News and Comments Monday 13 February 2012

 Check down for the Weekend Readings.  13.2.12 
Four to One: Uneven playing field
IS THE STATE PROCEDURES (AMENDMENT) DECREE NECESSARY? The Decree seems to give Ministers and the State absolute immunity from civil suit and criminal prosecution for speech and published word. The media is covered by the same immunity for publishing what the State Ministers say. However, incorrect reporting of Ministerial speeches does not cover the media nor does the publication of other people's words and speeches if, for instance, they are defamatory.

I do not know whether this adds to powers under the original State Proceedings Act which this Decree amends, and I have no idea why the Decree is seen to be needed at the present time. It would seem to be in the same order as the Essential Industries Decree: unnecessary, repressive and unlikely to win friendsGovernment needs to fully explain the need for its decrees and post them promptly on their website.   The A-G's assurance that the powers will not be abused is not enough. Could someone close to Government seek an explanation of what this is all about.

UN ASSISTANCE IS TIMELY --- Citizens Constitutional Forum Press Release. Accepting the offer from the United Nations to send a Needs Assessment Mission is a timely decision by the Bainimarama Government and should be used to undertake further steps in ensuring there is transparency and full participation in the Constitution Development Process.

Citizens’ Constitutional Forum CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki says the lending hand from the UN should be welcomed in recognizing the need for assistance in preparations for elections in 2014 from the International community as the citizens of Fiji are eager to make an attempt to finding solutions which would ensure sustainable democracy.

 “CCF is hopeful that the NA Mission would prompt the international community and partners to reconsider their current stance and engage in areas where assistance can be rendered to allow free and fair elections and transparency and accountability in the constitution making process,” says Reverend Yabaki.
CCF believes that the Bainimarama government should also consider allowing an Independent observer mission to monitor the process and appoint an independent constitution commission to oversee the constitution drafting and making processes, including the national consultations.

“In efforts to ensure that the processes from here on towards elections in 2014 are participatory and there is acceptance of the envisaged changes, it is vital that there is independent scrutiny of the mechanisms and methodology of the constitutional consultation process, as well as the composition of a Constitution Commission as it would pave the way towards legitimacy and public ownership of the new Constitution.”

RAKIRAKI TALKING. Following Government's assistance to businesses and market vendors to help compensate them or revenue lost in the floods,  Special Administrator Saini Raiko said: “The fact that the head of government would come to the smallest town with the smallest market to personally hand them assistance in the form of fees for days lost during business – that will be something that will be talked about for a while."

LOGGING HALTED IN THE WEST. All logging operations in the Western Division have been temporarily suspended by the Forestry Department until further notice. The Department is concerned about flood-induced landslides follows the assessment undertaken by French Guardian surveillance aircraft last week. Meanwhile,  the Ministry of Primary Industries has confirmed that all farmers seriously affected by the floods will be assisted through rehabilitation programmes. The technical mission from Sigatoka will also raise seedlings for the farmers.

MINISTRY OF INFORMATION (MOI) UPDATES.• Government has begun advertising for positions for new diplomatic missions, in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, to be established this year.
•  Fiji’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Mr Solo Mara presented his credentials to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London last week.

I have removed this story because it is still before the Courts.   My purpose in posting it was not to prejudge Risto but to show how he was used by Ratu Tevita who then left him, and his companion officer former Land Force Commander Pita Driti, to face the music.  I can't accept comments on my original post for the same reason: the issue is before the Courts.  The time to comment comes later.


Anonymous said…
It's very simple Croz. Even your friends at the CCF understand it. This decree is designed to give Frank and team an edge in the up coming (free and fair?) election.

For example it allows them to call Qarase corrupt, criminal or racists. What a wonderful advantage to have.

All this from the team that promised they would not run in the elections and they would not gain personally from the coup. What a joke, what a bunch lies.
yea yea said…
CCF needs to get a grip. When has Frank allowed anyone to be independent of him ?
Anonymous said…
Poor Risto but I don't hear you highlighting the hundreds of peoples lies the current miliary government have ran over in their quest to grab and stay in power. After all Mara was one of them, a key man in Franks team. Why would we expect him to be any different.
Free and Fair Elections said…
Free and fair elections with guns at our heads? I don't think so.
Ultra Vires said…
Of course it's not enough to insist that powers under this asymetrical decree "will not be abused"! It is wholly insufficient.

Who is going to be foolish enough to believe that? Apply the test: "Never permit anyone to lie to you TWICE".

Who would be SILLY enough to have faith in any assertion that a decree denying us all a parity of esteem with a 'clique of elite', paid for by public money, should be taken at face value?

No one.

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