Showing posts from March 14, 2010

Hero Soldier Saves Villagers -

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Connnect.  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.

A Second Chance
Sinda Rela (not her real name) went back to school when she was 38. She lived in the interior of Vanua Levu and spent her primary school days there. Life was tough because there were many of them. Food was not plentiful and she walked six miles to and from school and what she loved about school was walking. She is still fit. But this is a real life story of one of our very own who struggled through life because of circumstances. She finished her primary school days in the village and then went with her dad to Viti Levu because he was a farmer and had bought a piece of land in one of the more fertile places near Suva. She went to a secondary school near the farm. A …

Media Hurt Samoa and Fiji, Land Reform, People's Charter

(o) Barbara Dreaver and TVNZ found guilty of unbalanced reporting. Barbara Dreaver, who sent a number of misleading reports on Fiji until she was denied entry, has been found wanting for one of her reports on Samoa, and TVNZ that screened and added to her story suggesting Samoa was awash with drugs and guns, has been fined $5000 by the Broadcast Standard Authority, payable to the Samoa Government, with another $2000 payable to the Crown.

"In the Authority's view, the cumulative effect of such a dramatic introduction coupled with the information presented in the item was to create an impression for viewers that not only was the situation in Samoa extremely serious, but Government officials were complicit in the guns and drugs trade."

Two years ago the BSA ruled against Michael Field for misrepresentation.  It's always too late but thank goodness there is some check on sloppy and irresponsible journalism.

(o) Journalists need some knowledge of geography. F…

Hurricane Tomas: Human Beings and Politics

As Hurricane Tomas moves away from Fiji, only Ono-i-Lau and Votua islands in the southern Lau group are still experciencing gale force winds. They are closer to Tonga than mainland Fiji and are too far south to be shown on the map.

UNICEF estimates that at least 150,000 people, primarily in Fiji's Northern and Eastern Divisions could have been directly affected by the hurricane (see map).

International airlines.  Air New Zealand and V-Australia including Fiji's own carrier, Air Pacific, have resumed operations in and out of Nadi International airport today, albeit on delayed schedules. Earlier, eleven Japanese travel journalists who will spend a week in Fiji reporting on its tourist attractions were greeted on arrival by Hurricane Tomas.

Tourism Fiji CEO Josefa Tuamoto has confirmed that no tourist was hurt in the wake of the cyclone and there have been no reports of extensive damage to hotels and resorts throughout the country.  Tourism facilities on the main island of Viti Lev…

State of Emergency declared for north and east Fiji - Fiji Times Online

Hurricane Status Update: 3.30pm - Fiji Times Online

(o) Some Thoughts on Democracy: The Polling Booth, Imposed Guided Choices and Grassroots Participation

In the Western democracies we rely -- sometimes too heavily -- on the power of the ballot box to keep our politicians honest and intent on improving the lot of all citizens. In Fiji, the Bainimarama government, with limited consultation, is setting up structures it hopes will produce a fairer Fiji for all its citizens, but in seeking to do so it is largely excluding the people whose lot it says it seeks to improve, although a small group of leading citizens are being asked their opinions.
Put nicely, government sees itself as a benevolent dictatorship that knows best what is needed. Less generously, it is imposing its ideas, excluding those with contrary or moderating views, and doing too little to harness or mobilize grassroots opinion in support of its cause.
The hope is that this approach will bring about permanent beneficial changes for Fiji. I fear it could be mistaken. The four years to elections is too short a time to change ethnically-moulded mindsets unless ordinary pe…

Hurricane, Rinakama, EU, Shipping Report, Civil Service, People's Charter

Brief Shorts
Hurricane Tomas. News from Fiji is understandably focused -- as are all the people irrespective of their political views -- on Tropical Cyclone (now upgraded to Hurricane) Tomas that will bring gale force winds 280km from its centre, and winds gusting to over 200km/hour, across most of the group. People in the most exposed areas are moving into evacuation centres, everyone has been advised to store water, and tomorrow Monday schools will be closed, buses will not be running, and the civil service will stay at home. Click map to enlarge.

(o-) More on Rinakama. This is what Coupfourpointfive reported: "It's believed Rinakama could not hold back his emotions and anger at the way his chief was arrested, charged with trumped up charges, unfairly tried and sentenced to prison, that he verbally lashed out at soldiers gathered outside the Suva High Court complex following the sentencing. He was arrested a short time later at the home of Takaveikata, in Toorak, Suva."

Islands Business: Australia Has Lost its Pacific Focus

WE SAY‘There is little doubt that Australia has lost its Pacific focus. The Rudd administration, though it started out pompously on the note that broken relations needed to be mended after the Howard regime’s exit, is poised to leave a far poorer legacy in the Pacific than its precedessor’
The past decade bears witness to the two ANZAC nations’ slow drift away from their century old allies in the neighbourhood—the small nations of the southern Pacific Ocean—toward emerging geopolitical alignments in Asia. 
  Not surprisingly, these emerging Asian powers—China being the biggest and most powerful of them all—have been forging and strengthening their own links in the Pacific Islands region at a pace that has clearly been faster than that of the ANZAC nations’ drift away from them.

Coup Apologist Walsh Under Fire

"Coup apologist Walsh under fire"By Fiji Democracy Now
"As people born and bred in Fiji we at FDN have always found it irritating and often downright insulting when confronted with the patronising likes of neo-colonial relics such as Crosbie Walsh. But we don’t always say so (after all, shouldn’t the natives know their place?). But today we’re delighted to draw your attention to a wonderful piece of writing in which the carping coup apologist gets a well deserved pay-out from veteran Pacific affairs writer, Michael Field."

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 resultof years spent hinking about all that has happened since the 2000 coup.

Aid Addiction
Fiji and its Pacific Island neighbours lie in the most aid-dependent territory in the world. This reliance ranges from about two percent of GDP in Fiji to 50 percent of GDP in the Marshall Islands. In a region with little to offer as export, the extra $US1 billion per annum is a welcome boost to the national treasuries.

These aren’t imaginary figures that have come out of my back pocket. They are from the Pacific Economic Survey 08 report, which in turn used data from organisations like the Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and even the Uganda Communications Commission.

But Pacific nations have learned to rely on this aid to provide and maintain, among other things, costly public infrastructure and ut…