Leweni's 'Ghost,' Commerce Commission Backpedals, Sugar, Tourism, Sophie Foster, India Gift, Fiji Democracy Now
REMINDER. Anonymous and repetitive comments are not published.
LEWENI BACK. 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.
COMMERCE COMMISSION BACKPEDALS. 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.
RO TEIMUMU HAPPY WITH INCENTIVES. 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 STOPS SUGAR EXPORTS. 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.