Travel Warning, Cakaudrove & the Charter, Signs of Progress, Rewa Dredging

TRAVEL ADVISORY. The Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned people intending to travel to New Zealand to delay unnecessary travel because of an outbreak of swine flu and higher seasonal flu levels that have seen doctor's surgeries overflowing and have caused several deaths. Veteran Travel Consultant Mick O'Field of Pacific Parachute Tours Very Ltd has advised tourists to take out extra insurance policies because local hospitals are severely under-resourced and they may need to be repatriated to Fiji for treatment if they become seriously sick. He said his firm was offering discount insurance and parachute prices.

Meanwhile, Balaba Deliva on FijiOne said, "In a press conference fed via satellite from Wellington, W.H.O. Regional Co-Directors Dr Phil and Dr Oz both said the situation was serious, was serious. Dr Oz also thanked the Fiji Red Cross for its donation of flu vaccines."

Ms Deliva reported that pedestrians interviewed in Cumming Street said they were grateful for the Fiji Government's travel advisory. And when interviewed by the Alternative Government website Luvei Viti, Lami housewife Mary Samson said, "It's only right we should do unto them as they undid us earlier in the year with our cholera outbreak." At last all Fiji citizens are united.--Source:Tongue'nCheek.

QUO VADIS (WHERE GOES) CAKAUDROVE? The PM is expecting to meet the provincial councils of Bua, Cakaudrove and Macuata when he visits Vanua Levu later this week. Bainimarama will be officiating at the RFMF wives annual sports competition. While in Vanua Levu "I thought I’d take up the opportunity to visit the provincial councils," he said.

Of special interested will be the meeting with Cakaudrove which has still not endorsed the People's Charter. In the 2001 Election chiefly influence saw the extreme Fijian nationalist Matanitu Vanua (CAMV) party win three parliamentary seats. Prior to the 2006 Election the CAMV dissolved and its candidates stood on the Qarase SDL ticket.  Qarase's appointment of these Fijian extremists to Cabinet and his refusal to tackle those responsible for the Speight Coup and the mutiny in Vanua Levu, were major factors leading Bainimarama to remove his govenment from power. Cakaudrove comprises seven tikina (districts),  not all of which support the Bainimarama government.  We await Thursday to learn the outcome of the Council meeting. The other two provinces have endorsed the Charter.

. These comments (a little modified) from a reader in Suva: "I see some of your readers say there's no progress on the Roadmap. They can't be living in Fiji because every day we see evidence of progress, sometimes in big developments but more often in little things. In Suva new road works are underway, sidewalks are being upgraded, roads markings painted, the old Olympic pool has just reopened having been closed for years, and is preparing for the Hibiscus Festival.

"Outside Suva, after years of delay, the Rewa river is finally being dredged (Ed. See story below) and in Rakiraki which was recently declared a town, July was a month free of serious crime. Overall, crime dropped 50% compared with last July.

"Nationally, Cabinet has approved the development of a Decree to control the sale and supply of legal but dangerous substances, over shop counters. This decree in particular looks at illegal abuse of substances by school children. The lack of a law and concerns about the detrimental effects on the health of young people has been raised by school administrators, parents, the media, the members of the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) Council, various stakeholders during consultation meetings and the general public in the past two years.

"And internationally, the Government has been in continuous dialogue with Tonga about our eastern boundary and negotiations will begin soon with Tuvalu and Vanuatu over our northern and western boundaries. It is in Fiji’s interest that all its maritime boundaries are determined and mutually agreed through dialogue and negotiations. This is also in line with one of the key pillars for rebuilding Fiji in this period of political transition, which is ‘Enhancing Global Integration and International Relations’.

"Not much, perhaps, but that's the news for one day.Your readers who say there's no progress don't know what they are talking about.  Even Rome wasn't built in a day."

Twelve kilometers of Fiji's longest rich, the Rewa, are being dredged by the China Railway First Group Company Ltd at an anticipated cost to Government of $8.9m. The work will reduce flooding and the 2.2m cubic metres of soil removed will add to the mere 20% of the province designated as dry land, making for better road access and more farmland.

The Roko Tui Rewa, Niko Nayacalevu, thanked Government for the project which "will be very beneficial to the people of the delta. This initiative will create more dry land for the people to farm and other economic activities which are being spearheaded by the current Government,” he said. The work should be completed by next year. -- Based on 2010 No:1244/MOI


cakau kid said…

your lack of knowledge about Fijian matters is there for all to see on this posting about cakaudrove province. Educate yourself by logging on to where you will learn that the province has 14 tikina not 7 as you wrongly reported on this post. Best you leave matters about Fijian affairs to those who know. Vinaka.
. said…
@ Cakau Kid... Actually, we are both right. I referred to tikina vou and you to tikina makawa that were merged to form the new tikina which are used, among other things, to "break down" provinces for census and mapping purposes. However, the tikina vou were never fully accepted by itaukei who, understandably, preferred the old tikina with which they could more closely identify. How am I doing for knowledge of "Fijian affairs?"
Anonymous said…
Thinking …not sleeping


It seems to me there are two quite different themes/arguments running on your blog at present. This might seem strange but I agree with both of them.

The two themes are:

1. The “Making Progess” theme. Government and pro-government supporters always point to the structural changes in fiji – new laws, civil service reform, corruption, school bus fares etc.

2. The “No Progress” theme. Anti-government bloggers and indeed much of the foreign press and international community always point to lack of progress towards a return to democracy, rule of law etc

The truth is these two groups are usually talking about different things.

Australia for example says no progress has been made in Fiji. And THEY ARE CORRECT because they are referring to things like a new constitution, election preparation, rule of law (under a constitution not by decree), free speech and human rights. I live in Fiji and I certainly have seen no evidence of any progress on any of these topics. In fact government have said they plan to do nothing for the time being. This government is effectively saying ‘trust us’ and their record so far on other promises gives us reason not to trust them. Apart from the promise of elections in 2009 and more recently the removal of the PER I often reflect on the early promises. For example an early promise was no one in the military will benefit from this coup when many have benefited with back pay, promotions and civil service appointments not to mention new lease cars and overseas trips. Other early promises where than no one in the interim government would be able to participate in elections yet the PM now says he is undecided if he will stand. Another promise was to expose the former PM and cabinet member corruption and there are no convictions on any government minister to date and they have had to go back nearly 20years to find a case against the former PM. I understand why people (and I include myself here) worry that government is not doing anything now and also that 12 months starting in 2012 is not long enough to get everything done.

Fiji’s government however says LOTS OF PROGRESS has been made. And THEY ARE CORRECT also because they are referring to things like civil service reform, constraint on spending, crack down on corruption, education, health etc. Nothing happened at all in the first three years. Military men in civilian jobs and poor advise as I have mentioned before. However quite a lot is happening now. You mention a lot of this on your blog.

Is there some middle ground to be found in all this. I hope so.

I will try and make some suggestions later.
Anonymous said…
Top five spin items

These are the top five spin items from government that are like red rags to bulls for bloggers. I’m not sure why government persists with these.

1. “Presidents mandate” – often used to justify all sorts of things. The reality is any mandate is a military mandate. Nothing more and nothing less. If the president disagreed with anything the military said or did they would swiftly be removed and despite the charade it was the military who removed the former president and appointed the current president.

2. “The Charter was supported by 65% of people.” If they where confident on this the military could have put it to real vote via a referendum. The so called voting was flawed and what people actually voted on was not what they got.

3. “The constitution was abrogated by the president.” No it was the military who wanted to stay in power and to do that they had to throw out the constitution.

4. “We where forced to take over government”. No you where not. That was the military’s choice.

5. We promise....

A more honest statement from current government might read like this.

“We (Military) think Fiji needed big changes so we removed government, it’s a harder job than we thought so we are now giving ourselves 8 years. Due process annoys us and gets in the way so we have the PER in place to make life easier. Media freedom could lead to opposition and we don’t want that so we have put a stop to it. We need to find ways to justify our actions so will direct resources to retrospectively justify our actions – we will use FICAC, military and all means for this. We don’t understand why people don’t trust us. All our officers respect us and never questions us – why is it different with the rest of Fiji. We believe in what we are doing and will not alter our course. Remember if we do we could all go to jail at some point and none of us want that.”
. said…
@ Thinking ... Not Sleeping. I'd noticed and I agree. But there's no way the military will have have constitutional and electoral reforms before their stated date. We should, however, continue to press for the lifting -- or at least the progressive lifting -- of PER, and greater civilian involvement. Aust and NZ can help here too, if they would accept that progress is being made in the non-political areas.

@ Top five spins ... I agree. Well summed up. The big question is how best to move them and Fiji forward.

Both of you. Thank you for your intelligent, helpful comments. I was beginnning to doubt the value of the blog's comment feature and was tempted to join the rabid anti-government blogs in limiting comments.
Anonymous said…

Don't start editing the comments. Your site would lose a lot of respect if you did.

An idea for an opinion piece would be to a follow up interview with John Sammy if you could get it. I have just read his speach given in NZ (see link on this blog) in March 2009. It's a interesting read on it's own but would be very interesting to hear his views given at the time he was arguing Fiji should be given a bit more time than 2009 to hold elections. I wonder what he thinks about 2014 and the fact that much of the reform he talks about has been deferred to 2012. Despite the charters critics he certainly put a lot of personal time and energy into it. I suspect his downfall started when at a economic forum in Suva he admitted the coup in 2006 was illegal and said he did not support it (he later said he was miss quoted but you should have seen the look on the PM's face at the time - he was not miss quoted and most of us there couldn't beleive he said it.)

Anyway he seemed like a genuine guy and his thoughts now would be interesting.
. said…
@ Anonymous ... Please!!!! use a pseudonym and then if you write again I'll know it's you. In reply:

Comments posted here are of course not modified. Those copied to the main blog are sometimes modified for reasons of space or clarity, as was the case with this one. The comment came as an email addressed to me which enabled the modification. Abbreviations, a common media practice, and changes are always noted.

Your idea on John Samy is a good one. Do you, or any other reader, have his email address?
Joe said…
@Thinking …not sleeping
You have just opened another can of worms. My question is, If this govt had to go back 20yrs to find something credible to prosecute Qarase, why is it that they are turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the NBF saga which happened around approx. the same time and is worth mega bucks? Is it because there are double standards, ie, protecting the Maras and the Ganilaus? Selective justice!!!!
Tolerance and forbearance please Croz said…
Come on, Croz. Your explicit threat to curb comment on your website isn't worthy of you. Yes, we can all be infuriated by some people but tolerating even the most idiotic opinion is what sets you apart from the ideologues and polemicists elsewhere. With respect, you're displaying a crotchety intolerance in some of your recent comments. You give figurative pats on the back to your favourite correspondents and show world-weary disdain for those who beg to differ. Not everyone shares your intellectual accomplishments but that's no reason to treat them as your inferiors. You're an impressive man doing an important job who doesn't have to prove anything. Leave the haughty superiority to the likes of Michael Field and stop brandishing the censorship stick.
sara'ssista said…
I agree with you croz about the two comments from Thinking...not sleeping and Top five spins. Excellent and i entirely agree, no-one wants to be negative , all the time, but I must have faith in a process that i can scrutinise and not launch from spin to rumour to lie to spin and back to rumour.While I appreciate their is an educatuion issues arising from a largely ambilvalent population not used to being consulted.Using the Military and Police to develop a process and then'encourage' involvement is hardly a process I would have anything to do with and saw no outside scritny of this outreach process.
. said…
@ Tolerance ... Yo write "Your explicit threat to curb comment on your website isn't worthy of you."

Where did you get this idea? Almost all comments are accepted. The rejected ones are rejected for obvious reasons. Many comments are published that would be rejected by the mainstream media.
Intolerant 'n incontinent said…

Tolerance probably got the idea from your earlier reply made on Aug 18 2010 5:33pm to 'Top Five Spins', in which you wrote "...I was beginning to doubt the value of the blog's comment feature and was tempted to join the rabid anti-government blogs in limiting comments...".
Jambalaya said…
I wonder if the Anti-IG blogs would dare to do the same (allowing dissenting comments),
let alone if the subject content, tone and language is equal to the intellectual discourse on Croz's blog posts and certain comments.
Tolerance and forbearance 2 said…
Where did I get the notion of censorship from? You, Croz.

Quote from you in a response above:

"I was beginnning to doubt the value of the blog's comment feature and was tempted to join the rabid anti-government blogs in limiting comments".

If that's not a threat to "limit" comments, then I don't know what is. Maybe you'd had one too many Ti Tokis to remember what you'd written. But that's not my fault. Qori.
. said…
@ Tolerance... You win. But it was you who implied the "threat." I was frustrated at the barrage of negativity. Sorry.
Barrage of negativity said…
I cannot recall ever seeing a barrage of positive comment regarding dictatorships. Can you?

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