News and Comments Friday 17 February 2012

WEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington Column • Keeping Ambassadors in Touch • Fiji and the French Connection • Rabuka Needs to Tell the Whole Coup Story •  Claunch Foresees Investment Opportunities • Fiji and Investment
AMENDED DECREE DRAWS CRITICISM. Serelisoni Moceica in the Fiji Times (abbreviated.) The Citizens Constitutional Forum and Fiji Media Watch have come out strongly against the State Proceedings Amendment Decree. FMW executive director Agatha Ferei said the decree challenged the independence of the media and limited the people's freedom of expression of citizens."FMW does not support the amended decree," she said.

"This is because in granting immunity to the press, the decree suppresses the freedom of the media to operate independently."Ms Ferei said the decree also prevented balanced and transparent reporting because people would be disallowed from sharing their views openly. She pleaded with media organisations to stick by the Media Code of Ethics.[The CCF criticism was published earlier in this blog.]

RATU TEVITA MARA had an article in the DominionPost last Friday. It was a reply to the A-G's opinion piece published three weeks earlier. He said the A-G's article was "yet another exercise in propaganda by a master of spin" who wants people to believe he "represents a liberal reforming government" that empowers Fijians, while the opposite is the case.  He said he knows because to "my eternal regret, I was part of it." (see story below). His argument, in sum, was that Fijians have no say in their destiny; they are ruled by force and threats "at the point of a gun"; repression continues; the police have usurped the powers of the court; corruption flourishes, and the economy has gone down the glughole.  So what's new!

MARA "ORCHESTED" ABUSES.WIKILEAKS FROM US EMBASSY,SUVA,MARCH 2009. "Christmas Eve 2006 Detention, Assaults and Abuse ... six pro-democracy activists were forcibly removed from their homes and taken to the RFMF headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva. According to independent statements by several of the individuals, during the course of the night, RFMF personnel subjected them to humiliating and degrading treatment  ...

While much of the alleged abuse was perpetrated by lower ranking and unknown RFMF soldiers, those detained reported that the following high ranking RFMF personnel were present, orchestrated and in some cases perpetrated the abuse: (1) Tevita Ului Mara, Colonel, Chief of Staff, Land Force, and Commanding Officer of the RFMF Third Infantry Regiment, DOB: 25 May 1965 (2) Pita Driti, Colonel, Land Forces Commander, DOB: 29 October 1960(3) Sitiveni Qiliho Tukaituraga, Colonel, DOB: 30 December,1969..."  [Mara has claimed Bainimarama was present; not him.Thanks FijiToday for this.]

NEVER GETTING IT RIGHT. "Over the past decade many have been pointing the finger at the Fiji government for not doing enough to grow the economy. They were making comparisons with PNG which had been growing between 5 to 10%. But PNG is expanding because of mining so Gov decided to boost mining....people said no we don't want mining. So Gov decided to boost agriculture through land reforms....but no people do not want land reforms. So Gov wants to promote tourism in the remote areas but again many complain that it will erode cultural values, and some go abroad and shout at the top of their voices that tourists should think twice before stepping foot in Fiji. Still not beaten Gov decided to promote FDI/tourism through casino's...but again omg  what will happen to our social fabric (as if it wasnt torn already)....phew...everyone wants growth..but no wants wants to accept change." --Rishab Nair in Facebook's Fiji Economic Forum.

A PENSIONERS’ PETITION TO THE PM FOR JUSTICE  is circulating in the larger centres. Those signing:
• Believe they have been discriminated against and treated unjustly and unfairly by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and the Government in the changes to the Fund’s pension system.
• Contend that their existing pension contracts have been broken by the FNPF and wish to have this,and other issues, addressed in court. As a first step they request support from the Prime Minister to deal with the gross injustices of the Transition Decree and the substantive FNPF Decree that follows it.
• Assert that their fundamental rights have been breached in a number of areas and that the changes are also in violation of the Peoples’ Charter which provides the guiding influence for overall Government policy.
• Call for the establishment of a full independent inquiry to consider and make recommendations on all the issues, contradictions and discrepancies that surround the actions of the FNPF in its proposals for change.
• Seek constitutional support for the rights of pensioners.
For further information, contact  Emelita Wilson on 3300855 or 9496332.

FIJI CLUB v. FIJI TODAY. The Fiji Club of NZ commended the French Government for its help with the floods but Fiji Today accused the Club of a "Begging Bowl mentality" saying "We should be able to cope with the regular events that are part of life in the tropics,"  adding, "Australian and NZ military aircraft are banned from Fiji airspace. But Fiji has always accepted aid when natural disasters strike. NZ has just announced $2.2m for "disaster preparedness" and it military aircraft did reconnaissance work during last year's hurricane.  Fiji also donated to the Christchurch earthquake appeal. Nations do not beg during such times. Other nations offer and their offer is accepted. FijiToday perpetuates a false image of an Island Nation.

NOW HEAR THIS. ANTI-BLOG REALFIJINEWS says: "If ANZUS does not exterminate Bainimarama, instability will worsen in the Pacific." If they are seriously suggesting an invasion, someone at RFN needs to visit a psychologist, and not just because ANZUS would not consider it. 

FIRST WOMAN APPOINTEE. Fulori Rainibogi  has become the first woman appointee for the Deputy Divisional Commander of Police Northern.There are 879 women police officers in Fiji, making up 20 percent of the force.


Swimming Classes said…
New Zealand assistance of NZ$2.2m towards "Disaster Preparedness" is aid which is very much appreciated and it is appropriately designated.

We have chosen to not fully prepare ourselves for National Disaster. Yesterday, we took an office poll of staff to see how many can swim and how many might be able to confidently rescue someone in water: the result was very disappointing. Are no schools routinely teaching swimming and rescue-in-water classes?

They had better get started before the rain begins to fall once more.
Labasa Police Honours said…
We wish DDPC Northern Fulori Rainibogi well in her new position. We would trust that she will recall with pride the actions of the Police Officers including one WPC who stood in front of Labasa Police Station as rebels armed with assault rifles advanced upon them.

May this never happen again in Fiji. All Police Officers were rightly honoured by former Commissioner of Police Andrew Hughes at the National Police Academy Parade Ground in 2004.
We need a new minister of finance said…
Growing the economy is about getting the private sector involved. Private companies are the ones that provide sustainable growth. But to grow they need to invest. As we all know we have had the lowest levels of investment in Fiji since the Bainimarama made himself the dictator of Fiji...

There are a number of reasons for this but they all stem from Fiji being ruled by a Dictator.

1- Companies cannot plan for the long term.
The Government passes decrees without thinking of the consequences. For example removing Tax losses for companies prior to Jan 2012; creating the Fiji Water Tax; Adding and removing Duty on different products.

All these decrees come out in an arbitrary way and companies cannot plan as a result because they have no idea what they will be hit with next. In addition they cannot be challenged in the courts.

2- There is no faith in the Judiciary
Cases take too long to be heard and resolved. In addition you cannot bring cases against the government and hope to win

3- No long term planning
According to the Roadmap 2009-2011 were to concentrate on the economy. The business people are as confused as ever about what direction the economy is going. There is no clear direction and no clear planning for the future.

4- Added Costs and Red Tape
The costs of all permits have gone up by over 100%; some have gone up by over 1,000%. They are just as hard to get. No Civil servant is prepared to make a decision without it being signed off further up the tree.

5- There are not open forums for business
There are no longer any open forums for business people. The Chamber of Commerce, under Peter Mazey and Nur Bano Ali, has become nothing more than a cheer leading squad for Khaiyum.

6- All new investment is channeled through Aliz Pacific
The vast majority of new overseas investment is being handled by Aliz Pacific. This Nur Bano Ali’s company. Previously all the big accountancy firms would be involved with overseas investors, but not anymore. To put it in perspective Aliz Pacific used to be part of BDO global network but was unable to comply with their Governance rules. What they lack in Governance they make up with access to Khaiyum.
doubt you will allow this post said…
@If ANZUS does not exterminate Bainimarama, instability will worsen in the Pacific.

It is clearly not talking about an invasion but an assassination.

There are many who would not weep if the dictator died

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