News and Comments Friday 11 November 2011

WEEKEND READING. • Allen Lockington Column • Return to Sender Address Unknown: What some readers think • Time for a New Policy Approach on Fiji? • Super Yachts Super Idea

ANTHONY. Trade unionist Felix Anthony was released from police custody yesterday
afternoon but may be brought in again for questioning if the need arises.-- Based onNo:2054/MOI.

CHINA NOT NEW IN FIJI. UN Ambassador Winston  Thompson is asking why the talk about China’sgrowing dominance. He says China's diplomatic and development presence has been in Fiji
for 40 years. “I think their intentions are development oriented. They want to benefit
from trade and development possibilities from the economic zone – the exploitation of
the seas around us and the mineral resources on land.” Taiwan also is in Fiji, not in a
diplomatic capacity but as a trade partner.

GOVERNMENT AND THE NEW TAXI FARES.  Government has made two official releases on the new increased taxi fares. The first (No:2056/AG) said there has not been a taxi fare
increase in many years. And, as part of this agreement,that requires the use of meters,
issuing of receipts, displaying of driver identification; and discounts for the elderly
and disabled, there will not be another taxi fare increase for another four years in
Fiji, barring the world price of crude oil increasing to over US$155. The statement
claimed that taxis in many areas were previously not using meters, and charging nearly
three times the proper fare. This agreement will guarantee that tourists and locals both
receive proper and equal treatment and services – fair and consistent, in line with
transparent business practices supported by the Fijian Government.

Partially-informed reports on the taxi fare increase also claim that Fijians are now
forced to travel on public transportation – namely, buses. It is important to note that
taxis are a form of transportation of choice. The Government certainly encourages
Fijians to take advantage of available public transportation.

The second statement (No:2030/MSWWPA) said that yellow ID cards used by senior citizens
and the red ID cards could be used by disabled persons for bus fare concessions and for
the 20% discounts on taxi fares up to 20 km.

Some 482 disabled persons had already been issued with red Bus Fare ID cards and 21,724 senior citizens with the yellow Bus Fare ID Cards. Other cards will be issued as requests are received.

FIJI TODAY REPORTS LESS THAN HALF THE STORY. The anti-government blog Fiji Today reported the fare increase and the rebellion of some taxi operators "The Fiji Government makes union membership for taxi operators compulsory? Offering lower priced taxi rides is illegal?" but made no mention of other aspect of the increases, as reported in the government press releases reported above. Nor did it report a Fiji Live poll that showed 82% of pollsters agreed that "all taxis should have metres that can supply receipts."

COUP4.5 CONTINUES TO DENY POLL VALIDITY. Meanwhile, Coup4.5 continues to deny the validity of another poll, the Lowy poll that showed two-thirds of the people polled supported the Bainimarama government. They say the journalist Iris Wielders who lived in Suva in 2007 and 2008 has been  roped in by the Lowy Institute to support its poll results. (See Fiji:Engagement is the Only Way.) There is no way Coup4.5 can admit the poll's accuracy. To do so would prove them wrong, and largely redundant.  .


Expressing a view said…
Coup 4.5 is expressing a view just as you and Iris Wielders have done? Yet because they differ from you and Iris they are 'redundant'?
We respect the views of people like you and Iris. However many of us hold different views. I think coups and dictatorships are abhorrent. And under no circumstances would I accept engagement with a dictatorship.
Sadly, in the current Fiji you and Iris support, dissenting views are simply not allowed, and indeed are brutally suppressed.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Expressing a view ... If only you were right. I've always accepted the right and the need for opposing viewpoints, if honestly held. It's the unsubstantiated stories (Bainimarama is sick; is about to be arrested, and so on); the constant omissions (only one side of the story is ever told); the personal attacks on people (that would not be published by any responsible media) and constant attacks on people; and its veiled racism and publication of of overt racist comments that I object to. This is far more than another "view."
Yea yea said…

Simple solution. Lift the PER now and let the media decree do it's work. It should stop all the things you don't like. Why has this not happened already ? Perhaps the PM does not want a balanced media, perhaps what he wants in a Government PR machine and the ability to drag anyone to barracks at will.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Yea Yea ... As a regular reader you know I'd also like to see PER lifted but it does allow prompt action compared to the Media Decree. I mention this because of the A-G's action in taking the Fiji Times to court. I didn't see what they published but criticism of the judiciary, and accusations of lack of independence, would not be accepted in any country (even, note, if the accusations were true!!!). The A-G has to defend the judiciary against this accusation (if that in fact is what the Fiji Times did). If true, the FT breached the normal standards of responsible journalism, making the further extension of PER more likely. Surely, they were not unaware of this possibility.

Does any reader know exactly what the FT published?
sara'ssista said…
and this happened five year into this rule of this regime? Even with censorship??

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