Na Sala Cava New Website, Sun Rises Again, Aus-NZ-Fiji, Beddoes, Sugar Leases, Samoa "Pot"
NEW BLOG SITE. Instead of summarizing the comments as previously intended, I have opened a new blog site, Na Sala Cavu? Which Path Forward for Fiji? Click here here to check it out how it looks for #1-3 . More details tomorrow.
FIJI SUN RISES AGAIN. The Fiji Sun 'article' lauding the PM, criticized so strongly by this blog and readers, was not a hoax but neither was it an article. It was, in fact, a letter to the editor published by the Sun last Saturday and uploaded, more of less automatically, to the Sun's website.
AUSNZ OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY, FIJI, PACIFIC. PM Bainimarama has condemned the PI Forum Secretariat for not including Fiji in trade and development talks being funded by the European Union. Bainimarama says the EU has provided funds through the Forum Secretariat for trade and development talks between Pacific Ministers and officials wanting to trade with the EU. He says Fiji should be part of these talks despite its suspension, but the Forum Secretariat is not including Fiji due to the influence of Australia and New Zealand. The EU has not cut off relations with Fiji.
MIKE BEDDOES CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT. Speaking to RadioNZI, ousted opposition leader Mike Beddoes challenged Voqere Bainimarama to stand in the 2014 Elections. He said, “I’m assuming I’m one of the people that he (Bainimarama) would rather not see get elected to the House. For me there is a very simple way to sort it out. He can assign someone to stand against me or he might want to stand against me. Or he might want to form a party and go to the polls because it’s not my decision, it’s not the politicians’ decision. It’s the people’s decision.” The PM has said he wants a new generation of politicians to stand in the elections. [Why did RadioNZI ring Fiji to get this response? Mike said nothing he's not said before so it's hardly news. The station can't even reply to my emails.]
SUGARCANE TALKS. A second round of consultations, involving the NLTB and landowners, to get leases renewed is expected soon.The first week-long round, involving the Committee for Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) and mataqali, the extended family landowning units, concluded two weeks ago. Tavualevu mataqali in Ba Province had held a joint meeting and had concluded they needed expert advice to resolve a few issues. The Turaga ni Koro said "There are some landowners who have debts with NLTB because of unpaid leases and there is also the issue of the amount of land owned by each mataqali. Three mataqali's in the village own huge pieces of land whose leases will soon be expired and the others have smaller pieces of land." The PM said that if it previously took the NLTB two years to perform these tasks, he wanted it done in two months.
POT AND KETTLE. SAMOA MEDIA NOT FREE. With Samoan PM Tuilaepa berating Fiji on its media laws, this is what Savea Sano Malifa, founder and editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer, had to say about media freedom in Samoa: "Tuilaepa should now turn those words of his into action, and remove all the restrictive policies threatening to stifle media freedom and freedom of information in his own country. He can start by repealing the Publishers and Printers Act 1992, declare defunct the policy allowing public funds to be used for the legal fees incurred by government leaders suing newspapers for defamation, and chuck out the ancient British law of criminal libel from Samoa’s law books. That would be a big improvement. And then to really convince (people that) he intends to make Samoa’s media “free, strong and robust” so that they can help him and his government 'tackle institutional corruption,' all he has to do is introduce an Official Information Act in his country."