News and Comments Friday 3 February 2012

WEEKEND READING. • Allen Lockington column • All the World's Religions Agree on ...
• Economic Report for January. 
 3.2.12  CONSTITUTION AWARENESS STARTS. Government promised that dialogue on constitution reforms would start this month and, quickly off the mark, the first step was taken yesterday with a meeting in Lami. According to Kisoko Cagituivei of the PM's Office, Government wants the new Constitution to be home grown with Fijians participating in its preparation.

Radio Fiji reports that Yalalevu residents in Ba  have had no water since flood waters devastated their homes last week, and to date there have been no visits from Water Authority or DISMAC officials to talk to them and analyse their needs. Resident Rajesh Prakash says no water trucks have visited their area.  But in a later Radio Fiji report, WAF Communications Officer Kelera Serelini rubbished the claim. She said they are aware of the problems in Yalalevu and elsewhere and are working with the military and volunteers to ensure that affected communities are supplied with water. Delays to restoring reticulated water have been caused by mud, gravel and debris in the dams and in treatment plants. The dams have to be filled to an average level before water can be treatment and directed to residents.

The landslide in Tukaraki that killed a family of four has raised a question about earlier requests for the relocation of the village. Claims by villagers are supported by  Government officers serving Yakete at that time who said they all knew about the proposal to relocate, but apparently the request was not taken seriously and nothing happened.The issue was also discussed in their Bose Vanua and at the Tikina Council Meeting some years back. But others contacted by FBC News have denied any knowledge of the relocation request. Chairman of the Ba Provincial Council Meeting, Ratu Meli Saukuru, says that during his time of chairmanship nothing about the relocation was ever raised.

THE TWO STORIES ABOVE indicate how easily it is for contrary stories spread in Fiji and just how difficult it is to know who to believe, even on the most prosaic of issues. It gets far worse with political stories!

Government land tenants in the worst flood-affected areas of the West will have their land rent free from January 2012 to January 2013.

with a statement based on  "inside sources" that Bainimara has threatened the Namosi people with military action if they do not agree to his mining plans. No other "source" has made such a claim. Ratu Tevita's plausibility has declined since he failed to produce the documents he said would prove all about the horrors of the Bainimarama regime, and since he revealed his plan for a "return to democracy" which entailed a central role for the Great Council of Chiefs.

my action in not publishing a reader's comment that comprised a list of Bainimarama's alleged wrongs. "I believe there is a a danger," he writes,  "in ignoring topics or issues just because they are 'old news'. For example the questions on how much the PM pays himself and his team and why this is done by a third party are 'old news' and repeated in blogs. However they are unanswered questions that go to the integrity of the PM and his original commitments as Commodore when he placed Fiji under huge stress by taking over government in 2006." 

I agree these issues will not go away and I will  continue to publish some comments, but not as repetitive lists with no new substance or interest. Many seem orchestrated and could come from just one or two readers, I seek to publish a balance of comments. For more such comments (and far worse) visit the anti-blogs and see what they allow to be published.  Recent Coup4.5 comments on Sharon Smith Johns were especially despicable.  On the same tack, Sara'ssista, writes that I have "a nerve [for denying] the reasonable requests of the publics right to know" and then accuses me of being "clearly in the same camp with the gutless fiji media." On average, Saras'sista emails me three negative and sometimes insulting comments a day, most of which I publish although several readers have urged me not to do so. I think (s)he has a nerve.

The non-resident Ambassador for the Czech Republic to Fiji today presented his credentials to his Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.


Anonymous said…
You treat us as idiots, just re-runs of everything else we are perfectly capable of finding and reading ourselves.
Consultations said…
The 'consultation process' seems odd to me. What was the format, who was invited and what material where they given to discuss. Other important questions include where military personal present ?

I have been waiting for a announcement on how the consultation process will work, who will lead it, time frame and important facts like will we get to vote for the new constitution. All this should be outline by the PM.

I really hope the consultations are not like the charter consultations...

Have your contacts indicated how it is all going to work Croz ?
really said…
Sounds more like spin than consultation to me. Random villager calls for Charter to form the constitution...really ? How about some reporting on what was actually presented by government. Who spoke, who was given the opportunity to speak ? Also who was invited ?
Concerned said…
Dear Croz,

You often sit back and gather more information before jumping in. Might be a good idea to do the same on "charter consultations". I have made a few calls this morning and no one seems to know the agenda, timeline, content or format for consultation yet all of a sudden it's away in Lami and the only report we get is a unnamed person calling for charter to be basis of constitution.

(actually the charter recognizes first and foremost the 1997 constitution but that may have meant Frank and team going to jail so they ignore that part of their own work).

Anyway I hope this is a positive step but for the time being I remain sceptic.
Doc John said…
Bula from rainy Suva where even the weather is quite depressing. I fully agree with you censoring repetitive negativism from bloggers. We all know that we live in a military dictatorship and do not need to be reminded all the time. What we need are positive thoughts that show the way out of our current dilemma. The myopia of the regime critics is sometimes boring and most of the time just disgusting.

I would like to make a suggestion: Comments that refer to the PM's salary, his leave back pay, his lack of education, his dubious roles in the 2000 events, his treasonous power grabbing actions in 2006, his dismal performance as a sugar minister and his broken promises should not be published. The same should apply to negative comments about the AG, his relentless production of human rights violating decrees, the role of his aunty in paying government salaries etc. What should be published are positive suggestions about the role of the military in the new constitution, the governments successes in alleviating poverty and eliminating corruption and the inclusive and transparent consultation process leading to free and fair elections in 2014. Naturally all critical comments about the SDL government and the rampant corruption prior to the 2006 coup should be published as a matter of priority.
Too scared to give my name said…
Who do you expect to corroborate the PM threatened the Namosi landowners with the military.
No one from the Government side is going to confirm it publicly. No one from the landowner side in Namosi will confirm it for fear of being taken in by the military.

It is significant that someone in the PM’s Office is still in touch with RUM and passing on information. It seems that not everyone inside the inner circle is happy with the Dictators approach to getting things done. There is obviously someone in there who would like to see genuine consultation and negotiation and not just threats.

Croz come to Fiji again and meet with some of the people who oppose dictatorship and see for yourself what it is really like. It is not this blessed country that you see from your ivory tower.
sara'ssista said…
Oh Croz, you chose to be insulted, I think i am rather tame. I consider myself quite measured given the regime. I do think it is merited that you respond and that you try to defend your position . I actually think it quite brave. I don't however at all feel the need to be held to your standards given the company you seem to find yourself in. You provide supoport and comfort to a regime that has no legitmacy. You express ideas that while constructive are essentially ignored and barely elicit any movement from the regime. My comments while at time intemperate, at least sustain a resistance to the regime and hopefully will not allow them to think they are unchallenged and without critics. I do note that you missed the point of what i wrote and do not even bother to comment on the public's right to information and fearless reporting on the regime and judges when there are issues such as a conflict of interest or propaganda to public money and accountability.
what the said…
Constitution awareness ?

Most people would be aware we have one (1997). And most people would be aware despite the People Charter acknowleging it as the ultimate law government chose to throw it out. Why ? Because it meant their coup was illegal and they could not retain power.

I hope that is how the "Constitution awareness" program is introduced but i am guessing no.
Insiders constitution ? said…
It would be great to here from anyone who was invited to this session and attended ?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Consultations ... I'll try to find out but the Lami meeting was not a consultation. It was part of a prior process to inform.
My word is my Bond said…
The on-going assault in the Western Division will eventually persuade us all: Contracts matter. The word of an honest person in any agreement matters. A shake of hands is a Bond and binds. Good faith matters. Bad faith will find its own reward.

None can be abolished by decree.

"What kind of a people do they think we are?"

Winston Churchill - 1874 - 1965
(Prime Minister and Wartime Leader of Great Britain)

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