News and Comments Monday 9 January 2012

9.1.12 
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE AN"EXPERT"?. Former Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, Liberal candidate for Bass, Launceston, Tasmania, an expert on Iraq and Afghanistan, who to my knowledge has no special knowledge on Fiji and has never visited the Republic, says the lifting of PER is "a meaningless gesture, as is the promise of meaningful constitutional consultations."  He states that the "return to democracy will "require a coalescence of opposition voices in Fiji - the church and people like Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudry. In the meantime, Australia should stop giving Bainimarama's illegal regime any recognition or praise for these small steps." Good gracious! Advance, please. Australia fair

FEMLINK'S SHARON BHAGWAN ROLLS
  says it’s crucial that women be able to participate in the consultation process. “Our concern is that you can have a process at the national level but unless communities at the grassroots level, and we’re talking about rural women who live 20-30 kilometres away from a main centre, their local town. How do they get involved?”She hopes the interim government will take into account that it’s not just about inviting people and presenting them with a draft document.

MIKE BEDDOES. The former parliamentary Opposition leader  says that "by lifting the PER and with it the media censorship, the PM is creating the positive environment necessary in which these [constitutional] talks can proceed with a fair amount of confidence and sincerity."

NGO NETWORK URGES UNDER-PRIVILEGED PROTECTED IN CONSTITUTION. Fiji largest Child Protection Network is urging Government for nationwide consultation on the drafting of Fiji’s new Constitution that includes unprivileged citizens. Protecting Our Children In Fiji, Coordinator Karishma Kumar said their Network requests Government to ensure that the Constitution Review Committee visits areas that include squatter/informal settlements, remote parts of Fiji, rural areas, orphanage homes and homes for the unprivileged citizens. She added the new constitution can help to alleviate poverty which is multidimensional and create a just, decent and humane society for all in Fiji.

BUSINESSMAN Charan Jeath Singh has won a court declaration that he and one of his companies did not in any way support the 2000 George Speight coup. 

AIR PACIFIC POSTS LOSS BUT LESS THAN LAST YEAR. Air Pacific reported an operating loss of $3.6M for the financial year ending March 2011 which is a significant reduction in losses compared to the operating loss of 91.8 million dollars for the previous year. It has been quite challenging according to the Managing Director and CEO of Air Pacific, Dave Pflieger but he said it has also been exciting and action packed so far. He said the main issue was cutting costs and getting ready for competition.

CASSINO BENEFITS, Fiji's first casino is expected to create 800 new jobs and be another stimulant to the tourism industry. The project will include a $290 million, 5-star luxury casino resort on Denarau Island. The first phase will include 190 luxury rooms and suites, three restaurants, and a sports grill, with the second phase to include more accommodation, a nightclub, and other entertainment venues. There will be 500 slot machines and 54 table games at the casino, while the 1500-seat convention centre will feature fully equipped banquet and catering capabilities.

NEW JETTY FOR RABI.The construction of the new $3m Rabi Island jetty  is part of the government's plan to help Rabi and neighbouring islands.  The jetty and causeway is scheduled to be completed by April. Rabi islanders have a special place in Fiji's history. They are from the formerly rich phosphate island of Banaba that is now part of Kiribati. Royalties from phosphate helped the Banabans set up businesses in the main island but mismanagement and internal discord saw most businesses and investments fail. Rabi Island, located on the S.E. coast of Vanua Levu. is largely self-governing.

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Comments

Letters to the Editor said…
Croz,
One of the great things about letter pages in newspapers is they allow everyone to give voice to their opinions, experts and otherwise. By the way, I don’t see anywhere in his letter Andrew Nikolic claims to be an expert. He is a man expressing an opinion.

Personally I don’t think your 1 or 2 visits to Fiji in the last 5 years make you an expert of what life is like on the ground in Fiji. However, I welcome your blog, your comments and your analysis even though I may not agree with them most of the time.

Surely that is a right you believe in and would welcome in Fiji. We have to see if the removal of PR will see letters opposing the regime published by the Fiji Sun and the Fiji Times.
Balanced reporting said…
Under the New Media Decree you have to have balanced reporting. You have a piece on the benefits of a casino in Fiji. To make your blog fair you should have a piece on the negatives created by a casino and gambling.

We need more balanced reporting on your blog or I will set the Media Authority on to you.
Myth of experts said…
Croz
I never visited nazi Germany but my common sense and beliefs in true democracy clearly inform me it Hitler was evil, as all dictators are?
sara'ssista said…
You don't need to be an expert, have knowledge of Fiji or to have visited to understand that being unable to voice concerns freely, getting arbitrarily detained and assaulted by military and police, not be able to attend a public meetings or being howled down as pro SDL whenever you object to the summary dismissal of a government or judidicary, board members to know that the sleight of hand that has just been performed by this cunning regime does not change much at all, in reality. It seems even some 'experts', are all full of praise and don't appear intertested at all in the reality of what this does or does not, actually change.
Gay said…
There was a saying here in Fiji when I was a young girl - The definition of an expert - "an X is nothing and a spurt is a drip under pressure"!!
Croz Walsh said…
It's too early yet to see what the lifting of the PER will actually mean so, together with most observers, I will withold judgment for awhile. In response to those of you who think my criticism of the "experts" who have already announced their judgement, I would say this: what weight should be given to someone's opinion when that person has never even been to Fiji, and what sort of media is it that publishes the views of such people? The two readers who questioned my expertise shojuld note talking about past or present conditions "on the ground" (that is another topic) but on what may happen now and in the future happen with PER lifted.

To the reader who thought the blog lacked balance because I didn't mention the possible negatives of the casssino, fair enough, but overall and over time this blog is far more balanced than others. And, as I have said previously, if the overseas mainstream media were not so one-eyed, I would not need to publish articles they choose not to publish. There are signs the Fiji media is beginning to publish resaoned views other than the government's. Let's hope it continues.
Croz Walsh said…
It's too early yet to see what the lifting of the PER will actually mean so, together with most observers, I will withold judgment for awhile. In response to those of you who think my criticism of the "experts" who have already announced their judgement, I would say this: what weight should be given to someone's opinion when that person has never even been to Fiji, and what sort of media is it that publishes the views of such people? The two readers who questioned my expertise shojuld note talking about past or present conditions "on the ground" (that is another topic) but on what may happen now and in the future happen with PER lifted.

To the reader who thought the blog lacked balance because I didn't mention the possible negatives of the casssino, fair enough, but overall and over time this blog is far more balanced than others. And, as I have said previously, if the overseas mainstream media were not so one-eyed, I would not need to publish articles they choose not to publish. There are signs the Fiji media is beginning to publish resaoned views other than the government's. Let's hope it continues.
bursitis of the brain said…
Croz
Has the bursitis gone to your brain or are you still in denial? Surely even you couldn't think that a decree allowing shooting your own citizens is ok?
Balanced reporting said…
@Croz

Your argument is getting very tired about your need to balance the overseas media. There are a number of web sites already just posting only pro government stories. Fiji Sun Website, Fiji Times Website, Fiji Live, Fiji Village and Radio Fiji to name only 5.

Regularly on average I would say once a week Khaiyum appears on Radio New Zealand and or ABC. He is often quoted in the mainstream press and Bainimarama was much quoted following his New Years Day address.

The Government message is getting out to the wider world without your slavish reposting of min info press releases.

The overseas media are doing what any good media should be doing and asking questions of this government and not taking their answers at face value.

If you truly want to be seen as balanced and fair then you need to be asking Government the same questions with which you question the actions and statements of the Pro democracy movement.

After all it is part of the Media Decree that all sides need to be included in a story.
Fiji military junta said…
croz
What part of 'Fiji is under the control of a dictator and a military junta' do you not still understand?
And since Qorvis came on board the international reputation of the junta has plummeted south. Waste of money that eh?
Dreaning said…
Dear Croz,

I wanted to pick up on the media releases about Fiji's first casino. They look a bit inflated to me. Fiji really isn't a big market and the idea of 500 slot machines and 54 tables will either not happen or lose lots of money.

Realistically we could look to Vanuatu to see what we can expect. A small dark room with a half a dozen tables and a few more slot machines. Even if Fiji opens something four times the size of Vanuatu's two casinos it will still be small and nothing like described in the press release.

Also how many times have we heard developers spruik 5 star hotels costing $290 million. Plenty have tried and failed. What a casino would need is a big name brand behind it and they don't seem to have gone with that.

Don't expect any great 'gaming' recovery in Fiji any time soon. 800 new jobs...dreaming.
Anonymous said…
In the Fiji papers Phlieger was roundly praised for turning around the fotunes of Air Pacific. However, no-one has really taken a close look at the numbers. Although this year the loss was much smaller than the previous year, this years numbers also included a one off $80M payment from one of the aircraft manufacturers due to late fillment of an order for new aircraft. Really, looking at the passanger numbers to Fiji for 2010 and 2011 no airline that is properly run should be making any loss at all!
Anonymous said…
phliger and hamsuck patel of fea cut from the same cloth.

patel claims fea 90% alternative power by end 2011.

...right, because telesource operates their desiel generators. the desiel is still bought under fea concession for the generators.

what arrogance and contempt for the shareholders of fea...the people of fiji.

the boss of phliger and patel is the ag. what a disgrace and a fool they make of the ag .

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