Showing posts from May 1, 2011

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes -- On Picturesque Fiji

Scroll down to other  WEEKEND READING.♦ Political Correctness (on race)-- Crosbie Walsh ♦ Charter Pillar 10 (Health Service Delivery) : For Discussion ♦ Why Australia  Should Discontinue Sanctions -- Rodney V Cole  
♦ Comment-Spam: Anti-Bloggers' Rhyme and Reason   

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.

Picturesque Fiji
I drove to Suva and back to Lautoka the other weekend and marvelled at the many people in villages, settlements and homes-on-their-own, selling things on the roadside. I saw coconuts, dalo, cassava, oranges, lemons, chili, fish, crabs, sasa brooms, pickles, prawns, bu (fresh young coconuts), pawpaw, bele, live chicken, and much more.

Political Correctness: Sex, Race, Ethnicity*and the ‘Average’ Fijian

By Crosbie Walsh LIKE SEX AND AGE, RACE AND ETHNICITY are realities of life, and they are — or should be — included in all statistics where they are relevant.  Not including them results in a loss of important information and insights into causes, effects and inter-relationships. But this is what Fiji appears to have done, presumably for new "politically correct" reasons.  There appears to be no Fijians, Indo-Indians and Others in Fiji any more: they are all Fiji citizens.  Please, someone, tell me I'm wrong.

People’s Charter Pillar 10 (Improving Health Service Delivery): For Discussion

Readers are invited to consider and comment on what the Bainimarama Government has done —and what it has not yet done— towards the realization of these health objectives.

Why Australia Should Discontinue Sanctions Against the Military Regime in Fiji

By Rodney V. Cole 
Rodney Cole has a life-long association with Fiji and the Pacific Islands. He was born in Suva,  educated at  Suva Boys' Grammar School and was later District Officer in Lau, Lomaiviti, Navua and Suva, and Secretary for Finance in the colonial government.He was from time to time a member of the Legislative and Executive Councils and Council of Ministers, Financial Adviser to the Fijian Affairs Board, member of numerous boards and committees including Chairman of the Fiji National Provident Fund and Alternate Governor for Fiji of the Asian Development Bank, and  he held a Commission in the Fiji Military Forces. 

Since leaving Fiji in the  5314s nineteen seventies he has been  Deputy then Managing Director of the PNG Development Bank, Administrative Secretary of the Research School of Pacific Studies, Development Studies Centre at ANU. In  5328  he led a team which led to the introduction of changes in the structure of the Fijian Administration. He has served…

Comment-Spam: Anti-Bloggers’ Rhyme and Reason

Jean in the anti-Government blog FijiToday (To censor or not to censor: A letter from Jean d’Ark) sees a purpose behind many negative comments send to the "Freedom" blogs. And I couldn't agree with her more.  It happens also on my blog,  as you'll see below.

Chaudhry Calls for Internal dialogue First — My Response

Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry does not agree with the external-initiatives suggested by ANZ’s Michael Rowland or Jenny Hayward-Jones of the Lowy Institute, agreeing instead with the CMAG that called  for inclusive and meaningful dialogue among the people of Fiji and what Chaudhry called “their genuine representatives” — presumably meaning Laisenia Qarase and himself.  He called for the immediate revival of the President’s Dialogue Forum, the resumption of dialogue, the restoration of he 1997 Constitution (with amendments “to the electoral provisions to make it non-racial and democratically acceptable”), the lifting of PER, and elections earlier than 2014. 
“Once the people of Fiji have reached agreement on a way forward, friendly nations can be called on to provide advice and technical assistance in implementing the electoral reforms and any other agreed changes.”
Comment This sounds very reasonable except for one small detail:  it’s a sure way to return Fiji to how it was in 2006…

More calls for lifting of Aust sanctions on Fiji

A Radio Australia interview with Fiji-born Rodney Cole, a former advisor to both the Australian and Fiji governments and former Director of the Centre for Development Studies at the Australian National University, who gives his opinion on why sanctions should be lifted.  Rodney also has an article in tomorrow's Weekend Readings.
Radio Australia:Pacific Beat:Story:More calls for lifting of Aust sanctions on Fiji

Fiji Stance Dangerous |

This is the third public statement in as many days calling for a change of policy towards Fiji. First, the Lowy Institute, then the ANZ Bank in Suva, now the former Managing Director  of ASB Securities. 

New Zealand and Australia need to urgently review their stance on Fiji or risk losing their influence in the Pacific, according to a well known Auckland businessman. Tim Preston, who was Managing Director of ASB Securities before retiring in 2006 after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, says the current stand being taken by the New Zealand and Australian Governments against the present Military Regime is not working and they are playing a dangerous game by continuing to shun Fiji.
Fiji Stance Dangerous |

They Beg to Differ on UNDP Interview

In a recent posting  (Knut Doing Enough about Poverty) I commented on a Radio Australia interview with Fiji’s UNDP Resident Coordinator Knut Ostby on poverty in Fiji. I thought Knut’s comments were lacking in information  and I inferred Radio Australia’s interest was more about “exposing” the Bainimarama government than an interest in poverty. I asked why they had not also interviewing the Minister responsible for poverty alleviation.

Two former USP colleagues, however, were critical of my article.  Professor Vijay Naidu, a sociologist and head of the USP’s School of Government, Development and International Affairs and Director of the Centre for Development Studies, thought  my remarks too harsh; while  Professor Biman Prasad, an economist and  Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, thought media censorship prevents the local release of information, hence Olsen’s recourse to Radio Australia.

Here  is what they both had to say:

Sick Character Assassination by Once Reputable Blog

If anyone needs further evidence of how low the anti-Government blog CoupFourPointFive has sunk since it was launched in mid-2009, they just need to the read “The Rats who're making excuses for Bainimarama and his illegal regime.”  The anonymous article provides photos and a “Roll Call” of people they see as pro-coup, claiming it is giving them an opportunity of “ publicly declaring their opposition to the coup and calling for a speedy restoration of elective democracy.”

No New Approach from CMAG Meeting, But Possibly One Positive

At its meeting in London on 28 April, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) had this to say on Fiji. The CMAG:

ANZ Bank calls for change to Australia's tough stand on Fiji


Two reputable NGOs in Fiji, ECREA and the CCF, made press statement on the UN World Press Freedom Day neither of which was published in the local media, but  the media did publish a statement by the Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of Information, Setaita Natai, that acknowledged the world event. 

Given that —other than calling for PER to be lifted— the NGOs agreed with Ms Natai’s and the Government position, it is sad the media lacked the nerve  to publish their views.

This is an abbreviation of the three statements:

Australia and the Pacific islands: a Loss of Focus or a Loss of Direction?

Sandra Tarte* University of the South Pacific

The Tarte family have been in Fiji since '1871.
Recent claims in the media that Australia’s foreign minister has ‘ignored’, ‘neglected’ and ‘taken his eyes off’ the Pacific islands have underscored a number of policy dilemmas facing Australian diplomacy in the region. These have been evident for some time and centre primarily around the approach to Fiji’s post-coup government, led by Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama.

Like other western democracies, Australia imposed diplomatic, military and political sanctions on the military-led government after the December 2006 coup. Australia also sought to utilise the Pacific Islands Forum to coordinate a regional approach to Fiji – initially based on engagement and dialogue to encourage an early return to elected government. When this approach failed, the Forum adopted more punitive measures, including suspending Fiji’s Forum membership in May 2009 and excluding it from aid programs provided t…

New Acting Chief Magistrate Sworn In

New chief magistrate Usaia Ratuvili was sworn in at Government House by His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, this morning.

Ratuvili is a product of the University of the South Pacific and one of the first LLB graduates from the university in 1997.

Radio Australia, Pacific Beat: Australia needs a new approach to Fiji says Lowy Institute

Radio Australia:Pacific Beat:Story:Australia needs a new approach to Fiji says Lowy Institute
Updated May 2, 2011 17:03:02
The Sydney-based think tank, the Lowy Institute says Australia should take a completely new approach to its relations with Fiji.

In a policy paper to be launched today, it suggests Australia build an international coalition, including non-traditional partners such as India and Indonesia, to help Fiji draw up a new constitution and hold elections, as promised in 2014.

The new approach would start with confidence building and an easing of travel restrictions and, if the Fiji regime, accepts the assistance, include a range of new initiatives to improve the relationship.

Knut “Doing Enough About Poverty”

The UNDP Resident Coordinator Knut Ostby has urged Government to “review its response to the (poverty) problem, saying government has not done enough.  

Small Trans-Tasman Crack?

Do I spy with my little eye...
I wonder whether we can  read any significance in the different comments by the Australian and NZ Foreign Ministers. Speaking on Friday on why Fiji’s suspension from the Commonwealth would not be lifted,  Kevin Rudd said, “we have seen no measurable change whatsoever by the Fiji military regime, in terms of the restoration of democracy in that country."

Play the Game: the New FRU Board

Play the game, for when the one great player comes to write against your name,  He writes not whether you won or lost, but how  you played the game.

What Government Could Do to Win More Support; What We May Ask of its Opposition, and Further Comment