Showing posts from March 13, 2011

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

WEEKEND READING.  Scroll down to  
♦ The CCF's Suggested Way Forward ♦ People's Charter, For Discussion: Pillar 3 and Chapt 8 State of the Nation paper  ♦ Friday's and last week's posting and comments

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.

Living on an Island
I have some good friends who live in the Yasawa’s who have lived the way they are living for about eighteen years. They live about $70 from Lautoka. Tourists pay $120 for the same trip. I wonder why we have tourist and local prices. But that’s another story.

The CCF's Suggested Way Forward

N235. WHY SO FEW COMMENTS ON AKUILA'S POSTING?  Part II of Critical Engagement and Future Scenarios was published  last Saturday (N205). Few people took the opportunity to comment.  I republish the conclusion to the Rev. Akuila Yabaki's paper and urge you to read it, comment, and read the full document.

People's Charter, Pillar 3, and Chapter 8, State of the Nation paper: For Discussion

N234. The Charter deals with principles that are discussed in more detail in the relevant chapter(s) of the State of the Nation and the Economy paper that I have copied under the Charter chapter. 
For earlier chapters of the Charter and State of the Nation paper, use the Search facility in the left column by writing Pillar 1, etc.  Readers' comments on what has been done and is being done on the proposed reforms are especially welcome.

Ensuring Effective, Enlightened and Accountable Leadership
Critical Problems and Issues:
● Our people have suffered the type of “leadership” that has been elitist, parochial, divisive, extremist and self-centred. This has done little to advance the interests of our ordinary people. ● Our leaders in most cases have failed to involve us in making the major decisions that affect our well-being and our daily lives. ● We need leaders who are positive, visionary, transformative and constructive. ● We need leaders with a progressive vision for Fiji, a vision that…

Legacy of Corruption, Bankers and Consumers, Lifting Part of PER, Wainivesi Mine Worth Millions

WEEKEND READING. ♦ Allen Lockinton Column ♦ People's Charter, For Discussion: Pillar 3 and Chapt 8 State of the Nation paper  ♦ The CCF's Suggested Way Forward
N230. AGRICULTURAL SCAMMERS JAILED. Following the Speight Coup and in the year of the 2001 Elections, SDL politicians in the Qarase government, senior civil servants and leading businessmen colluded to use public money for their personal gain and political advantage.  Some were jailed when the Qarase Government was in power; others who should have been were not.

The court case concluding yesterday that saw Suncourt Hardware director (and former Suva mayor) Dhansukh Lal Bhika  and Principal Accounts Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture Suliasi Sorovakatini sentenced to 5 years and 4½ years was the latest in this sick story that had earlier implicated the SDL Minister of Agriculture Apisai Tora and many others in what came to be know as the Agricultural scam.

Some $20 million of taxpayers' money —set aside for the…

The Big Loan Company, IMF Recommendations

N227. THE BIG LOAN, ITS CRITICS, AND STOKING THE FIRE. Critics were never going to let Fiji's huge US$250m loan pass without comment. It provided much too good an opportunity to put the needle in.

Foremost among the more qualified critics is USP Economics professor Wadan Narsey whose primary criticism is not so much with the need for a loan (some US$150m will be used to pay off the pre-coup government's 2005 loan, made that much more expensive due to Fiji's dollar devaluation) but with its 9% interest rate and the amount being borrowed. He thinks a cheaper loan could have been obtained from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if Fiji had agreed to certain budgetary conditions.

Wadan said, “There is very strong conditionality attached to it [the IMF loan] and I suspect that the Banimarama government did not want to abide by the conditionality rules, I presume they would have had to cut back on their budget deficit which means they would have had to cut government expendi…

Tuilaepa's Joke, Lift Part of PER, No Complaints to Human Rights Commission, Anon

Next N223. JOKE OF THE WEEK.  Radio NZI reports that a Samoan high chief and his family have been banished from their village for not voting for the village candidate endorsed by PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

PM Tuilaepa is reported the same day, also by Radio NZI, with these words of advice for Bainimarama:“If he goes back to the barracks and leaves the politicians to do what they are good at, then Fiji would be a better place to live.” He says "the Commodore should leave politics alone." We see what he means!

N224.  LIFT PART OF PER.  The Citizens' Constitutional Forum (CCF) has again called for the lifting of the public emergency regulations (PER) to allow the Media Industry Development Decree 2010 to be tested. CEO Rev Akuila Yabaki says PER results in "the muzzling of free speech and expression of opinion which will lead to the emergence of blog sites as the only resort for political opinion and news for the citizens, the state and political opinion makers …

Gutless Corruption, Upgrading Service & Leadership, Outsourcing, Sucking Up to the PM? Super Weather Station

N217. GUTLESS WONDER. In an anonymous letter to the moderate anti-government blog Fiji Today, a businessman says corruption in Suva is twice as bad as it used to be.  He cites having to tip an electrician a $100 to put in a new power board over the weekend and doubted the FEA saw any of the money.  He said "There is no point in reporting it to the police as I am paying one of them to keep an eye on my business in his off time."

Further, he said,  "Any business deal these days has a part that is organised in cash so no VAT or tax is paid or some side deal is done to advantage one party or the other. I have a block of cash sitting at home for such occasions and I consider myself one of the honest ones."  Really!

Honest, no way. He's part of the corruption, and despite the urgings of the new Police Commissioner, the FICAC and others to report corruption — and despite several recent court cases showing that such matters are taken to court — his only effort to redu…

Stoves and Poultry Empowerment, Kadrala Cult, Use the Land, Fish for EU, Hardware Prices Plummet

N212. GRASSROOTS EMPOWERMENT. Learning about smokeless stoves and how to make money from poultry may not seem to be very empowering unless you are poor and live in a remote area with few amenities and still fewer opportunities to earn money. The smokeless stoves demonstrated at Nabouwalu in Bua last week by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, will help save time, money and effort and be far more environmentally friendly. In rural Fiji the main cooking fuel for nearly 70% of households in 1996 was the open fire and little is likely to have changed since. The large range wood stove was used by about 8% of households, more generally by Indo-Fijians and in locations close to urban areas.Electricity and gas if available, and even kerosene,  are far too expensive for most households. The smokeless stove is far more efficient and it uses less wood.  If widely adopted, it could save wooded areas and mangrove.(Based on No:0583/MSWPA).

Mary Naloga from Nakabuta Villa…

PER, Earthquake, Consumer Council, RNZI Compromised, Women's Centres and FWF

Scroll down for Weekend Reading, especially Rev Akuila Yabaki's paper Critical Engagement and Future Scenarios.  See also new Quote for the Week in the right sidebar.
N207. THE PUBLIC EMERGENCY REGULATIONS, introduced in April 2009 and extended on a month-to-month basis since, have again been extended until March 15  — when I would expect them to be again extended. Readers will know that I have very mixed feelings on PER: they inhibit the dialogue and citizen participation that is very much needed, but if the death, assassination, revenge and bomb threats continue, it is hard not to condone their extension.

N208. EARTHQUAKES. Close on the heels of the disastrous Christchurch earthquake that took an estimated 180 lives and from which it will take ten years to completely recover comes the far more disastrous Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant leakage. PM Bainimarama says Fiji is ready to provide what assistance it can. “Our thoughts are with the families of the victims an…