Discussion in Fiji, Silence in NZ; Police Getting Serious; Election Groundwork Needed Now; Focus

WEEKEND READING ♦ Allen Lockington Column  ♦ People's Charter Pillar 5 (Achieving Higher Economic Growth): For Discussion  ♦ Is the PNG Land Grab Relevant to Fiji?

Photo: The University of the South Pacific Laucala Bay campus was built on the RNZF base for Sunderland flying boats which were then the only way to reach many islands in the region by air. The road on the left is Queen Elizabeth Drive that now dissects the upper and lower campus,  and the one from top to bottom of the photo is Laucala Bay Road.

N0292. PUBLIC DISCUSSION IN FIJI .  Restrictions on open debate could be improving in Fiji despite the retention of PER, the emergency regulations.  On Wednesday, USP held a public forum on the large loan recently taken out by Government, Fiji’s Second International Bond Issue. Speakers included Filimone Waqabaca (Ministry of Finance), Dr Mahendra Reddy (Fiji National University), Prof. Warden Narsey (USP), Norman Wilson (ANZ) & Dr. T.K Jayaraman (USP). Notable is the inclusion of Prof Wadan Narsey, a well known  government opponent. The audience would have heard more than one side of the argument.

My understanding is that the Fiji Times taped the debate so we may see something of what was said in the print media. They published a short item today with arguments for (Waqabaca) and against (Narsey). Hopefully, more will follow. 

Biased Reporting in New Zealand
Radio NZ International, however, mentioned only Narsey's position: "Fiji's interim administration is being criticised for burdening future generations with debt after raising about 250 million US dollars in foreign bonds."   This overtly biased reporting on Fiji is now standard fare (unfair) for RNZI. Witness Johnny Blades's report on the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting published earlier today (N0290) that made no reference to the leaders' support for Fiji's reforms and elections in 2014, and compare with the report by Radio Australia.

Radio NZI and its reporters need to remind themselves that New Zealanders pride themselves on fair play. On-going, one-eyed, biased reporting is not fair play. One wonders why they are doing this? Is it because the State broadcaster, in today's difficult economic environment, fears funding cuts unless it kowtows to government policies?

N0293. POLICE GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT CLEANING UP THEIR ACT. Three policemen have been sacked in the Northern Division  this week. A Police headquarters spokesman said: "The consequence of abuse of power by law enforcers shows how serious the new administration is about the rightful use of power vested in the officers.We want to make Fiji a safe and secure place. We want people to place their trust and faith in the Police Force. We can't have the same people in the Police Force who have threatened and abused people. We will not condone such cases."

Fiji Today, the only moderate anti-government blog, had this heading today: "Rumor says that the Police Force has set up an Internal Investigation Unit that is operating behind the scences to reduce curruption in the police force. This force needs to be cleaned up if it is to have any credibility in the eyes of the public."

N0294. CRITICAL GROUNDWORK FOR ELECTION 2014 DATE MUST START NOW.
The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum is encouraged by the confirmation of the 2014 election timeline by Government (Fiji Village 30/3/11) and wishes to highlight that even prior to the event, the State, Civil Societies and all the key stakeholders need to start addressing the critical preparatory groundwork now.

“Going by best practices experiences of recent history of transitional governments similar to our experience, it has shown that prior to the elections itself critical landmarks such as dialogue on key issues including the Constitution, Electoral Reform and ongoing public consultation and dialogue at all levels needs to start now for a sustainable transition,” states Reverend Akuila Yabaki.

He added that, “All stakeholders need to be engaged in some critical dialogue on the processes and the content of the Constitution.”

With regard to “ironclad assurances” by the Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, on the timelines towards 2014, Reverend Yabaki “finds this warmly reassuring and strongly recommends that a good first step would be the lifting of PER.” -- CCF Press Release.

N0295.  FOCUS is the Government newsletter published in English, Fijian and Hindi. The latest issue has, as might be expected, a swag of articles on government's development initiatives,  but it also has letters to the editor, an extensive list of government job vacancies, information on the Order of Fiji, and lots of photos.

If you are interested in  having a look, it may be downloaded from the Government website by  clicking here.

Comments

Walker Texas Ranger said…
Police getting serious....?

One clear sign that the Police are getting serious will be this: when a member of the public comes in to any Community Post or Police Station, the Officer i/c will immediately stand up to receive them. We, the Fiji Public, pay the Police(through taxes). We are entitled to expect service with courtesy from all members of the Police Force in Fiji at all times: day or night. The Police Commissioner is an example of this 'Service with Courtesy' to all. Now it is time for it to be universally applied. This should show in a secular and demonstrable fashion: the attitude of the Police Force has changed. We are here to serve you and to assist you under the law. Then.....smile, please to put us all at ease! This is basic Customer Relations and many of us practice it in our own careers or work. So we know what we expect.
Sloane Ranger said…
@ Applying the Crimes Decree 2009, the Domestic Violence Decree 2010 and the Child Welfare Decree 2010...

How may the Fiji Police apply the Law if they do not know what it is? Why are there not copies of these decrees available in each and every Community Police Post and Police Station? With these decrees should be the Section of the Crimes Decree which applies to Arrest Procedures, Court Procedures and - just as important - a copy of the Fiji Police Regulations which each officer must show he fully knows and understands. No copy of the regulations is available at our local post in the West. We checked three days ago. The Domestic Violence Decree requires considerable Police discretion. The Child Welfare Decree is Mandatory for reporting in certain sections. It is binding on many professionals and even on individuals in particular places: government departments, Health Centres, Social Welfare etc. If children are abused, it is no longer good enough to "walk on by". It is MANDATORY to report that a child is being abused. All Police Officers must now and fully comprehend their role. The Fiji Public must be diligent in knowing the law. Crimes against Humanity like rape are not reconcilable and they are to remand those charged. We happen to know of at least three persons charged with rape who are on bail. One has not reported on bail conditions since May 2009. He is working at Denarau Island when last located. No Bench Warrant has been issued and the local police have been trying to "Pass the Buck" (to the Magistrate who bailed him - no longer serving). THIS WILL NOT DO.
who's who said…
The Police can play an important role through their neighbourhood police posts to educate the public on laws and decrees they need to know which would off course mean they - the Police - would have to know the laws themselves. What is the standard of literacy among the Police on laws and decrees ?
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink....... said…
@ who's who said.....

Don't ask such leading questions. Apply them to the Water Authority of Fiji instead. Is there one properly qualified engineer there? Or one person full versed in Public Relations and how to inform the "people who pay" that another full day without treated water is on offer? No wonder businesses are making losses. Who then will pay taxes/FNPF/FNU Levies? Big Business? If this is the plan, kiss Goodbye to a growing GDP. It just will not happen!
When the taps run dry..? said…
Treated Water Supply.......

Over this weekend, water has been unavailable since Friday evening at Vuda, Sabeto and surrounding areas. The message put out by the Water Authority has now moved back to full restoration tonight: Monday. Previously, it was midday Monday. In Labasa, we learn 200 people have not received treated water supply for over a week. This suggests that there is a major dysfunction with the operatin of water supply and the Water Authority of Fiji is unable to fully and properly inform the public. This is another area of major concern. There is no point in calling for productivity levels to rise if families are unable to draw treated water daily as they choose. Any shortfalls in supply must be completely and fully explained - transparently - to all who pay water rates. Failure to do so, must result in tax rebates to allow people to install their own tanks and pumps. Never underestimate the empowering force of "No Water". No tankers either. UN Conventions apply here. But public frustration has greater relevance. PReviously it was private corporations muscling in on supply and diverting it to their benefit. What next?
Extreme Anger - still no water! said…
@ What next.....?

What next was driving towards two small children in the road who should have been in school, learning their lessons. Instead, they were out on the road in hot sun trying hard to carry an empty Punja's plastic biscuit container. When asked why they were not in school on a Monday, they replied that they were looking for water. Indeed they were. Like everyone else since Friday at 5pm. How disgraceful it is that after four and a half years of "VITI VOU" so-called, little children are out of school searching for treated water. Is this Africa? Sub-Saharan? Or just playing at it? Because it is beginning to look like a pretty good act. Still no water now and it has long gone 2045 still on Monday. Get your Act together! UN Conventions apply here. Not one single tanker seen between Saweni and Vuda Marina in almost four days? Let them eat cake! Well, cake needs to be washed down with something or other? What do you intend to do about it? Posted in extreme anger.

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