Showing posts from January 3, 2010

(o) Against Anonymous Comments: Sudarsan Kant

Allow me to revisit a question that you raised a few months ago between liberal democracy and new media, specifically the art and science of blogging. For political practitioners, amateurs, curious onlookers and enthusiasts, blogs and websites have become an ideal cynosure to visit and engage with fellow travelers on important and mundane issues of the day. 

Your site certainly serves as a good model of how new media has enabled the emergence of a cyber community focused on the events unfolding in Fiji as well as its relationship with Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Oceania. The diversity of news and commentary is refreshing and thoughtful for many of us who spend a lot of time analyzing and exploring issues pertaining to governance, institutions and public policy in Oceania.

While creating a community engaged in political discourse is a substantive achievement in a fickle age, the continued use of anonymous comments undermines essential prerequisites for communal dia…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Drug Bust

Huge sums of money have been found buried in the bushes in the Highlands of Fiji. Yes drug farmers are burying their cash. A report says that drug farmers are simple people. Are they? They are not depositing huge sums of money in the bank because it will raise eyebrows.

With my vivid imagination I envisioned “Tomasi” and “Anil” simple cash crop farmers, walk in to a bank in Fiji with $24,000 in cash. With their different coloured flipflops, dirty fingernails and torn denim jeans and with the large bag of money they will be a sight to behold. Anil will get a call on his $2,000 mobile phone and whisper, “Yes we are here.” The bank teller will look u…

Snippets: Imrana Jalal, PER, Civil Service Audit, Permanent Secretaries, Child Poverty, Garment Industry, Bus Workers Unionise

(-) By Hook or by Crook* Chook.It really does take a big leap of imagination to know why it's the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), and not the Suva City Council, that is charging well known human rights and anti-government lawyer Imrana Jalal and her husband Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia with operating their Suva Hook and Chook restaurant without a proper licence. See also Imrana's statement on this charge posted on Coup FourPointFive.

Fiji Law Society President Dorsami Naidu, also not a government friend, says he doesn’t understand why FICAC has become involved, but adds "the Commission seem to single out people who are critical of the regime." It may be  coincidental but magistrate Mary Muir who questioned FICAC over the matter was  dismissed on Monday.

Whatever the rights and wrongs involved, Government must not be -- and must not be seen to be -- petty or vindictive in situations like this. It has a country to run! Not a restaurant!

* Hook or by cr…

(o) The Link Between February's Dialogue Forum, the 2012-13 Constitution Forum and the 2014 Elections

This post is a summary of an exclusive interview by Samisoni Pareti of  Islands Business with the Prime Minister's Office Permanent Secretary, Col. Pio Tikoduadua (photo), in which Tikoduadua spells out the functions of next month's nationwide dialogue forum and its relationship with the constitutional dialogue scheduled for between September 2012 and September 2013, exactly 12 months before the 2014 elections.  Click here for the full article.

Next month's National Dialogue for Fiji’s Future (NDFF) will have an “open” agenda  to be decided by  the NDFF Secretariat and its yet-to-be appointed chair.  People and organisations that participate will meet four basic prerequisites.They be forward looking, have the best interest of Fiji at heart,  hold views consistent with the People’s Charter for change, will not have an outstanding case before the courts, and not  represent a political party that espouses ethnic based politics.

Civic rather than political party partici…

(o) The Julian Moti Story Does Nothing for Australia's Pacific Reputation

Hunted and hounded for the last five years, Julian Moti, QC, Australian citizen, former Attorney General of the Solomon Islands is now broken but a free man. In the aftermath, it left the Australian claim to being a model democracy in tatters and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australia’s law enforcement agency, as one that cannot and must not be trusted for its impartiality. It is a deeply worrying revelation in the Pacific that has also brought the Australian mainstream media into focus on its claim of being independent, impartial and a great protector and defender of people’s rights. It’s eloquence in highlighting this case was matched with a deafening silence or voices that were clearly inaudible or incoherent."

So opens Rajendra Prasad's truth-is-stranger-than-fiction account of Julian Moti and the Australian authorities. When the saga finally ends Justice Mullins, in her thirty page judgment, claimed “The conduct of the AFP an affront to the public conscienc…

(o) Why the Judiciary Reshuffles and Dismissals?

Reshuffles and dismissals in the judiciary have again raised eyebrows. Government detractors like Auckland journalist Michael Field and a group of closely related anti-Government blogsites see this as further evidence of Government malpractice. Words like purge, fired and sacked abound. They infer Government has "fired" four prosecutors and three magistrates to replace them with people "more acceptable to the regime." And they could be right  or partly right.

Not being a confidant of Aca Rayawa, the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (an alleged "supporter of the regime") or of the Attorney General, I have no way of knowing why these people were dismissed, but it is possible they were  dismissed because they were not performing on the job.

Government has had to appointment a number of  people who would otherwise not be appointed because many better qualified people have not applied for Government positions due to the Australia and New New Zea…

(o) Lament Over Democracy in Fiji:Sanjay Ramesh*

An excellent, thought-provoking and provocative article on Fiji's coups with comments on Australia's and NZ's policies and the role of the media in 1987, 2000 and 2006; the accusations against Bainimarama over the November 2000 mutiny; how Bainimarama tried to work within the Constitution, and why the press is now restricted.  Click here  or here for full article.
* Sanjay Ramesh is an adjunct research associate in transforming cultures at the  National University of Fiji. He is currently completing a research degree on inter-group conflict in Fiji at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He invites you to send comments to

(o) On Media Abuse of Power and Influence in a Democracy: NZ's Dominion Post

I've always thought there's something more than a little undemocratic and cowardly that those writing editorials do not reveal their identity, especially in a proudly democratic country like New Zealand.

All we know is that an editorial contains opinions (not always backed by facts or fully researched thoughts) that are usually written by the publisher, the editor or one of the editorial team. I see no good reason why these people, and journalists in general, who so often demand access to private information,  hide behind anonymity. Why are so many media sources "usually reliable" or "our correspondent in X." Why does the law permit them to publish anonymous "leaked reports," even of personal emails? Why do we allow them these powers when we, their readers, do not even know who they are?

I'm also unsure why they think we should be interested in their anonymous opinions when we know nothing about their knowledge of the topics they discuss? We wo…

Snippets: Microcredit, School Buses, Blogs Blocked, National Dialogue Forum, Civil Service Housing, Driti Attacks Shamima

(+) Banks Required to Assist Microfinance: Part of the Roadmap.The Reserve Bank has issued microfinance guidelines for all commercial banks that require them to establish internal microfinance divisions and units in existing branches.  The banks are expected to "innovatively and effectively" extend sustainable banking services to Fiji’s marginalized, poor communities and individuals, and to small and micro enterprises, that will "empower them to participate in economy building and in the development of their welfare." Source:  Focus Jan.2 2010.

(o-) Blogs Blocked Again. Email from Fiji 4th January. "Looks like the anti-govt blogs have been blocked. I just can't log into any. Been trying for two days now. It's sad because many of them had noble causes when they started. Then things remained relatively calm in Fiji and life carried on and progress was on the way. And they started to stray and became angry and envious and started to be spiteful maybe even…

(+) Letter on the X Factor

Letter from a Reader

Bula and congratulations on making Robie's list.

I have followed your blog and would like to point out the "X" factor variable.
Most of the people who supported Qarase (including my elite friends) are the rich, powerful and urbanites. A lot of my friends who were connected to the SDL became rich overnight. These are the people who have PCs at home and can read and comment on the numerous blogs. These are the people whom Frank Bainimarama has "neutralised" and, they in turn wage a campaign of misinformation against his administration. Included in this list are politicians, lawyers, NGOs and foreign governments.
The people who support the regime are the poor and marginalised and a lots of expats and investors who agree with his will to rid corruption from our system. Except for the expats and the investors, the majority of Frank's supporters do not own or have access to computers. Most live in the poor settlements, villages and o…