Police & All Senior Appointments, Rudd Again, Mill.Dev.Goals, Suva's Electric Cars
TO COMMENTATORS. In addition to using your real name or a pseudonym, you also need to say something. Sarcastic, snarky and other comments along the lines of 'I love Bainimarama' or 'I hate Bainimarama' merely convey a position; nothing new is said and the comment is not worth publishing. They are like an argument between eight year olds: 'Tis', says one; 'Tisn't,' says the other.
NAIVALURUA's GOOD BUT ... A reader writes on the recent Police Commissioner appointment: "Iowane Naivalurua is certainly a very competent chap who has done admirable work at the prisons. However, from past experience with Savua and more recently with Teleni, the one significant way to demoralise and undermine police morale and to politicize the police is to bring in non-professionally qualified and experienced individuals from outside the police force. The sooner the police are able to attract better quality officers and the sooner a couple of them are identified as potential commissioners and trained for leadership at the highest level the better. There are experienced men and women in the police force who are not tainted by politicization, nepotism, racism and bigotry who are worthy of the senior-most positions in this critical agency.
"It might be that Iowane was being nice to Teleni but I can’t see any ‘good foundation’ set by his predecessor [with his] Christian crusades ... declaring towns and cities ‘crime free’[when] crime was alive and well in all such localities. In the agricultural hinterlands, thefts of crops, poultry and livestock have been a major disincentive for farmers.
"It is vital that Naivalarua attends to police morale and professionalism immediately. These have been severely eroded under Teleni. Attention needs to be primarily focused on police work, knowing the law and rights of citizens,law enforcement, investigation and evidence gathering (including forensic work), report writing, and effective prosecution. Training in these areas is vital. Police work generally and community policing requires good people skills and PR. It should also be noted that the police can now recruit much better educated personnel than ever before. Such recruitment has to be merit-based with some awareness of proportionality in terms of representing Fiji’s multi-ethnic citizenry."
Ed.Note. These comments follow the general line advocated in this blog: Government -- from Cabinet to departmental heads, personal secretaries and other comparable positions -- needs to include a much higher proportion of trained, experienced civilians from different ethnic backgrounds. The military, for the moment, still has an important role to play in civic affairs but the mix in advisory and decision-making positions is not yet right.
FIJI IN FOR A RUDDY TIME. In a review of Australia's likely Pacific policies since the election and Kevin Rudd's appointment as Foreign Minister, Jenny Hayward-Jones* writes: "The bad news for those hoping for a fresh approach is that there is unlikely to be any shift in policy towards Fiji.
"As Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was responsible for driving Australia's highly principled stand against the unelected government of Frank Bainimarama. As Foreign Minister, he is unlikely to want to oversee any softening of that policy, lest it cause him to appear weak. Perhaps the best approach at the outset would be for Rudd to establish a short review of Australian policy towards Fiji, which would enable him to re-assess and give him some space to move. Just a thought."
* Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute.
THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS. Ten years ago officials from 189 countries took part in a meeting at the United Nations in New York and made a promise to achieve eight goals to make the world a better place by 2015.
The MDGs include freedom from extreme poverty and hunger, quality education, decent employment, good health and shelter, the right of women to give birth without risking their lives, environmental sustainability and gender equality.
This month's Review Summit shows Fiji to have made considerable progress on MDG 2, universal education. Actions taken by Government include providing free bus fares to low income families, free tuition and free textbooks. Children in 490 of the country's 600 primary schools have already received this
assistance, and its $7.4m family assistance allowance, and $30 food voucher programme for poor families, will benefit around 200,000 people.
Work is also progressing on the MDG 5 of improving maternal health by 2015. Actions take so far by Government and the White Ribbon Safe Motherhood Initiative, that aim to cut maternal deaths by 75%, includes family planning and safe sex, and pregnancy advice.
Government actions in other MDG areas - poverty reduction, employment, shelter, gender equality and environmental sustainability - have been widely covered by this blog. Readers will have observed the similarity between the UN's MDG's and those of the People's Charter and the Government's Roadmap goals.
GOOD FOR A LAUGH. I had to read it twice to believe it. A keynote speaker at USP last week, a Kiwi with "Hawai'ian blood ties" presumably in Fiji for the first time, chose to give advice on fast food, electric cars, and the export potential of villagers' produce at the Suva market. Europe, apparently, is a potential export market for such produce, said organic food advocate Dr Cathie Koa Dunsford, before going to say that Fiji could be a food basket of the world through the production of sustainable organic food.
Dr Dunsford said she'd travelled the world extensively but had never met polluted air as bad as what she had inhaled in Fiji’s capital city of Suva. “I couldn’t breathe. I have never been to a place where the air is so polluted like Suva ... A long-term solution would be the use of electric cars in Fiji."
Scroll down to today's earlier post.