Fiji Times Survives, Election Preparations Underway, Women Need Financial Independence, Police Restructuring
It seems likely News Ltd has not exercised its option to retain 10% of the paper, which would be a good thing because it would give the new owners access to News Ltd expertise. It is also possible the sale does not include the paper's properties but why these should be excluded is anyone's guess. Perhaps News Ltd hopes to buy back the paper some time? It would seem likely the senior executives responsible for the papers never-ending tussle with Government will need to be replaced, if only to help Motibhai win Government trust. This would probably see Editor-in-Chief Netani Rika take up a position with News Ltd in Australia.
The really big question, though, is whether the sale will speed the lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations that some though were retained because of the Fiji Times under its present leadership. If this was the only reason, PER can be lifted and "responsible journalism" left to the Media Decree. The sale requires final Fiji regulatory approval that is hoped to be completed by September 22.
VOTE SUPERVISOR IN UK AND ONE DAY ELECTIONS. The Acting Supervisor of Elections, Soro Toutou, is presently in the UK studying their electoral system and administration. His study programme will also draw on comparative experience from other countries in Europe, in particular the administering of the Proportional Representative (PR) List Voting System which is recommended in the Peoples’ Charter for Change.
With this knowledge, and his earlier observation of the recent one day election in the Solomon Islands, it is expected that Fiji -- where voters previously voted over several days leaving the way open to voter fraud, impersonation, and tampering with ballot boxes -- should not have any major problem with one day polling and the count to proceed immediately after that. The three crucial elements of one day election are the right sizing the Elections Office, capacity building, and investment in information technology. The new system will also save millions of dollars.
ELECTIONS 2014 PREPARATIONS ON TRACK. Strategic Framework for Change Deputy Secretary Filimoni Kau, says until 2012 Government will be focusing on economic and social development. Extensive consultations on electoral reform will commence in September 2012. The preferred electoral system recommended by the National Council for Building a Better Fiji is the open list system.
But, as noted above, technical and administrative work on the elections has already started. Other work still be be done includes voter registration. From January this year, elections officials have been visiting the remotest and furthest villages and settlements in the interior of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu that are not accessible by roads, and the outer islands, conducting surveys and sites inspections in order to confirm the number and locations of Voter Registration Centres around the country.
It is envisaged that Fiji will be having its first-ever biometrics voter electoral database for both national and municipal elections by 2012 with only 20 or so months left, for the Elections Office to prepare for its complex elections-proper processes on the new voting system. -- Based on 2010 No:1442/MOI.
WOMEN MUST BE FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. Minister for Women, Social Welfare & Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni, who was an SDL supporter before joining Government, thinks there is a close link between women's earnings, self-support and independence. She was speaking at a ‘Train the Trainers’ workshop organized by the Department of Women. “
As outlined in the Roadmap for Democracy, Sustainable Economic and Social Development 2009 to 2014, Government is promoting alternative livelihood for women, especially in the rural areas, by training and providing them with skills to utilize the resources available to alleviate the social and economic status in society.” She spoke of micro-enterprise opportunities in vanilla farming, honey and virgin coconut oil, bread making and sewing, with tourism providing an important sales outlet for many produce. For more information on Government events and decisions, log on with www.fiji.gov.fj this link to the official website.
POLICE RESTRUCTURING. Some senior police officers have been reposted or asked to leave as part of police restructuring.