Showing posts from January 10, 2010

(B) Public Service Code of Conduct: Fiji and NZ

CORRECTION: Fiji does have a public service code of conduct. It is to be found (see comments) in the Public Service Act 1999, Section 6. I have not been able to access the Act but I presume its requirements are close the to the NZ public service code of conduct.
Bainimarama government's reaction to civil servants and council workers participating in anti-government blogging; its demand of loyalty from its employees, and its threats of dismissal for those working against Government may have been seen as an over-reaction, and a further attack on human rights. This misconception is due, in part, to the media failing to provide  essential background information on the conditions of public service employment.

Public servants worldwide are required to comply with codes of conduct. I have been unable to sight the Fiji Code but I doubt it is greatly different from the  NZ Code of Conduct, extracts of which follow:

The New Zealand Public Service Code of Conduct
The three principles that spel…

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.

Three in One
I. Rugby  Memories
Bill Gavoka's comments on rugby critics made me laugh and brought back some memories.

One time I was watching club rugby in Nadi and pressure was building in one of the games. Of course some players will get the jitters when the tackles are hard and bordering on the dangerous. Each time the ball would fall, this spectator would yell out, “Setiseti, sa lamu o ka ya.” (That fellow is frightened).

This happened a few times with him calling out different remarks.Then the halfback got hammered and the man yelled out again.“Va cava ya?” (How about that?).

An old lady, sitting in the front stood up and said, “How about you take h…

(o) Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread: Not FNPF Pensions

The pensions the PM was talking about were entitlements under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act and the Pensions Act.  They were not the universal contributory pensions administered by the Fiji National Provident Fund.
Fiji Village.

An alert contributor to my earlier post on this topic pointed this out in "Comments" and I amended the post immediately.   It will probably take those who rushed in to condemn the decree a while longer to correct their error -- and some, quite deliberately, will never correct it. Damage done is damage won.

The PM, however, cannot escape responsibility for allowing his vague off-the-cuff remark on pensions to be misinterpreted. He should have anticipated the misunderstanding and been more precise. He should also not have allowed the error to fester and spread for two days before correction and clarification. The inaction has played into the ha…

(+) Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum*

Remarkably similar editorials have appeared in at least three "independent" NZ newspapers, the Southland  Times, the Nelson Mail and the NZ  Herald, in the past few days.  This is how blog reader Marybelle responded to the Herald's editorial on line. They published her letter, without the opening paragraph.

"I have already read this Editorial yesterday in the FairfaxSouth Island newspapers - Southland Times and the Nelson Mail. I wonder who wrote this Editorial. I doubt if our government takes advice from Editorial opinion.

Mainstream media here in NZ really haven't a clue about what is happening in Fiji. If mainstream media started to read the truth then maybe we would be seeing different Editorial opinion. To find out more in-depth information I suggest you go to Prof. Croz Walsh's blog "Fiji: The Way it Was, Is and Can Be" This blog, unlike a lot of the other Fiji blogs, posts both the positive and negative abou…

(o+) Making Sense of Recent Government Actions

Something's going on. After months of easing tensions-- no fresh reports of possible human rights abuse, supportive statements from many in Fiji, from this blog and many overseas commentators culminating in the McCully-Kubuabola statements this week, slighter better relations between Government and the Fiji Times, and better than expected economic news despite the recent cyclone -- we have a rash of "aggressive" actions by Government, all within the span of a few days.

First, international juror and  government opponent Imrana Lala was charged by FIAC, the anti-corruption commission, with not having a licence to operate her part-owned restaurant (sic!) and the dismissal of some magistrates. Then Dr Padma Narsey Lal, wife of ANU's Prof. Brij Lal and brother of USP's Prof. Wadan Narsey, both staunch government opponents, was refused re-entry into the country.  Then 15 senior Suva City Council employees were sent home pending charges they were using SCC compu…

(-) Padma Lal Refused Re-Entry, Deported

 Coupfourpointfivereports that Dr Padma Lal was refused re-entry into Fiji after spending Christmas-New Year with her husband Prof. Brij Lal. The Lals, who have a home in Canberra and Suva, are now Australian citizens.  Dr Lal is the sister of Prof. Wadan Narsey, another prominent government opponent. Dr Lal works for the Fiji Office of International Union for Conservation of Nature and, as far as I  know, has not been engaged in any political activity whilst in Fiji. Many who may otherwise wish the Bainimarama government well will question the good sense of this action by the Immigraton officers.

(o) McCully and Kubuabola Agree to "Climb Everest"

NZ and Fiji's Foreign Ministers, Murray McCully and Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, meeting in Nadi on Friday and Saturday discussed "a number of issues of bilateral interest to both countries ... in a positive and constructive atmosphere, and have agreed to keep working at improving relations between the two countries."

One immediate outcome will be the appointment of new counsellors in Suva and Wellington (and later deputy heads of mission, and perhaps later still Heads of Mission.) Currently Fiji has only one official in Wellington while NZ has a policy adviser, two administration officials and immigration staff in Suva.

McCully said, "I think it got to the point in both cases where the viability of our operations were under threat. . .this is going to get us into a better space. It's only by maintaining the ability to communicate that you are able to move forward. Even if we strongly disagree, some good will come from ongoing communications."  The face-to-face …

(o+-) What is Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander, Imrana

I have already expressed my personal opinion on Imrana Jalal's summons by the FICAC, the anti-corruption commission, for allegedly running a restaurant without a proper licence. I thought the charge inappropriate, vindictive, an harassment prompted by her anti-Government stance --  and an action unworthy of a Government with higher principles. I couldn't have expressed myself any more strongly than that.

But Imrana's recent statement to Radio NZ International  deserves a further comment.  She says: “Here I’m being prosecuted for charges that are unrelated in any way whatsoever. And my family is being persecuted because of me. That is callous, that is underhand. Stopping my five-year old from travelling to see his grandparents in Brisbane on the 12th of December is callous, it’s contemptible."

I agree, but with one important qualification. Why has Imrana, an International Civil Rights lawyer, not spoken out against identical conseqences resulting from the Australian an…

Snippets: Media, Economy, Corruption

Photo: Polar bears, warning on global warming.

(o) Poles Apart. The Fiji Times and Fiji TV have been excluded from discussions on the Media decree because they have "not been working for Government." FT's managing director Anne Fussell, reiterating the paper's commitment to "access to as much information and as many viewpoints as possible," a provocative -- or at least a non-compromising statement in the circumstances --  says the paper is "happy to meet anyone from the Ministry of Information, or any group tasked with looking at the future of the media in Fiji, for discussions."

No meeting will take place until Government and the Fiji Times both take one step back and realize they have more to gain by dialogue than diatribes. That time may not have arrived, but it must arrive one day.The sooner the better.

(o) Fiji Journalists, Bloggers and Censorship.A balanced appraisal of the current situation by USP's Shailendra Singh. Click here.

(+) Economi…