Japan Will Assist, MSG Chair, Fiji-US Relations, Namosi Gold, Carnival of Lights

NOTICES.  1) Reminder: Anonymous comments will not be published. 2) Fiji Daylight Savings started yesterday. 3) Check out the Weekend Readings and comments. 4) Tomorrow posting: Driti on leave?

JAPAN READY TO ASSIST. Japan's willingness to assist with the electoral and other reforms could herald a major improvement in its recognition of the ongoing developments that will lead to elections in 2014. The offer was made by Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara during discussions with his counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola last week.

Mr Maehara emphasised the importance of the election date and urged Fiji to try to engage the international community in its reform process. Other bilateral relations issued discussed were Japanese Official Development  Assistance (ODA), trade and investment relations, and the possibility of Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Funds being managed through the Japanese Embassy in Suva. Japan will discuss this possible arraangement with the Pacific Islands Forum.  Click here.

MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP. The special meeting that was to have taken place in Honiara this week -- at which  Vanuatu was expected to pass the relay baton to Solomons and Solomons to Fiji has been postponed indefinitely but the Solomon and Fiji PM's are expected to meet soon.

Alfred Sasako, Solomon Islands PM's Press Secretary   interviewed by ABC said, "I am not aware of any pressure, but I think there seem to be a lot of undercurrents at the moment that perhaps it is in the best interest of every stakeholder, that the whole issue is sort of left to cool down and then therefore I think the decision was taken rightly that the meeting ought to be postponed indefinitely."

NORMALISING US-FIJI RELATIONS.  Frank Gaglioti writing on the World Socialist website identifies several moves that suggest the US hopes to normalise relations with Fiji, possibly due to concerns about growing Chinese influence in the Pacific. US and Japanese pressure on Canberra could also bring about a change in Austalian policies. Click here.
. I wondered which researcher could have written such tripe, and then I saw he was from the Lowry Institute.

GOLD AND COPPER IN NAMOSI are expected to deliver an annual income of about $1 billion a year within the next four to five years. The claim is made by Lands Minister Netani Sukanaivalu (photo).

CARNIVAL OF LIGHTS. The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and Digicel are  hosting a three day ‘Carnival of Lights’ at the Valelevu grounds from this Thursday, the 28th. Organiser Ronny Kumaran  says the event is about building relationships with one another. ‘The carnival will help us all understand and respect each other. We know you will enjoy the carnival of lights as there will be opportunity to meet and mingle with all races in order to create mutual respect amongst the cultures of Fiji.’ The Carnival, open from 8am to midnight, will have "exciting programmes during the day" and Live entertainment and fireworks displays in the evening.

Diwali, the Hindu "Festival of Lights," is a week later on Friday 5th November.


MSG leadership fantasy said…
Bainimarama's statement that he would chair the MSG is like the Natadola fantasy - relegated to the rubbish bin of dreams in a puff of dust!
Low(y) quality analysis said…
Fergus Hanson just continues the Lowy Institute's miserable tradition of being a lap-dog of official Australian policy on Fiji. The quality of analysis here is laughable for an organisation that poses as an authority on Fiji. No mention of the strategic paradigm change brought about by Fiji's relationship with China, the re-engagement with Japan and South Korea and the fact that the US and France no longer stand shoulder to shoulder with Australia and NZ in their policy towards the regime. Just the same tired old bleat we've heard from Australia Inc since 2006. Hanson, Hayward Jones, Dobell et al are truly on the wrong side of history. The real thinkers on Fiji are over at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, where Anthony Bergin has more sense in his little finger than all the Lowy parrots put together. He and the likes of Richard Herr are streets ahead of the others and must shake their heads in despair when they see this kind of drivel masquerading as serious analysis. No wonder that when it comes to regional policy, Australia remains up sh*t creek without a paddle. Backed into a corner by its obstinacy and increasingly irrelevant, Canberra will live to rue the day it ever listened to the likes of Fergus Hanson.
Melanesian arm wrestle said…
Raica ga. Frank Bainimarama will chair the MSG, if not now then certainly in the next few weeks and months. Yes, there are elements in Vanuatu and the Solomons who don't want him but they will eventually give in to domestic pressure. The leaders of both countries are guided by self interest above all and will hardly put their own jobs at risk to keep Frank at bay. What we're seeing is a Melanesian arm wrestle in which Australia has blatantly leant over to give one side - Eddie and Danny - an extra push. But on the other side, their muscles straining, are the two big boys of Melanesia, PNG and Fiji. With many of those watching starting to cry foul about the outside intervention, I'm putting my money on them to eventually slam Eddie, Danny and their Aussie kai vata bang onto the table.
Left is right said…
It's a funny world, Croz, when World Socialist is a lot more correct in its analysis on Fiji than the Lowy Institute. But there you are.
elopha said…
I suspect Driti and Mara where looking for the big backpay handout the PM awarded himself but the AG and others thought it a bit too much in the face of the flak they received on that corrupt decision so they have gone for something a but simpler. 6 months paid holiday. Nice if you can get it.
One Billion - No said…
$1 billion a year within a couple of years ? I think he has been smoking the good stuff from up that way rather than looking in the ground. The only way they will generate that much revenu in the next couple of years is if are talking Fijian rupee and Sada devalues it a dozen or so times more.

Don't get me wrong - if progress is being made great and some revenu will flow which is all needed for the country but $1Billion is the sort of number scammers use to try get investors a quick float or sell on of mining rights.
coup culture said…
@ World Socialist and others

It's one thing to accept 2014 as the date Fiji will have elctions but it is another all together to see the actual prgress being made to this date.

We have no idea what that democracy will look like and we won't know what the military has in mind until 2012.

Lets not forget that the internation community DID ACCEPT a earlier promise and date - 2009. 2009 has come and gone. Even 2010 which was spruiked by the regiem in 2007 has come and gone.

There is no evidence to date that Frank is anymore serious about 2014 than he was about 2009 or 2010. On his past record you bet he will defer again.

The other big question is the military's role post elections (and durring campaigning). If the military continue to have the power to overthrow governments or dictate to future governments nothing will have been achieved.

The big issue here IS THE MILITARY. They where responsible for the dirt two coups. They failed restore the elected government following the 3rd coup and where solel responsible for the 4th coup.

The coup problem in Fiji is the MILITARY. So the idea the MILITARY can somehow lead us out of a problem it has caused and supported is hard to beleive.
Not everyone supporting Frank said…

You are often quick to quote opposition party politicans in other Pacific Islands when they say they support Frank. So for balance i think you should report on this gentleman who does not.

Solomon MP say Fiji leader wants MSG nations to bow to his demands
Posted at 18:52 on 24 October, 2010 UTC

A senior member of Solomon’s Islands opposition, Matthew Wale, has described Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Bainimarama, as someone who wants countries of the MSG to bow down to his demands.

A special meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, planned to be held in Solomon Islands this week to resolve an impasse over the chairmanship the group, has been postponed.

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Danny Philip, is reported to want more time to consider the proposed plan to hand over the chairmanship from Vanuatu to Fiji via Solomon Islands.

The meeting was apparently agreed when leaders attended the UN General Assembly in New York last month.

However, Commodore Bainimarama said he would not attend, but would send Fiji’s Foreign Affair’s Minister.

Solomon Island Broadcasting quotes Matthew Wale as saying that the MSG countries should learn from this and not allow Fiji’s leader to dictate any matters regarding the Melanesian grouping.

News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
MSG said…
Lets not get excited about the MSG. It is not well organised or governed, a talk tream at best and a waste of money at worst.

The grand chief of PNG himself is a good example. When with Frank it's all about supporting Frank but two seconds later he is right behind the Forum, 10 seconds later agreeing with Australia.

This is the Pacific way of pissing which ever way you think is right for the audiance.
strayed from the road said…
Day after day, week after week, comment after comment. All interesting stuff but what is happening with the Roadmap to sustainable and fair democracy ? have everyone forgot about it or are all on a different road now ?
sara'ssista said…
It always interesting to see those that are quick to criticise ( solomons,png, vanuatu ), for giving in to outside pressure
( ie from aus and NZ) from others fully accepting the ligitmacy of a regime that took power by force.They really don't see the irony in this?? But also support the applying of the 'melanesian brotherhood' pressure, which thankfully is very morally flexible and can often be bought.
Yellow Submarine said…
@ Overseas Think Tanks need to get practical,consult the people who know (in a hands-on and pragmatic sense) and quit their silly 'turf wars':

Until any of all of these overseas Think Tanks get themselves into a sensible and pragmatic, 'hands on' mode, how can they possibly make a difference? THey fail to do their homework (frequently), meet with people who come up with the same old views from positions which are entrenched in outmoded, stodgy takes and almost never consult with women or other marginalised groups (the elderly, the disabled, young people and, yes, children). Have any of them spoken to a rape victim lately? Why would they bother? Or even feel it mattered? They go to those they fund: the same old Fiji NGOs who are part of our problem. "We pay them, so we consult with them: THEY KNOW". This has been going on for at least fifteen years, to my knowledge. How unsound a take on things is this?

Until a Think Tank here or "over there" gets itself a colourful, imaginative and creative cover, like, "YELLOW SUBMARINE" and begins to think out of its straightjacket, we are wasting our time with any of them. Would they know or care how victims of rape, for instance, are treated? Does the in-house care measure up, internationally? And what does that have to say about the Price of Fish in Fiji?

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