Arab League Friends, More Judges, NZ Law Society Refuse Fiji Ad., Momi Decree, Civil Service Reforms
(+) NEW FRIENDS IN MIDDLE EAST. Fiji Sun editorial (abbreviated.)
In case you hadn't noticed, the Government is not just strengthening and building relations throughout Asia, in Russia, and with such Non-Aligned Movement leaders as Cuba. Another growing partnership is being forged in the Middle East. The PM and Attorney-General are in the United Arab Emirates this week for a meeting between the League of Arab States and Pacific Islands nations. Their presence emphasises the importance the Government places on these ties.
The meeting is organised in cooperation between the Arab League and the United Arab Emirates to will discuss ways to boost trade, investment and ties between the Arab states and Pacific Islands nations.
The Government is also known to have followed up on an official visit by United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in February. This includes on the Pacific Islands Partnership Programme the United Arab Emirates is developing. It was no coincidence that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stopped over in the United Arab Emirates just a few weeks ago.All this underscores again the failure of Canberra and Wellington's efforts to isolate us internationally.When will they accept the realities of Fiji today and that they cannot dictate Fiji's internal affairs?
[The Arab League has set aside US$100 million to assist the Pacific, which is fully financing the trip.]
(o) JUDGE RECRUITMENT TO EASE WORKLOAD. The Chief Justice Hon. Anthony Gates has signalled there will be more Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges appointed this year to help ease the pressure on High Court judges. Speaking at a National Judicial Workshop he asked judges and magistrates to recommend lawyers who theyconsidered had "the necessary attributes of honesty, integrity, competence,knowledge, discretion and judicial manner."
He also commended them for accepting their judicial appointments despite "the travel bans imposed on us by Australia and New Zealand."
For the remainder of the year his Office is concentrating on recruitment of judicial officers, the collection of overdue fines, and training, which will be extended to clerks, referees, justice of peace and commissioners of oaths.
NZ LAW SOCIETY REFUSE FIJI RECRUITMENT AD.
During my recent visit to Fiji the Chief Justice informed me the NZ Law Society had refused to accept a full page advertisement seeking to recruit NZ judges. I shall write about my meeting with him and other judges soon.
(G) MOMI BAY DECREE. Government has promulgated this decree to ensure the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) does not incur any further losses through the Momi Bay Resort Project. The FNPF will now have control over the property which will allow development to continue, but the decree will not affect any proceedings institute in the courts by trade creditors. FNPF has incurred a total $121 million towards the Momi Bay resort project. I shall have a fuller posting on this later in the week.
(o) CIVIL SERVICE REFORM. World-wide, the civil service is often the butt of public disapproval. This week it was Fiji's turn, first by the PM, then by Parmesh Chand, Permanent Secretary for the Public Service Commission.
He said 26,925 civil servants were too many for a small nation, and even with these numbers they did not live up to the people's expectations. He said the public sector was "characterised by lack of established service standards, ineffective work systems, ineffectual leadership, lack of transparency and accountability, along with low productivity." The reforms currently underway would produce a right-sized public sector through restructuring, modernizing human resource management and remunerations, rebuilding the capacity of the public services and introducing e-governance. “At the moment, we are trying to address the issues, compulsory training of civil servants is continuing on all levels as well as the resizing of the sector,” he said.
I shall be running a fuller account of these reforms over the next few days, based on my meeting with the Permanent Secretary.
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