Bainimarama Needs to Show World, Election Electronics, Field Fiction

Prime Minister Bainimarama has  invited leaders  of Pacific  Island  countries   to  participate in an “Engaging  Fiji" meeting  to be held at the Inter Continental Resort in Natadola  on July 22 – 23. More later

CONGRATULATIONS, SOLOMON TIMES, for publishing the only balanced foreign media account of Sarah Roberts's expulsion that I have seen. Click here.

CONGRATULATIONS ALSO to the people who have taken the time to write insightful comments on recent postings, though I do wish people would use pseudonyms. Readers' response to Na Sala Cavu, however, continues to disappoint. If you've not been there before, click on the orange forked road icon in the right sidebar. Read. Vote. Comment. Then scroll down to earlier questions on Fiji's future.

BAINIMARAMA NEEDS TO SHOW THE WORLD.  Hi there Croz, I agree with your analysis of Bainimarama’s ad lib reaction as well as Field having another field day! There is little doubt in my mind about Aussie interference with the MSG process and meeting.

However, as you have suggested previously, Bainimarama and his government need to show the world that there are moves afoot towards constitutional discussions including ‘dialogue’. There should be discussions on the most appropriate electoral system for the country over a longer time frame which might help us to eschew those racial pitfalls of the past. It is hardly likely that we’ll have the most appropriate constitution and electoral system if we delay discussion until 2012, and elections in 2014. **

Apart from the bill of rights, many things will require prolonged discussion. These include the parliamentary set up (a single or two houses), elections and nature of franchise/representation, constituency boundaries, duration of governments, constitution offices, the presidency (elected or unelected), entrenched provisions including land ownership, etc., political parties (their organization, accountability and transparency), constitutional amendments, etc., etc.

It is hardly likely that we’ll suddenly have fully fledged democracy in 2014 after 7-8 years of military-backed unelected governments without opening up discussions very soon. This will entail the lifting  of PERs and media controls.

The deep seated ‘racial mistrusts’ also need to be addressed and this far very little has been done in any systematic way beyond rhetoric. -- Name withheld, Suva, Fiji.

** Ed. note. Na Sala Cava is an informal way to start these discussions. 

TRAINING FOR 2014 ELECTIONS STARTS
. The first group of officials to learn about the new Electronic Voting Registration system to be used in 2014 have completed their training. Strategic Framework for Change central coordinator Sitiveni Raturala  told FBC News the training is part of the Roadmap to democratic elections announced last year by Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama.

Raturala says preparations are on track and going to plan.The new voting system will have no communal voting and everyone will be registered under one roll. Raturala said the Roadmap directs that by 2013 a constitution should be in place and elections should be held in 2014.

This is good news but not quite good enough. Preparations for the elections require more than technical know how by a small team.  They need the "big team of Fiji" to be engaged in discussions on electoral reform, starting now with small groups and increasing to fuller consultations and dialogue well before 2012.


FIELD BLOWN AWAY. Michael Field has been making news recently. Two weeks ago he reported on cyclones and termites and the Revised Budget; this week he tried to have Bainimarama set a new date for elections. But back to the cylones and termites. 

Field Fiction: On his website, he writes,"Another clue that all is rotten in Fiji is in Voreqe Bainimarama’s emergency [actually, revised] budget. He said he had to bring it out because of unexpected events that he did not think of in his earlier budget. These included cyclones and rain. Cyclones and rain, unexpected, in Fiji?"  

The Cyclone Facts: "Thousands of Fijians have fled their homes as Cyclone Tomas sweeps across the island nation. Tomas, a category four storm and bigger than Hurricane Katarina which destroyed New Orleans ...Tomas has  estimated average winds of 175kmh and momentary gusts up to 230kmh close to the centre, Fijian weather officials said."  The PM and Minister of Finance said $143 million had to be diverted from other purposes to meet the cost of two natural disasters ( Hurricanes Mike and Tomas), which struck Fiji within four months. Total hurricane damage was estimated at $1 billion. Tomorrow we'll continue this exciting saga.

Comments

BASA said…
They failed to mention that only five people were "trained" on one of the three types of machines being looked at. This course was run at no expense to the Government by the salesman involved. Hardly a groundbreaking move towards Democracy.
imprimatur said…
How dare Michael Field write ..."Another clue that all is rotten in Fiji...." ! What absolute garbage and rubbish hyperbole: AND HE KNOWS IT. We will not put up with this nonsense so tantamount to downright lies. The man is demonstrably and obviously unbalanced (not just in his prose). Could any sane person believe this distortion of fact? Yes, they have because Netani Rika (his Fiji soulmate) was propagating the same kind of journalism for more than ten years and, what is more, encouraging others to do the same. This is not respectable or credible journalism. This is propaganda and poor propaganda which fools believe - so it works.
Great news!! said…
Croz, the following news from the Solomons Times,that has yet to be picked up elsewhere, is a badly needed boost for Fiji.
-------
Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua is leaving Honiara this weekend for Fiji to attend the highly criticized 'Engaging Fiji' meeting of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.
Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jeremiah Manele confirmed to SIBC News last night that the Prime Minister Sikua received an official invitation from the Fiji Interim leader yesterday morning and has responded positively.
-------
This puts an entirely different complexion on the MSG debacle. Let's put it this way:

Somare was always unlikely to come while he fought a no confidence motion that threatened his own position.

Natapei has been lent on by the Australians to the tune of $66-million in funding from Ausaid this year. Remember, Vanuatu has a record of being bought off as evidenced by their flirtation with both China and Taiwan.

Sikua IS COMING to Natadola in a show of solidarity with Fiji. You can be sure that as soon as Frank got off the plane from Seoul yesterday morning, he hit the phones. Bingo. Shame he couldn't have headed off this crisis in the first place using his famous powers of persuasion.

This will take some of the strut out of Australia and bully boys of Tamany Hall who call the shots in Canberra. Qori.
Going nowhere said…
Michael Field is continuing his campaign against Frank with the usual vituperation. But he's aided and abetted by the miserable lackeys in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The ABC introduced Field last night as "New Zealand journalist Michael Field, who visits Fiji often". Oh really? How often? Only in his own fetid head.
MJ said…
I can't wait for Michael Fields's next hard hitting exposé on the perilous state of Australias finances. Australia must be a basket case by Fields criteria. It has just revised budget forecasts following a full budget only 3 months ago.

Just shows how idiotic the criticism of Bainimarama's revised budget. It is the sort of thing governments do all the time.
Anonymous said…
Given this site is generally very pro coup and pro military it's great to see a number of very sensible suggestions. I do hope that the military led government take note. If they are not even prepared to listen their supporters I fear little will change in Fiji. A number of readers have suggested lifting the PER for example. If the PM did this now the positives messages would flow and over shadow all the negative press on the MSG. The PM is fighting a losing battle in now having a non MSG + meeting. 'Name withheld from Suva' makes some very useful suggestions and it would be great to see some progress. I could even imagine some semi positive headlines in Australia, something like "Finally Fiji make progress on road to democracy". Military men and government advisers if you are reading this please do your bit to influence.
Anonymous said…
Given this site is generally very pro coup and pro military it's great to see a number of very sensible suggestions. I do hope that the military led government take note. If they are not even prepared to listen their supporters I fear little will change in Fiji. A number of readers have suggested lifting the PER for example. If the PM did this now the positives messages would flow and over shadow all the negative press on the MSG. The PM is fighting a losing battle in now having a non MSG + meeting. 'Name withheld from Suva' makes some very useful suggestions and it would be great to see some progress. I could even imagine some semi positive headlines in Australia, something like "Finally Fiji make progress on road to democracy". Military men and government advisers if you are reading this please do your bit to influence.
Anonymous said…
More Bad News

@ BASA

Thanks for the further info. I did think it strange that people where being training before anything on how the whole elections would work had been anounced. Maybe they read these blogs and did a quick ring around to see what positive news they had on preparations for elections. This is the best they could come up with. It's a start if only a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny one.

(see Croz I'm trying really hard to be positive).
sara'ssista said…
maybe I am missing something, even if Sikua from SI attends ... what apart from moral support (you would presume at best) is he bringing ?, maybe he can pay for the 'reforms' of this regime.It is all well an good to attend, but what practically happens after that???, this regime will still look to someone else to pay won't they?. They certainly won't be dipping into the military budget, No way. Exactly where does that leave their position?

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