News and Editor's Comments Monday 1.8.11

Check out Weekend Reading and comments. 
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 News and Editor's Comments Monday 1.8.11
OPEN LIST PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION. It's good to see this sort of informative, reasoned article on the anti-Bainimarama blog Fiji Today. Follow this link.

FIJI'S GREY POWER.This is a link to a new blog presenting the views of some pensioners on the proposed FNPF changes.

HISTORY REVISITED: FIJI'S COOPERATIVES.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s cooperatives, based on traditional itaukei social structures and "Western" business organization, were all the go. They were to bring rural ethnic Fijians into the economic mainstream.  Unfortunately, many failed, as did similar support for galala (independent farmers), and I have not seen any substantial research on the possible reasons for failure.There were notable exception, of course, and one is still seen on the streets of Suva: the Cautata Bus Company based in Cautata village Government 35 km away. But in general those that survived did so only with heavy subsidies from government.
     Government, or more specifically, the Department of Cooperatives is now revising its roles to increase cooperative viability.  It intends to do so by relinquishing its audit function to concentrate on capacity building, marketing, training, and image building. At present, auditing uses nearly two-thirds of the Department's $1.2m budget. As from next year, auditing will be the responsibility of a new private sector body, Cooperatives APEX; Department staff numbers will be cut from 110 to 36, and the money saved will be spent on direct assistance to the cooperatives. It is expected that APEX will be able to access technical support from the International Alliance of Cooperatives.
     The aim is clear but the outcome is no more certain than the work in the 1960s. Earlier hopes were based on modernisation theory; today's on neo-liberalism with heavy private sector involvement. Whether it will succeed or not cannot be foretold but all theory needs to be tested in practice. In the cooperative case, detailed micro research (with no theoretical underpinning) is needed on the causes of economic success and failure. -- Based on No:1531/MOI.

FORMER FLP MP Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi has been prevented from selling his residential property and vehicle, and cannot touch his savings in the Fiji National Provident Fund and cannot withdraw any money he has in banks in Fiji. The court order was a result of a civil case from non-payment of IOU's totalling $100,000 to Sigatoka jewellers.

TEVITA MARA SAYS ... "The illegal Attorney-General announced recently that his plan was to use Voting Machines in the next elections. It is another sinister plan. Machines, as you all know, are subject to breakdowns1. We all know that computer-generated machines can be rigged or hacked into2.  And as you all know, the majority of the population of Fiji live in the rural areas where electricity is severely limited. There is also no guarantee that the machines will leave a paper trail, that is, with every vote, issue a numbered paper slip to the voter proving that he or she voted and who he/she voted for"4.

     Comments 1. So do planes and cars; 2. Yes but not easily; precautions can be taken. Electronic voting is used in several overseas countries, and the paper voting used in 2006 did not stop interference with results; 3. Actually no, unless he is again talking as if only ethnic Fijians live in Fiji. In 2007 49.3% of the total population lived in rural areas, and 55.5% of itaukei, down -4.3% and -3.5% from 1996. 4. It's possible, if someone has the technical skill, resources and interest, but unlikely because the costs would far outweigh the "benefits.".
     There are problems with electronic voting (as there was with paper voting) but if it means voting and counting can be completed in one day, it will cut down the time to manipulate the results. Boxes of 2006 ballot papers have still not turned up!  This site considers the pros and cons.

Comments

King Ludd said…
A luddite view of voting machines. We need to ensure the probity of the electoral process. It was certainly not done in 2006. Indeed the election of 2006 was undermined and should have been declared invalid by the widespread use of threats to voters and conspicuous and gratuitous electoral fraud.

Ample evidence of this but no one wished to pay any attention to the complaints which were lodged. Threats of violence are beyond the tolerable in elections. What were the Fiji Police doing?

Lord Byron (the Great Lover) had a view of luddites:

"Are you not near the Luddites?
And down with all kings but King Ludd?" (1812)
yea yea said…
Croz,

I understand your support for this government and a desire for a fairer, better Fiji but I do suggest you take a few minutes to look at the other arguments. Take for example some the people Frank has elevated as the solution !

On Vayeshnoi – you might mention he was also a minister in the current government. Like Mahen, Felix, Ulri and others they where appointed and later removed by this government. This government has a growing list of those who have “failed, verged on corruption, put personal interest first and played politics”. In fact this lot are all fine examples of the things the PM said he wanted to remove when he removed SDL but he seems to have recruited just as many as previous governments. Add to the list Teleni, Reddy (Sada), Sami, Francis, Tevita. We also now see that many individuals are serving on multiple boards, something the PM said was corrupt and had to be stopped. We also see the PM’s family and friends finding great roles. Add to that the older mistakes of Kean keeping his job despite being convicted of killing someone. Also Teleni being gifted China job instead of being charged for corruption and Military men being able to “resgine” from FHL board and others allowed to take on sports boards.
You comments said…
@ croz (Tevita comments)

Thank you for your comments. i agree with many of them. However :

You mention Tevita ignores 1997 & 2000 coup. How many times dose Frank ignore the impact of his own 2006 coup. He even likes to pretend it wasn't a coup and that he had a presidents mandate (despite him removing the president to carry out the coup).

You refuse to accept any possibility of court bias or interference in Fiji but quickly cast shadows over the court of appeal judges. You always refer to them as "Australian judges" in an effort to suggest bia but I don't hear you refer to "shrilankin judges".

You say Qarase is not under house arrest yet we all know he is not allowed to travel overseas and he remains "free" on his island only as long as he is "silent". Do you actually think he could speak out and get away with it. He is for all intensive purposes under arrest.

You say government had not intended to throw out the constitution. Why does this make it OK that they did. I say they respect the law only when it suits them. This is not respect for law.
If it was just the court of appeal decision they did not like then why decree after decree and why have they not returned any checks and balances.

You are against the PER but seem to defend it. Remember if you where in Fiji you would have done more than crawl around the muddy parade ground in you underwear. You don't know how humiliating that is - I do.
Mistakes by all said…
...first and foremost there are problems with people and Mara should know this better than anyone. He has turned out to be one of the problems for Frank.

Frank has recruited, supported and elevated many problems. He has been done over so many times by people around him it is no wondr her trusts very few. His appointments have largely been terrible. All his consultants are gone and left nothing. The labour party are gone and now opposing him. The unions are now gone and making noise.

I wonder if Frank has reflected on how poor his choices have been vs Qarase's choices. I see many of the same mistakes. Qarase had to at least maitain the vote and popular opinion.

What is Franks's excuse ?
mello mostly said…
Dear Croz,

Any suggestions on where Mara should go for the pay details of the PM and government ministers ?

I agree c.4.5 is not a reliable source but is there any reliable source on this information.

And why is this information important ? I beleive it goes to the core of two important questions

1. Are our current leaders truely different from the past - are they putting country before self ?

2. Has our leader kept his promise (and can we therefore trust him and his team going forward). Is he earning more than as commador - has he benefited from the coup ?

3. Will they lead by example. If that want a more trasnparent government start with their own pay.

For heavens sake why can't they simply disclose their pay and get the monkey of thier backs ?????
Mrto said…
@ mello

That's three question but I get your point
A March of Folly said…
What is the excuse? For poor judgement? It is all contained in the conclusions of the "March of Folly". Sad that we have to keep reinforcing this but it is there for all to read:

From Troy to Vietnam, Barbara Tuchman documents the repeated failure of those who hold political power to grow into the positions they hold, to refine their decision-making and above all to acquire the percipience needed to run nations, armies and policies which benefit people and refute the Sirens' Song of Folly.

Fiji has proved no different from Troy or Vietnam so far. Huge errors of judgement have taken place mostly based on poor choices of individuals and their only too evident faults and failings. All preventable with circumspection and acute political skills.

"The problem may not be so much a matter of educating officials for government as educating the electorate to recognize and reward integrity of character and to reject the ersatz. Perhaps better men flourish in better times, and wiser government requires the nourishment of a dynamic rather than a troubled and bewildered society. If John Adams was right, and government is 'little better practised now than three or four thousand years ago', we cannot reasonably expect much improvement.We can only muddle on as we have done in those three or four thousand years, through patches of brilliance and decline, great endeavour and shadow".

Barbara Tuchman - The March of Folly - from Troy to Vietnam
Pro Bono Publico and Public Money said…
@ mello mostly....

The Pay Mistress is known. She holds the key to the alleged unholy and unwholesome pay and is presumably not 'A Volunteer' acting 'pro bono publico'. Those of us who do act 'pro bono' have a stake in this.

It is time that Public Money was accounted for fully and transparently according to universal Codes of Conduct and Transparency International in Fiji should be asking for this along with those who provide public money.
PPF said…
@mello mostly

Wait for coup 4.5 hacking.

They had called on the hacking community to hack into government computers.

Or didn't Ratu Mara say je left with files and that he would reveal all.

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