Showing posts from March 20, 2011

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

WEEKEND READING   ♦ Rudd Takes His Eye off Pacific Islands ♦ People's Charter, Pillar 4 Public Service Efficiency: for Discussion ♦ Father Arms Corrects Me on the Charter's Proposed Voting System ♦ Kevin Rudd Takes His Eye off Pacific Islands. I had hoped to publish " Two Viewpoints on the Alleged Torture of Detainees"   but this will now be deferred for two weeks due to  the Amnesty International NZ CEO being temporarily unavailable.
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.

Fuel Quality
We drove to Suva from Lautoka on the weekend and left at 5 am. The tank was empty so we filled $50 fuel at  a service station in Lautoka. When we reached Walu Bay in Suva we had to fill $20 again because the needle was sitting righ…

Rudd Takes His Eye off Pacific Islands

By Jenny Hayward-Jones Director of The Myer Foundation Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute.  In The Australian, 22 March, 2011.The article first appeared on the blog  N0264.
While Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has been busy pursuing Australian foreign policy interests in North Africa and managing the consular response to the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, he is unlikely to have had time to keep an eye on the neighbourhood.

This is probably not helping to counter perceptions of gradual erosion of Australian diplomatic influence in the Pacific Islands region (despite very generous aid spending and a successfulhosting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns in August 2009). Even US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has found time to worry about the Pacific in the past month.

People's Charter, Pillar 4, Public Sector Efficienccy, and Chapter 7 State of the Nation paper: For Discussion

[For the detailed recommendations and proposed implementation actions, see the Report on the State of the Nation and the Economy, at the end of this posting.]
Readers' comments on what has been done and is being done on the proposed reforms 
are especially welcome.
Critical Problems and Issues: Our Public Sector which includes the Civil Service is inefficient and ineffective in terms of both its capacity and performance. In its service delivery role, our Public Sector often fails to meet the expectations of the people of Fiji; and this adversely affects the peoples lives, in particular the poor in our communities. The Public Sector is characterized by a lack of established service standards,\ ineffective work systems, ineffectual leadership, lack of transparency and accountability, and low productivity. The Civil Service is too large for a small nation. The Way Forward: The follo…

Father Arms Corrects Me on an Election Posting

For much of last year a number of readers persisted in saying that the Government Roadmap for Democracy and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development (RDSSED) 2009 to 2014 did not exist as a document because it had not been published. In June Pacific Island leaders at the Engaging with the Pacific meeting at Natadola had been informed in sufficient detail of the Roadmap and the Strategic Framework for Change to support them. My understanding was that the Roadmap did exist but only in draft, and it main provisions seemed reasonably clear from what Government was actually doing, but none of this satisfied the critics.

So, in January and early February I published a three-part article showing the linkages from the People's Charter to the Strategic Framework for Change to the elusive Roadmap. Links to the postings are: Part 1 (22 January), Part II (29 January) and Part III (5 February).

Last week I received an email from Father David Arms, a Columban priest who has served in Fi…

Fiji 'Playing Politics' at MSG? Pacific Islands Trade, Disabilities, Gays have Human Rights

WEEKEND READING ♦ Allen Lockington Column  ♦ People's Charter  Pillar 4 Public Service Efficiency: for Discussion   ♦ Father Arms Corrects Me on the Charter's Proposed Voting System 
♦ Kevin Rudd Takes His Eye off Pacific Islands

I had hoped to publish " Two Viewpoints on the Alleged Torture of Detainees"   but this will now be deferred for two weeks due to  the Amnesty International NZ CEO being temporarily unavailable.

Photo: A comment on last year's Engaging the Pacific meeting that was held when the MSG meeting was cancelled by then Vanuatu PM Edward Natapei, some say due to Australian pressure.

N0258. SNIPING FROM THE SIDELINES. The  Melanesian Spearhead Group is meeting in Suva this week and next. Last year's meeting was abandoned because the then MSG chairman, Vanuatu PM Edward Natapei, refused to hand over his chairmanship to Fiji whose turn it was to host the meeting. Natapei denies he was influenced by Australia and NZ in his decision. This year, no lo…

Monitoring Charter Progress, Racism and Coups, NZ Earthquake, MSG Trade and Police Meetings

N253. CHARTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE.  The 9th meeting of the National People’s Charter Advisory Council met on Wednesday to finalise its report on the implementation of the People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress that will be presented to the PM.

Council chairman Josefa Serulagilagi  said the meeting was a time for council members to relook at the work and critical areas of concern for the eleven pillars of the charter.

“We have been going through the progress that has come through on the eleven  pillars of the charter, how they have been implemented by government ministries and statutory organisations,” he said. “As far as we are concerned I think things are going well in terms of the various ministries’ roles.

“Some areas we are looking at [are the] constitution and electoral reforms among other issues ... that must be carried out within a time frame and so that everything is in place [for elections in] 2014.”

The committee has 15 members who were appointed by the President in…

Tuilaepa's Women; Bizarre Asylum Appeal; Xinhua in Fiji; Waste and Solar Energy Projects

N249.GOOD OL' TUILAEPA.  Samoa's PM  thinks he's got the right gender balance in his newly appointed cabinet. “We have two female members and 34 male members [in Parliament, and one woman in the 13-member cabinet]...That’s more than enough,” he said.

Meanwhile in the Fiji he so often criticises, the Minister of Women has confirmed that government departments will now be required to supply gender information in all personnel statistical data in order to better monitor progress towards gender equality.

N250. BIZARRE ASYLUM APPEAL. A Fiji Muslim applied for political asylum in the US in 1989 following the 1987 Rabuka coup. The case was deferred for 14 years when a court ordered his deportation on the grounds that conditions in Fiji had improved. That takes us to 2004.

He appealed, and last Friday, some eight years later, a federal judge said immigration officials hadn't considered evidence of the treatment of minorities since the 2006 coup. They had looked only at general …

PM on Racism and Elections; Graham Southwick on the EU's 'Never-ending' Story

N247. THE PM ON RACE AND ELECTIONS. Fostering racism should be stamped out so that the country can move forward, the PM told Nakalawaca Villagers in Tailevu last week.

“Na veivakaduiduitaki vakamatatamata e vakadukadukalitaka na noda vanua (Racism corrupts our country).“E kune e loma ni politiki, ka kauta mai na veilecayaki e na noda vanua. E teteva na veimata tamata kei na lotu. E dodonu me vakawabokotaki. E vakataotaka na toso. (It is rife in politics and creates uncertainty among people. Racism is found in religious societies also. It should be stamped out. It affects growth and progress).

He said the People’s Charter was built on removing racial differences.

“This Government wants to remove racial discrimination so that we can live together peacefully. This is the charter — one country and one people. We should learn to love each other and appreciate each other’s race. This is your country and this is your land. No one can take them away from you but what this Government wants is …

Qoliqoli Tabu, Land Sharks, Fruit Vege Distribution Centre, Pacific Media Watch Announcement

This morning's posting was about the Travel Bans. Scroll down.

N0243. TWO FISH BUT NO FIVE LOAVES. With most of Fiji's population living in coast areas and with many people and communities reliant on marine resources for their livelihood, many inshore areas are overfished.

A two fish and five loaves miracle cannot be expected but USP marine scientists are beginning to make a difference.  They are helping people manage and restore the productivity of some of the 300-odd customary fishing grounds (qoliqoli) set up as tabu or locally-managed areas, and many communities are beginning to witness the benefits. Elsewhere, in the 70% of the inshore area that is not managed, destructive fishing methods continue to be used. Some government intervention may be necessary.

N0244. MISUSE OF LEASE LAND. Government intends to closely monitor the use of land leased by the 17,000 leaseholders on State land. This follows concerns about land being taken out of agricultural use; some $20m outstandi…

Revise Travel Ban List, MSG Meeting this Week, Corrupt Lawyer, Women Leaders, Rural Electricity and Roadmap, Tourism Record

Scroll down to Weekend Reading and see new Quote for the Week and a link to  the latest CCF newsletter in the right sidebar
N0236. TRAVEL BANS, RUGBY SEVENS AND NETBALL. Three members of Fiji Rugby Sevens team are unlikely to obtain visas to take part in the Adelaide Sevens  because they are in the army, and four members of the Fiji Netball team are still waiting for news on their visa applications.  The PM said if Fiji cannot send its best team, it shouldn't send a team at all. His comment follows the Fiji Rugby Union saying it will probably drop its top players after the Hong Kong 7s next weekend because the three are unlikely to get visas to go to the Adelaide tournament. The PM said the FRU  should stop playing politics and fight for the right to send the best team to the IRB-approved tournaments.

In this writer's opinion, if Australia and NZ insist on maintaining the travel bans,they should be targeted at those at the top end of the Fiji government and military se…