Leweni's 'Ghost,' Commerce Commission Backpedals, Sugar, Tourism, Sophie Foster, India Gift, Fiji Democracy Now

REMINDER. Anonymous and repetitive comments are not published.

. Well, well, another anti-government blog rumour has proved to be untrue.  LtCol Neumi Leweni really did go on leave as the Military claimed. He was not dismissed as the blogs claimed. He will resume duties with the Fiji Military Forces next Monday. This is in line with statements previously made by the Prime Minister, that any Military Officer  seconded to serve in the Government would return once they have completed the duties they were assigned. Since 2006 LtCol Leweni has at various times served as Consular to the Fiji Embassy in China and more recently as the Permanent Secretary of Information and Permanent Secretary of Lands.  -- Based on 2010, No:1866/MOI.

The Commission has readjusted the prices of basic food items resulting in an average reduction of 9% compared with the 13% when the reduction was announced last week. More expensive food items and those that have no substitutes have been removed from price control.The new prices will be advertised soon.

It would appear the revised prices are a result of pressure by retailers that saw some of them removing essential food items - including babies milk powder - from their shelves in defiance of the law. It is good
news that a government agency listens and takes note of business opinion but retailers were extensively consulted before the original price ruling.  They should not be rewarded for flouting the law at considerable inconvenience to the public. The announcement of spot fines and warning on hoarding stock comes a little late.

It is noted that a similar strategy was employed earlier in the year by employers who protested the minimum wage ruling. Many refused to cooperate by making their accounts unavailable to the Wages Council and then protesting they would be bankrupted if they were forced to pay the minimum wages. Soon afterwards Government delayed the new  ruling. We've heard vague rumours of replacing regulated wages with production-related wages but for the most part the minimum wages have still not been paid.  This is not helping the poor. This is not the Roadmap. Businesses cannot be allowed to continue "playing wolf" and blackmail Government.  They should cooperate with government to see they make fair profits, their employees are paid fair wages and their customers pay fair prices.  In the long run this will make Fiji a safer place for their businesses and investments.

. The Head of the Burebasaga Confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has welcomed incentives by the interim Government, saying this could help the indigenous population in many ways. Speaking from Lomanikoro Village, Ro Teimumu said that she was quite impressed with the interim Government’s concept by making Vanua Levu and the Maritime islands a tax free zone. She said this would not only bring investors to the country and provide jobs.“These incentives have some good plans for the indigenous people and I’m quite happy about that. Landowners along the tourism belt will also benefit a great deal from these incentives because there are some good deals in there." She did, however, express disappointment that there had not been an increase in the Education budget.

. Fiji will no longer export sugar to the Pacific Region and NZ until at least 2015. It is all needed to meet its export quota to the United Kingdom under preferential prices of the Economic Partnership Agreement. Some 190,000 metric tons of raw sugar are required for the 2010/2011 season. In 2008 Fiji exported 207,575 tons, but in  the 2009 season UK exports dropped to 152, 906 tons.

TOURIST EARNINGS JUMP.Gross earnings from tourism for 2/2010 increased by 26.8% over 2009 ($229.7m, an increase of $48.5m)largely due to 18.4% increase in visitor numbers. Australia and New Zealand dominated contributions towards the earnings, injecting $116.7m and $35m respectively.The US contributed $19.9m; Pacific Island countries $13.7m, Continental Europe $10.6m, the UK $9.5m,the rest of Asia $9.3m, while Japan, Canada and China contributed $3.9m, $3.7m, and $3.3m respectively. Source:  Bureau of Statistics.

SOPHIE FOSTER, deputy editor the Fiji Times and an outspoken government critic,  has resigned and will move to Australia.

GIFT FROM INDIA. The Education Ministry has thanked the Government of India for a donation of $158,200 that will be used to purchase and install water tanks in 93 primary and 43 secondary schools, most of which have been adversely affected by either dry spells or water cuts. A notation  “Gifted by the Government of India” will be tagged or painted on the tanks in acknowledgement of the gift. -- Based on 2010,1863/MOE.

A LAUGH FOR THE WEEKEND.  'Know your enemy' is a saying derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Here are two insights intro the minds of two anti-government people who think they are also my enemy. 

"Croz Walsh Wrong (big time)Yet Again by Fiji Democracy Now

"Forgive us for boasting, but we backward  coconuts at FDN believe we are becoming remarkably sophisticated in our analysis of that genius, the colonial super-educated Kai Valagi, Crosbie Walsh, and what makes him tick. We surmise that years ago Croz suffered a nasty knock-back when he applied for tenure at a major Australian university. Why else would he hate Australia so much? Just look at his most recent effort. He claims the US Secretary of State will give Australia a good talking to over its policy towards China. What rubbish! And on exactly what premise does Croz base this ludicrous claim? Well, he uses a link to a propaganda rave from the widely discredited World Socialist Web Site! Typical! If Croz tuned into the ABC and listened to Hillary Clinton praising Ozzie foreign minister Kevin Rudd’s vast China expertise, he might (just might) have realised what an idiot he has made of himself, yet again."

Or try this, a comment on my blog: "Keep trying croz - keep trying. You could always beat your head against a concrete post - might be easier? Perhaps you could try selling the Burma or North Korea coup? They might be easier?"

These are not untypical comments from the anti-government blogosphere.   I try to answer most comments addressed to me but in cases like these that are personal, factually incorrect and devoid of argument a reasoned reply is not possible.


sara'ssista said…
how breathtaking it is that this regime appears, by all their own reports and that of the craven local media, that we have a bunch of people that appear to be flawless, not only devoid of corruption, but also no criminality, unless they leave the regime of course, and are given the benefit of the doubt, unless you can absolutely prove and have evidence to the contrary,(not really the standard required of FICAC) which of course you would be allowed to publish either (national security, you know) and that these few self-less individuals are leaving us to go back to the military and into the hands of less than perfect people. we can only hope that the magical 2014 election we don't entertain any perosn that even so much as deviates from the dictums of the great leader and his cadres. Can peopole not in the army really be trusted to run the country? Surely not. Cros appears to have no concerns about a flawed election and the role of this junta after... like this regime perhaps Croz may feel we need to be distracted with smiling childrens and rainbows.. as it is really none of our business, they are in charge and thats that. If we are talking in a vaccum , why bother at all, it doesn't appear this regime could give a hoot about comments even on this blog.
Regular reader '1' said…

A reasoned and passionate article from Prof Narsey today is posted on C4.5 today. Yes it's anti-military government but why not give it a run on your weekend reading list to show you contiue to present and welcome alternate views ? Prof Narsey is one of only a handful of people in Fiji still prepared to speak out...and remain living in Fiji. He does not have residency anywhere else and plans to stay in Fiji. If nothing else he is courageous in speaking out when he knows the consequences.

Thanks - keep up the good work.
M.B.N said…
Great to hear repetitive comments will no longer be allowed. I was really getting sick of hearing about a roadmap that is so important than no one can be trusted to see it.

Please, stop all the talk of a roadmap until someone can sight it please.
lets save some money said…
The military seems to be working normally and thats with so many senior officers working in civil servant roles.

Perhaps this suggests that there are genuine cost saving to be made in cutting the military numbers. We need not worry about them finding work else where as we are constantly reminded they are the most qualified for the job and doing wonderful things in there new roles.

Now where is the former police commissioner working ?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Saras'sista ... Shorter sentences please. It's very difficult to understand what you are actually saying, though it's obviously anti-government.

@ M.B.N ... You confuse comments with postings. My posts will continue to refer to the Roadmap. We don't have the full document but it's general direction should be clear to even the most cynical person who reads this blog
M.B.N said…
...and when do you think we might get to see the roadmap ? We are half way on our journey to 2014 elections. My wife usually inists I look at the map before I start out because despite my great sense of direction (my opinion not hers) I often get lost.
Joe said…
In all fairness, I humbly request you to publish what "Regular reader 1"(above) has asked for, and instead of harping on about the imaginary roadmap, can the people of Fiji be granted access to the Auditor General's reports. I hope it is not too much to ask for.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Regular Reader 1 ... I'll reflect on this for a while. Wadan attacks so many things that require professional expertise to discuss or refute. I have no idea how he's put dollar figures on each of Government's alleged failings but they certainly look very damaging. I presume this was his intent. Few readers would be in a position to make a proper assessment of these claims.

My hesitation is reinforced by my reading of his "The Quantitative Analysis of Poverty in Fiji" where equally impressive figures can be challenged because he leaves analyists unable to check the reliability of his sampling frame, his failure to use the 2007 census as a "control", his reliance on Adult Equivalant Households, and other procedures. It is not that these procedures were necessarily wrong; it's just that we have no way of knowing either way. And it could well be that the same is true of his economy claims.
Global Citizen said…
what a wimpish, bureaucratic, lame response to Narsey. Either agree or disagree man; put up your argument but this sad display of cravenness on your part... it actually is sickening.
Sugar suga said…
Sada says everything will be alright...

"the outlook for this critical industry is positive pending the implementation of a range of reforms to bring the industry back to its glory days. It is encouraging to note the Prime Minister’s recent pledge to fix the industry and safeguard the livelihood of nearly 200,000 people who rely on the sugar sector."

(From his speach to the Fiji Bankers Institute).

You heard it folks Sada says it will be alright !
Failure to reach critical mass said…
Waden Narsey's piece, which I've just read on Coup 4.5, is more of the same - anti-regime polemic dressed up as serious academic analysis. It has a veneer of credibility until you scratch the surface and find the usual unsupported statements and half truths for which Prof, Narsey is developing a habit. He claims a company linked to the Attorney General is "allegedly" making multiple salary payments to government ministers. Details and evidence? Nil. He claims the military has become a "private militia" to keep the regime in power. Huh? The military is the regime. And so it goes on. This is the trouble with Prof Narsey. He expects to be taken seriously as an independent and impartial commentator yet all too easily falls into the trap of resorting to exaggeration and hyperbole to make his customary case against the regime. All of which makes it much more difficult for the average reader to distinguish fact from fiction. It's the same with Victor Lal's pieces on 4.5. If you believe his latest, Reserve Bank governor Sada Reddy has been sidelined for allegedly transferring funds to his personal bank accounts in New Zealand. Explanation and detail? Also nil. Lal makes much of his Oxford University connections and expects to be taken seriously. Yet he offers no evidence whatsoever for the extraordinary claims he makes about Reddy. His allegation is passed off as fact when it appears to be no more than the kind of crude and hysterical propaganda that routinely flows nowadays from what was once a reasonably credible source. What these guys don't grasp is that by not providing us with the required level of proof for their allegations, they are steadily losing the battle for the hearts and minds of their fellow citizens. Their offerings are acceptable to Coup 4.5 because it suits the agenda of the regime's opponents. But until they reach an acceptable standard of evidence-based research, they do not meet the standards necessary for wider circulation on websites like this one. Remember the old saying "if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't"? Well with these guys, it's; " if it sounds unbelievable, it probably is". Some of their latest offerings not just smack of desperation but appear to be totally off the wall.
Joe said…
Why cant you just publish your fellow academic, Wadan's article and lets have a debate on it in your moderate blog. You can put in a disclaimer if you like. Since you always talk about the roadmap that none of us have seen, what is stopping you from highlighting Wadan's bit? Perhaps this govt. may just chime in with the Auditor General's report to counter Wadan's claims.
Crazy critics of Croz said…
Croz, I think you should be pleased that some of the stuff being written about you on anti-regime blogs defies a reasoned response. It means that you're making a difference. But isn't it instructive that you're being cast as a "colonial, super-educated Kai Valagi"? Is that the best insult they can come up with? Let's just break this down. Colonial. That means you're a power that has some form of control over a dependent people. Well, yes. The power of your ideas controls the agenda and leaves lesser minds flailing. Super-educated? Established fact. Kai Valagi? Indisputable. Why are you casting such statements as factually incorrect? I'd wear them as a badge of honour, though why the colour of your skin matters says more about your opponents than it says about you. Do you sit there in Horowhenua thinking about the race of the people whose opinions you challenge? These people do. Kinda weird, isn't it? Guess you just have to shrug it off as the 21st century equivalent of the white man's burden. Have a good weekend.
The hand that taketh giveth said…
Sara'ssista, I tried to finish reading your first sentence but had to go to the bathroom in midstream. Ten lines of diatribe before a full stop! Surely a record, even for you. But we must be thankful for small mercies. Only one...
UN Women - exclusion said…

Apart from Timor Leste, we see no indication that women from the Pacific Region are included. How can this be? The Pacific Region and especially the South Pacific Regon has probably and demonstrably one of the most disempowered and disadvantaged populations of women in the world. Only four women parliamentarians in a Cabinet of 36 and seven in the Lower House of Parliament of 72 in 2006? This was described as an 'improvement'. Was it?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Global citizen ... I think before I open my mouth.
Islands in the Stream said…
Craven, cowardly....these are words which should be used sparingly and with full understanding of their meaning. So, who is this ultra-courageous Global Citizen, full of 'vim and vigour' who judges himself/herself capable of casting aspersions on the capacity of others? We need to take a long, hard look. This is not a time for such niggardly attacks and you have chosen the wrong prey. Are you, one suspects, one of those who, not unlike SNCF (the French state-owned railway system) has just today apologised for trucking thousands of French Jews to concentration camps in Poland and Germany in World War Two? It has taken them 66 years to do so? You live in the Global World: lucky you!

So who is 'craven and cowardly' now?
Corruption Fighter said…
have you seen the posting on Coup 4.5 by Jese Sikivou, Private Secretary of the Roko Tui Dreketi?

If not, you should read it and comment.

It looks very much like Ro Teimumu has been badly misquoted.

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