Chiefly Disputes, No More Racism, Poor Accounting, NZ's Phillip Taula

CHIEFLY Money. Who should receive money from land leases and other entitlements is the main cause of chiefly disputes in the country, says  an official of the PM's office. Kisoko Cagituevei told FBC News that differences over who should hold chiefly titles should not happen, but money was causing most of the disputes to drag on. Cagituevei says it must be clear that a chief’s responsibility is to his or her people and not to money. He says officials from the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs are visiting districts and villages that are having chiefly title disputes to help solve the issue.

"NO Racism in Fiji After 2014."  The RadioFiji heading is not quite what PM Bainimarama said. Racism cannot be removed by government decree or elections. Overseas studies have shown that residual racism, affecting 5-15% of the population, remains whatever governments do to remove it. A similar proportion probably believe the earth is flat.

 The article went on: PM said that "the new government that will come into power after the 2014 elections must continue on the current multiracial path being forged for Fiji and not return to racism." The reforms being put in place will ensure that the incoming government does not divert from their vision for a  better Fiji. He says people not allow politicians to take them back to the racist discourse of the past.

This is a very different perspective to that of ousted Fiji Sun publisher Russell Hunter who claims the 2014 election will produce "a puppet parliament in thrall to the military." I've no doubt the military will ensure the new government keeps to the new Constitution but I can't see how this would make it a puppet government.

UNPAID Water Rates. As a further example of the need to improve the civil service, an assessment of the 2006 Auditor General's report on Infrastructure Services shows laxity by the Department of Water and Sewerage in the recovery of $36 million, $15.4 of which was outstanding for over five years.

FNPF (Fiji National Provident Fund) has  written off  $327 million worth of its assets in order to reflect the true value of members accounts. This is an auditing adjustment. The amount in individual member's funds remains the same.

RADIO Fiji Reports that Police took ten executives of the Van and Carrier Operators Association in for questioning yesterday during their annual meeting. No reason was given.

GOOD For Business. Fiji Ranks 85 out of 179 countries on a scale measuring the ease of doing business in a country. Fiji is ahead of other South Pacific countries except Samoa, which is rated at 84. Vanuatu is rated at 108, Micronesia 142, PNG 126, Kiribati 166, Tonga 127 and Solomon Islands at 170. Of countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Fiji ranks 14 out of 41. China ranked 124, India 134, Brazil 113, Russia 143 and Sri Lanka 120.

STANDARD And Poor aka Very Poorly,  the same ratings agency that gave many American financial instutions clean bills of health before they collapsed, says the quality of data emanating from Fiji has been declining in recent years. Kyran Curry says the outlook for Fiji is stable as the vital tourism sector is recovering from last year's global downturn, but figures are not as reliable any more because of the gradual militarisation of the bureaucracy. Well, to what else would they attribute as the cause!

NEW ZEALAND Acting Head of Mission Phillip Taula launched the Save the Children Fiji’s five-year strategic plan on Tuesday. Referring to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Fiji is a signatory, he said "the rights of children transcend cultural and political traditions; regardless of gender, religion, economic status, nationality, or any other differences that exist. Save the Children's vision of a world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation is entirely consistent with the Convention. Education is also the focus of New Zealand's key area of support for Save the Children Fiji.”

NEW ZEALAND Immigration in Suva will now require all immigration advisers and service providers providing advice about travel to New Zealand will have to be licensed by New Zealand Immigration.

Comments

just checking said…
Pleased to hear Croz that you have 'no doubt' the military will 'ensure' the new government keeps to the new constitution. Is this what you see as the role of a military in a nation? What else in your view should the military 'ensure' the government do??
Sounding very much like Germany in the 30s to me?
Croz Walsh said…
@ just checking. My meaning was perhaps not clear. The comment followed from Russell Hunter's assessment. The Bainimarama Government will have a big input into the Constitution (whether we like it or not). It seems highly unlikely therefore that they will not support it post 2014.
Media bias said…
Croz, the number of journalists reporting on Fiji with a personal axe to grind sometimes makes it hard for the rest of us to form a balanced view of what happens in the country. Russell Hunter is one of them - so demonstrably seething about his own expulsion from Fiji that it clouds his every pronouncement on events there. The same is true of the lamentable Michael Field, who pollutes the NZ media with so much negativity about Fiji that much of what he says bears no relationship whatsoever to what's really happening on the ground. The ABC's Pacific correspondent, Sean Dorney, is another one who seems so peeved by his own exclusion from Fiji that censorship and and human rights abuses are almost the only issues nowadays that ignite his interest in the country. And of course there's the dreadful Barbara Dreaver, the TVNZ reporter who's so in the thrall of the "pro-democracy at costs lobby" that she comes across sounding like their chief spokesperson. Small wonder that only the regime's fiercest critics get any oxygen at all when it comes to commentary on Fiji. There are people like David Robie, Shailendra Singh and yourself who aren't propagandists and give the regime what for whenever it transgresses, as in the draft media decree. But where are your voices on the mainstream media? Your crimes in the eyes of the aforementioned hacks and their acolytes seem to be that you see any good at all in what the regime does. You obviously need to be part of the club to get any air time and that means slavishly sticking to the line that Qarase should never have been deposed no matter how many racist policies he inflicted or how many people were disadvantaged. I think history will judge these journalists harshly for their lack of balance and detachment. To paraphrase the great Churchillian saying: Never in the field of Pacific reporting have so many been duped by so few.
Anonymous said…
Croz, check out the Fiji Times editorial on the FNPF's loss of $327 million on the Natadola project. Netani Rika has written a scathing indictment of the decision making process and calls for a national inquiry into what went wrong. No censors on this one, of course, because it happened under the previous government. Maybe it'll finally dawn on people like Rika that Frank was right to identify corruption as a principal reason for the 2006 coup. The regime's critics keep harping that this was a furphy, a smoke screen to justify the unjustifiable. Now, we're learning that the corruption wasn't just petty but massive - outright fraud perpetrated against the ordinary people of Fiji. And where it really hurts, their meagre life savings. For once, I find myself agreeing with Netani. It's time for the day of reckoning, to bring these criminals to justice.
What the ....? said…
It's amazing that the Natadola project as been independently valued at $85-million when they spent $300-million on it. More than $200-million down the toilet. Where did the money go and who to? Who to is what I really want to know. When there's such a big discrepancy, you can be sure it's not just bad planning or a poor investment. This thing really stinks.
whoops said…
Sorry, Croz, that anonymous posting above was mine. Call it Natadola scam.
Itchy fingers said…
To Whoops

Don't take for granted that there was no censorship on the Natadola story. It's always difficult to tell what was originally in a story, if the published version has been 'sanitised'.

You might recall that the FNPF board was changed completely in 2007. That was followed by another wholesale change in 2009.

Plenty of fingers in plenty of pies between 2007 and 2009? Only those close to this shoddy episode in FNPF's history will ever know the real story. I'm sorry to say that won't include Fiji's general public.
Coups bring prosperity?? said…
Yes, the collapse of the Fijian economy and the destruction of the rule of law in Fiji since the Dec 2006 coup and the imposition of the illegal junta is very alarming. Fiji will need a real clean out of this cabal to recover.

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