Repentant Rabuka, Graduates, Land Reform, Media Decree, Walsh "Dumped"
Rabuka: I Was Wrong
Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka, OBE, MSD, OStJ, architect of Fiji's first coup that overthrew the Fiji Labour Party-led Government of the late Dr Timoci Bavadra in 1987, and who later in the same year carried out another coup to stop the return to civilian rule, visited Viseisei village in Ba yesterday to apologize to the Bavadra family and pay his respects to past President the Tui Vuda Ratu Josefa Iloilo.
His chief-backed SVT party won the 1992 election and Rabuka became the PM. He lost the 1999 election because extreme Fijian nationalists felt threatened by the SVT "reconciliation" with the Indian National Federation Party.The subsequent fragmentation of the ethnic Fijian vote and near demise of the NFP resulted in the election of Mahendra Chaudhry's mainly Indian Fiji Labour Party-led government that was overthrown a year later by the "Speight" Coup, another attempt to protect the interests of extreme nationalists and the ethnic Fijian elite. Significant, in the context of' the recent Limitation of Liability for Prescribed Political Events Decree 2010, Rabuka passed legislation to prevent prosecution for the 1987 coups, and later, although not a chief, he chaired and was made a life member of the Great Council of Chiefs.
Those who most criticize Bainimarama now in the name of "democracy" were singularly silent on Rabuka and events from 1987 to 2000.
Rabuka now admits he was wrong. He said "justice finally kicked in" when the soldiers came and took his Government 4-wheel drive vehicle and his Prime Minister's pension was scrapped earlier this year.
Unemployed Graduates. The Chamber of Commerce estimates that only 35% of the 1,000 recent graduates from The University of the South Pacific will find jobs, due to the difficult economic climate. A USP spokesman said: “It may take a little bit longer for students to find jobs. The job market has not grown at the same rate as we’ve produced graduates. So naturally there’ll be some difficulties in finding jobs, but graduates who’ve got very good results [will] get absorbed in the employment market sooner or later.”
Land Reform. The PM's Office is working on measures to to bring more land into productive use with long, secure leases that will benefit both landowners and tenants. The measures are essential to encourage commercial farming, crop diversification, and resolve problems pertaining to the ailing sugar industry that has seen production drop sharply this year.
Fiji's First Food Symposium held today was told that milk imports increased from $39.4 million in 2004 to $62.5 million in 2008 while production and the number of registered farmers decreased. Major developments to boost the dairy industry will be discussed when the PM meets Rewa Dairy Cooperative Board members and farmers tomorrow.
Media Decree. The Ministry of Justice is still working on the draft decree. A-G Sayed Khaiyum said "We are currently transcribing what was said at the consultation and are going to give copies to all participants." Some useful suggestions were madeat the Consultation, participants will be "kept in touch," and the Ministry is open to receive further oral or written comments.
Media independence and the Fiji Politically-Correct Brigade
Reprinted from David Robie's Cafe Pacific*
WHAT ON earth has happened to Radio New Zealand? Or rather, Nights host Bryan Crump? He has apparently dumped professor adjunct Crosbie Walsh, the most informed New Zealand-based blogger and commentator on Fiji affairs (naturally you would expect this calibre as former and founding director of the development studies programme at the University of the South Pacific). Walsh is such a tonic after the plethora of one-eyed and sensationalist anti-Fiji blogs that clutter cyberspace. (Photo: RadioNZ)
According to Walsh, Crump rang him last night, saying he didn't want the blogger/commentator on any more on Nights programmes. Why? Apparently because Walsh "feels too strongly" on Fiji issues (why not? ... he lived there for more than eight years) and he "borders on the emotional" for this programme.
Crump added: "It's not what a lot of my colleagues want to hear." Take this as you wish. Three more planned programmes on nights for Walsh for June, September and November have been canned.
Crump reckons the Nights spot works best with "commentators" and Crosbie is seen as an "advocate". In fact, Walsh goes to great lengths to get some sort of balance in his blog commentaries, something sorely missing with many media commentators on Fiji. To be fair to Crump, he did invite Walsh to a symposium on Fiji later this year and, according to Walsh, was keen to interview him early next year.
From all reports, Walsh had an enthusiastic response to previous Nights programmes. This has got Café Pacific wondering, especially when it is considered how unbalanced both Radio New Zealand and Radio Australia frequently are on Fiji commentaries. Opponents of the regime regularly have a field day, but many commentators who try to provide a bit more depth into explaining the Fiji "revolution", as Auckland University's Centre for Pacific Studies political sociologist Dr Steven Ratuva described it last week, or are not sufficiently PC or are too "soft" on the regime, are sidelined.
A good example of this was a "stacked" Radio Australia feature by Bruce Hill marking the anniversary of the abrogation of the Fiji constitution one year on - four interviewees with a vested interest against the regime: Deported Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter - an Australian now living in Apia and is currently development editor of the Samoa Observer; an Australian judge, Ian Lloyd, who ruled against the regime; Australian National University professor Brij Lal - one of the three architects of the abrogated 1997 constitution; and Fiji Law Society president Dorsami Naidu versus Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. Where was the independent commentator to balance this line-up?
Where was the independent commentator to balance this line-up?
Incidentally, this piece by Thakur Ranjit Singh challenging "media freedom" in Fiji as peddled by the media old guard, is likely to ruffle a few feathers.
* Professor Robie, currently Head of Journalism at AUT, formerly held similar positions at the University of PNG in Port Moresby and the University of the South Pacific in Suva. He has written extensively on the South Pacific over many years.
The story is also covered in Pacific Scoop.