Hillary Clinton's Words and Meanings, Export Amnesty, Supermarkets Protest Price Controls
HILLARY CLINTON AND FIJI. People on both sides of the political divide claim Hillary Clinton said what they wanted her to say. The anti- people cited her assurance that the US will work with Australia to return Fiji to democracy, saying she wanted immediate elections. The pro- people said she talked of the importance of involving more civilians in Government knowing, as she must, that this is unlikely while Australia and NZ maintain travel bans on Government people. What both sides must know — but which neither side has said — is that Hillary Clinton will not be telling the press what is really going on, and she most certainly would not criticize Australian and NZ policies in public. That is not what allies do. It is what goes on behind the scene that counts, and we won't know this for a while — unless, of course, CoupFourPointFive has a spare "reliable source" hidden deep in the White House.
In an article headed "Fiji Stand a Threat to [Australia's]Security Council Bid" this is what the Sydney Morning Herald wrote. Other SMH links One Two.
The Age reported "Attempts to Isolate Fiji Fails as Washington Steps Up Contacts".
This is what Jone Baledrokadroka wrote in CoupFourPointFive
And this is what a reader wrote:
Croz, this is the content of the passage relating to Fiji in Madam Clinton's Melbourne speech:
"We are going to be working together with Australia to persuade the military government in Suva to meet its commitment to bring democracy back to Fiji," Clinton said. "In the short term, we would like to see steps that advance political freedom, such as allowing professional civilians to return to key government ministries," Clinton said in her speech.
"There's nothing here to support Australia's demand for an immediate election. It talks of "working to persuade the military government...to meet it's commitment to bring democracy back to Fiji". That is precisely what the government is doing — in 2014. These comments imply the acceptance by the Americans of the regime's election timetable. There is no time limit stated here whatsoever, as the regime's critics were expecting.
"She also says that "in the short term, the US wants steps...such as allowing civilian professionals to return to key government ministries". If anything, this is an indirect jibe at Australia and NZ. The Americans know that those countries' travel bans have been the one thing that's prevented precisely what the US wants from happening.
"Once again, the anti-regime lobby has deliberately tried to misrepresent the truth in their contributions to this site. An absolute travesty but hardly surprising. What Clinton said is the opposite of what they are claiming, tacit acknowledgment that there will be no election in Fiji until 2014. Holding Fiji to that deadline was hardly the caning the regime's critics were hoping for. So what we get again is lies born out of their utter desperation."
EXPORT EARNINGS AMNESTY WORKED. The Reserve Bank has reconciled some $900 million of export proceeds for the period 2004 to 2009 thanks to its six month amnesty. Under the Exchange Control Act, exporters are required to bring back their export proceeds into Fiji and to reconcile their export data within six months from the date of export. Many had failed to do so. FRB Governor Sada Reddy said the amnesty and more general awareness of the regulations had also contributed positively towards Fiji's healthy foreign reserves which are currently at a record level of $1.27 billion.
SUPERMARKETS DEFY PRICE CONTROL. Four of Suva's eight large supermarkets had removed items from their shelves that should have been sold 10-20% cheaper when they came under price control rulings at the weekend. A reason given by one was that the new price tags had not been attached, but this seems a weak explanation given that they had been given three days notice. One source said the items were now being put back on the shelves, but not before launching what seems to have been a protest at no small inconvenience to the public.
Suva Retailers Association President Himmat Lodhia said “One thing we are happy about in this whole situation is that this will weed out any unscrupulous dealings that have been around." The Commerce Commission is investigatin.
One danger Government runs in giving teeth to the Commerce Commission to ensure fair pricing — and raising the minimum wage in some industries — is that there is a risk of alienating powerful business interests. There is anecdotal evidence that one or two big business people offered support to Fiji's supposedly "pro-Fijian" coups in 1987 and 2000 because they were not happy with the assumed pro-worker stance of the Baivadra and Chaudhry government.
Note: A clarification is needed on the price controls. While everyone is happy that a number of basic food items have been cut by 10%-20% this must be kept in perspective. When the Fiji dollar was devalued early last year it meant that food prices went up by 38%. The welcome current cut is most welcome but still does not make up for the cost of devaluation to the ordinary people..