Revolution, Bainimara in Lomaiviti, Media Decree, Economy, Corruption: Short Briefs



How True!
Almost Like a Revolution: Ratuva. Saturday was  the first anniversary of the Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution. Reviewing the year on RadioNZI Auckland University's Dr Steven Ratuva,  said major changes had been introduced doing away with almost all the previous governing structures: “In fact the transformation is almost total, it’s almost like a revolution, like a scorched earth policy in the way it’s been carried out. All the old institutions like the Great Council of Chiefs, the Parliament, the Cabinet, the President’s position, the judiciary, the civil service, much of those have been reconfigured.” Ratuva acknowledged the opposition to the regime but said  there is also considerable support. Some areas now have "infrastructure and assistance that was not provided under previous elected governments."

PM Bainimarama resumed his tour of provinces  yesterday by visiting Ovalau Island in the Lomaviti Group. He will inspect hurricane damage, hold consultations around the island and meet with local chiefs. The PM will visit the rest of the Lomaiviti Group  for a week-long tour next week.

Auckland Fijian Broadcaster, Community Leader differ on draft Media Decree.

THE ECONOMY

PM meets World Bank officials. The PM said the economy has "taken a hit" over the last two years due to natural disasters and the global economic crisis, but the country is working hard to bounce back. He told the visitors Government was "eager to hear what the World Bank views are on Fiji. We will take on board the World Bank's advice and work towards fulfilling clearly defined targets that will strengthen the country’s socio-economic base.” Land reforms and the sugar industry are high on the agenda. The PM said the Bank had given its support for these  initiative and plans are in place for it to assist farmers.

Bird Farming. A project jointly funded by National Planning and Pacific Feeds Ltd will soon provide employment for men and wowen in Naluuwai village, Naitasiri. The villagers will raise 250 chickens for the next 18 weeks before they are old enough to lay eggs. Managed well, total village revenue should be $23,000.

Butter Powdered Milk Prices Increase. The retail butter price is up by 52% and powdered milk by 40%. 500g of butter will now cost consumers F$5.40, the same as supermarket prices (NZ3.99) in NZ.  The Fiji increases are due to increased world prices for dairy products. Rapid anti-government bloggers will, of course, blame the increases on the government.

New Zealand Firm Wins Tender. Tenix Robt Stone, with a local partner, will start work in June on a $4.2 million water supply project that will more effectively utilise and fill the Dokainisuva, Noco and Ovea Reservoirs and see improved water supply volume and pressure in Greater Suva and nearby Nausori.

Made in China. The 750 sewing machine to be distributed by a visiting All China Women’s Federation delegation this week will assist rural women living  close to urban areas by adding a new source of income to their usual small businesses activities that include needlework and weaving mats. Some 200 sewing machines were previously donated last year.The delegation will meet the women groups in the western and central divisions to share ideas and opportunities aimed at development of women in Fiji.

The Chinese Ambassador says is making Fiji an paradise for investors. “We have seen reforms within the public service, legislations and decrees introduced to safeguard the economy. We believe that under the leadership of the Fiji government, Fiji will become a paradise for investors.” [Not too much of a paradise, I hope!]

CORRUPTION, INEFFICIENCIES
Corruption and Abuse of Office. Former Commissioner Central Inoke Devo has been jailed for nine months  by the High Court in Suva on charges of corruption and abuse of office brought against him by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Pay Stolen. A Government audit has revealed that pay packets were being stolen at the Divisional Engineer Northern’s office.

Accounts Committee Concerned with Couldn’t Care Less Attitude. Serious breaches of the government rules and regulations have been found within the Department of Mechanical, Works and Engineering at the Ministry of Works by the Public Accounts Committee in its scrutiny of the Auditor Generals 2006 report on the Infrastructure Sector.

Workers Paid $100,000 to Drink GrogThe Public Accounts Committee revealed the figure in their latest report saying “audit site visits confirmed the men were idle and staff were drinking grog.”  The practice was rampant at the Western Divisional Engineer’s Office. 

Senior Police Officers Taken into Custody, charged with insubordination.

Government Clawing Back Former Civil Service Perks. Some 50 Government Quarters are now earning commercial rents, and a further 12 vacant quarters will be renovated soon. PSC Permanent Secretary Parmesh Chand  said that out of the 200 pool quarters in Suva, 100 would be on commercial rent by end of this year and expected revenue collected from the rental for Suva pool quarters only will be over $500,000.00.Chand said civil servants currently occupying pool quarters and not eligible to such quarters will be required to vacate the quarters by 31st December this year and those quarters will be renovated and put on commercial rent to the public as well. Non-entitled civil servants wishing  to occupy government pool quarters in Suva will pay commercial rent. 

[Rooting out corrupt practices and reforming the Public Service arepart of the Roadmap.]

*****

Conversation in a Novel I'm Reading.
 "Three things are certain in this life: death, taxes, and that the press will get it wrong," she said. "Once someone writes it wrong, it stays wrong," he said. 
[Fiction is sometimes as true as truth!]

Comments

TheMax said…
As a matter of fact, what Bainimarama and the RFMF are doing is actually the revolution that Fiji desperately needed for a long long time. This was what should have happened right after coup 2000 and it would have ended the turmoils that beset Fiji after coup 1987. It would have exorcised the demons of the colonial era as well.

Fiji desperately need to get out of racial politics once and for all in order to realize its true potential as a first rate economy and a peaceful, progressive democracy.
More level playing field said…
Good to see Steve Ratuva being a lot more sensible than he has in the past in recognising the regime's growing grass roots appeal simply for delivering basic services. Too few people understand that the most important thing in a developing country isn't catering to the needs of the educated elite but using scarce resources to improve the lot of the poor and isolated. Thankfully, Frank Bainimarama isn't joining the ranks of corrupt third world leaders who've enriched themselves at the expense of their countrymen. He's going out to explore for himself the needs of ordinary people and trying to give them the basic things they need, like access to water, health and education. As he rightly says, the rest is up to them. He's also willing to demonstrate for the first time in post independent Fiji that getting a job in government isn't a free pass to a life of privilege. By forcing civil servants in Suva to either vacate their government housing or pay commercial rents, he's sending a clear message to everyone that the gap between rich and poor in Fiji needs to be narrowed. And that's no bad thing, whatever the rest of us feel about other parts of his program. I don't like the idea of journalists being punished for their stories nor too many instances of summary justice being metered out to the regime's opponents. But it's good to see someone running Fiji for the small guy for a change, rather than the fat cats who've got even fatter in the past 40 years. When Steve Ratuva starts to recognise that, we're getting somewhere.

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