Showing posts from October 31, 2010

Clinton to Pressure Australia to be Firmer on China

The author argues, among other things, that Australia's policy on Fiji has failed, and left the door open to increased Chinese involvement in the "American Lake." Click here.

Human Rights

It's Thursday, and Sakineh is still alive. A staggering 500,000 of us contacted leaders in one day -- and they're instantly making calls to Iran! Our pressure is working, but we need to ramp it up to keep her alive -- sign now and forward this email to everyone:

Weekend Reading

Scroll down to  ♦ The Allen Lockington column ♦ Islands Business October Cover Story: Sugar ♦ Mosmi Bhim on Grassroots Citizenry, the Media and Democracy ♦ Engaging with Fiji by Sanjay Ramesh. And Friday's long posting and all the comments you had no time to read during the week.

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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

 Rugby Commentary
It is always a delight to watch the replays of the ITM Cup games on Fiji TV. We get to see the skills of the rugby players who train on a much higher level than our local players. One of the beauty things in these games is the Pacific Island flavor that the Samoans, Tongans and Fijian bring to the games. They play exceptional games and it is such a pleasure to see the skills and craftiness of some of the players. We see blistering sped out wide and power in the front rows. We get to see block busting centers who mesmerise us with their footwork and ball skills. Versatile Sonny Bill Williams met crafty Tana Umaga in that game between Canterbury and Counties Manukau. It was propos…

Islands Business October Cover Story: Sugar

What�s Next in Sugar? The Inside Story on a Sticky Business

Mosmi Bhim on Grassroots Citizenry, the Media and Democracy

An exceptionally useful paper that traces the course of democratic endeavour in Fiji and the problems it still has to face.  A long read but worth it.  I had to reformat it from a pdf file. You may need to zoom in. My thanks  to Mosmi and PJR for permission to publish this paper.

Engaging with Fiji by Sanjay Ramesh

A review of Australian-Fiji relations which concludes:

The government of Fiji must be given the time to develop, implement and evaluate its political, social and economic policies using evidence-based methodologies. However, it should ensure that its strategies and processes are transparent and inclusive and past initiatives are fully audited and outcomes clearly measured against strict performance guidelines. While time and space should be given to the Fiji government to implement its reforms, there has to be evidence that reasonable steps are being taken to return Fiji to civilian rule in the future. The international community should understand that rushing into an election without establishing sound constitutional, institutional and electoral systems can lead to further political breakdown and military coups. Therefore, it is important that Australia work with the Fiji government in ensuring that preconditions for a return to civilian rule are fully embed…

Rakiraki, Land Leases, Fiji's Prisons, US Presence, Samoa Spat, EU and Sugar, Bruce Hill's "Viliame", Pacific Eye Clinic

WEEKEND READING. ♦ The Allen Lockington column ♦ Islands Business October Cover Story: Sugar ♦ Mosmi Bhim on Grassroots Citizenry, the Media and Democracy ♦ Engaging with Fiji by Sanjay Ramesh.

ALL PART OF THE ROADMAP: RAKIRAKI A NEW TOURIST DESTINATION? Recently gazetted a town, Rakiraki in Viti Levu's Northeast, aims at becoming a tourist destination, according to Town Council interim administrator, Ms Seini Vunivutu-Raiko. And it could well be when improvements to Kings Road are completed.  Rakiraki is about half way between Nadi and Suva on Kings Road, and a convenient stopover spot for a round-the-island tour or for visits to the nearby island of Nananu-i-Ra and other homely tourist resorts. The  town is the site of Fiji's smallest sugar mill, Penang.

Ms Vunivutu-Raiko says roads in the town will be improved next year at a cost of $100,000 and a special zone for tourism is being created on the town fringes. Consultations between the town, the Penang Mill and the Ra Chambe…

Happy Diwali Everyone

Diwali a time to come together: PM
Diwali is a time that Fiji comes together as a nation - despite the different religious backgrounds, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. In his Diwali message . Bainimarama is urging everyone to purse the goals of equality, stability and peace. He says while Diwali celebrations were initially limited to the Hindu religion – other cultures have embraced this yearly event.
Bainimarama says this is testimony not only to the increasing tolerant nature of our communities – but more importantly to the fact that Diwali has a universal appeal which transcends all barriers.  Bainimarama adds the true spirit of Diwali pursues peace and prosperity and it comes to those who genuinely seek it. -- FBCL.

Faster Way Forward, Water, New Judge, Hillary Clinton, Forum Secretariat Blocks Report, Military Stand Firm, Consumers Pleased, Church & State

THE WAY FORWARD: COMMENT OF THE WEEK. Seize The Moment has left a new comment on your post "Brij Lal's Book on Jai Ram Reddy":

"Transition, you are absolutely right and the wonder is that the regime isn't moving faster on at least some of these fronts, even to give an appearance of progress. Little of what you suggest (see below)  is difficult.

"Even a little window dressing like formally calling for submissions for a national body to prepare for 2014 would give the regime something to show the international community.

"I know that elements within the regime are pressing for the lifting of the PER but this is being resisted at senior level. Why? They're waiting to see how the Fiji Times evolves under its new ownership and are still concerned about the general level of mischief making, like the rumours of Drita and Mara confronting the PM.

"The regime has been trying very hard to get more civilians to take up official roles. I know several pe…

Ratu Sakiusa's Acquittal, the FICAC & Judiciary; Answers to Criticisms of this Blog; Falling Basic Food Prices

WHO SAYS THE JUDICIARY IS NOT INDEPENDENT?  Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum  says the acquittal of former Airports Fiji Ltd CEO Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia (photo) proves that Fiji’s judiciary remains independent. Tuisolia was acquitted by the Suva High Court on Monday of three counts of fraudulent conversion and three counts of keeping false records brought against him by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption. Law Societies and critics in Australia, New Zealand and Asia had accused the Fiji government of targeting Tuisolia and his wife Imrana Jalal and handpicking judges sympathetic to the state to sit on the bench. But both Jalal and Tuisolia have been acquitted of charges brought against them by FICAC.

The A-G  said Government has no say in charges taken up by the FICAC which also confirmed that their prosecutors — and not Government— make the decision on whether a case should be taken to Court. The A-G hopes critics will now leave Fiji’s judiciary alone to do its work.…

Fiji’s 40th Anniversary Celebrated at the United Nations

The body language shown in these photos of the Fiji Day dinner hosted by Fiji's Ambassador to the UN, Peter Thomson, speaksvolumes about the success of his work.

Blog Now Uses Religion to Divide Fiji and Attack the Bainimarama Government

I was hoping not to have to comment on CoupFourPointFive so soon after I picked them up for  published so many false rumours — The AG and PM arrested by Driti; Driti and Ratu Tevita sacked; Driti and Ratu Tevita reinstated after apologizing to the PM for plotting his overthrowal.  Their whole aim, of course, is to misinform, cast doubt, give their anti-government readers fresh heart, and distract and divide those who are not convinced Bainimarama is the Devil Incarnate.

Now, following last week's harmonious meeting of the PM with Fiji's Muslim leaders (and the bomb scare on an American plane) they apparently think the time is ripe to plant further doubts in the minds of Fijians, this time about its "home-grown" Muslims.  They have attempted to do this by resurrecting the Bali bombings, mentioning the vulnerablity of Nadi Airport to Islamic terrorist attacks, and noting that Fiji could be "a potential incubator for [local] religious zealots in the age of al-Qaed…

Mining & Landowners, Fiji Holdings Ltd., US Relations, Cruise Ship Cancelled

MINING: LANDOWNERS TO BENEFIT. Minister for Land and Mineral Resources Netani Sukanaivalu said the  Mining Act will be reviewed to rectify loopholes and ensure that landowners can have a fair share of money derived from mineral resources, which has not been the case in the past.

Sukanaivalu says government is committed to ensuring the best returns to landowners, and is now paying compensation for any damage done to lands being explored. It is also paying for royalties and landowners are given the first employment opportunity for any mining work or exploration done on their land.

FIJI HOLDINGS LIMITED was established in 1984 as a response by chiefs and people to accelerate i-Taukei participation in the economy.  Shareholders include provincial councils, the Native Land Trust Board, the i-Taukei Affairs Board, tikina (district) and village groups, i-Taukei co-operatives, individual i-Taukei and family companies. FHL today is a successful and profitable enterprise which has become a majo…

Casino Building Plans Have Been Historically Opposed in Fiji

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is deeply concerned that the government has invited expressions of interest for the development and operation of a casino in Fiji, despite widespread opposition expressed against that proposal last year.

Robin Hood Casino, Adding Up the Roadmap, Namosi Supports Govt, IMF Thanked, Internet Prices, School Theft

SEE NEW QUOTE FOR THE WEEK in the right sidebar. SEE the many thoughtful and helpful COMMENTS in the WEEKEND READINGS. 

CASINO FUNDS FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION. All funds government will earn from the operation of Fiji’s first casino that will only be used by tourists will go towards poverty alleviation,  says PM Bainimarama. It is expected the casino will boost tourism, especiallt from China. The Methodist church has told FBC News they will comment once they have studied the proposal.

A Tenders Board  will be appointed soon to scrutinise tenders for the proposed casino. Government has invited expressions of  interest for the development and operation of its first Casino from internationally successful and reputable full-casino developers/operators. The EOI submissions close on 30th November.

THE PIECES ADD UP. The opening of the new Tukavesi dental clinic in Vanua Levu is not exactly earth-shattering news. It will only serve 15 villages, 55 settlements and five estates located some way be…