more than one thing at a time). or are they just using Tomas as a excuse not to hold media decreee discussions. Probably predetermined outcome anyway and certainly not transparent !

How do I add a PSEUDONYM without setting up google account. Call me paranoid but don't want to be tracked down.
Methodist mayhem said…
Let's see if the Methodist Church heeds the PM's call to purge those in its ranks like Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi who've been so damaging to its own cause and that of the nation as a whole. You shouldn't hold your breath. These guys are ecclesiastical thugs who've held the Methodist Church hierarchy hostage for years. They succeeded in removing one moderate president and have consistently worked behind the scenes to ensure that only those sympathetic to the indigenous cause make it to the top jobs. This isn't "religious persecution" as some critics allege but legitimate action in the national interest to stop an insidious group of troublemakers from inciting racism among the indigenous population. The regime is right to keep them on a tight leash.
The search for Rinakama said…
If Rinakama is free, as TheMax keeps saying, how come no-one else has come forward with a sighting several days on? You're right to be sceptical, Croz. This whole thing smells like the ika section of the Suva market on a hot day.
Driving to destruction said…
The Land Transport Authority is a joke and has been for years. When I sat for my driving test in Suva in 1970, I flunked three times. And deservedly so, because I made mistakes during the test. Every time you go out on the roads nowadays, there's proof at almost every corner that the the same standards no longer apply. Everyone knows the LTA is corrupt. How else can there be so many appalling drivers in Fiji? They certainly wouldn't get a licence anywhere else. The only way to curb the worsening road toll in Fiji is to clean the Authority out vakadua.
TheMax said…
Oilei! WTF is wrong with you people? As I said before, I saw Rinakama last Saturday crossing the street in downtown Suva in good health, wearing a 3/4 short and a jersey. Even the SDL whiners who wrote in the anti-government blog has just admitted to coup4.5. Let's all move on folks.

BTW, Mr Rinakama or his family have no obligation to be telling the blogs where the gentleman is. Why are we going nuts over this issue when even his own family do not see any reason to be telling us anything? Let's not be busy bodies. C'mon let's all move on.
Sceptical to the Max said…
Show us the body, TheMax, and we'll move on. We haven't seen it and until, we do, we won't.
SDL at prayer said…
If you want evidence that the Methodists are the SDL at prayer, just go to Youtube and punch in "SDL Links with Fiji Methodist Church". It's there in living colour out of their own mouthes.
TheMax said…
@ Sceptical

As if I have an obligation to show you the body. I was standing about 2 or 3 metres away from him when he was crossing the road last Saturday. As I said, Mr Rinakama himself is not obliged to let all of us know where he is anyway and so is his family. I'm pretty sure Mr Rinakama and his family are the least bothered about his whereabouts so why the hell are we so concerned when it has nothing to do with bringing food to Mr Rinakama's table?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous, First Time Blogger is your pseudonym. You can write a pseudonym within your comment or click on "Name/URL" when asked to choose an identity. No google account is needed but having one enables you to get automatic notification of new postings and comments.
Anonymous said…
FSC and Cane

Ramswarup is at it again- misleading the public about what is really ailing the sugar industry. FSC's existence is threatened by its own incompetence, inefficencies and inherent corruption. In 2009 enough cane was delivered to the mills to produce more than 200,000 tonnes of sugar. But some 40% of the juice was either dumped or reduced to molasses. While boosting the cane crop is fine - the fact is that even 4 million tonnes of cane will not be sufficient if FSC's mills function at the pathetic levels they did in 2009.

Let's be honest with ourselves.

Angry farmer

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