Showing posts from June 6, 2010

This Blog Practises Responsible Media Freedom: Reply to Critics

I think most people who read this blog would recognize my attempts at fairness and balance. A small number think I'm too tolerant of those making anti-government comments. Others have accused me of being a coup apologist.  They say I  label NZ media articles propaganda but do not label Fiji government publications similarly. They say I print only one side of the story, and block comments with which I disagree. This is not the case, as more a careful review of the blog would show.

This reply to these criticisms is based on the assumption that those making them are genuine in their beliefs and are not simply vociferous anti-government people taking opportunities to snipe at the "enemy."

Coup Apologist
The blog's political stance is neutral to pro-Government. I do not approve of coups or military-led governments but to move Fiji forward the de facto situation and de facto government must be accepted.  I believe the government prior to 2006 was very far from democratic; …

How Aussies, Pommies, Brij Lal, Usaia Waqatairewa & Paul Holmes See Fiji

(-+) HOW AUSSIES SEE FIJI. If the saying "one picture is worth a thousand words" is correct, the Australian media need not write a single word on the situation in Fiji. This one picture, shown as it is over and over again, could persuade Australians that Bainimarama never changes his clothes.  But it's more likely they'll conclude: That's how it is in Fiji, a country ruled by a sour-faced military dictator, with soldiers in the streets terrorising the populace.

I've been criticised for calling this sort of media coverage propaganda but what else can it be called?

However, to their credit the photo was accompanied by a reasonable report that had Bainimarama saying Fiji's stability was his top priority; he was focusing on building a better Fiji not on contesting elections; he had not considered standing in the future elections, but wanted to hand a stable country over to a new government in 2014. He says that process will include ensuring the country's…

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.

Project Worth Supporting
I was having a few bowls of yaqona with friends at my favourite watering hole and the conversation went to tourism. We usually talk about everything and anything.

Someone said that a new attraction was happening at Drauniivi village in Rakiraki in Ra Province. It was about dolphins. He said he read about it in government's publication the New Dawn. Government is giving its full support to this very humble business venture that the villagers are starting out. One of the men sitting there was from the village and we asked him to tell us about the project.  He said that he had heard about the dolphins many years ago when he was ju…

Caution Needed on New NLTB Land Rules

Usually one should wait before commenting on unseen new rules, but since the soon to be announced Native Land Trust Board (NLTB) rules on the lease of native land have not been place in the public arena for prior discussion before the Board takes arbitrary action, some concern must be expressed about likely foreign investment. The new rules, according to the PM,  will "enable landowners to go into partnership with foreign investors ... instead of landowners leasing their land." The PM says this would "mean landowners becoming major shareholders."  

One assumes (though this is not clear from what Government has released so far) that the new rules will apply to commercial non-agricultural ventures such as tourism, and agricultural ventures what include arable land presently mainly used for sugar production, and for non-arable land used for forestry. Fish ponding and market gardening are other likely uses.

The need to make better commercial use of native land is irr…

(o) Moves to Include Poor in Financial Services

About 109,000 households in Fiji miss out on savings, credit and other financial services. The untapped savings demand, largely present in the rural areas, stands at least F$70 million dollars. Further, the unmet demand for credit, mainly present in the urban areas, is at least F$57 million dollars and there are over 130,000 Fijians who could benefit from insurance products in the short term.

These findings are contained in the report Fiji Financial Services Sector Assessment released last week by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP). The report is based on a field research conducted last year by the Basix Group, a premier provider of microfinance services and promoter of sustainable livelihoods in India.

The report highlights that compared to other Pacific Island countries, the financial sector in Fiji is well developed, with a broad range of services provided by the commercial banks, non bank financial institutions, credit instituti…

(-+) Someone's Lost Four Fingers

The Coupfourpointfive blog reports the Fiji Labour Party website as blaming the Bainimarama government for Fiji's poor economic performance. It's a long list that includes devaluation, inflation, an increase in poverty, inability to repay loans (the first one for $150 million is due next year. It was taken out by the Qarase government!), writing down the value of FNPF tourism investments (due mainly to the collapse of a NZ investment company!), national debt at 70% of GDP (the IMF calculated 52%!), and economic problems in the sugar, electricity, airline, and communications industries.

Putting aside FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry's former involvement as Minister of Finance (and therefore shared responsibility) in the Bainimarama administration, Fiji is not alone in having economic difficulties.

If indeed the government is responsible for the poor state of the economy, the responsibility should be shared with four other factors, not mentioned by the FLP or Coupfourpointfive:

The New Constitution and the President: Appointment? Ethnicity? Powers?

For your opinions and to read the opinions of others, click on the "man and forked path" icon in the sidebar to go to our companion blog, Na Sala Cava?   There are now eight major questions on the site what convey reader's opinions on Fiji's future.

Being Frank, with a Postcript on Chaudhry and RadioNZI Dishonesty

Last Friday the Fiji Sun reported the PM to say “The people want the general election to be deferred further because they are in favour of my Government.” And then all hell broke loose.

The anti-government blogs had a hay day; most overseas mainstream media seemed to have missed it, thank goodness, but it was picked up by IndianWeekender in Auckland. When I went back to the  Sun, I had difficulty finding it but the news was out in the ether somewhere.

In one voice the Anti's said  Bainimarama was flying his first kite: elections would not be held in 2014.This was his intention all along. He's broken promises before.  In a month or two he'll fly another kite, and then with the "people's approval," he'd rule for life. Pax Bainimaramus!

More moderate opinion, including comments on this blog, regretted the announcement saying many supporters would desert him if the report was true.

Well, it was true, in a way.  The Sun had not misreported him, assuming there…

3. What New Zealand Can Do to Help Resolve the Fiji Political Situation

Since writing the previous article in this three part series, Bainimarama's remark about the "people" wanting  him to stay on after 2014 has been taken up by his opponents as the first sign he's not serious about elections. His remark was not read in its context. He was illustrating the support he had during his provincial tours to debunk Smith and McCully's remarks that the situation in Fiji had deteriorated. There never was any suggestion that  elections would not be held in September 2014. See this FijiLive clarification.  

Photo: NZ PM John Key --- looking for an answer?

"They still cannot and do not want to understand the situation in Fiji and in doing that Australia and New Zealand have failed to understand and recognize my Government’s efforts in creating a country that is non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well governed, fully democratic nation that seeks progress and prosperity through merit based equality, opportunity and peace. That is…

New Blog Weapon, FNPF Wants Transparency, Campbell Bias, Russians, Crime, Economy, Udu Peninsula Road

MINOR BLITZ ON MY BLOG. There was a spate of anti-government comments to this blog last week. I've published the least offensive, but am left wondering whether it's the same two or three people using a sort of automatic comment release weapon. Most say almost the same thing. I would welcome more counter-comments.

There's a lovely poem about Frank's 01 number of Allen Lockington's Saturday feature.  Start your week with a smile.

(+) DELOITTE FNPF REPORT FUND TO GO PUBLIC. The report by international accountants Deloitte into the Fiji National Provident Fund will be made public, subject to possible legal exception,  says NLTB CEO Aisake Taito. He said this was part of a strategic plan to ensure that all people who had defrauded the national pension fund in the past years would be taken to task.

Chairman Ajith Kodagoda said they were determined to see justice was done. “This will serve as a lesson that what has happened will not be repeated. People need to know what ha…