Daily News for June

Thumbs up for Fiji
Thursday 30.4.11
FNPF REMINDER. All comments on the proposed FNPF changes should be made on the Peter Ponders posting, below. FICTU  seeks meeting. No confirmation date yet.
STRANGE ABC INTERVIEW. ABC asks to talk with the A-G. Sharon Smith-Johns says okay but he's between meetings and will only talk about X. If you want more, get back to me.  ABC asks about Y (a new employment relations decree affecting trade unions). A-G wonders what has happened to X, is aggrieved, loses his cool and hangs up. ABC has its story: A-G refuses to talk about new decree. But why didn't they get back to Sharon? Didn't they want to learn Government's position on the new decree? Or was the story really about getting the A-G off balance whichever way he answered?   This is an important controversial issue that needs careful analysis and discussion, not media traps and rebuffs.

SOCIAL NETWORK: HOUSING LOANS WRITTEN OFF. The Housing Authority's new social policy has seen 81 home loan accounts completely written off at a cost of over $1 million since it was instituted in January. The policy helps owners  who have either paid more than twice the principal loan amount, are retired or can prove genuine financial difficulty. It is not a Government hand out but a programme to assist those who otherwise might lose their homes due to disability, sickness or retirement. -- Based on No.1368/HAF.
LAND  BANK OR (N)TLTB: YOUR CHOICE. A Macuata landowner asked the PM which to lease to. He said it was up to the landowner but the TLTB deducted 15% for administration costs while the Land Bank paid all the lease money to owners.
PILLAR 9. A KNOWLEDGE-BASED FIJI. The Ministry of Education will begin computer education in primary schools in Term 3 next year. Computer studies is already taught in secondary schools.--Based on No.1366/MOE.
309 AMPUTEES have so far received new limbs thanks to a prosthetics team from India that will also instruct locals on how to make the limbs.

Wednesday 29.6.11
SUGAR MINISTRY MOVES WEST. As part of its efforts to revitalize the sugar industry, Government has decided to create a dedicated Ministry of Sugar to be based in Lautoka. The Permanent Secretary will be Manasa Vaniqi. The PM said no previous government had decentralised like this. “As I have emphasized before, the sugar industry is here to stay and we will do everything within our means to reform it in an effort to make it viable for all stakeholders.” The office of Commissioner Northern will also be revamped to ensure the industry in Vanua Levu is equally looked after and assisted. -- Based on No,1352/PSC.
THAKUR RANJIT SINGH REVIEWS TV3 KHAIYUM INTERVIEW. I thought interviewer and interviewed both did well but Ranjit saw it more as a competition, but I agree with him on the "Three Wise Men" at the end.
CASTING PEARLS BEFORE SWINE. From coup 4.5 comments......."I hope people are aware that Khaiyum is a racist. His marriage to a Fijian Taukei is a farce to hide his racist delineation; an insult to the Fijian taukei Race."  How much more nonsense like this is Coup 4.5 willing to publish?
TATE AND LYLE ENGINEERS http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=37827 check mills.   
POOR ROADS AFFECT http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=37827 sugar supply.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Fiji has been  removed from the US list.   
FIJI POST reports a poor  rural performance due in part to high phone bills.
NEW FHL CHAIRMAN  and board members.

Tuesday 28.6.11
PENSIONERS HURT MORE. Fiji Post is deducting 5% for handling pensioner cheques. The PM said he was going to fix this.  Waiting. See also the special posting on the FNPF proposals "Peter Ponders..." and add your comments.
THE MINIMUM WAGE for industrial workers has increased from $1.78 to $1.96 an hour.  No job loses are expected but employers want productivity considered in future wage negotiations.
UNION RESTRICTIONS LIKELY. government is planning a new law to restrict the work of unions in vital industries such as sugar and airlines. GenSec of the FCTU, Attar Singh, fears any such change would make unions toothless because the union rep will have to be an employee who could be vitimised if he speaks out. A valid point but it's a pity Attar, a strong Government critic, made it. Past union activity in the sugar industry has been politicised, an influence Government is trying to unlink.
"DEMOCRACY" A SMOKESCREEN. On Facebook Mobster DBone ask," Is "democracy" being pursued as a smokescreen for the return of elite rule?" Answer: Yes, by many, but not by all. One needs to separate the wheat from the chaff.
THE NZ MEDIA PHOBIA."This [bias] is even more evident in New Zealand than Australia, with a string of reports and editorials in the mainstream NZ media that appear so ill-informed about events in Fiji as to be almost willfully negligent in a country that prides itself on its Pacific ties. 

      Local commentators with intimate knowledge of Fiji —including David Robie at Auckland’s University of Technology and Crosbie Walsh, the academic blogger– are routinely ignored simply because they go against the grain of the accepted wisdom that Bainimarama is a tyrant and his political opponents are heroic bearers of the democratic flame." -- Graham Davis.
EXCLUDING ELECTION CANDIDATES. The A-G  says there has definitely been no such decision.

BOMB HOAX UPDATE. The Government Buildings were cleared for an hour on Friday afternoon following a bomb hoax. The anti-Government blogs were quick off the mark to claim it was a put up job by government to justify the PER.  Could be, but the PER have been around now for nearly two years and this is the first bomb threat. Why didn't they think of it before? If the blog publishers want a culprit, they would be better advised to read their readers' comments that not infrequently call for acts  of violence. On Saturday, a bomb threat also  closed Wellington airport. Another put up job by the Fiji Government?

Monday 27.6.11
TUILAEPA DRIVES WEDGE between Polynesia and Melanesia. The Samoan Observer heading for the Graham Davis article I published earlier as "Samoans playing with fire.
RECIDIVISM, AN INSIGHT INTO FIJI AS IT "CAN BE." The Prison service  aims to reduce recidivism by 25%, and urges public support for the Yellow Ribbon programme and for prisoners on their release.  "They need your support, they need your help. We the Fiji Corrections Service need your support." 
These concerns, and similar ongoing concerns about poverty, affordable housing, HIV/Aids, prostitution, gays, domestic violence, and rural development are those of a government committed to instituting enduring fundamental changes in society. They do not tally with the claims of the anti-government people who says it's all about filling the pockets people they disparagingly call Bainivuaka" and "Aiyarase." 
OUR SO-CALLED FREE NZ PRESS.  Our TV3 news on Saturday reported the Sean Plunket interview with Fiji's Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum screened in the morning on The Nation programme. The interview was fair and well handled by Sean and was followed by comments from three media editors with predictable opinions. They obviously didn't believe a word Aiyaz said and were probably of this view even before he spoke. 
Unfortunately, the evening news item went much further. Aiyaz was introduced as the real power in Fiji (thus echoing the divisive and implicit anti-Indian and anti-Muslim views of Tevita Mara and the anti-Government blogs).The visual backdrop, of close to 20 photo shots of barbed wire roadblocks and Bainimarama in several uniforms with military officers, were taken five or more years ago. Many viewers would think they are current photo shots,and with one picture a thousand words, it really would not have mattered what Aiyaz had to say. TV3 had "tuned" theri viewers into what they wanted them to believe. The item concluded with a free advertisement for the Fiji Freedom and Democracy Movement that is "meeting in Auckland tonight." It's surely time for someone to protest to the Broadcast Standards Authority.
TONGA EXTRADICTION, PAST AND PRESENT. The Government of Tonga has reply to Fiji saying that Tongan law prevents the extraction of Ratu Tevita Mara.  I am reminded of an incident in the 1960s when Prince Tungi (later King George Tupou) sent a Tongan ship (the Aonui?) to Apia and foreceably extradited/kidnapped a Tongan Government scholarship holder who had married a Samoan. Tonga finished up getting two for the price of one. She broke her scholarship bond and joined him in Tonga. I did not make this up. They were my friends.
OUTSOURCING, a warning to Fiji:  "It took the [NZ] government a while to realise that although contracting out sounded more efficient, it was in fact creating a very well-paid auxilliary public service." -- Jane Clifton,  NZ Listener.
FIJI STILL PACIFIC HUB. PACIFIC IP-ISP NETWORK operators have a week-long conference-workshop at USP starting today.The meeting, hosted by USP, is geared towards the continuation of the capacity development programme for IP-ISP network operators from the Pacific Islands.

 Friday 24/6/11
 FIGHTING RACISM.  The PM has told people in Nadogo, Macauata,  the government will do all it can to remove racism. He said Fiji would have remained a peaceful country if politicians did not spread racist ideas.
FIJI SOLDIERS FOR IRAQ. Some 52 soldiers will leave Fiji soon  for Iraq where to join 223 soldiers of the RFMF 1st Battalion.The UN asked Fiji to increase troop numbers in anticipation of US withdrawals.
PRESIDENT IN SINAI. During his recent visit to Sinai  the President was briefed by Major General Warren Whiting, commander of the Multinational Force and Observers, on the work done by the RFMF peacekeepers, who commending them for their professionalism and experience in one of the most challenging part of the Sinai region. Ratu Epeli met with officers at the Fiji Battalion HQ and was also able to meet soldiers manning outposts at isolated locations.   -- Based on No:1311 /MOI.
EXPEL FIJI, SAYS MARA. The anti-government blogs have published a call purportedly from Ratu Tevita, but clearly not written by him, asking the Melanesian Spearhead Group to expel Fiji. Dream on!   
DO NOT BE EASILY MOVED:PM.The PM spoke at the Infantry Day celebrations at Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa yesterday moring. He encouraged the soliers to be strong, courageous, not to be easily moved or led astray, and "focus only on things that will help us build a better Fiji, focus on unity and togetherness.” Highlighting the progress and development in rural areas he said that Government was trying to ensure the equal distribution of resources, something that was normally only confined to urban areas in the past.-- Based on No: 1326/MOI.
SCHOOL GRANTS. Close to $500,000 of school grants were paid out last week, and a further 42 primary schools will each receive $15,000 soon. In addition, $185,000 was paid to Early Childdhood Centres, and nine Special Education schools have also received grants. --Based on No.1307/MOE.

 Thursday 23/6/11
IF NZ GOVT CAN'T EXTRADITE MARA as some claim, they could have denied him access or at least refused to meet with him.  Anything less is political interference.
FNPF MEMBERS WANT TO NOMINATE their own board.  At present the board is appointed by the Minister of Finance. [A mix would be a good idea.]
FIJI TODAY CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.The blog reports an ABC interview with Fiji Hotel Association president Dixon Seeto who says: "China and India are likely to provide the greatest possibility for growth in visitor numbers ... But they usually do not speak English and that can be a challenge for tourism operators ...Previously there was a campaign to teach Japanese "and that was quite successful. And I think that we should be heading that way with the Mandarin, because you need to make them, the Chinese visitors, very comfortable." The Fiji Today's heading read:"China is our Future and Mandarin is our next language according to Dixon Seeto." He said nothing of the sort.  Whatever the hidden message here, this is cheap-shot journalism, more like Coup 4.5.
REJECTION CLAIMS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. Reports of the rejection of local crop exports by Australian agents are false and politically-motivated.
DRITI SEDITION UPDATE. The case has been transferred to the High Court to be heard on 22nd July. Meanwhile Driti remains on bail.
LAU FORGER ACCUSED case has also been deferred until 22nd July.
CIVIL SERVANT I.O.U's. Ono-i-Lau shopkeepers say civil servants, including teachers and doctors, have left the island without paying their debts. The PM says the defaulters will be tracked down.
YOUTH TRAINING RECEIVES BOOST.Twenty-seven voluntary youth organisations have been selected from over 60 applications to receive grants totalling $47,000 to organise capacity building training for their members. Divisional Youth Offices vetted the applications before sending them to the Youth and Sports division that made the final decisions.--Based on No. 1239/DOY.
UNION ASKS FOR DEFERMENT. The FICTU  has asked that FNPF reforms be deferred until the 2014 elections; that current pensioners' contracts be respected; and that the International Labour Organisation conduct a review of the fund.
NEGOTIATOR SAYS PACIFIC NEEDS FIJI. Pacific chief Trade Negotiator Chris Noonan says any trade integration initiative, like the proposed PACER Plus trade agreement, needs Fiji.
LABOUR LEADER PHIL GOFF says Tevita Mara is unlikely to be extradited from NZ because he could not be guaranteed a fair hearing in Fiji."In a country that's effectively a military dictatorship, how could you be sure of that?"he asks. Well, for starters, there is absolutely no evidence of any successful interference in court decisions; several cases have gone against the government; Mara was released on bail by the system Goff prejudges, and NZ could negotiate terms for his extraction. And Phil,  do you think Fiji is getting a "fair hearing" in NZ? 
LOWY INSTITUTE SPECIALIST COUNTERS FRAENKEL.A month ago, Jenny Hayward-Jones of the Lowy Institute suggested changes to Australian policy on Fiji, not because she agreed with Bainimarama, far from it,  but because she thought sanctions were not working and she wanted a "more effective policy.". Dr Jon Fraenkel, a Fiji specialist at ANU who wants a "return" to democracy, virtually accused her of betraying the "democracy" cause.He has been active recently with public attacks on journalist Graham Davis, with helping to write the Ten Points of the  anti-Bainimrama FDFM movement, and with attack on Jenny Hayward-Jones.
This is her response.
CONGRATULATIONS DAVID ROBIE. David  received a VC's award for  excellence in teaching and innovation at an AUT ceremony yesterday. I would add excellence also in professional integrity, editorial balance and knowledge of the Pacific, evident in Pacific Scoop and his personal blog Cafe Pacific. May his students follow his fine example. 

ED THE BLOGS, READ THIS. It is now exactly one month since  this rumour was circulating:"It is expected Frank will today (May 21st)  declare himself as interim president and prime minister."

"TM" please contact me by private email croz.walsh@xtra.co.nz

RACISM AND RENTING ACCOMMODATION.A reader rightly wrote that  "Racism rears its ugly head every time we see 'To let' ads in the dailies saying 'for Hindi-speaking only'. It's common knowledge among indigenous Fijians that some Indian landlords hike up the rent for indigenous Fijian tenants and let their flats at much lower prices to fellow Indians." She was commenting on the way itaukei are accused of racism. In NZ such advertising is forbidden my law. Government should do the same in Fiji. Individual racism will take years to remove but institutional racism (and adverts in papers are a part of this) can be stopped immediately by Government regulation. Indeed, it may be covered by the Media Decree. Would someone please check this out?
RELECTIONS ON AUSTRALIA AND NZ POSITION. Sanjay Ramesh uses the Mara defection to ask questions about the NZ position and the racism of some "pro-democracy" people.
JOBS WE CAN DO OURSELVES. A reader writes: "My irritation with this constant looking overseas for aid,  at ‘preferential rates of interest’, of course, is that we pay for overseas consultants, overseas contractors, workers and even overseas materials to all come into this country to do something that we’re already well set up to do.  Then, as thanks for the (mostly Chinese) largesse, which keeps them employed, not us, we pay the loan back plus interest. I wonder why government just doesn't print more money and release it into circulation, thereby giving us the monetary ability to carry out the projects independently. This would devalue the currency as it did in 20009. The difference is that whilst devaluation brought gloom, there would have been smiles all round if there had been more money to create the jobs which are so desperately needed."
ANOTHER UNION QUESTIONS FNPF CHANGES. Fiji Bank and Finance Sector Employees Union secretary Pramod Rae queries proposed FNPF changes and suggests alternative providers.

THE PM's TOUR of the Northern Division starts today. Last week he visited seven islands in the Lau Group.
Monday 20.6.11 

DEATH FOLLOWS MEETING. One of the people at the FDFM meeting in Canberra on Saturday, Pastor Jone Tui, who had canvassed the idea of inviting businessmen in Fiji to fund the assassination of Bainimaramara and other senior government officials, collapsed at the meeting and died early on Sunday morning. May he rest in peace.
WHERE'S THE CENSORSHIP?  Much has been made of media censorship in Fiji but recent signs are that it has been greatly relaxed.  There are no censors in the news rooms and this is the sort of criticism that is now appearing in the media.  Ross McDonald, pensioner, criticizes proposed changes to the FNPF. [See also my PER article published on Saturday]
UNION ATTACKS PENSION REFORMS. In an Fiji Times article,the Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) says the immediately impact of the proposed reforms on "some 11,000 pensioners who would have their pensions reduced by 40 per cent (if they are on the 15 per cent rate) or 64 per cent (if they are on the 25 per cent rate)." The FICTU is among many others who want major changes to the proposed reforms before they are implemented.
COUP 4.5 CUTS LINKS.Cafe Pacific and the Pacific Media Centre - both links on Coup4.5 since it started, have now been removed within the last 24 hours. This blog's link was cut months ago. I reciprocated.
NO LONGER SQUATTERS.This Fiji Times story of Lakena when residents got their official leases on Friday.

Friday 17.6.11
FIJI LIVE POLLS. The online paper runs regular polls on political and sporting issues.  The web and sms results of the political polls since March probably give a reasonable indication of popular opinion among urban educated users of the internet.  "All questions start with "Do you think..." Here they are, the most recent first:
... Australia and NZ are meddling in Fiji's affairs? Yes 82% No 18%;
... FNPF should decrease its pension fund rate? Yes 27% No 73%;
... Fiji Government's poverty eradication policies are working? Yes 36% No 64%;
... More should be done to revive Fiji's sugar industry? Yes 87% No 13% ;
... NZ and Australia should lift their current sanctions on Fiji? Yes 78% No 22%;
... VAT should be dropped on all food items? Yes 63% No 37%.
KAITANI PLEADS INNOCENCE. "I am an innocent man and I do not understand why I am going through all this. I do not deny that I was with Speight at the Parliament during the coup. I was with him but I had a role to play. I was at the Parliament to calm the extremist elements present at the Parliament complex."
      But that's not how  hostage ousted PM Mahendra Caudhry saw it: "We, the hostages saw him and heard him on the loudspeaker inciting people with false information on issues such as land and leadership for indigenous Fijians and in publicly supporting [coup frontman] George Speight’s actions, confirmed our suspicions that he was one of the coup instigators.". Simione Kaitani is now one of the leading lights of the SDL "pro-democracy" movement that is supporting fugative Ratu Tevita Mara. [See also Weekend Reading]
HE CAN'T BE SERIOUS, CAN HE? "We all know your family only drinks and bathes in bottled Fiji Water." Simione  Kaitani, on Facebook, referring to Bainimarama's family.
RACIST COMMENTS. Rishab Nair on Facebook says it's good to see that Coupfourpointfive no longer accepts racist comments. I agree. But why? If they're trying to appear respectable, they've left it a little late.
NZ HERALD WELCOMES MARA TO NZ. Why don't  NZ papers use bylines so we can know whose views we are reading?

Thursday 16.6.11
LETTER ON FACEBOOK. "Although Fiji is considered a developing 3rd world nation where standard of living is not as "flashy" as our developed neighbors - Australia and New Zealand- I wouldn't consider trading my laid back, Fiji time lifestyle for anything. I'd say, Fiji is definitely the way the world should be.
     "Albeit the unstable political climate, Fiji is a country where everyone gives a warm  bula to passer-bys; offers their breakfast, lunch or dinner to strangers (regardless of the portion of that meal); neighbors are more than happy to look after your property when you go on a vacation; and more importantly even when the supermarkets run out of food, I can still eat well from my backyard garden and catch a few fresh water prawns/ fish from the river behind my home.
     "When the overseas media are reporting so-called unrest in Fiji, I take an afternoon stroll along the beach in peace without fear of being shot down by crazy fanatics.
Although reports say that our economy is not growing, inflation is on the rise and unemployment is rife, my family and I still survive because we live a simple, unsophisticated life but one of happiness and contentment.
    " No matter what the headlines read or political/social hear say being passed through the coconut wireless, I am more than glad I live in Fiji."  -- Serena Divi posted in Fiji Economic Forum.Jun 15 
TUILAEPA WANTS MORE SANCTIONS.At least, that's what I think he eventually said. Read this  carefully.  This man is actually a Pacific Island PM who had to be asked three times to answer a straightforward question and  who thinks there are no problems in the Pacific apparently because, "In the Pacific, we grow our own food. There is no hooliganism and we have plenty of bread fruits, plenty of taro, plenty of food from the sea to eat." Bring back the Noble Savage.
JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON. Former SDL MP Rajesh Singh, now living in Auckland,  has recently started his own "pro democracy" NGO rather than throwing in his lot with the NZ Coalition for Democracy that was formed in 1987 and opposes all coups. Singh apparently only opposes this one.  Here is what one reader had to say about him:  "This is the guy who lied  to voters on national TV that he will give all his pay to the poor if elected, and retracted after being voted in.This is the same guy who shared SDL confidential information with ... the FLP.This is the guy who was sacked as a minister by the SDL. This is the guy who only started jumping a few weeks ago."
JUDGE EXCUSES QARASE ABSENCE. High Court judge Justice Priyantha Fernando  excused former PM Laisenia Qarase from appearing in court yesterday following confusion over court dates. Qarase and former Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) general manager, Kalivati Bakani, are charged with abuse of office. It is alleged that Qarase and Bakani with others applied to transfer ownership and control of the Extinct Mataqali Funds valued at $800,000 held as an investment in the name of NLTB South Pacific Trustee Limited. At the time the alleged offence was committed, Qarase was the chairman of NLTB. Their trial is expected to commence in March, 2012.
MINERVA REEF. Ahongalu Fusimalohi, special advisor to the Tongan PM, says there's no tension between the two countries. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum says there's no tension between the two countries. But ABC  presenter Janak Rogers and Dr Rod Alley of Centre for Strategic Studies in Wellington say there is. So there must be. It's in the press. It's on TV. What's more, Alley is concerned about "a very important meeting coming up here in New Zealand later in the year and they don't want those talks which they're putting a lot of effort into here derailed by a bilateral spat between Tonga and Fiji." What an admission! A meeting that might be spoilt. But if it is, blame the media, not Tonga or Fiji.
Wednesday 15.6.11 
KAITANI: ANOTHER 'SMOKING GUN' PHOTO. Click here for the Cafe Pacific story.

MISQUOTED. FijiLive misquoted PS Information as saying Rt Tevita supported the 2000 coup.  It should have read 2006.
MARA IMPLICATED IN OUTSTANDING DEBTS. Yatu Lau is a Lauan-owned unlisted company with paid up capital of over $2.5m and assets worth over $8m. But it has failed to pay outstanding debts totalling $63,000 for work on its boat Lauan Trader. The work and expected repayments were arranged by Ratu Tevita. Significantly or coincidentally, the PM,  visiting Vanuabalavu on his present Lau tour, has ordered that all payments for tourism services be paid to those providing the service and not to Yatu Lau, as has been the practice.  This seems to be consistent with land rent moneys that now have to be paid to landowners, and not through a bureaucratic and chiefly filter that left little for the actual owners.
LAKEBA VAKAMATANIGASAU. A traditional vakamatanigasau (apology) and vakasobu (traditional welcome) were accorded to the Prime Minister by a delegation from the chiefly Vuanirewa clan when he arrrived in Lakeba yesterday morning. Lakeba is Ratu Tevita's home turf.
BALL IN NZ COURT. Thakur Ranjit Singh in the NZ Herald.

Tuesday 14.6.11
McCULLY ON GRANTING RATU TEVITA'S VISA. "What  we're trying to do here is to make sure that there's an incentive for people in Fiji who leave the regime or leave the military to see a way forward, to see the way for the travel bans to be lifted, but to not act so quickly as to unsettle things in an environment where things are fairly tense." [Translation from politicospeak, anyone?]

ABC SAYS PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT GATHERING MOMENTUM? Not if this  pathetic interview, coming on the back of Saturday's poorly attended meeting, is an example. The DomPost's Richard Long writes of the "deteriorating situation" in Fiji.   It's time the media do a  reality check on their sources of information. But Long did reveal why McCully would want to meet Ratu Tevita, while not actually interfering.
COUNTERING NONSENSE. I hope someone on Facebook's Fiji Economic Forum has something to say about this nonsense: "He [Bainimarama]sold our national assets put together by our forefathers such at Viti Corp, Rewa Dairy, Govt Printing etc and sold it to the Muslims."-- Cystal Tuinaceva. And that's only a little of what she has to say.
MORE WOMEN'S CENTRES. The PM will open a new $27,000 centre in Doi, Ono-i-Lau, next Friday, and new centres are underway in Buretu,Tailevu and Semo, Nadroga. The centres, to which the villagers contribute labour, are intended as hubs for socio-economic development and income generation for women in rural and island areas. The Doi women are already in touch with the Mokosoi group in Wailada, Lami, that will help market their handicrafts.
USE OF LEASE MONEY? The Land Use Unit has prepared a proposed distribution of lease money to be used by i-Taukei landowners. The proposal is that the money be divided into five categories for use in investment, education, housing and social obligations, village projects and a general fund. [Seems worthwhile but can anyone provide more details? Who controls the money and who decides the allocations?]

Monday 13.6.11
DUAL PURPOSE IN PROVINCIAL TOURS. Today the PM was in Lomaloma on the second leg of his Lau tour. As with other  provincial tours, the first aim is to talanoa with the people, listening to their concerns and informing them on issues of national importance.“We are here to hear you,” the PM told villagers,“This is the time for Government to hear your voice. Government officials usually bring your concerns to Suva but now that we are here, it is time to hear your voice.” The talanoa sessions are considered an effective means to keep communication links open with the people. The second aim is to inspect government facilities and the quality of services provided by Government officials.-- Based on No.1195/MOI.
PS INFORMATION EXPLAINS Fiji position on Australia
ELECTIONS BY SEPTEMBER 2014. Fiji will not be distracted by recent events.
TVNZ's GUY ESPINER TALKS WITH TEVITA MARA  Listen. He hopes to tell NZ Govt "what's happening on the ground." Nothing new. Diplomat Phillip Taula in Suva  will have told them all this before. Where are the secret documents he says he has? He's not mentioned them for awhile.
FLOATING HOSPITAL. Fiji's Ministry of Health said on Thursday that it has major plans to build a floating hospital to service those in maritime areas who find it too expensive and inconvenient to travel to main centers for medical treatment.

The "big" crowd at the FDFM  meeting
Sunday 12.6.11.The meeting was heralded as the "catalyst for a strategic alliance with SDL, FLP, Vanua, Church, Unions and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Leaders Forum” against the Bainimarama government. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, the "cat" failed to turn up! See also weekend postings The Unholy Alliance by Graham Davis (with the incriminating photo of Fraenkel, Lal and Kaitani), Ratu Tevita's New Friends: the FDFM by Croz Walsh (on the FDFM's Ten Points and likely SDL links) and Plots Within and Support from Outside by Sanjay Ramesh.
Friday 10.6.11
THE PLOT THICKENS. Ratu Tevita has been given his Australian visa so that he may address Tui Savu's FDFN movement in Canberra tomorrow.  I'll have a posting on this "democracy" movement over the weekend. Meanwhile, Fiji Today says "It’s hoped the forum will be the catalyst for a strategic alliance with SDL, FLP, Vanua, Church, Unions and Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Leaders Forum." What's new? Looks like the same old team that put Fiji in the cactus in the first place. Fiji needs a new breed of leaders. See also new Government release posted below.
NZ GROUP OPPOSES MARA VISIT.Nik Naidu from the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji says he understands why Colonel Mara has suddenly "seen the light", and says he was one of the worst types of officers in Fiji.
CHARGES AGAINST TUISOLIA DROPPED. And they should be.  This was a clear case of government trying (unsuccessfully) to bend the judiciary to  its purposes. Such petty vindictiveness has laid government wide open to charges of interference that have, indirectly, also stained the reputation of the courts. The fact that the attempts have failed is overlooked by international commentators.
THE PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is in New York where he adddressed the UN General Assembly on HIV/Aids. Ratu Epeli has a long record of work in this area. In Fiji, he has called for zero tolerance for stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, and the Government's HIV AIDS Decree is part of its commitment to global efforts in addressing the deadly disease.

PM WELCOME IN KABARA, LAU. Lomati Village elder Mosese Kotobalavu said they were looking forward to meet the PM next week to tell him about their difficulties. “There is a big feast prepared for him and his officials and everyone on the island is looking forward to having him here with us.” Meanwhile, two men from  Lakeba, also in Lau and Ratu Tevita's home island, are now on bail in Suva  having been charged with forging signatures on a petition saying Lakeba did not want a visit from Bainimarama.
ITAUKEI SCHOLARSHIP HOLDERS BREACH CONDITIONS. All Government scholarship holders are required to return to Fiji on completing their overseas qualifications. Many are are not doing so. Permanent Secretary, Savenaca Kaunisela says most find employment straight after graduation and choose to stay in overseas countries and never return. What he did not say is that it is normal practice for overseas governments not to issue work permits to people on overseas scholarships until they have met their country's scholarship conditions. Someone is assisting these students to break the conditions. The result? Fiji pays for aid to the more developed countries!
PACIFIC DIALOGUE, A NEW NGO. Check out their website,and read in particular about the Citizens' Assembly recently held at JJ's in Suva and their work to inform youth and rural communities about electoral processes and alternatives.
ACTING ON PILLAR 10 OF THE PEOPLE'S CHARTER (Improving Health Service Delivery).The Ministry of Health has announced plans to open new hospitals in key areas. A new maternity unit will be built in Makoi in Naisinu, and futher down the road there will be a new 70 bed hospital in Ba, a dental hospital in Raiwaqa,Suva, a mental health institute in Tamavua and a new maternity complex in the CWM Hospital, Suva.

Thursday 9.6.11
YABAKI CONCERNED ABOUT "SPIRALLING" RACISM. He told ABC that the  online debate about Ratu Tevita Mara has "spiralled into an ethno-racist spat [while] we want to debate ... the big issues about reforms and land reforms, electoral reforms." He again called for the lifting of PER: "These are the issues that when you do not open up the discussion, people take cheap shots ... which tend to fuel the ethno-nationalist rhetoric we want to avoid."   
MARA HAS APPLIED FOR NZ ENTRY, saying he'll reveal military intelligence and tell the NZ government "what's going on." We truly hope so!
CROWDED MEETINGS ARGUE PROPOSED FNPF CHANGES. People are reported to be "turning out in big numbers to have their say.”
HIGHER SALARIES COMMISSION REPLACED. The salaries of senior officers in all government and municipal entities will now be determined by the Ministers responsible for Public Enterprise or Local Government following approval by the PM. The change is expected to enable a "commercial[and] market forces" approach to remunerations compared with the "public service approach" of the HSC. Ed. note. It will also replace an independent commission with people who are in effect the officers' employers.  A mix of approaches (Ministers and HSC) would be seen as fairer.
ALL INDIGENOUS. 'We are all indigenous people of Fiji and if some can't accept that then they have a problem. Indigenous means born and natural to a place and we were born, natural and bred in our country Fiji'.--  Alton Shameem on Facebook. 


Wednesday 8.6.11
ARMS AND LEGS FOR THE PACIFIC. Health minister Dr Neil Sharma  said Fiji will soon be able to produce prosthetic artificial limbs. He said the Jaipur team from India is conducting an artificial limb rehabilitation camp for the next two months in which five technicians will be trained to produce the same quality of prosthetic artificial limbs as produced in India. Deputy Secretary for Hospital services Dr Eleni Tora said initially 300 people will be receiving artificial limbs free of charge. She also said the Ministry plans to establish diabetic hubs at Labasa and Lautoka.
FALSE PROPHECIES NOT ALLOWED IN FIJI. This might have been the heading the anti-government blogs would use, as if there's something wrong not allowing false prophecies. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) does not agree and has refused to withdraw the charge against Rev.Lutunacevamaca who last year had thousands of people perturbed about his prophecy of unprecedented climatic disaster. He is charged with one count of malicious act where it is alleged that he breached the Public Order Act by distributing information to cause public panic in relation to a prophecy he made last June about a natural disaster.
SEE Mara Beat the Women ... below.
Tuesday 7.6.11
RADIO NZINTERNATIONAL  must be close to the bottom of the barrel of people they can report as anti-Bainimarama. Rajesh Singh, an Indo-Fijian, Mormon and ex MP is their latest find. They announced him as a former Minister of Youth and Sport. He was one of the two Indo-Fijians in the SDL Qarase Government.  
What they didn't say was that he was a protege of Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who was jailed for supporting the Speight Coup; that he was sacked as an SDL Minister after only six months in the job, that he had stood unsuccessfully for the NFP in 2001, resigned from the SDL in early 2007, briefly supported Bainimarama, and said he  expected to stand for parliament, in a different party, in the next election. 

I would suggest that a man who changes parties so often would seem to be more interested in status and  power than in principle, but he's certainly not lacking in self-importance. He's written to Bainimarama and told him to resign. If this is why Radio NZInternational interviewed him, all I've got to do to be interviewed is to do the same.

2012 PUBLIC HOLIDAYS ANNOUNCED. New Year’s Day:Monday,2nd January;Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday:Monday,6th February;Good Friday: Friday,6th April; Easter Saturday:Saturday,7th April; Easter Monday:Monday,9th April; Queen’s Birthday:Monday,11th June; Fiji Day:Wednesday,10th October; Diwali:Tuesday,13th November; Christmas Day:Tuesday,25th December;Boxing Day:Wednesday,26th December.

Branch Commissioner  says it's doing all that's needed on torture allegations.

"ONE CRUCIAL STEP and it’s got to be a credible one, is to get up to the level of political dialogue with political stake holders. I think that’s the one that needs to be undertaken,"  says CCF's Akuila Yabaki on news that constitutional dialogue could start earlier than next year, adding "the report opens the door for people to put aside differences and take part in consultations." (See also CCF Press Release below).

GOVT WORKING ON OVERDUE TECHNOLOGIES  "This should have been done 15 years ago," said the A-G, giving the example of the Titles and Companies Office where one could not even do on-line searches. "We are trying to play catch up of 20 years on indecisive decision making and lack of progress in thinking and modernising," he said.

For earlier news and comments click Achives, last day of April, May.
 Monday 6.6.1
TWO MILLION DOLLAR VENTURE set up by returned resident.
MANGANESE MINE. The Ministry of Mineral Resources has received a lease application from Viti Mining Limited to mine manganese at Vorovorobitu in the Sigatoka Valley. When commissioned, this will be Fiji's fifth mine.
• BUY A PINE TREE FOR $4 and sell for $140. Bua landowners complain.
NEW EMERGENCY PASSPORTS not yet accepted by Australia, New Zealand.
SPOT  ERROR #1. "The [NZ] "Government is ...not obliged to admit  to admit... Fiji's land forces commander simply because interim prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama has engineered his elevation to the head of the Fiji Rugby Union.--  DomPost unsigned Editorial. Sports editors should be discouraged from writing political editorials.
SPOT ERROR #2. "During the 18th century[it] was a chief from Lau [sic!], Ratu Cakobau (I’m also related to him), who was conquering all the islands in Fiji. -- Ratu Tevita tells Tonga Chronicle reporter. 
• RATU TEVITA'S NEW GIMMICK.  See posting below.
Friday 3.6.11.
• FREDOM TO DEBATE."The intensity of debates at the FNPF public consultations is an indication that freedom to debate government policies is very much intact." -- Blog comment.
• GRUBSHEET. The article by Graham Davis The King and I and the extensive comments are well worth a read.

• ONLY ONE GUESS WHERE THIS QUOTE IS FROM: "The campaign now is to be rid of the drunk puppet and the puppet master Taliban at any cost." It goes way beyond the "Muslim" description Tevita Mara made in the Fijian (but not the English) version of one of his Youtube postings, and even that was a clear dog whistle to the Christian grassroots.
• SOMETHING'S MISSING. Risto Harmat said he took Ratu Tevita Mara on a fishing trip to Kadavu, where he dropped him off. Staff at the Kadavu resort said they saw Ratu Tevita go fishing (presumably on another boat) and local fishermen said they saw a big boat pick him up. What happened to the second fishing boat that he said he'd been at sea in for two-three days? It sank? (I hope he rescued the documents he said he was carrying while fishing). It was taken to Tonga? Where is it now?  It never existed? Take your pick, along with his other stories.
• FACEBOOK. Visit Fiji Economic Forum for lots of discussion among its 155 members. It's moe political than economic.
• AUSTRALIA US NOT IN STEP say Aust opposition. See also FBCL item.
• McCULLY  SAYS "What is going to be required for us to make any substantive progress there is for the regime in Fiji to give some positive signals about how they're going to go forward. Having military people assume control of their rugby union isn't the sort of signal that is going to help, nor is the suggestion that human rights are coming under pressure." [He needs to be specific, and check the facts on military control of FRU, and Ratu Tevita's claims on human rights.]  See also Charlie Charters in Weekend Reading.

• TUPENI BABA speaking in Guam. Short bio.
Thursday 3.6.11
WORLD CUP TALKS CONTINUE to ensure 'best possible' Fiji team. I repeat: NZ should spell out what they mean by 'progress' towards elections.
 McCULLY ATTACKS ADAMS  not his argument. Not the nicest of statements from the Minister.
GOVT'S $80M for NAITASIRI PROVINCE for roads, rural electrification and water
Wednesday 2.6.11
• 'NAVY PEOPLE ARE STUPID.' Ratu Tevita's latest.
• DRITI CASE adjourned two weeks.
• NADRIVATU 44 Mw HEP STATION at the head of the Sigatoka and Ba Rivers is on track to open in December.
• McCULLY ON WORLD CUP. Bans stands; doesn't say what he means by 'progress'. 
Tuesday 1.6.11
• FIJI TODAY PUBLISHER, "Peter Firkins" says "Remove PER and the Media Decree and I will close this Blog."  I'm more than happy to match this when the overseas media show some knowledge of, and more impartiality toward, events in Fiji. With more time to spend in retirement, I may be able to reduce my golf handicap and get another hole-in-one.
• RATU TEVITA ON ABC'S Pacific Beat.Mainly on the Military Council
• TWO LAUANS ARRESTED for allegedly forging signatures telling Bainimarama he's unwelcome. The Lau  Provincial Council has distanced itself from those arrested.
• LAND BUY BACK scheme.
• BOYCOTT WORLD CUP. Fiji's Olympic head says Fiji should boycott the World Cup unless Fiji games venue shifted from NZ whose travel ban will prevent Fiji fielding its best team.


Wonderer said…
Mr Walsh,

You are an expert in statistics.
Can you analyse your blog stats and tell us why Croz Walsh's Blog attracts so few comments?

Is it because you receive less visitors than the anti-Frank blogs?

With respect to the number of comments, is it because visitors to your site agree with what you say and therefore see no need to comment?

Do they disagree with what you say and refuse to waste their breath?

There will of course be comments that you can't run because they are pretty crude. What percentage of comments do you delete as a result?

I know you can't trust the IP addresses that your site captures, but would it be safe to say that most people who visit blogs live overseas?

They have a higher standard of living and greater disposable income so they can afford things like an internet connection.

Does this mean then that the voice of the common person in Fiji has not been heard?

If the voice of the common person has not been heard, how can those in the anti-Frank camp say what is happening in Fiji is not good?

How can you say that what is happening in Fiji is good?

I'm going off on a tangent now - to censorship.

People in Fiji know their views will be censored. They can't say anything against the current powers-that-be.

How then can we trust what people there tell us particularly when we Fijians have a tendency to tell you what we think you want to hear?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Progress ... I've put your comment on McCully and your way forward on 'What Governnment Can Do ...' where it will have more readers.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Wonderer ... Some good questions here. I'll answer with a main posting soon. Many thanks, Croz
pasifika said…
Is McCully deaf and blind ? He seizes the new management of FRU as an indicator of lack of progress towards democratic elections in Fiji and does not hear or see the initiatives of this government particularly among the long politically abused rural electorate to democratise their environment through better infrastructure - repair of schoolbuildings, bridges, new roads, new options in agriculture, neglected by the previous government. McCully should send over some undercover agents to get the real news from real people on the ground. It's hard to believe McCully does not have an open mind on Fiji.

Croz - What percentages of visitors to your site are from Fiji and from abroad ?
pay day said…
Dear Croz,

I know that you don't want to hear about anything the fugitive Ratu is saying anymore and fair enough. However the question of what the PM is being paid does not seem to want to go away.

Sadly everytime the PM or his team open their mouths on this issue peoples trust in him declines...not improves. His ramblings to FBC today where of no help because :

1. He refuses to disclose what he is being paid. Why is this so hard. We know what he was paid as Commander....and that is the maximum he should be being paid now. It is as simple as that. He promised no one in the military would benefit from this coup. He reamins in the military and should not have benefited from the coup.

2. He goes on to ramble about government, heart and "all the checks and balances". Um really - what checks and balances would they be ? As far I can see there are significantly less checks and balances on government now than there was pre coup 2006 - and in 2006 the checks and balances where pretty weak anyway !

3. Trust is earned. He needs to come clean. Every early promise he made has been broken, the original roadmap abandoned. The promise of 'no one benefiting' was noble and sets him apart from other coup leaders. If that is he can show it is true.

4. Assuming it is true (he has not benefited) why would he not be shouting from the rooftops, publishing the exact number everywhere he can to show he is a honest and thoughtful leader prepared to put country before his individual wealth ?

5. And what of salaries going through a external lawer ? One can only imagine this is beause everyone knows the public service leaks information all the time. However it just ads to the mistrust

(from FBC)
"Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has categorically denied he is receiving more than one pay packet for the various portfolios, including the Prime Ministership that he is holding.

Bainimarama told FBC News this morning that he and other senior military officers have stuck to what they said they would do when the army took over Government in 2006.

We started this and we will finish this, Bainimarama said.

He told FBC News quote: “Who has the heart to be receiving more for the job he is doing in Government with all the checks and balances in place?”

When the military took control in 2006, Bainimarama had said then that no army officer would get more or benefit from their position.

He reiterated this morning that people should stop believing the rumours and lies being spread by failed politicians."
campaign or not said…
Dear Croz,

Can I suggest a new topic for discussion. Franks trips to villages and rural Fiji are becoming more and more frequent. The question I have is this trying to win support (voting buying advance) or genuine concern. He certainly seems to makes lots of promises and give plenty of hand outs where ever he goes. On the other hand he often tells people "no" or to get moving and look after themeselves !
Keep it up Croz said…

I am one who basically agrees with what Croz says, and as he puts it much better than I ever could I usually don't bother to comment, but I do read almost everything. He often receives several anti-government comments I completely dissagree with, but they are usually so stupid or off topic I can't be bothered wasting my time to argue against them.
Now the heartbreaking letters to the editor are being penned about the situation at the FNPF. Today there are two: FNPF Problems and also NATIONAL DISGRACE.

The real 'disgrace' is that no competition was ever permitted to give the FNPF a run with its money? While the rest of the world was deregulating and permitting competition in each and every sphere (especially in the realm of Pension Funds and Financial Investment products), the FNPF carried on as though none of this were taking place. An Act of Consummate stupidity. We need to remember that private enterprise and corporate investors in Fiji are also stakeholders in this Fund. They have contributed 8% of the equity (by Act ofParliament) over many years. So, business owners are also part of this outcry and we want to be made fully and transparently aware of what has been done with our considerable investment in the pension and social welfare of our employees and former employees? Government must undoutedly owe the fund many millions (possibly billions?) of dollars. It must have insured itself against such risks? Now it is time to call in that insurance and replenish the FNPF. Should we find that there is no cover for the misdeeds and malfeasance of their civil servant and board members, what are we to conclude then?
Vital antidote to poison said…
Yes, Croz, you're a legend. If you didn't exist, Fiji would be so much for the poorer, drowned in the hysteria of the SDL stooges over at Coup 4.5.

I think it's time for the Fiji Government to change tack. At the moment, they're telling people not to take any notice of overseas blogs. They ought to be saying something like: "if you really want to learn something, try Croz Walsh's blog, not the false propaganda elsewhere".

It would be great for Bainimarama to give you an interview to really put you on the map. Are you reading this, Sharon Smith Johns? These websites aren't going to go away. So why not start directing traffic in the right direction? At the moment, you seem to be saying "stop it or you'll go blind". And we all know how effective that is! Croz is moderate, positive and widely read. Use him.
The white man's burden said…
Croz, I took your advice and read Graham Davis on Grubsheet. I see you and Davis are attacked for having a colonial mindset and ANU academic Jon Fraenkel has again come to blows with Davis over this. What is this other than some left wing BS that blames the white man for all of Fiji's problems? Coming from a Fijian, this would be seen as a joke. But from a supposedly respectable academic like Fraenkel? I'd be interested in your thoughts on this. Is every white man who expresses an opinion on Fiji motivated only by wanting to retake the place? isn't this what colonial means? Or is anyone who opposes the SDL a white supremacist? Has Fraenkel ever been critical of the Qarase government, the Qoliqoli Bill and the plan to free Speight? If not, it strikes me that this is a political tactic to brand anyone who doesn't agree with his views as a doddering, gin soaked throwback. I looked up Fraenkel's background and he's British. Is this guilt about the British Empire? Or has Fraenkel come under the spell of his i'taukei wife? Whatever his story, we kai valagi in Fiji are already carrying enough without this kind of cheap shot.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Campaigning or not... I have no idea but it's not just Frank. Many villages have been visited by Government ministers and officials. Several said no PM or MP had ever visited them before. What does that tell us? That Frank cares or wants votes, or that earlier governments didn't care and knew they had the votes tied up, anyway?
Lesley said…
Flipcard view is quite good if you want to look back at articles.
SOE said…
What is 'incitement to terrorism'? Having just listened to the UK definition this morning it looks and sounds very much like what is taking place on the Coup 4.5 blogsite. Pre-emptive action is now the measure for Counter Terrorism elsewhere. Giving people violent ideas and in encouraging them use live ammunition is just this. We would not allow it of the Taliban or Al Qaeda, why permit it in Fiji?
Scott said…
The history of post-colonialism is loaded with examples of intellectuals and academics from the former colonial powers who are more nationalist than the nationals of the former colonies. There is nothing particularly 'left' about their anti-colonial nationalism. The expats, including British economists, who have sided with Rabuka, Speight and those opposed to the current regime in Fiji on ultra-nationalist grounds are found in and around all former colonies, trying to carve out a space for themselves. Best ignored for one day they will find, as many have done before them, that nationalism of this kind is never enough to earn respect-or a permanent place in the former colony.
The folly of unmasked racism said…
Is there not a distinct contradiction - now made manifest by some Fijians living elsewhere in the world in states which are more stable than Fiji and which offer the protection of a Constitution of Liberty - taking aim at particular races within Fiji who they feel are "above themselves" and "do not know their place"?

Of course there is. But it has happened elsewhere in tragic circumstances viz: Bosnia/Croatia/Kosovo and for over a hundred years or more within Eire and Northern Ireland.

Is this racism? Is this nationalism? Or, more alarmingly are these two inter-twined and able to deliver yet once more violence and terrorism?

The signs are already apparent. What is to be done about those signs? They defy reason and they end in a March of Folly.
Truth said…
Khaiyum's haste in writing a decree to dissolve the Higher Salaries Commission must raise suspicions. There is already a lot of speculation and rumor in Fiji as to how and how much salaries the key figures of the regime allow themselves to obtain. It would thus be very timely for the regime to end these speculations once and for all. It has not been very convincing to hear the Commodore lament about transparency and good governance. What he must do now is to put his actions where is mouth has been countless times.
Charter Chatter said…
Dear Croz,

I try to be positive about this government and am very supportive of any initiatives to stamp out racism and corruption. The problem I have is I just don't trust them.

Take for example the ongoing saga of the PM and ministers salaries. If in deed these are the same or less than previous governments and for the PM not more than what he was paid as Commandor then why have they not simply come out and published the salaries ? It really is that simple and as previous bloggers have commented would demonstrate to everyone they are serious about trantransparency and good governance. More importantly these types of actions could help build trust at grass route level and leave the critics to chase other issues.

I try to be positive but can't help think the reason they are not taking such simple and logical action is they are indeed paying themselves significantly more than previous governments and the PM is earning much more than what he was a Commander. Leadership is firstly, secondly and thirdly about doing what you say. He said no one in the RFMF would benefit from this coup and he needs to demonstrate they haven't - starting with him.

This issue is squarely in the hands of the PM and unless he acts he should expect to continue to come under pressure. The timing of getting rid of the higher salaries commission adds further fuel to the fire. Why now and what will be the future independant checks ?

Good luck in defending the PM in this one Croz.

Charter Chatter

Mr PM, Mr AG or advisers - if you are reading this please publish
Adrift in a boat said…
If you want to to go NZ yet you are in the Fiji army, run away in a little boat and the NZ govt will suck you up in an instant.
Beggars Belief! said…
While proposed developments in the area of Health Service Delivery in Ba, Tamavua and elsewhere are welcome it is very obvious that urgency must be shown with A dedicated Hospice for the Treatment of Terminally Ill patients. Cancer cases are increasing rapidly in Fiji. There is nowhere for them to go to receive the palliative care they so deserve. Why is there no Hopsice Care available in Fiji? Why do we not have a Fiji-equivalent of McMillan Nurses to give proper palliative care in people's homes? If we are so "caring" how is it that we have never done this? Surely, retired nurses may be retrained and suitable buildings found to take in those who need urgent pain relief in their last days. This is not beyond the imagination and capacity of government in partnership with the International Community and the Region. Such treatment should be available on a regional basis. It appears that to date, it is not. Looking back over the past ten years, it beggars belief that the Pacific Region has so failed its citizens in this provision. We are too busy spending money on things that have no lasting value. When patients die early of cancer and other painful diseases they leave behind them families which are bereft and devastate: no Social Security provision for them and no immediate support., What are we thinking of to have permitted such neglect? Former Parliamentarians and politicians of all stripes are to be made responsible and they now should take steps to assist in this oversight. Those who waste our money jetting around the globe should spend it At Home. Build a Hospice with the proceeds in each division of the country and show that you mean what you too often say with no concrete result.
Truth said…
The story about Fijian students not returning when they have completed their studies breaks my heart. There must be some conspiracy going on with the governments of the host countries issuing permits for them to stay! This must all be part of the plan to bring the current high performance government down. Come on Croz give us a break. What does a young Fijian graduate return to? A place where you get indicted for uttering seditious remarks and a place where employers are desperate to find people to engage. Fiji has never been in such a dire situation as it is since the coup. Fiji will only improve if and when the RFMF acknowledges that a military dictatorship is not the way forward. It has never been and it never will.
Forget about him said…
Why is Roko Ului's story such sensation?

Let's drop it altogether and it will soon be forgotten.
Answers please said…
I think Mara has had his time in the limelight. He is saying nothing new, same old crap as the SDL party, he is now the 'Puppet' to cronies such as Kaitani and Qarase. It is interesting to note that Australia and now New Zealand are supporting the very people who were involved in the 2000 coup, they are also supporting the extremists who want to return Fiji to the way it was, Fiji for Fijians and the rest sod off. And to top it all off the Australia government is paying the likes Frankel and Lal to stir up more hatred and race based politics. Something smell rotten here.

Where is the voice of the Australian opposition, they need to be demanding answers on why under the nose of this government, they have allowed a fugitive to enter australia and proven coup supporters to all gather and pat themselves on the back whilst encouraging a violent return to democracy.

Answers from the Australian Government please or is Rudd still sitting with the map of the world trying to find out where the hell FIJI is!
Yea yea said…
Fiji’s government is now saying via Ms Smith-Johns that Ratu Tevita was involved in the 2000 coup(Fijilive). If that is the case then why was :

1) Why was he still up until recently employed by RFMF (as a high ranking officer)
2) Why was he allowed to play a key part in the 2006 coup
3) Why was he not cleared out in the ‘clean up campaign’
4) Why has he not been charged to date given involvement in 2000 coup ?

Is this another ‘Mahen Chaudry type case’ where our PM turns a blind eye when someone is in his team ? Surely if these acquisitions are true he should have been removed long ago. If true the PM has been lying to us for a long time and showing once again double standards. If the acquisitions are not true then we are seeing the vindictiveness and bullying this regime is known for.
brox said…
Glad to hear the 2014 elections are going ahead. However it is hard to believe the statement "Fiji will not be distrated" - Fiji looks very distracted and very worried. Otherwise why all the press statements ? Especially the last one that said Australia could put the 2014 election at risk.

If only this government could spend more time on actually preparing for elections - to date no actual work has been done. No dialogue, no constitution, no lifting of the PER , no allowing of any political gatherings....

What is worse is they have continually said they plan to do NOTHING UNTIL 2012 so they can conentrate on the economy. Given the poor shape of the economy i kind of wish they would focus on something else !
distracted said…
Not Distracted - are you kidding. They look very very distracted. There have been massive efforts to discredit Ratu tevita. Today Sharon said that most people did not realise he was involved in the 2000 coup. If that was the case what the hell was he doing in the military still and why a senior memeber of Franks team ? I though one of the reasons for the coup was to make sure those involved in the 2000 coup stayed behind bars, not to give then power of running the country.

What about the extrordinary press releases attacking Australia, Tonga and New Zealand ?
Anonymous said…
These chats with villages are a great idea and should be commended. I do wonder though if it is the environment though for the PM to hear real views. There is always a politeness when a village accepts you as a visitor especiall high ranking poeple. Together with the PM's repitation as a strong man and for taking any one who deos not agree with him up to the barracks how many will really speak out ?
Barry said…
The Bainimarama Government is such a curate’s egg!

On the good side they have started tackling many of Fiji’s longstanding problems that were avoided, ignored or actively fostered by previous governments including Racism, The Land Issue, the politicisation of the Great Council of Chiefs, the power and politicisation of the Methodist Church, the instability of the FNPF, Dual Citizenship and the neglect of rural Fiji - and they have even found time to modernise our licensing laws!

On the bad side are censorship, an untrustworthy judicial system, restrictions on freedom and a lack of transparency over government expenditure and even their own salaries, and the unsustainable growth of the FMF.

The big question mark is over the promised elections in 2014 – will they be able to let go of the tiger’s tail? Will they be confident enough that their growing support among rural Fijians will more than counter the opposition of fallen politicians, chiefs and churchmen?
Eureka! said…
"The environment for hearing REAL VIEWS"?

Are you kidding? Read this:

"Aware of the controlling power of ambition, corruption and emotion, it may be that in the search for wiser government we should look for the test of character first. And the test should be moral courage.

Montaigne adds: "Resolution and valour, not that which is sharpened by ambition but what which wisdom and reason may implant in a well-ordered soul".

We should say so! And this quotation from the March of Folly has been put into the public domain (yes, prior to censorship under PER) more than once.

Moral courage: harken to that phrase and pay close attention to what it means.

Harken to the role of "ambition" the foolishness of all it directs.

"The Lilliputians in choosing persons for public employment had similar criteria. "They have more regard for good morals than for great abilities", reported Gulliver, "for since government is necessary to mankind, they believe...that Providence never intended to make management of publick (sic) affairs a mystery, to be comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius, of which there are seldom three born in an age. They suppose TRUTH, JUSTICE, TEMPERANCE and the like to be in every man's power: the practice of which virtues, assisted by experience and a good intention, would qualify any man for service of his country, except where a course of study is required".

Now what might possibly be wrong about any of this? This is the GREAT TEST which MUST be applied to anyone in a leadership role in governance. It presupposes democratic ideals and the capacity of EVERYMAN and EVERYWOMAN to apply for such a role. It presupposes that they be selected on merit.

"The problem may be not so much of educating officials for government as educating the electorate to recognise and reward integrity of character and to reject the ersatz".

Ah yes! That is the problem indeed!!

The March of Folly - from Troy to Vietnam

Barbara Tuchman
What contribution is Ratu Tevita U. Mara going to propose towards not ONE hospital ship: TWO?

What happened to the "VUNIWAI"? Has he bothered himself to ask about this? Has anyone else? Cannot say we have noticed. Yet, this hospital ship used to do good work: essential work before anyone had thought of coups d'etat in Fiji. So, Rabuka, Qarase, Mahendra Chaudhry and the 'Status Quo' need now to put in place what was taken away from the People of Fiji: their undoubted right to Good Health and Hygiene.
confused said…
Please help. I have read the statement from the PM of Samoa three times and I am still confused as to what he is saying. I question that it is him speaking as it sounds like the ramblings of a madman! What does this man hope to achieve?? He might do well to remember this' if you haven't got anything sensible to say, then say nothing at all'
Anonymous said…
Ahongalu Fusimalohi - remember how he lost his last job? (Google it if you cannot) - wouldn't know the time of day unless some one paid him. And then it would be "what time would you want it to be?" Its not his Tongan statements that matter...
Gutter Press said…
Hello Crosbie

You’re obviously not impressed with the Samoan PM but, in fairness, how often do you EVER hear a straight answer from a politician – no matter where they’re from or what their political persuasion?

As for your rather sarcastic comment about bringing back the noble savage - why do you take issue with the PM’s statement about a peaceful Pacific region where one can grow one’s own food, yet immediately preface it with evident approval for an almost identical comment by Ms Divi who writes about eating from her backyard garden?

Don’t tell me that you’re also sinking into the mire of attacking the man and not the ball….
Croz Walsh said…
@ Gutter Press ...Thanks for picking up my inconsistency. What went through my mind in writing about Tuilaepa was how little he seemed to know about ordinary life in Fiji with its high levels of internal migration, urbanization, poverty and unemployment. His description may fit a village close to Apia but not Sabeto, Raiwaqa or Laqere. With Ms Divi, I also thought the life she described a little too idyllic, but I thought it worth publishing because it indicated that for many young urban people life was not as bad as outsiders are led to think. She reported no restrictions on her life and said she felt safe walking in the streets. This is not the picture portrayed by our media in NZ. So, you are right, and there's no arguing about that, but I hope you now understand why I published the two items. If they had been longer items, I would have qualified them as I now have to you.
The Ides of July said…
The FNPF proposed review with insufficient transparency, time for full consultation and submissions which are considered and fully researched will prove A Game Changer in the social and political history of Fiji. This is the issue that will Run and Run. It will not go gracefully away into a a dark night. It reeks of injustice, lack of due care and attention, a certain sense of coercive panic and the smell of rotten fish. The 'infected' (sic') members and pensioners of Fiji are made of sturdier stuff than is perceived and the timing is all wrong . Beware the Ides of July!
Long Gone ! said…
It will soon be discovered: you tinker with the promised pension provision of your citizens at your undoubted peril. It should also not be overlooked that there are other stakeholders who have contributed to this fund over many years , compelled to do so by law. So, who has been guaranteeing whom? Think now carefully about the thinking in this! This single issue has the capacity to bring down The House of Cards. No, there is no "you MUST understand" about it! Those days ARE LONG GONE!
Protesting too much said…
The simian Kaitani doth protest his innocence too much! Having lived awhile in the Oz Land of the Free, he has forgotten Whence and Where he came. Kaitani is indicted by the company he kept and seemingly continues with today. He is assuredly in the window and will know no rest. He is as compromised as his unseemly and broken down sandals. This man inflicted and encouraged the mayhem of which he now publicly writes today. We know those whom he held hostage. These events are not spoken of lightly. His pathetic and dishonest attempts to whitewash himself will come to nought.
Bring it on! said…
Long gone will be each and every purported "Player" in the FIL/PENINA affair. As the disgraceful facts are revealed do you imagine that this would not justify a class action? You had better believe it. And we shall pool resources if the DPP fails us like the last three have.
Anonymous said…
Kaitani is innocent, Nixon was not a crook and Brutus was an honourable man !!!

Anonymous said…
I have been told that since the constitution has been abrogated Rabuka's indemnity is nullified and the military will soon move on him for his treason in 87 to join speight at Naboro. Has any one else heard this?
Crimes against Humanity said…
There would be at least a certain consistency were Rabuka to be taken to task for treason. But by today's standards he is guilty of so much else: acts of terror and economic vandalism. Have we spoken with those who were arbitrarily picked up and imprisoned in 1987? A Husband seeking help after curfew for his wife in labour? Taken off the street because they were of the wrong ethnic identity. Crimes against humanity.
Torture Vigil said…
A message just in from South Africa reminds us that this coming weekend night of 25/26 June is the annual vigil for victims of torture. Any one plotting or promoting a 5th Coup d ' etat or palace takeover had better spend a night on their knees.
Gabriel said…
A point that should be repeated and overemphasized at the FNPF public consultations is that coups undermine the pension funds of everyone including supporters of the coup many of whom are there sitting in the audience.Should the current FNPF management team succeed in the complete and successful FNPF and financial literacy of past, current and potential coup supporters then it should be a coup to end all coups.FNPF and financial literacy should also be a requirement for future political candidates especially those who aspire to be members of Cabinet.
Anonymous said…
While it's easy to point a finger at Natadola as a scapegoat for FNPF woes, three fingers are pointing back at the local and overseas businessmen who borrowed money from FNPF since its inception. Have all these loans been repaid and what would be their total value minus Natadola ? Can the list of business concerna and amounts owed to FNPF members be published in the interest of transparency and accountability? Is this a case for FICAC to look into ? Have some of these loans been written off ?
We don't do "I" said…
You know what sticks in one's craw while reading Jenny Hayward Jones' latest offering in The Interpreter? It is the omnipresent use of the word "I".

In the Pacific Islands, we use "We" and even in the Lowy Institute surely this would be more effective communication? It is a give-away of how, as the arguments now evolve, the cultural 'apercus' still lacking. We do not 'DO' 'I' in the Pacific Islands and despite the fact that Lowy Institute is now showing what we might term a better grasp of the climate which might lead to better things, "I" at every turn will just not do.
Anonymous said…
Knowing the mentality of some local businessmen, it is very likely that they borrowed from FNPF, remitted their profits to their relatives abroad, failed to repay their loan while the Government slept or were in cahoots with them. If that was the case we, the owners of the Fund demand a full disclosure of the facts.
Navosavakadua said…
Croz you surprise me. You claim to know so much about Fiji and you say you've never seen the 'racist' adverts in newspapers for rental properties (and some jobs for that matter). In the past they invariably said 'Indian', but in recent years they've moved up a notch and generally say 'Hindi-speaking'. But even THIS WEEK there was an advert in the Fiji Times which reads: "LOOKING For single non-alcoholic and well behaved Indian girl to rent a room in Nasese. House located near public amenities. If interested call Mrs Khan. 3305516." This is just as cut and pasted exactly as printed. It's still on the FT website.

Now are you going to tell me Mrs Khan is looking for an overseas student?

My point is this Croz: how could you live in Fiji and not know that this sort of practice happens? And if you did know it, you'd know that most Fijians don't get twisted out of shape by it, other wise the adverts would have been stopped long ago, even though the practice would have continued.

But the most important thing to understand is that most Indian landlords have enough experience of people to know that using race to find a tenant is more likely to mean missing out on good tenants. Poor old Mrs Khan is probably an old lady with a limited experience of mixing with people outside family circles.

Race has long been a fact of life in Fiji and a dictator who says he can remove all race thinking by ruling as a dictator, clamping down on free speech and intimidating all opposition is a liar. The Qarase Multi-party Government was far from perfect, but at least it was a step in the right direction because it was inclusive. Now we have a military dictatorship run by a mono-ethnic military. Can you seriously see this as the way to 'race-free Fiji'?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Naavosavakadua ... I don't see where I was supposed to say I didn't know about such practices. I published it because I think it is a practice that should stop, and that it can be stopped very simply by prohibiting to let adverts that refer to race. This won't get rid of racism, of course, but it will stop one example of institutional racism. Note the difference. Do you think this may be covered by the Media Decree?
Seizure said…
@ Navosavakadua,

Why haven't the local champions of human rights who are Indo Fijians kicked up a fuss about such racist ads ? Is it because they are racists themselves ? Qarase was a nationalist at heart and his policies were promoting Fiji for the indigenous Fijians, don't you know ? Bainimarama has the political will to promote multiracialism which Qarase had no interest in whatsoever.
Racism in Classified Ads said…
@. Seizure

Moot point about the failure of NGOs in Fiji to make a case against overt racism in classified advertising in Fiji. However this is a duty of all responsible Publishers and would prove they are not solely seeking revenue but also have some ethics.
Racism in Classified Ads said…
@. Seizure

Moot point about the failure of NGOs in Fiji to make a case against overt racism in classified advertising in Fiji. However this is a duty of all responsible Publishers and would prove they are not solely seeking revenue but also have some ethics.
A Bunch of Creeps! said…
What a bunch of creeps! Who? The entire lot at the FNPF PAST AND PRESENT! They dare to lie to us? They are found out. They dare to manipulate these funds held in trust? They are found out. Woe betide the lot of them. Because this is the issue that will RUN & RUN. Ne'er one of the manipulating bunch will escape the justice they so richly deserve. No amount of window dressing will cover for them now. Quite Beyond The Pale.
sara'ssista said…
In this disctatorship you don't have to 'successfully interfere' with the judicary, the tactic appears to be to create charges and draw them out for along a possible. Whether Qarase is guilty or not, i am still amazed at the substantial amount of time to even get to the start of a trial to hear the case. This happens to be very covenient for this regime. Almost planned? As I have previously said , i have no particular love for any of the current or former leadership, but is this a deliberate strategy to tie others up for years in litigation?? I not that a court in Tunisia has already found their former president guilty of abuse of office etc after only a matter of months.
Gutter Press said…
Hello Crosbie

You mention that if the NZ govt can't extradite Mara they could have denied him access or at least refused to meet with him and that anything less is political interference.

One commentator on Grubsheet said that the Australians and New Zealanders are craven for refusing to meet the Dalai Lama since they don’t want to be seen getting embroiled in Chinese politics.

That is just one example showing how the ‘arguments’ of both sides in this saga can self serving and achieve nothing. There have to be consistent ethics demonstrated by both camps, otherwise we leave ourselves open to accusations of hypocrisy. At the moment it seems that hypocrites of both persuasions abound, counting in their ranks politicians, journalists, academics, blog commentators and their followers who attempt to score cheap points at the expense of rational, consistent thinking.

Apart from some notable exceptions, relatively little of any substance is coming out of all this effort, which is a great pity.
honesty would go a long way said…
I applaud the PM's message and efforts to remove racism.

"Speaking to the people of Nadogo in Macuata, Bainimarama says Fiji would have remained a peaceful country if politicians did not spread racist ideas."

However he really needs to start to be honest with himself and the people of Fiji. Racism alone has not caused 4.5 coups. First he should admit that the RFMF has also played a significant part in the unrest in the country and if he never wants to see another coup again he must change his military - even question the need for one.
Restoring public financial integrity said…
The Fiji economy and the growing impatience of taxpayers will "put paid" to the role and out of order expense of the Fiji Military. Expenditure on Health & Education must immediately begin to be brought into line with accepted international standards and ratios. Their undoubted expertise must be turned to civilian benefit as it has been
In the reform process.

Military personnel who have taken advantage of their positions for personal gain are to be brought to account and obliged to repay their benefits and gains to the public purse. This is the honesty and integrity part of the equattion.
Anonymous said…
Over 1,220 soldiers on peacekeeping duties

@ Honesty Would go a Long Way:

On 22nd Feb this year, Fiji Live reported that over 1200 Fijian soldiers are currently serving as peacekeepers in Iraq, Sinai and Sudan according to the Royal Fiji Military Force Land Force Commander, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga. Today's news reports that 52 more soldiers are preparing to join those in Iraq as approved by the UN. Indigenous Fijian men have a talent for soldiering and peacekeeping. Why bury their talent at home ? They are remitting funds to their families to better feed, clothe and educate them. Would you prefer to deny them this ? Local kaivalagis and Indo-Fijians may not feel comfortable with the Fijian Army but it very much part of the culture of the indigenous Fijian. Traditionally, tribes have had their own 'batis' or army and institutional memory of that is very much alive locally.
Anonymous said…

Why the comment around Mara's statement ? How many of the PM's speaches do you think are written by him ?

It is well known the PM does not have a clue about suger or finance but I have neer heard ou question any of his speaches on these topics and if he wrote them.

Worse still is that the PM NEVER takes questions on suger or finance. Two of the most important portfolio's he personally holds.

You have also critised Mara for being repetitive. Have a listen to the PM. Always on about corruption and racism being the two evils. Never mentions the role of his own military in every coup in Fiji's history does he ?
In the Home of Democracy....? said…
In the Home of Democracy - Greece- the worst crisis in a EU economy since the end of WW2 is unfolding. Revolution is being openly touted. Why? Because The Economy is all.
Huge debts may not be repayable without unbearable pain; no jobs; higher taxes and the flow on effect may yet go global through the overseas banks who have loaned to Greece. Do we need to be concerned? Yes, we do. We are not isolated until we are entirely self-sufficient in energy and food.
Anonymous said…
There is now a place where one and all can post on facebook in regard to the situation in Fiji it appears coup four point five has placed a censorship decree HA PLEASE FEEL FREE TO JOIN AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT COUP FOURPOINTFIVE EXPOSED PAGE ON FACEBOOK
Peter said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Death & Taxes said…
@ Is the transcript of the interview with Sean Plunkett and the Attorney General correct in every detail?

How many times are the words "absolutely" and "yeah" redacted?

This is relevant for very obvious reasons. Do we do 'Yeah' when we speak apparently on behalf of the many who remunerate us?

Do we do 'absolutely' ? For in the real world there are no
absolutes. Almost nothing in life may be described with such certainty: apart from death and taxes.
Death & Taxes said…
@ Is the transcript of the interview with Sean Plunkett and the Attorney General correct in every detail?

How many times are the words "absolutely" and "yeah" redacted?

This is relevant for very obvious reasons. Do we do 'Yeah' when we speak apparently on behalf of the many who remunerate us?

Do we do 'absolutely' ? For in the real world there are no
absolutes. Almost nothing in life may be described with such certainty: apart from death and taxes.
Peter said…
Croz you state you publish all genuine comments but I notice my posting yesterday on FNPF didn't make it? I know it was a little long and i had to cut it up but i don't think it broke any of your rules??

May I also suggest you note above with the rules the length restriction on comments so you know before you post.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Peter ... I decided to publish them as a main post where they will get more attention.
@Anonymous re Ramrakha ... You may be right but I cannot publish personal attacks like this. Sorry.
Anonymous said…
Dear croz, the hand puppet calls are unfair but it is easy to understand why people believe the ag is behind much that happens in Fiji. Here is a few reasons why

1 he holds many portfolios

2 he is the most visible

3 he is involved with budget (defacto finance minister)

4 he works very hard

5 he is the only one who does real interviews like this

6 the pm never does these interviews and really struggles to articulate what he wants for Fiji
sara'ssista said…
BOMB HOAX, a rather naive comment about why if indeed it was a 'put up job' by the regime why they hadn't thought of it in the last two years???, well because 1. they are not exactly an ideas factory, 2. they would be using to justify extending it yet again and creating new circumstances to keep the people safe from bloggers.
pasifika said…
@ Anonymous

There is a Cabinet in place of which the AG is a member.Decisions are made through Cabinet through presentation of Cabinet papers.Because many people are ignorant or choose to ignore how Cabinet works, it's easier to choose a scapegoat for their views - the AG - a very easy target for racist itaukei. Also, many refuse to credit Bainimarama with any intelligence when in fact he appears to be a very intelligent itaukei.Bainimarama's family background is very stable and he and his two other brothers are all achievers. Their father is something of an icon among civil servants of his time.Bainimarama's daughter, the CEO of the Fiji Sports Council is also an achiever and is a reflection of the way she has been brought up by her parents.I believe Aiyaz's family background is also very stable.There is always more to Pacific people than meets the eye. NZ journalists in particular should take heed.
Gutter Press said…
Your headline “Tuilaepa drives wedge between Polynesia and Melanesia”, is based on The Samoan Observer’s headline “Tuilaepa drives rift between Polynesians and Melanesians”, which is based on Graham Davis’ headline ‘Samoans playing with fire”.

Reporting on a report that reports on what reporters think. What an investigative tribute to bloggers and reporters alike…

It seems that the only person who comes out with the smallest amount of credit in this is the Samoan Prime Minister who has at least taken the effort to actually meet Mara and Baledrokadroka to hear them out. Of course he would also need to meet Bainimarama and Said Khaiyum to emerge with full credit for getting both sides of the story and it’s a pity he didn’t do so before shooting his mouth off.

Graham Davis’ article contains the ridiculous exaggeration that ‘it’s set the scene for an even bigger rift between the two countries with potentially serious consequences for the entire region’.

The people (and that’s what this is all about isn’t it?) of Fiji and Samoa get along perfectly well without indolent journalists, who are too lazy to try to meet those they report on, trying to stir up some hoped for ‘serious consequences’ by their vapid prose.

It’s true that, to his credit, Graham has made the effort to meet Bainimarama and probably has the inside track on goings on in government thanks to Sharon Smith Johns. But he should also meet the other side, no matter how nauseating it might be to him. He might find that his knee jerk reactions to anything remotely ‘anti’ Bainimarama is a little mollified once he’s heard another point of view.
Anonymous said…
I've been reflecting on the AG interview.

What does it say about this goverment that it is OK for it's AG to be interviewed by NZ and for the world to see the interview yet no one in Fiji is aloud to see it ?

Is government saying people in Fiji can't make up their own minds. How will they ever move to free elections in 2014 while this nonsense continues.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
How gratifying to have something positive to dwell on: Fiji's removal from the Human Trafficking Watch List by the United States Government.

Back in 2007, no matter how hard we tried we could get the attention of no one in the administration (or whatever it was called then) to the effect that people were disappearing overseas to locations their families knew nothing of. To Iraq in lieu of Dubai and to professions which were imposed upon them instead of jobs they had been dishonestly promised. Their passports removed and the ability to phone home often denied, they were effectively
Held Hostage in War Zones.

We should read the latest New Yorker Magazine to learn what became of one Suva-based Spa Attendant who was persuaded to leave Fiji for Dubai ending up in the Green Zone of Iraq. No one took a blind bit of notice about this other than the erstwhile belated Russell Hunter of the Fiji Sun and he put an investigative reporter onto it but not for long.

What fools we have been to have so delayed our response and permitted ourselves to be seen so utterly irresponsible about caring for our own citizens? Too busy and too distracted by displacement activity unbecoming.
Reith Lectures from BURMA said…
Securing Freedom - title of the BBC series of Reith lectures recorded covertly in Burma with Aung San Suu Kyi. She refers to the absolute inadmissibility of anyone preventing one human being from freely being in contact with others to share ideas and to explain.these ideas in liberty.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last anonymous ... The full interview was not published by the Fiji media but it was broken into topics and these were published, along with video clips.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last anonymous ... The full interview was not published by the Fiji media but it was broken into topics and these were published, along with video clips.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last anonymous ... The full interview was not published by the Fiji media but it was broken into topics and these were published, along with video clips.
Gutter Press said…

I agree that the draft employment decree is a controversial subject and needs careful analysis and discussion. It seems that this is precisely what ABC tried to engender by going to Sayed Khaiyum as one of the drafters, rather than to the government’s media advisor, Smith Johns.

If the ABC had been told that he didn’t want to speak about the decree, it’s still perfectly fair for them to ask about it. After all, it seems they didn’t want to ask about the judge and comments he made about Australia and NZ, as Smith Johns requested, so why should they feel compelled to?

His reaction was unwarranted, defensive and leads to suspicion that he didn’t know very much about the decree. Not the most glorious of moments for the AG, but one that he will hopefully learn from for next time. Yes – the ABC got its story and although it didn’t find out about the decree do you really think that matters one jot either way? The decree will come into existence in the form which best suits the regime. This is not a document that’s been formulated by months of consultation with interested parties since, when asked, those in the know (not just the AG) have denied all knowledge of it.
A Virago in Charge said…
@ Gutter Press

More is now fraying than the shirt cuffs. The stained and spotted tie like the frayed and compromised mind are now in evidence. Too much water under the bridge too far? The entire world now knows that the emperor wears no clothes and what is more wears no integrity. The FNPF Reform conducted by the local gestapo in charge of a pantomime rehearsal and the planned attack upon all bona fide employees posits The End in Progress. What is more it is apprehended. This farce will sink into the oblivion it so richly deserves. A Blot upon the Landscape, Uncle Tom Cobbley and All. And what of the fellow travellers and the Virago holding the Purse Strings so elaborately and neatly pulled together? Done for!

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