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.
RESIDENTS ANGRY AT LACK OF WATER. 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.
RELOCATION REQUEST NEGLECTED. 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!
ONE YEAR FREE RENT IN FLOOD-AFFECTED AREAS. Government land tenants in the worst flood-affected areas of the West will have their land rent free from January 2012 to January 2013.
RATU TEVITA RESURFACES 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.
AVID BLOG VISITOR HAS QUESTIONED 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 AGEE ...BUT. 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.
CZECH REPUBLIC AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS. The non-resident Ambassador for the Czech Republic to Fiji today presented his credentials to his Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.