Showing posts from October 2, 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.  Abuse in Government

The Foreign Media's Coverage of Fiji: Past and Present

Graham Davis's address to the Fiji Literary Festival, Nadi, October 2 – 9, 2011

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen. Ni sa bula vinaka, namaste, good morning.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you at this media component of a landmark event in the cultural life of the nation- the inaugural Fiji Literary Festival.
Let me stress from the outset that unlike some of the offerings here, this is not an academic paper but a series of personal reflections – some highly subjective – that aren’t designed for peer review.
It’s also less about the Fiji media than of media coverage of Fiji, the way the country is portrayed in a myopic fashion that’s often highly damaging to the country’s interests.

Economic Freedom in Fiji and Human Values

The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom report  from the Heritage Foundation, an American  right wing think-tank,* tells us as much or more about some people's human values as it does about the inherent strengths and weaknesses of a national economy. 

The Index uses ten indicators, which include Business, Trade, Fiscal, Monetary, Investment and Labour freedom, to place Fiji 86th out of 179 nations and 14th out of 41 in the Asia-Pacific, an overall position that has changed little over the past decade.  Its score of 60.4 out of a possible 100 is second  "best" of six Pacific nations on the list. Samoa is "best" with 60.6 and Solomon Islands "worst" with 45.9. 

What is most interesting in Fiji's index scores is the rationale behind some of them, and how they might affect the underprivileged.  On Trade Freedom, for example, Heritage says ten points were deducted because of "non-tariff barriers" (that are in place to protect the national economy); …

News and Commments Friday 7 October 2011

WEEKEND READING. • Allen Lockington Column • Economic Freedom and Human Values  
• Graham Davis The Foreign Media's Coverage of Fiji, Past and Present • And possibly more. Watch this space.

ACUTE WATER CRISIS IN TUVALU. Health Minister, Dr Neil Sharma, said “A clinical medical specialist team from CWM Hospital can be available within six hours notice for deployment.

There are adequate stocks of certain antibiotics but the low stock of other items has prompted our Chief Pharmacist to make supplementary orders to UNICEF for oral rehydration solutions (ORS), intravenous fluids and elixir and tablet paracetamol.”  Clinical support services from CWM Hospital are available in terms of beds, clinical management (including surgery) and personnel. The minister said the public health/clinical team could also be organised when the need arose to travel to Tuvalu. Fiji will help as much as it can. -- Based on No:1884/MOH. The NZ media make mention only of aid from NZ, Australia and the U…

News and Comments Thursday 6 October 2011

Watch Fiji Day Celebrations Live on Fiji TV at 9.50am, 7th October, 2011
6.10.11  RUGBY WORLD CUP PUNCHES HOLES in the NZ readership.  Whether it's the RWC or the near absence of almost any other news in the NZ media I do not know but NZ blog readers have dropped by half since the Cup competitions started. For the past two weeks Fiji readers have slightly exceeded Australian and US readers, with NZ readers less than half of any of the others.

NEW CONSTITUTION BEFORE ELECTIONS? The latest FijiLive poll asks: "Do you think there is a need to draft a new Fiji Constitution before the 2014 elections?" So far 77% have said Yes and 23% No. What the No vote represents is difficult to say: No, vote using the old race-based electorates. Or No, Government can pass a decree on this.

Whatever the reason for any of the votes,  it is important that the Constitution is revised before the elections, and even more important that there are full participatory discussions on the changes need…

Australia's Elite Sources of Information on Fiji

Richard Marles, the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Affairs, has called the recent Tebbutt poll "ridiculous." The poll showed that 66% of the sampled population thought the Bainimarama Government was doing a good job. Jenny Hayward-Jones of the Lowy Institute that paid for the poll  disagrees. This is what she said of Australia's sources of information on Fiji:

"Just because the people polled expressed views that conflicted with what the Australian government believes the Fiji people think does not make the poll ridiculous. Thanks in large part to the Fiji regime's restrictions on free speech, the Australian government has relied on the views largely of elites – academics, NGO leaders, Fijians with chiefly status, former politicians, some businesspeople, blogs written largely by Fiji citizens residing in Australia and New Zealand – to inform its views of what the Fiji people think.

"With the exception of the occasional taxi driver, the…

PER Is Being Used to Interfere with Basic Trade Union Rights

The Fiji Labour Party website reports that the permit for a meeting of the Vanua Levu Farmers Milling Transport Union, granted by Government on September 15th, was cancelled just one hour before the meeting was due to start on 28th September. Similar last minute cancellations, with no explanation offered, were earlier experienced by the Fiji Trades Union Congress and the Fiji Public Service Association.

The website reports: "Members of the Union have been facing huge problems as a result of the malfunctioning of the mill. Lorries queuing outside the mill for hours on end is a common sight. Lorry drivers have had to put up with long periods of between 48-72 hours to offload when the mill is down due to mechanical problems...[The action denied the union the right] to protect the right of its members to hold meetings to discuss such operational problems and other matters associated with their livelihood."

Comment: In my book, these actions are a misuse of the Public Emergency R…

News and Comments Monday 3 October 2011


IS THIS THE BREAKTHROUGH WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR? New Zealand is calling on the Ministerial Contact Group to reconvene and take up Fiji's offer for a visit.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he is disappointed the Forum MCG could not come to Fiji before the leaders meeting in Auckland. McCully hopes the MCG will re-engage with Fiji soon and take up the invitation.

"I know that the Foreign Minister has been absent from Fiji - with the United Nations General Assembly meeting and other commitments over the last few weeks. But I think he will be in Fiji in the next few days. I will be hoping we can establish contact again to see whether we can take that forward."  Fiji's Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola had called on the Contact group to visit and see the work of the government.

EU EXTENDS BAN ON FIJI for another year and some claim this a victory for the trade unions. Ordinary people in Fiji, who will suffer as a result, will …