News and Comments Wednesday 19 October 2011


IS THE OVERSEAS MEDIA ONE-SIDED? Listen to, or read, Radio Australia's   Bruce Hill interviewing Fiji-resident Vivien Mitchell and NZ Coalition for Democracy in Fiji spokesman Nik Naidu.

 NO DEPARTURES WITHOUT MEETING BOND CONDITIONS. Two former recipients of the iTaukei Affairs Board scholarships were stopped from leaving the country at the Nadi International Airport last week.

BAINIMARAMA IN CHINA. In Shanghai the PM has been shown a wide range of applications ranging from e-Health, e-security, e-Public Service and e-Education products that could be useful to Fiji. The PM has also met with the Chairman of the Chinese firm that will mine bauxite in NW Bua.

AIR PACIFIC STARTS FLEET RENEWAL. The new B737-800 plane for Fiji's international carrier, Air Pacific has arrived in the country and airline CEO, Dave Pflieger said this is the first step in their fleet renewal process.

... BUT MAY THREATEN EXPORTS. Cargo will be less as Air Pacific moves away from wide body jets going to Australia. Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Colonel Mason Smith said the main concern is the exporting of fresh fruit and vegetables to Australia as the aircraft cargo space is needed for the timely delivery of the produce. Air Pacific says the decision to move away from wide body jets is a commercial one for the airline company.

NEW APPROACH NEEDED TO MENTAL HEALTH. Dr Neil Sharma  discusses some of the initiatives needed. World Mental Health day was celebrated in Suva last Friday with a march along Victoria Parade to Sukuna Park.The theme for this year's celebration is "The Great Push; Invest in Mental Health".

ROAD UPGRADES TO NEW LEVEL. Before leaving for China, the PM confirmed that road upgrades will be stepped up early next year, with special attention being given to work along Kings Road and connecting roads, and in the West, roads in and along the Nadi International Airport road and Denarau Island. Government has invested $150 million in the maintenance, construction, planning and rehabilitating the roads around the country.

LAX PUBLIC SERVANTS. This note on Facebook.  Some things change so-o-o-o slowly. "Went to the immigration dept in Suva to extend my mum' s passport for further 2 years. It took them 3 hours just to put a stamp and sign the document. Is this progress. I don't think so , the civil servants should pull their socks up n serve the public that pay their salary."


Alternate view said…

The picture is a little rude but a fair graphic of how this government and the PM/AG in particular see alternative views. Worse still is that with their heads placed 'just so' they actually think the view is perfect and better than anything Fiji has ever seen before.

That's not to say they have not achieved a lot. They have. Perhaps more than the previous two goverments but at huge economic and reputation cost and if they don't pull their heads out soon....

In that position it's hard to walk at all, even harder to move forward and much is needed to be done if Fiji is to have real free and fair elections in 2014 !
yea yea said…
If that cartoon is meant to descibe this governments attempt at consultation its very very funny but in a very ver sad way.
Cicero said…
@ Alternate view

I absolutely agree with you and pulling heads out must happen and soon. THe Global Economic Situation is serious and it will not wait for Gorbachev's "History always punishes those who are late". This Sunday 23 October the European Union's 27 countries meet to weigh up whether or not they have enough money to prop up their banks. Some are thinking of Sunday as the economic watershed day of the 21st Century. How will Fiji fare if they get it all wrong? Or right in that the money is insufficient? It is possible that thriving developing world economies will fare better. But that is not us. We are still reeling from instability and the on-going fall out from 1987, 2000 and then some. Shall we never learn? "Be Prepared" the Boy Scouts motto. Are we? Shall we know? Who will tell us? Can we believe them? Why should we?

On past form, even a Melbourne Cup hopeful would not have my bet were it to be named 'First Past the Post'! Elections require confidence-building and that takes time. They also demand squeaky- clean and sure pairs of hands.

Now where are those to be found? Have a guess! It seems it is time for 'reculer pour mieux sauter'. Let's run the Grand National instead?
The Black Arts said…
@ Alternate views and Croz:

No amount of elaborate contortion will make up for the stupidity and over-reach of all who lust for power and position. Maintaining that position is the Art of Machiavelli and one doubts that anyone much has read him. The Master Architect even today of how to acquire and to secure political power by whatever means. Lord McAlpine's Crib on The Prince "The Servant" is essential reading. He was the Hon Treasurer of the Conservative Party under Baroness Thatcher. Now, Jonathan Powell has written a Labour Party version following his time with PM Tony Blair. Not a patch on Lord McAlpine in our humble view. It is insufficient to know the law and maintain political power. It requires 'The Black Arts'. Medieval Florence was awash in them.
hosif said…

Apologis - a little of topic but would rather post here that over at C4.5.

It seems pretty clear that Fiji's new "democray" post 2014 will be modeled on something like a blend of Singapore v China. Anyone who thinks Frank or the AG is about to give up control is dreaming. There is absolutley no upside for ieither of them giving up power and control.

If you beleive there intentions in the coup and subsequent rebuilding Fiji are pure then why would they risk someone undoing all their hard work ? Having sweated to get Fiji moving there is no incentive to risk any of that.

On the other hand if you believe their intentions in the coup where more selfish anb about staying out of jail, money and power then the answer is the same. Why would they risk losing power, being exposed and even going to jail.

There are many uncertinities in Fiji but one of them is not thsi governments intention to stay in power for a long lomg time.
away away away again said…
The first reports we had of our PM heading again to China where for a telecommunications conference. His attendance at that is as laughable as the roles he plays as finance minister and minister for sugar. He has no understanding of even the basics of these portfolios and I doubt he could add much to a telecommunications conference.

For all the talks of restraint and wise spending he does seem to fly around and around and around the world alot when perhaps he could be at home getting some form of dialogue or concesus going to help heal a deeply divided country.
sara'ssista said…
'Mr Serulagilagi said Commander Kean had leadership qualities and a wide experience in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces and the Civil Service.

In 1990 he was the first Fijian to pass the International Sub Lieutenant Course at the Britannia Royal Naval College; was awarded an Advanced Diploma in Applied Nautical Science from the Australian Maritime College in 1999; has a Certificate in Maritime Studies from the University of Wollongong, Australia in 2002 and awarded a Graduate Diploma in Management in Defence Studies the same year.

He also attended various short courses and in 2010 was awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Management and a Post Graduate Diploma for General Managers from the University of the South Pacific.

He is a Board Director for the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji, is the acting chairman to the Board of Directors for Fiji Ports Corporation and an Auditor for Government Shipping Services'.

All true for all i know, but nowhere does it mention the killing of an innocent man in a drunken fight and his subsequent conviction for the killing and gaoling. Given this regimes flexible and indifferent attitude to human rights, (they only apply sometimes) i am not surprised. They somehow think it is a blip on his otherwise lovely record somehwat akin to a traffic ticket or missing atax return.
Manslughter said…
@ sara's

Could not agree more. While it's fair to give a second chance he seems not to have paid at all by his error and it was a very very serious error. The press release talks about leadership but enaging in a public fist fight is hardly leadership quality. Worse still is because of his role in the RFMF and perhaps because he is Franks brother in law he failed to spend a single day in jail. He kept his job, his salary and has enjoyed all the benefits of promotion since.

He should be forgiven and given a second chance but I would like to see him serve some time first. Lose his job and pay and then start his way back up.
jobs for the boys said…
Further to comments on Kean. It is interesting that a number of military people are made "acting" to give a sense of some sort of fair process and then made full time later. I think we can all safely assume a key criteria for senior civil servant jobs these days is 1)already employed by RFMF and 2) ready to do exatly as told.

I really do doubt these guys have the skills to do these jobs. I also wonder about the time they have. If they can easily do their job and run the Navy, for example then you have to ask - what the heck was he doing with all his time running the Navy. It probably shows RFMF jobs outside of combat overseas are some of the easiest and best paid around. It also adds further weight to the argument that we could easily trim the RFMF down and save some serious cash.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Sasas'issta, Manslaughter and Jobs for the boys... I won't go into the "Whosoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone" or the argument that one should not be penalised for life for one misdemeanour, however serious, or jobs for the boys versus the need to appoint competent people to important positions arguments. I won't go into them because I suspect your minds are already made up and discussion would be pointless, although I agee with Manslaughter that Kean should have served a reasonable time in jail.

But I will pick up Sass'sista's argument that an "innnocent" man was killed in a drunken brawl. Being drunk, of course, offers an explanation but is no excuse. But do you think either man would have been fighting if he was not drunk? I have no information of prior bad feeling between Whippy and Kean. There is evidence that Whippy was the initial provoker but this is beside the point. There was no sober malicious intent by either of them. In these circumstances, Sara'ssista, how could one man be innocent, as you claim, and not the other? Both were drunk, and in my book either both were innnocent or both were guilty (although the relative degrees of innocence or guilty may differ depending on the relative effect of alcohol,but this we will never know). It is just the way things turned out that makes one seem innocent and the other guilty. Had Kean been killed and not Whippy, Kean would have been no more innocent or quilty than Whippy.
But... said…

I don't blame Kean for getting on with life. He has done well.

But Whippy would most likely have gone to jail if the tables where turned and as he was not employed by the 'protected military' would have lost his job and income. Kean lost none of this, did no time and has had promotion after promotion. It's special treatment by the PM and governmnet for a key coup supporter and family member - exactly what they say they are against. Critics will rightly point out these government mistakes for years to come.

I'm sure Qarase made special favors as well and we are right to point those out but this government promised us a better standard than what they deliver.
ProudFijian said…
Look forward to some discussion on Australia's use of RAMSI to further its control as revealed by wikileaks
sara'ssista said…
But what if? Well Whippy IS dead and his family HAVE lost a relative, there is no way, given the circumstances were reversed that he would have been given the flagrantly preferential treatment that Kean has received, then promoted, to including taking leave to go to gaol and getting paid whilst there, and early release. The point is the SIN was not a misdemeanour, it was causing the death of another. I won't go into the fact that it was a family occassion and wedding with many young witnesses.I am not for one minute suggesting he has to be punished forever but i am sure he should not continue in public life in a publicly funded position/s where he is held to a standard for others to follow.I note more of the same when it comes to similar complaints of military brutality where victims complain and their own 'innocence' is attacked, the acts are minimised or dsimissed and the military defended by Croz. Using this logic if a soldier beats a prisoner and sustains bruised knuckles he is also a victim ? Only one guy died in this circumstance and for the 'man' who caused his death to prosper under this regime where no other civilised country would ever entertain him , is disgusting. A leader of men? An example to others? Perhaps you may send this to Whippy's widow and ask for comment? Perhaps not, she would just be too negative and I have no doubt the process behind the release disgusts her also. Perhaps the widow should be made to apologise to the regime for causing them such inconvenience and distraction.
Gutter Press said…

You have written “…In these circumstances… how could one man be innocent… and not the other? Both were drunk, and in my book either both were innocent or both were guilty…”

I’m baffled. Do you equate verbal provocation with manslaughter? It’s clear from Justice Winters’ summing up that the following occurred:

When the taxi pulled up Peter (Whippy) sat in the back seat and he told John Whippy to get into the car. As John Whippy was assisted to the taxi he was in an ugly drunken mood. I accept he used vulgar language that provoked Mr. Kean into firmly telling him to mind his language and go home. In his drunkenness the deceased ignored this direction and kept up his belligerent tirade. Francis Kean then left the Suva Yacht Club and ran towards Mr. John Whippy yelling in Fijian, "Stop that taxi."

The accused then came up to John Whippy and punched him three times in the face. John Whippy first hit his head against the taxi light then fell heavily to the ground on his back. While he was lying on the ground Francis Kean kicked him on the chest. The accused was dragged away by an unidentified woman but returned to kick John Whippy’s head.

Justice Winters then went on to say:
I accept you were provoked by Mr. Whippy’s language and actions. However, the provocation was in the circumstances minimal and the words came from a drunken man. You could have simply asked those around you to go inside and wait until Mr. Whippy had left.

In this case it is not disputed that you punched the deceased three times putting him to the ground and then you kicked him. Considerable culpability falls on you for this offending. You deliberately punched and kicked the deceased rather than try some alternative method to send him on his way. Kicking this man when he was down demonstrates to me that this was an attack of considerable ferocity. You lost your temper. You resorted to violence. You had to be dragged away from your victim

This year (7 June) you’ve written that the women who were beaten by soldiers at the barracks were 'lying by omission’, for not refuting Ratu Tevita's story that Bainimarama was present during their beating. I took you to task on that assertion.

You’ve now written that both Kean and Whippy were ‘guilty’.

I am astonished that a gentleman should occasionally display such a blind disregard for those who have lost a son and a father, or for those who’ve been beaten, by attempting to equate their actions with those of their abusers.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Gutter Press ... Thank you for picking me up on this. My comment was more a reaction to Saras'sista's blithe allocation of guilt and innocence than a considered statement. I should have reread Justice Madigan's judgment before commenting or better still not commented at all.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Saras'sista and others who made similar comments... I have withdrawn my comment. Discussion on this topic is now closed.
closed my butt said…
What do you mean 'closed'? Have you stuck your head up your arse? Do you support other cowards like kean who kick men to death? eg gaddafi? Now that rat got the just deserts coming to every dictator? Hope you and your coup supporting mate Herr are celebrating with the rest of the western world? Great work by NATO and the freedom fighters eh croz?
Please keep open for reasonable comment said…
@ closed my....

Your style of comments are not helpful however I agree the issue should remain open. The case of Kean is a long standing example of special treatment for family of Frank and coup supporting members of the RFMF. It is a key example the double double standards of this government. Frank is about do as I SAY not as I DO. In my books that makes him a very very poor leader.
Anonymous said…
How does a democratic government remove these people, when and if we ever have one?

The Kean's of Fiji have everything to loose.

It will take a civil war to remove them?

Who wants that?

The criminal Keans of Fiji will be around for a very long time!

The only thing in our favour is that Frank and Aiyaz are so paranoid (and unpopular) that they have to continiuosly "consolidate" and over time we will be left with a hard core to take out.

Hamas is popular, depsite being a terrorist organization because of its corruptability.

Taliban was and will be once more in government for the same reason.

SDL was corrupt and nobody shed a tear.

Frank & Aiyaz make all corruption that came before look pale. These guys are truly un-bound and free.

No one can defend them and they have only themselves to blame.

Why we will not have a revolution of the people is that the corruption is not happening in the street, so it will take many years before the costs flow down to the people.

When they find that we have massive loans to pay off, inflation is rampant and all the money we spent on infrustructure is falling apart.

A small example: the highway upgrade in the West where perfectly good stretches of road are being torn up and resealed and have fallen apart within 4 months and are being re-sealed - for the second time.....whilst pot holed sections stay neglected.

What happens when enviromental damage exceeds the benefits of "mining". When the $200 shares in cash from a mine translates to not being able to find a fish on his reef.
Will we have a Bouganville in Fiji???

These are the "fears" the people have and there is no transparency that can reduce our "fear" in respect of our governance at this time.

We are expected to believe our not so benelovent dictators F&A will take care of everything.

There will be no tears shed when they go, I dare say there will be rejoicing.
Comedy of Errors in the Slips said…
@ Anonymous and "reducing our fear in respect of our governance at this time" :

Your concerns are very real and they are shared by us and most of those with whom we meet on a daily basis. These pygmies of intellect and moral sense, these people whose runt-like sense of ethics extends to their latest legal ruse through half-wit manoeuvring cannot prevail. They are laughable in their inadequacy and they are failing through dimwit errors of governance which are revealing their underlying ignorance and incompetence. Every time you see the use of the modifier 'absolutely', you may be sure they are at work. Certitude in governance of this type is akin to hubris.

The UN Joint Economics Committees which meet again tomorrow will be looking into: Governments and their levels of debt at this global crisis moment and National Governance. We are failing in both these areas fast. This Economic Crisis will wait for no failing governments. It will catch up swiftly with any government which is insufficiently prepared and not fully informed and aware.

So: 'HOWZAT?' None of them play cricket: that is obvious. None of them play rugby XVs: that is also obvious. Pint-sized minds in pint sized packages. A total Comedy of Errors in the slips.

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