Funny Forum, Overseas Oversee Fiji, Government's Quick Response, Education Plans

IT'S GOING TO BE A FUNNY FORUM that starts today in Vila. Sir Michael Somare, who positioned himself as a key player in negotiating with Fiji, has withdrawn at the last minute because he needs to be in PNG. He is replaced by Planning Minister Paul Tiensten. Solomon Islands PM Derek Sikua and Australian PM Julia Gillard are also unable to attend due to their respective election campaigns.Tuvualu's Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia  will also not be there.  Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and NZ PM John Key have missed the Tuesday session but arrive tonight. And according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Pacific's biggest issue, Fiji and its ongoing exclusion from the Forum, is apparently not on the agenda. Based on SMH.
Radio NZ International's Johnny Blades, however,  reports that Fiji is a priority issue. “Priority issues include trade negotiations, updates from the Ministerial action Group on Fiji, and cessation of a regional assistance package for Nauru. The leaders are also expected to take a close look at growing regional security threats as outlined in the 2010 Pacific Transnational Crimes Assessment Report. And the Forum’s Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, says that leaders will look at how vulnerable island states can access more climate change-related funds. He has indicated that heading into the UN Climate summit later this year, the Forum will try and forge a more unified approach on carbon emission targets than it had last year at Copenhagen when the Forum chair Australia was at odds with island countries in its approach.

NZ PANEL DISCUSSES FIJI. The link to last night's Radio NZ discussion involving Nik Naidu, Richard Pamatatau, Peni Moore and myself. 

ABC's PHILIPPA MACDONALD  interviews "family man" Bainimarama.

BULLY CRIES FOUL. Veteran Australian Asia (and Pacific) journalist Graeme Dobell thinks   Bainimarama, and others  (Robin Nair and Graham Davis) who disagree with Australian policies on Fiji) are bullying Australia.  If you want to read a superficial account by a journalist who knows little on Fiji, you must read this! The links to Nair and Davis are worthwile.

TOURISM GOOD NEWS. Australian tourism to Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu has declined as the Fiji Islands regained its previous market share. Overall, departures from Australia to the Pacific were up by about 27 per cent from January to May compared with the same months in 2009. The Fiji Islands recorded the sharpest rise at 49 per cent.--   SMH.

. Josese Rogo, the Turaga ni Koro (village head) of Malawai village in Gau Island said they were surprised to see the assistance for schools arrive soon after the Prime Minister’s visit. Mr. Rogo welcomed Government’s initiative in moving the country forward in all aspects of development, and said this is being felt in the rural areas. Government also assisted the people of Tikina Vanuaso through the rural housing scheme and the construction of copra dryers to assist in their income generating programme. Assistance is not limited to physical infrastructure although this is being given special attention in the Roadmap; the People's Charter (Pillar 9) ensures it also focuses on quality and early childhood education, especially in the rural areas and outer islands. 

. Korovou is a small town on King's Road in northern Tailevu. Social Welfare Minister, Dr Jiko Luveni, who was there yesterday to launch the PEMAC and Vocational Departmental Week, said she was impressed at Tailevu College's ability to offer vocational training in carpentry, catering, agriculture, automotive engineering and secretarial studies.

"Government’s plans for the education system, " she said, "is to create access to education for all the children in the country and as such, students are benefiting through the free bus fare scheme, free text books for classes one to eight, and increase in the number of universities from one to three. Educational institutions and schools will be upgraded in the rural areas so that parents can get their children educated in rural areas rather than sending them to towns and cities for further education.” -- Based on 2010 No:1161/ MOI)


Lowy loonies said…
Graeme Dobell is an idiot but what more do you expect from someone sprouting rubbish from the Lowy Institute? This gaggle of imbeciles is meant to be an "independent" think tank yet continually parrots the official Australian line on everything. It's a front for Australia Incorporated and can't be taken seriously on anything, especially Fiji.
Australian Incorporated said…
Australia must be doing something right because everyone including those wanting to escape the chaos in Fiji are trying to come here and get PR?
As for the Forum, Commonwealth Games, EU sgar subsidies etc - move on, build a bridge, get over it!
Frankly ABC said…
Just watched Philippa MacDonald's half hour piece on Frank. You can see it in full on the net on the ABC Foreign Correspondent site. On balance, I thought it was very good. All the right stuff was there on censorship and the lack of democracy. But Frank also got the opportunity to have his say and came across as fiercely determined but enlightened, especially on the racial equality stuff. He had the sense ( or recklessness) to invite them home. I've been to the house myself so was somewhat startled to see a view of Walu Bay in a cutaway. The truth is Frank is in Muanikau and can't see a bloody thing of Suva Harbour as they were trying to make out. But as misrepresentations go, this was pretty minor. All told, this is a minor miracle, someone from the public broadcaster in Australia trying to be even handed and see the other side we all know is there. Take a bow, Philipppa, just for making an effort to be fair. Vinaka.
TheMax said…
@ Australia Incorporated

In any event, there are always people who will take advantage to do certain things.

Those who are "escaping the chaos" in Fiji maybe just one or two who are really members of the SDL party. I should know because my mother in law is one of them who is now in Australia to do what? Find work because there's none for her in Fiji.

The truth is most of these people have no loyalty to Australia because they are just escaping the rot they left behind. The will leave rots too in Australia and soon will be on dole paid for by hte Australian taxpayers.
Anonymous said…

Trust you will write something on FB's interview from his grandson's birthday party (effort to make him less military).

Some of his comments really worried me. He does not trust the people and if there is any opposition he guarantee's there won't be an election. He is glad the Fiji times is going because he needs media that supports him (I assume not media that supports anyone else). Yes I may be taking some of the contents out of context but so will the world.

His true thoughts coming out perhaps - he does not believe in democracy, considers military is above everyone and thinks it fair and reasonable that no one be critical of him despite him having a lot to say about others who have done exactly what he did - take over a government with guns.

Good attempt Sharon but you are going to need to put words in his mouth as well to make any real progress.
Anonymous said…
So the PM now claims he wants Australia and New Zealand out of the forum. Oh and he does not care about the Forum - yea right, of course he cares. He has taken it personally. He takes everything personally. Idiot.
Anonymous said…
Funny forum ?

Not sure it can be any funnier than Natadola. Somare not being there means he will be able to continue to sit on the fence as always.....yes in Fiji, no at forum.
Red Dragon said…
@ Australian Incorporated....

This rude and crude response will only serve to reinforce what we have long suspected: that Think Tanks and the individuals who serve in them have no obvious interest in regional co-operation and equity. They serve themselves and their own direct interests. Remember the Australian Wheat Commission and its dealings in Iraq? Well - just shift your focus to the South Pacific........
Anonymous said…
@ Red Dragon

Aust. Incorp. is simply making the point that Australia is not all that bad - so very many people want to move to Australia because of its high standard of living.

Not sure what the AWB has to do with the Lowy Institute? In any event, is it really that shocking to conclude that Australia has its own best interests at heart? I am not surprised at all. Fiji needs Aust, not the other way around.
Friendly Australian said…
Aust. Incorp.

Really, comments such as these just make you look appear like an arogant American. As an Australian we can see why Americans are often hated around the world. Our behaviour towards Fiji and your comments are "American like" in this respect.

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