News and Comments Friday 4 November 2011

WEEKEND READING.  • Allen Lockington Column  • Fiji Explores its Options: UN Ambassador Winston Thompson • Wadan Narsey Criticises FNPF Loans to Air Pacific and Natadola  • Bainimarama's Shadow Darkens Fiji Economy: a Lowy Institute Opinion.

4.11.1  GIVE UNTO CAESAR. The remarks of former Methodist Church President and RFMF Chaplain the 80-year old Rev. Josataki Koroi to ABC Pacific Beat's Bruce Hill are cause for concern on several accounts. The Broadcaster's heading "Fiji Churchman Urges Soldiers Not to Obey Government" was not too far off the mark but why Josateki was now recalling a letter he wrote to Bainimarama five years ago, and what he was actually urging soldiers to do (or not to do) was not altogether clear. His answers to Hill were often a few points off true north.

This is what I think he was saying: The Bainimarama government is illegal. Therefore soldiers are not obliged to follow its orders. Roman rule in Palestine 2000 years ago was legal because Jesus said so.   Soldiers have a duty as Christians to question an order where they may be ordered to shoot at the people. Did he expect this order to be given?  Yes, well, sort of, though Bruce Hill did not pursue this point.

What is the underlying message? The hierarchy of the Methodist Church do not engage in politics. Well, only sort of. The effects of his message?  An even more blurred landscape.

My interpretation of the "Give unto Caesar" retort is that Jesus was cleverly avoiding a trick question by his enemies. His reply was not an endorsement of Rome, or any other unjust "legal" government.

DAVID ROBIE'S OVERDUE AND WELL DESERVED PROMOTION to full professor. The accolades pour in.

AIR PACIFIC AND UNION AGREE. Air Pacific has reached an agreement today announcing a new five year union contract covering the airline’s 254 flight attendants.

The new five year contract to come into effect from December 1, 2011 will avoid redundancies, increase flight attendant base salaries, realign allowances and work rules to increase efficiency and productivity. The union contract will also see flight attendants eligible to earn a premium pay of 125 per cent of their new base pay for any flying over 70 hours per month.

KOREAN INVESTMENT. A Korean company will invest US$5 billion in Fiji mining over the next six  years.  Meanwhile,another Korean company is expected to invest US$32 million in exploring for hydrothermal deposits particularly sea floor massive sulphides in deep seas over a similar period.

SQUATTER UPGADE PROJECT.The Minister for Local Government Col. Samuela Saumatua and his wife will launch the Lagilagi, Jittu. project today. Jittu in Raiwaqa is one of Suva's oldest squatter settlements.

FOREIGN RESERVES. The Reserve Bank describes the $1.5 billion in foreign reserves as adequate.  There has been an improvement in sugar revenue, and while gold production decreased high world prices kept revenue steady. Tourist revenue continues to underpin the economy. (P.S. Thanks to the reader who picked up my error on the size of the reserve. $5 million would be described  as indedequate!)

FIJI HAS WORLD'S LARGEST MAHOGANY PLANTATION. And Public Enterprise Ministry Permanent Secretary Elizabeth Powell says it needs to be protected for future generations.

RURAL ELECTRIFICATION. The Dept of Energy expects an increase it its budgetary allocation when the 20123 Budget is announced next Friday. This year's $3.7m has been spent on stand-alone and FEA projects affecting 1500 households. It hopes to provide 1500 rural homes with solar energy next year.-- Based on No.2013/MOI.

SIX PACIFIC NATIONS (FSM, Nauru, Palau, PNG, Solomons and Fiji) met with US AssSec for East Asian and Pacific Affairs last week to consider ways to "enhance cooperation." Particular attention was given to sustainable fisheries and global warming. -- Based on No.2009/MOI.

REWA MATANIGASAU. The vanua of Narocake, Rewa, will present its matanisagau (apology, for opposing Government) to the PM at Narocake tomorrow. Meanwhile, the High Chief of Rewa Provice Ro Teimumu continues to oppose the Bainimarama Government.

DREAM ON. I think Minister for Works and Transport Col. Timoci Lesi Natuva got a little carried away at the National Transportation Consultative Forum last  Wednesday. Talk about electric-powered taxis and a mono rail from Suva to Lautoka seems rather much for a nation that has not yet provided pothole-free . major highways.

But his suggestion of  ‘cluster system where "Lakeba Island for instance could be a cluster point where all services such as supermarkets, business center, and communication linkage, health services, banks and others made available”seems more immediately practical. And no one could argue with his remarks on the need for more efficient, environmentally friendly transport. -- Based on No. 2011/MOI.


Worth checking said…

If Fiji only has $5m in foreign reserves then we really are in trouble. Thats a very very small amount.

If A Korean company is going to invest $5b that is a very very big amount. Better to report how much they have actually invested each year than the promises.

Both these figures need a re-look. Typo by you or perhaps the source you are quoting from got them wrong.
vices said…
Dream On - why not. The military men in various public service roles (noting not one has resigned from the RFMF) have been dreaming a lot. And fair enough to because they can. None of them stay longer enough in those roles to be held accountable for what they all do. Mostly its about "rewarding" loyal soldiers. Something the PM promised would not happen with this coup - remember "no one on the military will benefit" ?????
The replacements ? said…
Reports today that Felix Anthny has been taken in for questioning. This is not surprising. Together with Daniel Urai they are now both seen as anti-government as you have posted previously Croz. So I guess they are fair game for the police and military.

The question I have is about their appointment to FNPF & subsidary boards (and removal). To date we have been given no reason, no charges have been made. Importantly I beleive no one in government (think the PM or AG) have taken any responsibility for such terrible appointments.

Reflecting on all the original appointments made by this government it is hard to think of any initial successes. Most have been moved on or removed and many returned to NZ. For all the previous short comings of various board members and CEO pre December 2006 this government has done a all together very ordinary job in finding better people. Now they seem just to go for Military men who I would argue are even less qualified and skilled. I guess at least they will stand up straight and say yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir to their superiors.
The Only Test is Jobs said…
Has anyone at any time in government been responsible for the creation of a single job? Set up and managed a single business in which their own money and not that of taxpayers was invested? It is impossible to believe so. The ultimate test of each and every 'performer' will be their own remuneration by Public Money and their smart and strategic use of taxpayer-derived funds. No other measurement is of significant or relevant value. Forget a commitment to versions of The Truth. Forget fancy footwork on versions of principled integrity. None apply. Make new jobs and deliver on them. Do not destroy the jobs that currently exist by imposing loss-making and unsustainable wages orders. That is the pathway to economic bankruptcy, out-of-control inflation and Close the Shop for good. It is also massaging the ego of a Catholic Priest who should remain in the Confessional.

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