Revise Travel Ban List, MSG Meeting this Week, Corrupt Lawyer, Women Leaders, Rural Electricity and Roadmap, Tourism Record

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 N0236. TRAVEL BANS, RUGBY SEVENS AND NETBALL. Three members of Fiji Rugby Sevens team are unlikely to obtain visas to take part in the Adelaide Sevens  because they are in the army, and four members of the Fiji Netball team are still waiting for news on their visa applications.  The PM said if Fiji cannot send its best team, it shouldn't send a team at all. His comment follows the Fiji Rugby Union saying it will probably drop its top players after the Hong Kong 7s next weekend because the three are unlikely to get visas to go to the Adelaide tournament. The PM said the FRU  should stop playing politics and fight for the right to send the best team to the IRB-approved tournaments.

In this writer's opinion, if Australia and NZ insist on maintaining the travel bans,they should be targeted at those at the top end of the Fiji government and military services, not at their families, career public servants and the lower ranks of the military. Jobs are not easy to come by in Fiji. If the three Sevens players left the army, they would probably be unemployed, with not even money to look for employment in Australia.  If it would have them.


N0237. TRAVEL BANS AND CAREER CIVILIAN CIVIL SERVANTS. The new Permanent Secretary for I'Taukei Affairs, Savenaca Kaunisela, joined the public service in 1977. He was promoted to Public Service Commission deputy secretary in 2001, and made Commissioner Western in April 2006, under the Qarase government.  He served as High Commissioner to India from December 2007 to December 2010.

Photos: Savenaca Kaunisela (top), Filimoni Kau (bottom)

The new Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimone Kau, joined the public service in 1989. He was promoted to principal information Officer in 1997, senior executive service director in 2000, and human resource management director in 2000. He served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2003 to 2006. All this took place under the Chaudhry and Qarase governments.

In 2007, after the Bainimarama Coup, he was made Director of Information. In 2008, he was head of the public relations and media team of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and became acting deputy secretary Ministry of National Planning in January 2009. By November 2010 he was the acting permanent secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources. 

Both three-year positions were widely advertised and both appointees seem to be deserving of their appointments.  -- Based on No.0631/PSC.

Both men are clearly veteran career public servants who had nothing to do with the Bainimarama Coup. And both men — and their families — are on the Australian and NZ travel ban list.

When the Bainimarama government appoints military men to civil service positions (often because qualified civilians, fearful of the travel bans, do not apply) its critics cry foul. When it appoints civilians, they are treated no differently than if they personally had ousted the Qarase government at gun point. Australian and NZ civil servants do not resign when there is a change in government because they are administrators, not political appointees. So also are these Fiji civil servants. They should not be on the travel ban list.

N0238. THE MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP will meet this week and next under Fiji's chairmanship and with two new observers, Timor Leste and Indonesia, and with Luxembourg as a special guest.  Fiji was due to host the summit last July but the then chair Vanuatu’s prime minister, Edward Natapei, cancelled the meeting, raising concerns about an unelected leader assuming the chairmanship. Some say Australia was involved in Natapei's decision but this was denied by both parties.  Since then, Natapei has been voted out of office clearing the path for Fiji's chairmanship. Meetings at the Vale ni Bose complex in Suva will start this Wednesday with trade and economic officials, followed by senior officials, and the country leaders meetings will start on Thursday 31st.

N0239. CORRUPT LAWYER. Government will soon have a special team to assist prospective investors when they visit Fiji.  This follows an incident where http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=35237 a corrupt lawyer told three Chinese investors who were considering investing in a ship-building and slipway business that he knew the Prime Minister personally and would be able to process investment papers quickly if they were paid $US20,000 dollars. When he asked for a further $US200,000 the investors became suspicious.

N0240.  ELECTRICITY NOT FOR YAQONA DRINKERS. After five years of effort, Naikalawaca village in Namara, Tailevu, now has electricity that will enable the villagers to make ice to preserve their fish and later to build an ice plant, explore micro-business opportunities. and provide better lighting for children's study than benzene and kerosene lights.

In opening the new $100,000 installation (to which villagers contributed $6,000) the PM challenged villagers to use the electricity for the education of their children, to refrain from using it too much for yaqona consumption and to look at ways of improving their economic well being. Rural electrification, improved water supply and road projects are essential parts of Government's infrastructural reforms.-- Based on No.0675/MOI.

N0241. THIRTY PERCENT OF THE SKY. Governmment is aiming to have women occupy 30% of positions on decision-making bodies, up from the present 17%. Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni told a  Consultation on UN Women’s Global Strategic Plan 2012-13 on Saturday. She said this is the vision; to gain greater respect in society, to strengthen the capacity of women in decision-making and leadership positions,to show they can perform just as well as men, and so gain support for our efforts to increase representation. The Minister noted that Fiji already has a significant number of highly qualified women in academic fields and young women now outnumber young men enrolled in tertiary institutions. -- Based on No.0676/MSWWPA.

N0242. TOURISM RECORD. The latest figures show 631,000 international visitors went to Fiji in 2010, a 16% rise on  the previous year.  Australia still accounts for the about one-half of all foreign visits. Numbers from China, India and Russia are small but growing.

Visitor numbers for January were up from all countries other than Japan, Korea and the UK that showed small decreases. Of the countries with the largest number of visitors, NZ was up 2.7% and Australia 11.4%. On average visitors stayed for 10.9 days.(No:0667/MOI)

In other travel and tourist related news, Continental Airlines will cancel its service to Nadi from Guam and Honolulu from September 25th. The airline blames rising fuel prices.

Comments

Travel bans no concern said…
Croz
You are right about scarcity of jobs in Fiji. And sadly it is getting worse. It happens in dictatorships. However if people want to collaborate with the regime that is their choice. The travel bans on these people including their families are very clear and consistent. And have been so since the democratically elected government was deposed by the military and replaced with a dictatorship.
As an Australian the travel bans don't bother me? However if Bainimarama and his collaboratoes are unhappy with the bans they could place bans on Australian tourists going to Fiji? That won't bother me either.
Easy to find your way with a map said…
You mention RoadMap in your heading and I got excited you might have found a rare copy of this most elusive document....alas, it was not to be. Just your interpretation again.

MR PM - HELLO, WAKE UP....if there is a roadmap please at least publish a outline or summary.

I note the MSG will meet shortly. We where told the friends of Fiji last year supported the road map so perhaps one of them would be so kind as to publish in their countries so the blog can at leas pik it up. Or did they really see it to endorse it ?

The great mystery contiues...
true leader take the lead said…
Perhaps the PM could take the lead in repairing relations with Australia and New Zealand. Perhaps he could share his roadmap with them ?
Anonymous said…
@N237 the two photos are of Filimoni Kau. Please amend.
Travel Ban List said…
Croz
In my view the travel ban list should be extended to include anyone who in any way collaborates with the regime. There should be NO exceptions for military personel or their families. Perhaps others could be treated on a case by case basis? If non military personnel sign a declaration condemning the overthrow of the legitimate government by the military them maybe (if the declaration is made public on oath that they do not support the regime) then some consideratoin could be given to temporarily relaxing the ban for such people?
Immediate Investigations of Ministers! said…
@ Travel Ban List.....

The Travel Ban List should include any of the above and anyone whatsoever who refuses to call for the immediate investigation of all Ministers who were associated with the Agriculture Scam and who gave orders for it. This is the conversion of Public Money to allegedly buy votes. It has taken place more than once in a Fiji Election. Do you believe that a democratically elected politician would find the political will for this? It is doubtful. THese Ministers subverted the electoral process and they stole public money to achieve it. That is what the Travel Bans should achieve. You know this, the Australian and New Zealand tax payers know this. Now the DPP and her staff must act and we shall not permit the Fiji Police Spokesman to suggest that further investigations are not ongoing. They shall be!
sara'ssista said…
I would go so far as to ban collaborators permananently from entering Aust and Nz even after elections, if they are held. This will serve as some deterreant to future coup pltters and their fellow travellers. The very idea that coup perpetrators give themselves an immunity is laughable and if fiji is okay with that then the rest of the world should not forget or give them a pass.
pasifika said…
Ozzie!Ozzie!Ozzie ! oi! oi! oi! You can count on the civilian Aussies to bring positive vibes to the country. An increase of 11.4% Australian visitors in January alone is positively positive for the Fiji economy.'Fiji is the place to be,' says the Entertainment Editor of Women’s Day Magazine Lucy Chesterton.

“The experience has been number one. ‘Naba dua’ I believe is what you say it here. The thing I will tell everyone in Australia – they must come to Fiji and experience it for themselves. It’s the best place to visit.”
Let the Australian politicians do what they have to do, but they can't stop the Australian visitors coming to our shores in their thousands . Those processing the bans on Fiji citizens are most welcome to visit and enjoy.

.
Travel ban for everyone said…
@sara'ssista

Great idea. However, we should also include all the villages who supported Speight in 2000 on that list, including all those who marched on the day he took over parliment.
Subsidised holidays said…
@ Pasifika

Agree with you. Subsidised and heavily discounted holidays are a good thing for Australian holiday makers and their families. With the strong A$ and the devalued falling FJD, Aussies get very cheap holidays which are heavily subsidised by Fiji taxpayers - keep up the good work. And our end we will negotiate (read demand) even greater discounts. Cheers.
pasifika said…
@ Subsidised holidays - You do whatever you think is right mate. The flow of visitors is keeping food on the table of employees in the tourism and related industries or would you prefer them to lose their jobs. G'day.
sara'ssista said…
@ Travel...i quite agree... i am happy to include everyone from Rabuka onwards.I don't subscribe to the fatuous argument that one coup is better than another or the 'benevolent dictator we neede to have' stance argued by coup apologists and collaborators.
Anonymous said…
@ sara'ssista......

Oh so now you choose to concede that all Ministers from Rabuka onwards should be investigated and brought to account for the misuse of public money? Only now? Where have you been all these years while millions of dollars were siphoned off on one scam or another? This is why the roads are full of potholes, the hospitals have been reeling under shortages of even aspirin and panadol a year or two ago. Your hypocrisy and condescension are stunning. The taxpayers of Fiji are finally to feature in the scheme of accountability. Yes, the "buck will stop with us"! Corruption has stripped Fiji of its development for twenty years and you concede now that Rabuka must be dealt with?
Get real! said…
@ Sara'ssista......

You fatuously (sic) agree to pay the pensions of all these coup artists though? You have been subsidising them for years and all their hangers on!
sara'ssista said…
@ Anon and Get real....I don't know where you get this from, i have ALWAYS said that that there needs to be reckoning from Rabuka up to todays regime, i have no problem whatsoever with gaoling the lot. Rabuka and his cronies started it and it i am perfectly comfortable with them all being rounded up. Anyone in Qarase's govenrment as well. This has conistently been my point. There should always be consequences, and I for one was appalled that Rabuka could perpetrate a coup, give himself and others immunity, then reinvent himself as a democratic leader with all the benefits. Thta fact that this coup was not properly addressed has caused nothing but grif since. The idea of watching him cravenly begging for a pension from this regime on the basis for kowtowing to their tune was one of the few highlights.
Travel ban for everyone said…
@sara'sissta..

Qarase's whole government and party were trying to get all of the 2000 coup perpetrators pardoned and released! That means they were all collaborators to the 2000 coup. Maybe they should suffure consequenses just as you suggest. Oh, wait a minute, they did. You should therefore be thanking Bainimarama for doing exactly what you say should have been done.
Dream On said…
@ Travel ban for everyone

Dream on, won't happen. Hon PM Qarase and the legitimate government are respected and recognised by the free world. In case you hadn't noticed.
But just to keep you in the loup, Bainimarama, his military, and their families, and other selected collaborators, are banned from travel. And will continue to be. Hon Mr Qarase and those Fijians supporting democracy and freedom are and always will be welcome in Australia and elsewhere. Hope this helps?
who's who said…
There should be a travel ban on all those paid by taxpayers but have slept on their jobs pre-coups and post-coups especially on those in the Police Force sleeping on their jobs now by allegedly visiting massage parlours, fraternising with drug dealers and being generally unprofessional in the conduct of their duties.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
@ who's who said......

If you have evidence for this conduct by Police Officers then bring it on and up: up to the Commissioner of Police. There has never been a failure on the part of some of us to ensure that Police Officers who abused their Office and who associated themselves with Serious Organised Crimes were reported (and many did. So, shape up and file formal complaints and do it....now. Mind you, it is hard to do this if they fail to wear their identity tags and numbers as all bona fide Police Officers must. Any Officer who does not is immediately suspect. Surely, we knew this?
Travel ban for everyone said…
@Dream on...

Sorry to dissapoint you but noone in the international community is asking for Qarase to be reappointed. Even the court of appeal that said the coup was not legal under the constitution specified that Qarase should not be reinstated, but rather an interim prime-minister be appointed until new elections. Qarase is definatly not respected.

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