Showing posts from February 20, 2011

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

WEEKEND READING. Scroll down to   
♦ The PM's Visit to Rakiraki: Ceremonies, Civics and Elections by Dr Chris Griffin 
♦ A Cautionary Look at Micro-Finance in Papua New Guinea by Ben Havenga and Scott MacWilliam 
♦ and Friday's two postings.

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.


The PM's Visit to Rakiraki: Ceremonies, Civics and Elections by Dr Chris Griffin

Former USP and Edith Cowan University social anthropologist Dr Chris Griffin explores the cultural intricacies of PM Bainimarama's visits last year to Rakiraki in Ra province, and in doing so sheds a useful light on ethnic Fijian ritual, ceremony and custom, race relations, the causes of coups, and Bainimarama's strategies to end them.

A Cautionary Look at Micro-Finance

Public Probity, Private Penury:  Micro-Finance in Papua New Guinea by Ben Havenga and Scott MacWilliam

More Detentions? Fewer Potato Imports, Language Commission, Typhoid Update

WEEKEND READING  ♦ Allen Lockington column  ♦ The PM's Visit to Rakiraki: Ceremonies, Civics and Elections by Dr Chris Griffin ♦ A Cautionary Look at Micro-Finance in Papua New Guinea by Ben Havenga and Scott MacWilliam.

N0155. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL claims there has an increase in the number of detentions by the military  in the last week.  I would be grateful if readers would provide some hard facts (who, when, for how long, why, and why now) on the brief detention of journalist Felix Chaudhry, the arrest of Sam Speight and of other unnamed trade unionists and politicians who have been critical of government. Please distinguish between hard facts, if possible with sources acknowledged, presumed facts based on hearsay, and your opinions.    You may reply by commenting on this post N0155 or directly to my email address   Please use N0155 in your comment.

Five landowning units in Bua Province will receive more than $986,000 in le…

Australian's What Ifs, Christchurch Earthquake, USP's Confucius Institute, Yabaki in NZ, Treason Trail Continues

N0150. AUSTRALIA'S SPINNING JENNY. I suppose it was inevitable that someone would look for parallels between events in Egypt and Fiji and I shouldn't be too surprised that Lowy Institute's Jenny Hayward-Jones has taken the bait.

 She has the good sense to note that the two countries have "little in common" other than the role of the military but then couldn't stop herself from wondering about  the possibility of "a similar popular protest in Fiji." She  went on to wonder why there hasn't been a popular uprising, and then wondered what would have happened if there was.

She doubted the army would "fire on the people" but they could use "intimidatory tactics."  And if the protest persisted, she wondered whether Cde Bainimarama "would attempt to stare the people down and assure them that he, and he alone, can maintain stability in the country and must be allowed time to enact his reforms to build a better Fiji."

This is…

NZ Paints Itself into Corner, Fijian 'Refugees', Taxi Union, Typhoid, Empowering Rural Women

N0145. NZ PAINTS  ITSELF INTO A CORNER.  This note from a reader:

"Why on earth we have allowed ourselves to be painted into a corner on Fiji I have no idea.  It would be naive to assume that when some sort of accommodation is reached and the rhetoric has it that we can return to 'normal' relations that relations will return to normal. 

It seems to me that both Fijians and a number of Pacific Islands governments and peoples will have watched the reaction to Fiji with a certain unease.  New Zealand realises that it gets huge support from the 14 Pacific Islands votes in the United Nations.  At the moment Fiji will be absent.  Who knows how PNG would vote and there will be one of two others perhaps who may fall into the 'false friends' camp.  That is, as I see it."

N0146. FIJIAN 'REFUGEES' SHOULD BE ASHAMED. Fijians who have been rejected as refugees to Australia are now appealing against rulings at a rate second only to Chinese citizens, 11% compared w…

Brij Misreported, Fiji's Poor Children, Fiji Economy Upgraded, Mutiny Trial Continues

N0141. TVNZ  STANDS ACCUSED.  Late last week I published an item (N0138) that criticised TVNZ for choosing Prof Brij Lal to comment on Fiji's tourism upsurge. I thought a tourism specialist would have been more appropriate. TVNZ reported Brij as saying there were several causes, including publicity gained from the Fiji Water incident and Oprah Winfrey's visit.  For the record, Brij has assured me by email:

" I did not ever utter a word about Fiji Water or Oprah Winfrey. That is the honest truth, the factual record. As I recall, I was asked about why tourist numbers to Fiji were increasing. I said that it could be because of the strong Aussie dollar, the threat of violence and instability in places like Bali and a certain 'fatigue factor' about coups in Fiji.That is all that I said." 

TVNZ  reported this also, but they seem to have made up the rest.  When dishonesty or sheer fabrication is added to incompetence in their reporting on Fiji, we must ask why …

Squatters Initiate Eviction of Criminals, Australian and NZ Aid Continues

No139. MORE SQUATTERS EVICTED. The anti-government blogs have been keen to publish stories of urban squatter evictions.  No background or explanation is given other than the evictions are further evidence of  government inhumanity.

The blogs  have not reported government explanations about development, the provision of alternative sites and serious efforts to provide new housing for poor people, and they have disbelieved that particular squatters were evicted to prevent crime. 

Recently some squatters in Wailea settlement off Fletcher Road in Vatuwaqa were evicted who were suspected of trading marijuana. And now, seven household in the  Fiji Muslim League Estate off Ratu Mara Road in Nabua have received eviction and demolition notices, but the initiative has come from the squatters themselves. One resident, Alumita Rabele, said the whole settlement had initially been told to go but now only seven people are involved. She said this was initiated by the community because they felt the s…

Rugby Accord, Brij Lal Expert on Tourism

See new QUOTE OF THE WEEK in the right sidebar. Ideas on FAQ and timeline still welcomed.

No137.  CONVERTED TRY. After all the kerfuffle, it's difficult to remember what it was all about. The FRU mucks up it's lottery; Government asks for the Board to resign or it will withhold its F$3m contribution for the World Cup team; someone in the FRU cried "Government interference; the IRB world body believed this and is thought to have threatened to prevent Fiji from playing in the World Cup. The IRB visit Fiji to talk with all concerned. And following its visit last week, chief exec Mike Miller has these words to say:

"The government's commitment to significant investment in Fiji's Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign (will) go ahead as previously planned.  All three parties want ...the Fiji national team to perform to the best of its abilities in New Zealand and it is encouraging that we now have an agreement in place that underscores this objective."

Now, hold it. Mi…

NZ Parliamentary Report on the Pacific by Gerald McGhie

Gerald McGhie is a former diplomat with substantial experience in the Pacific. His Blog is  A slightly revised copy of this article was published by the DominionPost on Friday 18 February.