News and Comments Thursday 22 December 2011

 Try looking at the blog differently.  Click Flipside view at the top of the side column.

Government twittering on. Government recently launched a Twitter page with the handle @FijiRepublic . This page
In addition to Twitter, Government has expanded his social media outreach to YouTube .  The PM (@FijiPM) and Attorney-General (@FijiAG) have also launched their own pages. These developments seem to be a result of the new Government PR consultancy. While welcome, they can never be a substitute for informed interaction with the public which will only be attained when PER is lifted, and we see the print and voice media publish substantial articles on issues of public concern. With the PM and AG, of course, having the right of reply!

The UNDP Direcor in Fiji launched the National Policy Framework for the Elderly yesterday.  Another launch, on Wednesday. will mark the completion of the Badrau SquatterDevelopmnent in Ba. More information will be published if and when it comes to hand.

Dr Wadan Narsey has rubbished a claim that Fiji's life expectancy is dropping, partly due to coups, saying the claim is based on faulty data. I made the same statement a week ago. It's nice to be in agreement for a change!

How to reduce the rich-poor gap. "Any policy strategy to reduce the growing divide betweeen rich and poor should rest on three main pillars: more intensive human capital investment; inclusive employment promotion; and well-designed tax/transfer redistribution policies" -- OECD.

Australia is largest bilateral aid donor. Most of the US$36 (up from US$18m) aid will go to assisting health, education and the rural poor.

Vatukoula Gold Mine is to build a US$90 million power station powered by sugar cane waste that will also provide electricity to the Rarawai sugar mill at Ba. Vatukoula will partner with the Fiji Sugar Corporation, whose chairman Abdul Khan says the benefits for the FSC will be enormous - reducing electricity costs and providing a use for cane crushing waste. -- RNZI.

Electoral legitimacy. Government says it will ensure that the issue of legitimacy for the new electoral system is addressed before the next elections. Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said legitimacy has been gained through the general acceptance of a particular principle or value in many other countries, and this will be the same in Fiji. Sayed-Khaiyum said the process is from the acceptance of the People’s Charter to the consultations on the new constitution and then having the new electoral system in place.

Election preparation update. Ratu Tevita Mara's earlier attacks on the regime in regard to electronic voting are all baseless. The Government wants to introduce Electronic Voter Registration (EVR), on which there has already been a lot of work done, not electronic voting.

Electronic voting was rejected to avoid the sort of accusations that Mara was making. Voting needs to be transparent with no possible mechanical tampering with results. This does not mean that voting will be spread over days. The intention is to complete voting and counting in one day. The Electoral Office has gone to substantial trouble to check out all the registration centres, which it also intends to use as polling (and probably counting) stations to ensure this will be possible. It may not be possible, of course, if  a more complicated voting system is implemented  than that proposed in the Charter, but so far things are on course. Government has set aside a suitable amount of  money in the 2012 budget for implementation of EVR and the beginning of registration next year.

A Voice from Facebook.  "I'm finding it difficult to comprehend all the Ratu's and Adi's calling for democracy now. Is it time for Fijian people to vote for their chiefs? Installing people that demonstrate to their people with real life actions that they are more deserving of the title than some that are born into and benefit from their genetics yet give little back in real terms. How democratic do these people really want to get?"

This from a reader. "One thing is certain. This government will not allow to be elected the kind of people - i.e supporters of coup 4.5- who will dismantle the policies, reforms, infrastructure that they have put in place, and will have put in place by 2014. They are playing for keeps, not for fun. Consider, for example,  the latest policies on the education of children in isolated villages. Would a dictator like Gadafi, with whom the PM has been compared by buffoons on coup 4.5, consider such humanitarian ideas? There is no way Bainimarama will allow such projects to be ignored or neglected by the government that is elected in 2014. 

"Much needs to be done before the elections. Children are still walking for miles to schools and having to live in hostels from the age of five or six. Sanitary conditions in villages need to be upgraded for that sector of the previously neglected electorate whose votes were so valuable for urban-based political manipulators. Australia and New Zealand (not so much the US and China) want immediate elections with the 'old gang' among the candidates. But elections must be on our terms, not theirs. It is most likely that this government is preparing its own team - not all military - to contest the next elections.  And so they should!"


Croz Walsh said…
UNDP supporting the junta has left a new comment on your post "News and Comments Thursday 22 December 2011":

It appears from your blog that UNDP supports the military junta? Is this the case?

Sorry UNDP Supporter, I accidentally deleted youe comment and have had to publish it in this way.

I would doubt the UNDP supports the Fiji interim government but, like many other organizations, it continues to work in Fiji in the interests of the Fiji people. What did I write or publish that led you to this conclusion? Why, if you support the UNDP and its approach to difficult situations, do you use derogatory word 'junta'?
Anonymous said…
The era of the Ratus and Adis is long gone. They are just clutching at the straw. They should simply be banished and the chiefly title eliminated. They were the pests of the society who did nothing for the iTaukei but were an impediment to their advancement. They are not for democracy but for themselves.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous @ 11.03, 22 Dec 2011

Could'nt agree more with your posting on the role of chiefs. The challenge is to convince the likes of Jioji Kotobalavu, Tevita Mara, John Baledroka, Suli Dauniveivutu, Jon Fraenkel, Brij Lal etc that chiefs are indeed an impediment to the advancement of the i'taukei and that they are only for themselves.
Gutter Press said…
The word 'junta' in UNDP supporter's comment is not derogatory - it is descriptive.

Let's put it another way, why do you feel that the word junta (which means a government led by a committee of military leaders) is a derogatory term?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Gutter Press .. It is certainly not used simply as a description by most people commenting on this and other blogs.
Quite a familiar sight...? said…
One would agree completely with Gutter Press: 'Junta' is the Spanish word for: a meeting, assembly, session. For example: junta general extraordinaria - Special General Meeting. It may also mean: board, council, committee (Commercial or Financial). No mention of any military connection.

A very large Collins dictionary makes no mention at all of a pejorative meaning. So, we are in the main deluding ourselves? Maybe yes, maybe no.

The double volume Oxford Shorter English dictionary shows a meaning from 1623: Junta - Italian or Spanish "A deliberative or administrative council".

Take your pick! It is, however, not without fascination that the English language appears to have this Spanish/Italian association, specifically. By extension this would be Argentina/Colombia/Uruguay etc, etc. It explains why in 2000, Argentinian visitors to Fiji were not in the least discomforted by the sight of guns mounted on a bus stop leading to the Sabeto Valley. They found this quite familiar, they said.

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