Ramadan, Rumours, Governance, Lawyers, Australians Turn Cheek, Shipbuilding, Soldiers, PINA & PacMA

MUSLIMS CELEBRATE. Fiji's 55,000 Muslims are observing the month of Ramadan which started on August 10th.

THIS WEEK'S RUMOURS.  There would still be anti-government rumours, of course, even without the Public Emergency Regulations (PER)  but with PER in place it takes that much longer to refute them before they have achieved much of their purpose: to discredit, distract and destablize governnment.  The absence of "free airwaves" also makes the task of checking on the reliability of the rumours much more difficult.

This week's rumours raised questions on whether the government's Roadmap really existed; the Military Council had called for Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum's resignation (always a popular one when they are both overseas); the PM and other Cabinet members with more than one portfolio were "double dipping," and  whether the Attorney-General's Aunt was involved in corrupt practices. I wonder what next week will bring. It's already started with a comment to this post: "Where is Teleini? He has disappeared faster than the natadola communique?" Should be Teleni.  But nice try. Anything else to distract me?

VISIBLE GOVERNING. The PS for the Public Service, Parmesh Chand, says that the visibility of the role and services of respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies is steadily improving. This has been helped by Civil Service Public Week, the Agriculture Show, strengthened rural development machinery and the on-going emphasis by the PM that civil servants should reach out to as many people as possible, particularly those in the rural areas.  The Government Information & Referral Centre in downtown is also playing its part. Seven Ministries and Departments have already exhibited their programmes at the downtown facility.These activities also help Government to get a better feel of public perceptions and the types of assistance they require to improve their livelihood.  -- based on 2010 No:1221/PSC.

These activities stem from the People's Charter general provisions on governance and the Roadmap's more specific targetting.  I hope soon  to have one or more posts that will explain the Charter, the Roadmap and the Strategic Framework for Change structures and functions.

DORSAMI NAIDU FOUND GUILTY. Fiji’s Independent Legal Services Commission has found lawyer Dorsami Naidu guilty of complaints of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. Commissioner John Connors stated details of a total of 18 complaints against Naidu, two of which Connors said were withdrawn because of the unavailability of the complaints.Seven complaints were dismissed. Among the complaints proven against Naidu were five of unsatisfactory professional conduct and two complaints of professional misconduct. Under one of the complaints of unsatisfactory professional conduct, Connors said Naidu billed an estate the sum of $3,750 when the legal services rendered did not justify this amount “falling short of the standards of competence and diligence that a member of the public is entitled to expect of a reasonably competent or professional practitioner”. In another instance, Naidu prepared a sale and purchase agreement for a 10-acre piece of land in Nadi, failing to inform the buyer that the land was co-owned. Naidu is the President of the Fiji Law Society and an outspoken critic of Goverment. The charges against Naidu are part of ongoing investigations resulting from public complaints against lawyers.

SUNIL KUMAR ACQUITTED
. Former Nausori Magistrate Sunil Kumar has  been acquitted of trying to prevent the course of justice after it was alleged that he had tried to deter police officers in Nausori from booking anyone for any traffic offence in the Nausori area and allegedly making certain comments in open court.

WHOSE BLUFF? WHOSE CHEEK? Interviewed by ABC, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was asked "what do you propose to do to try to advance your agenda with Fiji for a return to democracy, because clearly at the moment Frank Bainimarama is heading a long way away from Australia?"  Smith replied:

"Yeah that's regrettable, I mean we will continue, despite any number of rebuffs, continue to try and get a dialogue going with the Commodore and with the interim administration in Fiji to bring Fiji back to democracy and respect for human rights. There's unanimity amongst the Pacific Island Forum leaders that Fiji's suspension has to continue until they return to democracy. The same with the Commonwealth. But we've got to find a way back to a dialogue and we will simply redouble our efforts. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to respond in kind when Commodore Bainimarama expelled our acting high commissioner, but I didn't want to leave our professional diplomatic relationships with Fiji unrepresented in Canberra. So I turned the other cheek on that matter. It's simply a matter of us keeping at it. We are worried about Fiji moving further into an isolationist position, and in my conversations with the leaders of the Pacific and Vanuatu, we all believe absolutely in the need to just continue our efforts for a dialogue to bring them back to their full standing as a democratic Pacific nation."

SHIP BUILDING POTENTIAL. On his return from China and talks with China's largest shipbuilding company, PM Bainimarama is hopeful that Fiji will once again build its own ships and that Fiji Ships and Heavy Industries Limited will become the top shipbuilding company in the Pacific.

MORE SOLDIERS TO TRAIN IN CHINA. Another result of the PM's recent China visit is that more officers will probablt soon be receiving specialised training in China. The trip was fully funded by the Chinese Government as Commodore Bainimarama was the chief guest at Fiji’s National Day Celebrations at the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

PINA MORE MEMBERS THAN EVER
. With 21 members, the Pacific Islands News Association has dismissed claims from the newly-formed Pacific Media Association (PacMA) that they only have a handful of members across the Pacific, and mainly from Melanesia countries. PacMA was formed because some members, notably from Samoa and Cook Islands, thought PINA was not sufficiently critical of Fiji's media restrictions and the Bainimarama government.

However, PINA Manager Matai Akuola says PINA is just doing things differently. "The statement put out by the PINA President is that we are not wrong but are doing things differently. In regards to media freedom we are having dialogue with governments and no longer are we putting out statements to please some people. We are working and having dialogue with government we’ve had meetings with the current Fiji government. So, that a progress. That is a move forward. That’s why we are saying we are not wrong we are just doing things differently."

Comments

Where is Teleni? said…
Hey Croz
Where is Teleini? He has disappeared faster than the natadola communique?
Anonymous said…
To be fair Croz you are yet to produce the Road Map - not even a draft. Not that it's your job, its governments. Why they don't publish something I just can't understand.
Anonymous said…
I think it is fair to say this government is doing plenty on its own to discredit itself and needs no help from bloggers and rumor hounds.

A good start would be to drop the PER. A second would be to make public the road map. A third would be to start work on constitution. A fourth would be to come clean on the sugar industry. A fifth would be to make a start on dialogue.
Anonymous said…
Still looking for the roadmap...

I'm still keen to read it but can't find it ?
Joe said…
@anon. Aug 13, 2010 11:49:00 PM
What roadmap? There is no such thing.
Anonymous said…
Finding Dorsami Naidu guilty, as the Legal Services Commission just has on a number of counts, is no surprise to many of us. Now we need to begin thinking seriously about the Insurance Business in Fiji and how ill it has served the interests of its clients for so long. We need to look most carefully and precisely at: Insurance brokers and their ethical standards - Whom do they serve? Those who pay their Commission in brokerage fees? Or the interests of Insurance Company owners? Tell us please, how the term "Spurious parts" found its way into an insurance contract in Fiji with regard to the fitting of parts in damaged motor vehicles? This is just the tip of an iceberg quite as large as that of the Legal Profession and Standards of Ethical Practice. Sooner it starts, the better.
Anonymous said…
"Standards expected by a member of the Public of a reasonably competent professional practitioner"......Can this be equally applied to:

Politicians anywhere

Fiji Insurance Brokers and insurance ompanies especially Health Insurance companies which fail to cover those over 65 years making endless exclusions without adequate justification

Insurance companies which make profits in Fiji MUST be compelled to offer health insurance to the over 60 year olds albeit at increased rates of premiium.

Surely, it is a gross dereliction of natural justice to simply refuse cover for anyone over 60/65? This is ageism of the most obvious kind and it must end. Viz President Obama and his speeches prior to the passing of the US Medicare Bill
TheMax said…
@ those looking for the roadmap, I have a simple solution for you.

To satisfy your craving for the roadmap, just ask a copy from the government. Problem solved.
Which government? said…
@The Max
Fiji doesn't have a government. It was deposed in a coup in Dec 2006. We already know the roadmap they had and it was working well. Fiji is now controlled by a military junta. Is the junta using the same roadmap?
Anonymous said…
There is no road map - just a speach and misguided military.
Croz said…
@ For those of you who have lost your way, there is definitely a Roadmap. Everyone who's been watching knows broadly what it says -- it's based on the eleven pillars of the People's Charter and it is being monitored by the Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office. It's being acted upon, as many postings in this blog have shown, and every month Government ministries and departments have to report on progress towards its fulfillment. It's not been published as a separate document but when it is, there will be no surprises because those following the map know their destination. Doubting Thomas's may learn more by writing "Roadmap" into "Search this Blog."

I have no idea why the Roadmap has not yet been published. It could be deception, as some readers suppose, but I think it's more likely it was not thought urgent. Let's hope comments to this post will be read in Fiji and publication of the Roadmap will be given some urgency. Meanwhile, I hope we can we all get back to discussing more substantial issues, without further distraction.
sara'ssista said…
can i please clarify...personally i don't need to know about the roadmap.I have no faith in a regime that rules for itself and will not allow any scrutiny. Exactly how many locals are informed that don't access the web and exactly how many , even if they are not happy, would ever be allowed to voice it . This is apparently going to happen and without consulting anyone who doesn't agree. The idea of some kind of mandate from visiting villages and being told to sign isn't exactly my idea of consultation it was at the very best information and at worst coercion and a not too subtle threat hanging in the air. It will only last until the next coup.
Anonymous said…
croz, you've been suckered you idiot. each passing day sees your reputation slip away to nothing. wonder when rnz will get around to inviting you back. not anytime soon. and it will not be "censorship" - speaking as somebody inside the process - it will be because we all know you are a slavish idiot.
Cornileus said…
Anonymous @09:58

If your only comment is a mindless attack on someone that has done more than most to get some sensible discussion going on Fiji, then please post your childish drivel elsewhere.

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