News and Comments Tuesday 11 October 2011
PRESIDENT OBAMA CONGRATULATES FIJI. US President Barack Obama has sent a message to the people of Fiji congratulating them on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of Fiji’s independence.
The President said the people of Fiji and the US share a commitment to peace, freedom, the rule of law and democratic ideals, and it is through this commitment that the two countries have built a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. He pledged that the US will "stand with the people of Fiji as they strive to these ideals" and said the bond will strengthen "as the people of Fiji continue to pursue a brighter future."
FIJI IN THE PACIFIC. Outgoing Solomons Islands High Commissioner Moses Kouni Mose says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) was set up to complement the work of the Pacific Islands Forum, not to compete with it, and with Fiji at the helm, its future looks promising. Mose believes Fiji has much to contribute to the Pacific. With its "vast experience in terms of economic development, member countries and non-member countries alike stood to gain a lot in trade, investment, and assistance amongst other things."
Mose said that MSG member countries had opted to take a more proactive approach towards Fiji's political situation [than the Forum] by allowing Fiji to remain in the MSG while continuing to push for a return to democratic rule. -- Based on Fiji Times.
GOVERNMENT'S CONCERNS FOR THE ELDERLY. Last year there were over 5,000 people in Fiji over the age of 80; by 2050 there's likely to be over 28,000. There are already concerns that traditional family support systems are not coping. Social Welfare Minister Dr Jiko Luveni expects that the State will have to step in by providing housing for the elderly. Governnment's National Ageing Policy 2011 to 2015 will be launched next month that will establish a National Council for Elder Persons.
Comment: Dr Jiko says "Population ageing is about babies. We used to have lots, now we don't. Hence the population is aging rapidly. Fiji, like the rest of the world, is becoming an ageing society." But ethnic Fijians still have a high birth rate by world standards. The increased number of the elderly is mainly due to longer life expectancies. I wonder whether Fiji will follow Singapore's example by making people more responsible for their elderly.
TOURIST ARRIVALS UP AGAIN.Visitor arrivals increased 5.6% to 61,919 for June this year compared to 58,614 for the same period last year. Australian visitors totalled 31,073, NZ visitors 11,545 US visitors 6,111 and 2,247 came from Continental Europe. Most visitors were on holiday but 9% came to visit their friends and relatives. Cruise ship visitors, however, declined 78.6% from 8538 in 2010 to 1831. Fiji citizens migrating declined by 61 compared to 326 but Fiji passport holders residing overseas increased to 3432 compared to 1208.