New Police Head, Old and New Times, Takiveikata, Tuvalu, Sugar Disasters, Some Methodist Changes Dropped
The opinions I've received so far see Naivalua as an excellent choice. He is generally liked and well respected, and he did a great job as Prisons Commissioner. The expectation is that he and Deputy Police Commissioner Joeli Baleilevuka will make a great team. Naivalurua said, " Expect changes to the police force but not everything will be changed as I'll tend to just continue from the good foundation set by my predecessor Commodore Teleni and hope to build a strong force that will work strongly in partnership with the community.”
THE TIMES IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE TIMES*. An anonymous commentator, 'Imprimatur', had this comment for 'Unbiased News' and other readers on a recent posting. The comment is slightly edited.
"It is of course correct that no Media outlet these days can be deemed to be 'unbiased'. For one reason or another -- mostly to do with interests of owners and shareholders -- the political and ideological views of the aforementioned hold sway through editorial policy.
"What is incomprehensible about the ... Fiji Times ... is that it allowed itself to be 'dumbed down' and professionally compromised in terms of standards of journalism. It bore no resemblance at all to the Fiji Times under Sir Leonard Usher, for example. Poor basic English and spelling, poor standards of editing, garbled headlines and almost nil by-lines (for a long time). No one appeared to have the courage of their convictions: or at least insufficient courage to show who wrote what. This is not a newspaper of worth: this is propaganda sheet and poor propaganda at that.
There should be no weeping nor wailing [about the change of ownership] which once was "the First Newspaper published daily in the world". Even that no longer appears and with good reason: it has become a rag and little more than that. The fact that it may be profitable as a rag, is neither here nor there.
The Fiji Times Editor, board and staff failed to concern themselves with corruption in high places and they turned a blind eye to endemic racism. On these two counts alone they deserve their fate. They might have
their maintained their standing had they taken more interest in the welfare of Fiji's women and children earlier. They did not until challenged head on. Indeed, they sat by while the fate of women and children through ever increasing and more deadly domestic violence... No headlines about this unless they were sensational enough to sell copies.
No substantial investigative reporting was undertaken nor Court and Judicial Process reporting as a matter of daily necessity. For years there seemed to be no trained court reporters of any calibre to ensure the public best interest was served. Indeed, the editor himself was found guilty of contempt of court and fined by Justice Thomas Hickey's ruling. The most egregious contempt of the Fiji Courts in Fiji's history since 1874. One must suppose that is fame of a kind? A sort of contemptible celebrity?"
Something good must rise out of the ashes. If Fiji has aspirations to rebirth, then the Phoenix must rise and with it a whole plethora of higher and more elevated journalism which becomes an end in itself. The paper needs to adopt the police motto, Salus Populi or The Welfare of the People. Not unlike the Fiji Police, the the new Fiji Times must put the service and best interest of the people ahead of personal and narrow self-interest. What is needs is writers of the calibre of the late Robert Keith Reid. I wonder what is he making of all this from his perch on high?
Ed. Note: The Comment was made just prior to the Fiji Times sales announcement. * The original, for those not in the know, is "The King is Dead. Long Live the King" which announces the death of an English monarch.
TAKIVEIKATA PLEADS NOT GUILTY. Naitasiri High Chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of inciting the 2000 mutiny which aimed to kill the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama. At the original trial in early 2007, Takiveikata was given a life sentence for the mutiny but the Appeal Court quashed the ruling and he was released from prison after serving 31 months. Last March, Takiveikata was jailed again when he was given a seven year prison sentence for the alleged plot. At this retrial, Takiveikata is being accused of approaching two army officers, Shane Stevens and Manoa Benafasio, in August and September of 2000 to get them to try to take over the Queen Elizabeth Barracks. According to the Fiji Village website, the prosecution says 23 state witnesses are expected to be called during the trial, ranging from police officers to army officers and technicians.
UPDATE. The High Court today declared a mistrial in the case against Ratu Inoke Takiveikata. His lawyer submitted that one of the three assessors was a former soldier. As a result, the judge declared a mistrial and ordered a fresh trial to start on Monday.
TUVALU ELECTIONS. Tuvalu's incumbent Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia being returned to power along with 10 the 15 incumbent MPs. Tuvalu has no political parties and the 6,000 registered voters cast their ballots along personal and family ties, as well as reputation. No political parties. Lucky Tuvalu!
CAWAKI CRITICIZES INDIAN CONTRACTORS. Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said he would undertake an investigation to determine whether a bond was signed when the FSC awarded the $86million contract to the Sugar Technology Mission of India in 2006.
"This is the reason [for the] the sugar industry problems ... the mill upgrades were not done properly.These people (contractors) just came here, they didn't do a good job and went away and left us with broken mills and spare parts rusting in mill yards."
Since the beginning of the crushing season, all mills have been plagued by boiler and steam generation problems, throwing the sugar industry into a downward spiral. Combined with an unusually dry spell, the farmers were left with cane drying in the fields and the knowledge that 2010 may well be the worst in the history of the sugar industry in the country.
FSC'S $24.5M RECORD LOSS. Total revenue for the year has declined to $194.7m compared to $245.8m in the previous year. FSC CEO Deo Saran puts the loss down to decreased sugar production (down by 19%), lower sugar prices (down (8%), lower sugar content in the cane milled, and continued problems in mill performance. This is the biggest loss FSC has incurred since its inception.
SOME METHODIST P.E.R. CHARGES DROPPED. Twenty-three Methodist Church ministers who were charged under the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) with trying to organise the banned Methodist Church Conference in Rewa last year have had the charges against them withdrawn, but the charges against four top church executives, the Reverends Ame Tugaue,Tuikilakila Waqairatu, Tomasi Kanailagi and Manasa Lasaro, remain. Tugaue and Waqairatu faced charges of organizing a meeting in contravention of the PER, while the extreme ethno-nationalists Kanailagi and Lasaro, who actively supported the Speight Coup in 2000, face charges of taking part in the meeting.