News and Comments Tuesday 31 January 2012
FIJILIVE POLL. Is Government doing enough to support the flood affected victims in parts of the country? Yes 50% No 50%.
THE COST OF THE FLOODING. A recent NZ report put it at $20 million. I've no idea where they got this figure from. Reports from Fiji estimate the total known cost so far is about $33m, with the sugar industry reporting $18m in damages. There has been significant damage to sugar's support infrastructure such as the tramlines, bridges, and most importantly, the new season's crop. Damage is reported from all four sugar mills - Lautoka, Rarawai(Ba), Penang (Rakiraki) and Labasa. Ba province also lost an estimated $5m worth of crops followed by Nadroga with $771,000 and Rakiraki with $308,000. Areas flooded for more than eight hours have lost all their food crops.
Damage in most areas has not yet been assessed due to inaccessibility. Damages to roads and bridges were also substantial. And that's before lost earnings, especially from tourism, are taken into account, and more heavy rain is forecast. This is a major disaster, for Fiji and for Government's efforts to improve physical infrastructure, exports and food security.
AND BEFORE THE COCK CROWED THRICE. Simione Kaitani is one of the most outspoken members of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement that wants Fiji to "return to democracy." To understand what this means for his intended future for the people of Fiji listen to this 2003 discussion between publisher Thakur Ranjit Singh and the former SDL Minister who was at the forefront of the 'Speight' 2000 Coup that held PM Chaudhry and most ministers of the FLP-led government hostages until they were released thanks to the intervention of Commodore Bainimarama.
Yet on Facebook yesterday, what did Simione say? "I categorically, again, and again and again and ... DENY any personal involvement in coup 2000... the video clip here is an attempt by Riyaz [Sayed-Khaiyum) and TRS [Ranjit Singh] to gather evidence to nail me for prosecution..." Bro, you didn't need them to set you up. You did a perfect job yourself.
AND NOW THEY REMEMBER. One of the most vitriolic anti-blogs Raw Fiji News has suddenly turned on Qarase’s SDL party ex-General Secretary Jale Baba who they say has changed sides and now "warms up to dictator Frank Bainimarama."
They now say he "embezzled large sums of money while he was in office... he was also well known for his womanising and ended up impregnating a young lady who worked for him as a volunteer in the SDL office... was also involved with Peter Foster, a well-known con-man who was initially used by Frank & Co. to infiltrate the SDL party [from whom he] "received money and other perks from Peter Foster for passing on SDL information."
They have now remembered these sins of one of their own. Is it because he is now reported to be "lending his support to team Frank by propagating [sic!] alongside Sharon Smith Jones [God help her!] in his spare time"?
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE. Thirty-one JPs were sworn in by Chief Justice, Anthony Gates, last week. The installation is part of Government's efforts to improve services to people living in rural and maritime areas to help facilitate public contractual matters, such as opening bank accounts or obtaining passports.
RADIO NZ INTERNATIONAL. Apparently Fiji has complained that RNZI reported the Samoan PM saying there would be no Fiji elections in 2014. I've no idea why they published his opinion. It's hardly newsworthy, he's said it before, but then this would not be the first time for either RNZI or Tuilaepa. My complaint is that they did not also publish the contrary view of the American Samoa representative to the US Congress, Senator Eni Faleomavaega.