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.


Lowy nonsense said…
Jenny Hayward Hyphen Jones is right about Kevin Rudd driving Australian policy towards Fiji but totally wrong to describe it as "a principled stance". I'd ask this dreary woman one basic question: How principled is it to demand an early election that would again entrench indigenous supremacy and disadvantage Fiji's other races? To which she would undoubtedly respond: "Well, there are other issues at stake here like not allowing Fiji to set a poor example for the region. And then there's the question of... etc, etc, blah, blah blah. None of which would remotely answer the central point about the moral validity of a bastardised "democracy" which doesn't promote equality of opportunity and merely entrenches the tyranny of the majority. Which is, of course, the basic problem with Ms Jones and the Lowy Institute. It's not an independent think tank in the American tradition but an arm of Australian foreign policy, manned by former employees of DFAT whose job is to give a veneer of respectability to even the most venal of the country's policies. Spare us the lecture about principle, my dear.
Incessant bleating said…
@ Lowy nonsense
When you speak about Fiji's so called 'other races' - who exactly do mean? One would imagine not the chinese - they don't spend all day bleating and whinging?
Theatre of the absurd said…
do you ever stop and think about some of the things that you and your fellow junta supporters write? If you did you might better understand why there is so little international credibilitary for this military regime.
For example, statements such as 'the important role of the military' in 'civic affairs'?? You mean like Nazi Germany? However even this is not as absurd as the statement in the comment above about the 'tyranny of the majority'.....think about this...honestly my friend...
Croz Walsh said…
@ Theatre of the Absurd ... I'll ignore the personal insult. Whether you or I acknowledge the civic role of the military in Fiji, now or in the past, is not really relevant. The REALITY is that they are likely to play a significant role for some years to come.

Speaking up for increased civilian involvement, and hence somewhat less military involvement, is my way of dealing with this reality in a positive and helpful way.

As for your comparison with Nazi Germany? Well, that really is absurb.
Return Viti said…
@ Theatre of the Absurd:
Endorse your take about Croz's shallow appreciation of the Military's role in Fiji. He has conveniently ignored the fact that it is the military that has been at the centre of all the coups simply because they have the means to carry it out period! Therein lie the problem to Fiji's democracy, in the past, now and into the future.

The solution is simple, "do away with the military's capacity to be able to meddle in politics". Sai Lealea among others, have been calling for a much reduced role for the military to one of ceremonial, engineering and community development role, where there are no need for weapons. Sai has also argued, if revenue raised through peace keeping still necessary, military training and weapons can only be made available offshore and removed before returning to Fiji. The Police then becomes the principal law and order agency in the country.

This will only be possible on accepting that Fiji has no NEED FOR A STANDING MILITARY owing to its detrimental effect on Fiji's democratic governance, let alone the fiscal burden on its people. As a Native Fijian I know this to be a fact only too well. Doubt it very much Croz does.
Who's bleating now? said…
"Incessant bleating" is clearly an indigenous supremacist engaged in a classic dog whistle about kai Idia, with his suggesting that only one race "bleats" about the undemocratic nature of the constitutional arrangements pre-coup. Yes, it suited you very well, tau, to lord it over the other races by installing indigenous dominated governments who'd pork barrel their way to power and then marginalise everyone else with odious legislaton like the Qoliqoli Bill. Fortunately for the rest of us, those days are over and you sit there - probably in exile - incessantly brooding and plotting pointless counteroffensives with your yaqona-sodden kai vata. Well, I've got news for you. Yes, there are other people in Fiji and not just the Indians and Chinese. I'm neither and hey, I'm now Fijian too, thanks to the regime bestowing on all of us the title you once claimed exclusively for yourselves. For a demonstrably racist member of the i'Taukei like you, that must really hurt.
Lialia watch said…
Spare me the thoughts of Sai Lealea. If you've read his website in recent hours, you'll know that Frank Bainimarama and his AG have been arrested and that there's general rejoicing in Fiji. Seriously, you guys are a total joke.
SOE said…
@ Lowy Nonsense

Jennifer Hayward Hyphen Jones: very fond of throwing stones? At horses, people, passing trains but especially at window panes!

So much for a rapid tour through deepest and darkest Fiji about two years or so ago. Did Ms Hayward Hyphen Jones ever give a passing thought to the precise circumstances surrounding those whom she deigned to meet? One thinks not. So totally out of touch and so narrow in the condescending mind that it might be said she cared not a fig for the time afforded her nor the difficulties faced by many who afforded it. So why bother? Just who was doing whom the favour? Now think carefully about that Ms Jennifer Hayward Hyphen Jones!
Stephanie said…
I do find this blog interesting to keep abreast of the of different opinions on Fiji. I do have to say though sometimes the comments on here remind me of a bunch of angry old men ranting and raving. This short video is a good visual representation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhmjnYKlVnM. It's rather sad that many of you gang up this woman, Ms Hayward-Jones. Whether you agree or not she seems to have an extremely credible reputation in the region who stands by her own opinions, as you all do yours. Good on her. I understand your qualms about the Lowy Institute, but having just done a search and then called them, you will find only 3 of 20 staff members are ex-DFAT and there are ex-AusAID, ex-ASIO, ex-journalists, ex-NGOs and ex-private sector, so I would say you could very equally argue it is over-staffed by civil society or private sector as more staff are from there than government. I also checked, no core funding comes from government, the majority is from philanthropic foundations. The think-tank was set up using the framework as the Brookings Institute in the US, probably the most influencial think-tank in the world so it is a traditional think-tank in the US sense. You old men should do your homework. If it's such nonsense coming out of Ms Hayward-Jones & the Lowy why do so many people, organisations & media continue to listen? Or are they all 'dreary' as well?

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