Showing posts from February 21, 2010

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.
Promoting Violence Unintentionally
A very good friend asked if I had ever watched the TV show Power Rangers that is shown every afternoon during children’s prime time sessions.
I said yes, and he asked if I saw any story line and if our children could learn anything from it.  It got me thinking. The movie is about a bunch of kids who turn into robots and take revenge on the enemy.
I said slyly, “Oh, but they are out to save the world from bad guys, kick their butts and kill them.” He said, “Don’t you find it violent and soon after watching Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Winnie the Pooh they get a good lesson on revenge and violence. Then in the evening adults get a…

(-+) This Level of Censorship is Unnecessary and Counter-Productive

FijiLivereports that CCF's Rev Akuila Yabaki  "has welcomed the Government’s participation at the recent United National Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva." Almost certainly Yabaki and the Citizens' Constitutional Forum (CCF) said much more than this but, just as certainly, it was censored out.
Photo: Cafe Pacific.

Recently CCF appealed by email to people to publish their concerns about an independent judiciary because censorship prevented  publication in Fiji.  FijiLive's "abbreviated" release proves their point: the one "positive" comment was allowed; all other comments, no matter how constructive, were not. 

This blog reluctantly recognizes that full media freedom is not possible in Fiji at present, and is probably justified in the short term. Long before censorship was imposed, we were highly critical of media bias against the government, most notably by The Fiji Times

But this blog also condemns this…

IMF, the Fiji Economy, and Other Stories

Brief Shorts 25.2. 10 

Support our visitor drive. See left column. Accolades. "The best blogger on Fiji matter is Crosbie Walsh’s".  The blog entered the stratosphere yesterday by passing the 50,000 visitor mark. Click on the Flag feature to see daily totals.

Fourfourpointfive continues its credibility slide.  For several months after it was launched in April last year, the "moderate" anti-government blog was an important source of information on Fiji. Now a pale shadow of its former self, it merely pastes items copied from other sources. In uncritically copying Suliasi Daunitutu's response to Bainimarama's "toilet paper" remarks on his 600,000 petition, it does itself a further disservice because, in the absence of comment -- or reference to others who have questioned Daunitutu's petition "methodology" and the numbers claimed -- publishing the story can only mean the blog has accepted the petition on face value, just as RadioNZ foolish…

(+) Sydney Morning Herald Makes Mockery of Claim to Free and Independent Media

If Bainimarama's public off-the-cuff statements have not always helped his international image, far more persistent damage is done by the so-called free media. TheSydney Morning Herald provides yet another example.
Reporting on what Bainimarama said to Auckland-based Radio Tarana,  the paper  said "Fiji's military regime has called on Australia and New Zealand to lift their sanctions against it, or face a two-year wait to post senior diplomats back to the South Pacific nation." Unless travel bans on the regime and its supporters were lifted, no high commissioners would be approved for the Australian and New Zealand diplomatic posts in Fiji." "I don't think it (diplomatic appointments) will be on the agenda in the next 24 months," Bainimarama apparently told New Zealand's Radio Tarana on Thursday.
So what did Radio Tarana report?
"Fiji will not accept High Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand into the country, until the …

Short Briefs Wed 24.2.2010

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.

(o) Bainimarama considers full withdrawal  from Commonwealth
In what can only be described as inappropriate and poorly timed diplomacy, unfortunately  too often a hallmark of the Fiji government, PM Bainimarama has said  Fiji will consider a full withdrawal from the Commonwealth if the association of countries continue to harass and meddle in attempts to move the nation forward.

This statement could usefully have been hinted at to someone like NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully. It should  not be publically mused over where those advising McCully and other foreign ministers will probably -- and wrongly --  write it off as bluff or bravado, just as 20 years ago no one thought royalist Fiji would declare itself a republic.

I have no problem with the PM's reasons, just his announcement and its timing. He's spot on in his assessment of the Commonwealth position. The organization has li…

(o) Assassination Plot Update 24.3.10

Dramatic Development The eight men in the assassination plot trial have been acquitted of the second and third counts of conspiracy to murder the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry but the first count of conspiracy to murder the PM Bainimarama still stands.
Defence notes that forensic evidence was not collected from Ballu Khan's residence.
High Court Judge accepts evidence from the attempted mutiny that followed the Speight 2000 Coup.
Military Council Questioned me: Ratu Inoke
Ratu Inoke told the court that he was summoned by the Military Council in late September 2007 to a meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.Ratu Inoke said the meeting was to have been between him and Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara but this was cancelled. However later the same day he was called again but this time told that he would be meeting the Military Council and members of Cabinet.

Ratu Inoke told the court that he clarified to those present at the meet…

(+) A Slap for NZ Labour's Backhanded Support for Dialogue

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.

Labour Party.spokesman Chris Carter supports  the National-led goverment's moves to improve relations  with Fiji --- if Fiji does as it is told.

The Labour Party, repeating what it said when in government,  is concerned:
That "there is no clear timetable or commitment to restore the rights of Fiji’s people to elect their own Government" [which there is!]About the "direct interference the independence of Fiji’s judiciary."The "continuing censorship of media."The "overt restrictions on people’s freedom of speech."The "arbitrary arrests, killings [sic!], and beatings of people in police cells, as reported recently by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other respected NGOs." [Respected by whom? Labour has uncritically swallowed their piggy-back reports hook,line and sinker.]Sanctions, Labour says, should only be lifted …

(o) Brief Shorts Tues 23.2.10

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.

My posting exposing Sailesi Daunitutu's "600,000 petition" has been taken up by at least one NZ blogger with close government ties, and RadioNZ, perhaps coincidentally, is now referring to two "letters" and not a "petition" signed by more than the total adult Fiji population, but it has not publically apologized or withdrawn its earlier releases. PM Bainimarama has called the petition "toilet paper".
PERS and Dialogue (+) National Dialogue Forum.The chairmanship and membership of the government's proposed National Dialogue Forum is still to be finalised. The forum, initially scheduled to hold its first meeting this month, is expected to lay the groundwork for a constitutional forum in September 2012.  Link.

(o-) PERS, the Public Emergency Regulations, have again been extended for 30 days, to March 2. The late promulgation of the regulatio…

(+) Suliasi in Wonderland: a Nonsense Petition

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?
Alice in Wonderland.
This posting traces the origin of a petition, its validity, and its unquestioning acceptance by RadioNZ and other media outlets.

Fiji: A call for democracy by NZ blog NoRightTurn
"Fiji's people have been fairly meek and accepting in the face of three years of military rule - but not any longer. On Friday, they submitted a petition to the military regime calling for the restoration of democracy and elections by the end of the year. It was backed by over 680,000 people - more than 80% of the country's population. It will be interesting to see how the regime responds to this. With that level of mass opposition, its not as if they can …

Short Briefs Mon 22.2.10

New Feature. Letters to the Editor.  Scroll down.
Support the Readership Drive. See left column.
Fiji-NZ impass broken. Thank goodness this unnecessary delay in restoring some diplomatic presence, caused by Fiji's nomination of Neumi Leweni, is now over.Mere Tora, who served as First Secretary in Wellington in 2004, has been accepted as Fiji's First Secretary and Acting Head of Mission in Wellington, and MFAT career diplomat Phillip Taula as First Secretary and Acting Head of Mission in Suva.
Australian journalists to put the world right. It seems The Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age in identicaql articles are now trying to persuade the Australian government to get Sri Lanka suspended from the Commonwealth. Who do these guys think they are? Prosecutors, jurors and judges in a Kangaroo Court? An Australian Sri Lankan takes them to task, and in doing do reveals parallels to how the same media cover Fiji. But the newspapers did not print his story. Link.
PM urges Fijian l…

Assassination Plot Update 22.2.10

Mills threatened to kill me:RamuloDefence questions Fiji and English  translation. Court clarificationPolice officers told what to ask Mills threatened to kill me:Ramulo Friday 19 Februry 2010  An accused person in the alleged plot to assassinate the Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others alleged in his police statement that one of the accused, Barbadoes Mills threatened to kill him if he informed anyone of their plans.

Letters to the Editor 1 (22-28.2.10)

ANNOUNCEMENT The existing Comments feature encourages readers to comment on individual posts. The new feature Letters to the Editor encourages you to write on anything, including what Fiji media editors may self-censor.  Each Letters to the Editor posted will run for two weeks. A new Letters to the Editor feature will be posted each Monday. These are the rules: 1. All letters must be signed, even if only with a pseudonym
2. Letters must address issues and treat others with respect
3. All letters must be in English but well known vernacular words may be used. 4. Letters that are personal, use foul language, or do not meet normal standards will be deleted. Please save me the time of deleting such comments. All you have to do is ask howyou would think, feel and react if you were the recipient of the barbs you think so "brilliant and  devasting", and modify your words accordingly.
5. All letters should start with a heading indicating the subject or topic.
Dear Prime Minister

In some week…

Sunday Feature: An Insider's View from the Outside

Nesian is a pseudonym for a moderate, Fiji-born, part-Fijian,
Hindi-speaking, sky-blue passport-carrying, former Fiji-resident. An Insider's View From the Outside is the result of years spent thinking about all
that has happened since the 2000 coup.  Photo.  Earth from space.

Gloom Cascades:  The Delainabua Mutiny
Bainimarama once believed himself to be the defender of democracy. And I was one who saw the rationale of what he was doing.I don’t know how his views have changed since 2003, but I don’t think I am alone in questioning his judgement and the wisdom of some of his actions since.
It is important to understand why this naval officer, so despised by his land-based peers when they were passed over for promotion to the position of Commander, Fiji Military Forces, took the extraordinary steps he did on December 2006.
Bainimarama never forgot the events of November 2, 2000. You wouldn’t either if there was an elite group of soldiers intent on assassinating you.
The …