Showing posts from April 10, 2011

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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.

A True Sportsman

Burying a Blogger: Uneven Corruption Reporting

The Pot Calling the Kettle black: Coup 4.5 Shames the Concept of Democracy and a Fair and Just media

Thakur Ranjit Singh
[Ed. The author's comments are of special interest because they show how selective non-reporting helps to distance the former SDL government from the corruption of which it was an essential part.]

The following response was posted by yours truly on the blogger comments form of the SDL site, Coup 4.5 blog on 19 March, 2011. This was just days after those found guilty in the Agriculture Scam court case were convicted and jailed:

People's Charter Pillar 7 (Provincial Development): For Discussion

Readers are encouraged to use the blog's search facility to see what Government is doing about physical and institutional infrastructure in rural and provincial Fiji, and what yet needs to be done.  To read Pillars 1-6, write Pillar n in the Search facility.

Pillar 7. Establishing an Integrated Development Structure at the Provincial Level.

Critical Problems and Issues: The dual system of governance at the local level, through the Provincial and Advisory Councils, is ethnic-driven and conflicts with the vision of one nation, one people.The “Fijian Administration” or Tabacakacaka i Taukei, as a system of governance for indigenous Fijians, despite some successes such as in the promotion of culture and heritage, has failed in the areas of economic and social development.Coordination of efforts in the planning and execution of social and economic development programmes at the local levels remain fragmented and ineffective.
The Way Forward: The following key measures and actions must be tak…

Poverty Alleviation and Poverty Statistics

By Kevin J. Barr

The Poverty Alleviation Unit estimates that in recent years $1.5bn has been spent on poverty alleviation programmes yet poverty does not seem to decrease. Rather it seems to be on the increase. Why is that?
My opinion is that while government is spending money on poverty alleviation programmes for urban and rural areas: It is not sufficient for the needs; Many of the policies government follows negate the effects of the poverty alleviation programmes.

The Mau Patel Trial

I have not commented on this trial as it progressed.  The Corruption Commission (FICAC) claimed that the alleged offence was abuse of  office when in 2003 the two accused did not follow proper and ethical procedures in the purchase of a $75,000 Post Office clock. At the time Peni Mau was managing director and Mahendra Motibhai Patel a board member of the government-owned Post Fiji Ltd. The clock was purchased from Patel's Motibhai and Sons. Mau was said to be doing Patel "a favour", and Patel wanted to made a quick buck.

Fiji does not have a jury system.  Instead, three assessors assist the judge to reach a verdict. In this case, two of the three assessors found Mau guilty and Patel was found not guilty.  The judge overruled the not guilty recommendation and sentenced Mau (63) to 9 months jail and Patel (71) to 12 months. They did not express remorse for their offence.  Justice Goundar's full judgment is posted below. The Weekend Readings include a post that deals wi…

The Mau Patel Case: Justice Goundar's Judgment in Full

Two Human Rights Reports

They read like a tale of who vaguely similar cities. The recently published 2010 report on human right in Fiji published by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor is a pretty chilling repetition of its 2009 report. Nothing has changed.

Government continues to ban, censor, attack, arrest, prosecute, imprison, dismiss, deport, restrict and intimidate (and similar verbal impartialities). "Police and the military act with impunity ...prison conditions are poor, and "Other continuing human rights problems"  include (as if any more were needed): "government corruption, deep ethnic division, violence and discrimination against women, and sexual exploitation of children." This is also pretty scary. Such US accusations have been known to precede an invasion. 

A far more authoritative critical report is by the Citizen's Constitutional Forum (CCF) in its Monthly Legal News Bulletin Constitutional Matters. For readers unfamiliar with what is still wrong …

Massive Naboro Prison Breakout: Coup 4.5 Again

The following is the sort of mischievous nonsense CoupFourPointFive continues to feed to its readers.  The item was published on the fourth of April, prior to the announced Suva manoeuvres of the RFMF when the President was in Vuda and the PM was preparing for his Indonesia trip.

"Sources say prisoners at Naboro maximum security are being moved because of a massive  breakout rumor. Prison officers are said to have been working overtime in the last week to move prisoners to other locations.

"A prison officer has told us they were directed to empty the maximum prison because the army will also be carrying out mass arrests very soon and that all political prisoners will be kept at Naboro.  It's believed allocation has been made for 50 prisoners and that they may include:

Fiji Labour Party, MH, Food4Less and NZ Food Prices Compared

The Fiji Labour Party website recently  published prices for 30 food and household items pre- and post- devaluation. Its stated aim was to see the effects of devaluation, and the 21.2% increase in VAT in January 2011. Its unstated aim was probably to discredit Government's financial management.

A number of items selected by the FLP would only be purchased by Fiji's middle class. Not many households, for example,  would be buying wheetbix or milo, and they were shop prices. Nothing was included from the  market.

By January 2011  the prices of almost all items (except rice, which had fallen 20%, and tinned mackerel that fell 33%) had substantially increased  from the pre-devaluation price in March 2009.

I took 18 of the FLP's  21 food items listed and compared them with March 2011 prices in MH and Food4Less in Suva and Pak n'Save in NZ.

In Fiji, MH prices in March were up on the FLP's January 2011 figures, although chicken, potatoes and carrots were lower, but the p…

Oops! But What Do You Expect Under PER?

It would seem that my previous post on police requirements for the observation of the Hindu festival of Ram Navmi was incorrect.   There was no police requirement to register although many Hindus thought there was, and the multi-religious umbrella group Interfaith went so far as to protest the presumed requirement.   What lessons can be taken from this misinformation?  

It would appear the original story was spread by people opposed to Sanatan Dharm Sabha (and possible also to Government) but with absolutely no response from the police or news items in the media yet another six was scored by those opposed to the Bainimarama government.  They must be loving the inept PR.

The main problem is PER (the Public Emergency Regulations) that makes everyone so jittery and unwilling to seek out further information that false news is allowed to spread and fester.  But even with  PER retained  surely someone in the police or government could have leapt into the breach to quash the misinformation …

UN Ambassadors Informed on MSG Summit and Fiji

Ambassadors from more than 50 countries have been told in New York that the Melanesian Spearhead Summit has recognised Fiji’s Strategic Framework for Change, Roadmap for Democracy and Economy Reform Agenda as a “credible home-grown development agenda for Fiji”.

Police Heavy-handedness Shows No Understanding of Hinduism

A reader writes: Ram Naumi (Ram Navmi) is the celebration of Lord Rama's birthday. He is one the leading Hindu deities, an avatar of Vishnu the Protector.

Until this year, celebrations have been organized by local communities and various religious groups but it has come to light that for this year next week's Ram Naumi celebration is only allowed if these groups register with the orthodox Hindu organization, the Sanatan Dharma Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji (SDPS)  is an unprecedented action inFiji's history!

It is quite a remarkable turn of events. Not all Hindus belong to the Sanatan denomination. Many Fiji Hindus belong to other denominations such as Arya Samaj, the Sai Baba movement, Kabir Panthis, and numerous other groups. Hindu Indo-Fijians also belong to cultural groups such as Gujerati and South Indian organizations which do not necessarily regard the Sanatan organisation as their lead organization.

To draw a parallel with Christian denominations, the changed…