Showing posts from July 25, 2010

Fiji Live News Editor Richard Naidu Taken in for Questioning

This item from Radio Fiji may explain why FijiLive did not register in time, and could not be accessed yesterday.   My information is that PER is being lightly applied, leaving editors responsible for erroneous postings.  But, whatever, the cause, being taken in for questioning seems excessive.  Surely a phone call asking the editor to correct the error would have been sufficient.  Fiji  Live has been a very responsible online paper to date, and its temporary absence from the internet is already missed.

"Police have questioned and released Fiji Live News Editor Richard Naidu for a story that was published by the online news agency on Thursday. Naidu was taken in yesterday by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID). Director CID Adi Sen says they questioned Naidu overnight and released him at about 11am today.
Naidu was questioned over a story alleging the suspension of the Police Commissioner Commodore Esala Teleni.Police say the story was incorrect. Fiji’s Public Emergency…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

This article should have been posted before the response by  Fr Kevin Barr.  For those who have not read the response, read this first, and then scroll down for Fr Barr's response.  Apologies to everyone.

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.

You Make Your Own Luck
 Poverty is an interesting subject to talk about, it seems to be the in-thing today – “eradicating extreme poverty”.  A few people who lived in dire circumstances have gotten up and found a way out and did it with just a little assistance from the authorities. A friend of mine is an example. He was kind enough to retell his life story over a basin of yaqona. He had two bowls, out of respect.

Thinking … Not Sleeping: Critical but Helpful Ideas on How to Take Fiji Forward

Parts 1–6. Running a Government with Bad Advice
Continued from yesterday Sorry Croz, This is a bit long but started last night and kept going. In parts so I can post. Publish if you think it will be of interest.

1. The military completely underestimated how hard it would be to run government.

In the early days after the coup I joined a meeting with the new PM and his military council talking to business. They seemed genuine in wanting ideas on what they could do to fix various things. What became very clear though was they had absolutely no idea about even the most basic principles of business or economics. I am talking absolutely no idea. The complete naivety scared me even more than their guns.

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.

Explore Noni Juice
We are now exploring ways to increase our exports.

Fr Barr on Allen's Poverty Article

Squatters and the Poor The articles of Allen Lockington have become a regular feature in the Fiji Sun.  They are often interesting and have some worthwhile and helpful observations to make.  However his recent article on poverty and a previous one on squatters caused me some concern because they were rather superficial and glib and trotted out the usual prejudices which so many people have come to accept. 

The articles showed little understanding and sympathy for so many people in our country who are poor and struggling and face real hardships. For some reason it seems that people like to fix their attention on some of the exceptions and make them out to be the norm. I was going to ignore Alan's articles but, on second thoughts, I decided they should not pass without comment.  Many people read Alan's column and could easily have their old prejudices reinforced by the comments of a popular columnist. I guess one of the main faults I found was that of blaming the poor …

Thinking … Not Sleeping: Critical but Helpful Ideas on How to Take Fiji Forward

Introduction to Six Postings The dialogue between an anonymous reader “Wishful thinking” and me started with the initial exchange shown below. It went on to become a series of comments written under the pseudonym “Thinking … Not Sleeping,” a name that in itself tells much. I think the ideas expressed comprise a most helpful string of suggestions and for this reason they deserve to be widely read. They appeared as comments to my postings on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28July. Many of the comments will be seen as anti-government but this is not necessarily so. Thinking's suggestions are positive and forward looking. It is the diehard anti-government people who never put forward positive ideas. Thinking's political comments link to ways to rebuild the economy and complete the Roadmap, and to this extent his ideas are pro-government. Better to have a sheep in a wolf's clothing than a wolf in a sheep's! Some readers do not follow the comments at…

Aussie Modesty, Pacific Understanding, Ethnic Fijian Generosity, Public Service Outreach

PACIFIC AN AUSTRALIAN LAKE?  At the height of the Cold War some American referred to the Pacific as an American lake.  Now Australians seem to be doing the same.

In an otherwise informative background article on the Forum meeting to be held in Vila this week, a meeting at which both the Australian PM and Foreign Minister will be absent due to the forthcoming election, The Australian reveals as much or more about how Australia sees itself as it does about how Australia sees the Pacific. The image is certainly not suggestive of an equal relationship. Here are some examples:

Australia's bigger friends and allies, especially the US, take Canberra's lead to manage troublesome issues in the islands and to help guide them to prosperity. [Carving up the world may make for good geopolitics, but "management" and "guidance" is what parents provide to children.  Powerful as Australia may be, they are dealing with sovereign nations, not children.]

Former foreign minister…

Land, Dialogue, PM Never Spoke with Roberts, Tourism

LAND TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER? The Ministry of Lands is currently reviewing applications for transfers and mortgages of crown leases to ensure that Government as state land custodian gets its fair share from these transactions. Permanent Secretary for Land LtCol Neumi Leweni said “One of the greater concerns is the Transfers of Agricultural Leases to higher uses such as Tourism Development and other commercial and industrial uses.“Most lessees are selling their agricultural leases to developers and overseas buyers at quite high prices offered by these buyers” and there have also been incidences where local land speculators have taken advantage of the situation by buying agricultural leases from poor farmers and selling them to overseas buyers at high prices. “The sad part," he said, "is those who really want to farm or develop the land are being forced to pay high prices.”

CCF CALLS FOR DIALOGUE. The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) has called upon Government to …

Etiquette, PSC Showcase, Tuisolia & Jalal, Tourism and Other Bits

CULTURAL ETIQUETTES. Pacific Islanders and Asians sometime comment on how unintentionally rude and abrasive Europeans can be, even in everyday conversations. I wonder whether this is what Kiribati President  Anote Tong had in mind when he praised the atmosphere and tone of last week’s Engaging Pacific Leaders meeting, saying this type of discussion needs to be restored at the Pacific Islands Forum.

PSC TO SHOWCASE ITS SERVICES. Government's "reaching out" efforts to make ministries and departments more accessible to the "man in the street" continue this week when staff from the five Divisions of the Public Service Commission are showcasing their services and programmes at the Government Information and Referral Centre, the former Fiji Visitors Bureau Office, in Downtown Suva. (CIRC photo.

AUSSIE WANTS MURDOCH OUT. Australian millionaire Dick Smith thinks the Australian Government should follow Fiji’s lead and “rack-off” Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited and its nati…

Two Loyal Aussies Think Bainimarama is "Fiji's Best Hope"

This article by Graham Davis was written before last week's meeting in Natadola.

While Australia contends Fijian dictator Frank Bainimarama is increasingly friendless, two Australians are among his most loyal supporters.

Frank  Bainimarama is bewildered and seething with rage and frustration. The military man in him knows he's suffered a humiliating tactical defeat. And worse, he didn't see it coming. He's been rolled by someone he thought he could depend on most, the outgoing chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, who has pulled the plug on a summit meeting in Fiji barely a week out and with no warning.

Expensive suites are booked, the pigs, kava and dancers all primed and waiting. It was meant to be Fiji's hour of triumph, chairman Frank briefly wearing the country's former mantle as Pacific leader.

Instead, with his back turned at an International Monetary Fund meeting in South Korea, Australia has mounted a diplomatic counter-offensive, using …

Mahendra Chaudhry in the Spotlight

Opinion Crosbie Walsh
I have been asked by a reader why I have not published anything on the current charges laid against Mahendra Chaudhry, his supposed detention, and the Attorney-General's clarification of the charges.

The Attorney-General is, of course, correct in saying "no one should comment on the matter as it was now before the Courts." But this should not prevent general  comments on the Chaudhry situation. He is too public and too controversial a figure for no comment, and rumour and speculation is inevitable when questions remain unanswered.  This is one of the drawbacks with the ongoing enforcement of the Public Emergency Regulations.

First, it should be noted that the foreign media once again misreported what had happened. There can be little doubt that that was deliberate, either by them or more likely by whoever supplied them with information from Fiji.

The former PM was not arrested or even detained and then released, as they reported. FLP spokesman Lekh …

Natadola Waves Roll On

PHILIPPA MACDONALD REPORTS ON NATADOLA.  Listen to the ABC interview on what she said.

.  The PM says NZ will do "whatever it takes" to help Fiji towards elections in 2014 but doesn't expect the Forum to readmit Fiji until there's signs of movement towards elections. With an oblique reference to Australia, he said our Embassy staff did nothing to undermine the MSG Plus meeting that should have taken place in Fiji last week, and for which the Engage with Fij meeting was a replacement.  I'm all with you, Prime Minister.  Your first step could be to relax the Travel Ban so that it only applies to the upper levels of the executive and military. This would be one up against the Wallabies before we meet them at the weekend.

. This is how Australian seasoned media commentator Keith Jackson, whose website seeks to stengthen Aust-PNG relations,  views the scene following Natadola.

Australia's benign neglec…

After Natadola

Scroll down for weekend postings. Look right to see Quote for the Week.
Opinion  Crosbie Walsh
It's far too early to even guess at the medium to long-term influence of  last week's Engaging with Fiji meeting at Natadola, but with very contrary statements coming from participants and non-participants, some assessment it necessary.

The three statements about Fiji in the Natadola Communique (see below) which had the unanimous endorsement of participants were certainly supportive of the Bainimarama Government's Strategic Framework for Change,  elections in 2014, and continuing dialogue with Fiji, but as John Key pointed out, this does not necessarily mean that the Pacific leaders will call for Fiji's readmittance at the Forum when it meets in Vila next month.

It could, however, mean that Australia and New Zealand will be urged to relax their sanctions and re-engage with Fiji in a more meaningful manner.  They will have certainly lost some traction after Natadola, and they co…