News and Editor's Comments Wednesday 27.7.11

David Burness and lawyer Shaista Shameem

Wednesday 27.7.11 

JUSTICE IS BEING DONE. Government's overseas opponents constantly claim the Fiji judiciary is not independent and the judiciary constantly proves them wrong.
     On Monday the anti-blogs claimed  Radio Fiji had withdrawn an item on David Burness, the 75-year old FNPF pensioner who is challenging proposed cuts to pensions. The MOI assures me they did not censor the item, and yesterday's news gave reason to believe them. The following is based on an —uncensored— report published by Fiji Village.

    Government had asked the court to strike out Burness's application. Justice Pradeep Hettiarachchi refused Government's request, saying the matter was of significant national importance. But he was not convinced pension cuts were a human rights issue, as Burness, who seems likely to lose 64% of his pension, claims.
      The Judge refused Burness's application for an injunction that would have temporarily stopped FNPF action.  At this pointd he could have dismissed the case because of "various procedural errors in relation to his application against the FNPF, the Attorney General and the Republic Of Fiji."
     Instead, he gave he gave the Burness legal team 21 days to file documents relevant to the case. 
DOUBTING TUILAEPA. I'm not sure why the international media so often report the Samoan PM's opinions on Fiji unless it's because they like what he says. It's not that he has any special, or even ordinary, knowledge of the country. His recent comments that trade sanctions would not hurt ordinary Fijians (because they grow food crops or go fishing in the sea) show just how ignorant he is. Unlike Samoa, many people live in urban places and in the interior of its two main islands. Land and fish are short in the former, and fish other than ikadroka in the latter.
    This time he says Bainimarama is lying about elections in 2014 and is 'doing everything he can’ to hold back democracy. He says he can't take the 2014 elections as serious because he can't see any progress towards it and because he has filled civil service positions with military people.
     He appears to be in denial about the impact of travel bans on civil service recruitment, and not to have heard of the Roadmap or the constitutional reforms due next year that will establish parameters for electoral reforms. The Roadmap never scheduled political dialogue before next year.
WOMEN'S CHICKEN FARMS. About 120 women in Naroi Moala village, Lau, now have some financial independent following the establishment of a poultry farm in April. The farm, part of Government's food security policy, was established with help from the of Social Welfare. A further 15 poultry projects costing $200,000 are planned.
THE EXPANSION OF HEALTH SERVICES has put more stress on nurses. The Minister tells nurses what is being done to relieve the situation.
ILTB OWED $24 MILLION IN OVERDUE RENTS and  some accounts go back 20 years!
WHEN TWO ANONS IS BETTER THAN NONE. From one, this question: "Is Roko Ului still on the Vola ni Kawa Bula (register of landowners)? And this by a wit: "Coup 4.5 – better known as Four and a half men."


The Heavy Questions said…
And who will pay the wages of housegirls and other help once pensions are cut by 64%?

Who will assist with heavy lifting and care in the home in a country which has no Social Welfare System for all (which by now it ought).

Who will pay for medicines and other necessary purchases for the elderly?

How will a contracting economy and a contracting jobs market be assisted by draconian and arbitrary imposition of cuts in pensions which are no fault of the pensioners themselves?

In their hey-day these were some of the most productive citizens in the country possessing all manner of skills and useful knowledge. In their dotage, they are to be told they have 'outlived their contribution' and are a 'burden on others'.

What of their considerable contribution to this country over very many years? What of their fathers' and their grandfathers' contribution in wartime?

What of the heinous level of benefits and salaries paid to all who have sat on the board of the FNPF as an institution going wayback? Was there one woman on any of these boards? One female Chairperson - ever?

If not, why not?

No one was 'forced' onto this or past boards. No one is ever 'forced' to do this work: they were enticed. Or.....they might have volunteered?
Health and Happiness in Costa Rica said…
We need to take a look at Costa Rica. The country in Central America which has a hospital for Gerontology and Geriatric Care: the only one in the Americas dedicated to such specialised medicine. What of this in terms of the dignity and esteem afforded the elderly in their declining years?

How did they pay for this? In 1949
they disestablished their military. Much of the money saved was directed towards health and to the care of the elderly in particular. This is a decision which must always be made with great care and the needs of the young and women of child-bearing age must also be factored in.

Creative and bold strategies must be deployed if human happiness and health are to be served as a priority.
Anonymous said…
Croz, suggest you read Ross McDonalds letter on
It gives a very fair summary of the flaws in FNPF Boards presentations, and the confusion caused.

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