News and Comments Monday 23 April 2012
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Peni Moore Fifth Commissioner
The PM has announced the name of the final member of the five-member constitutional commission. It is Women’s and children’s rights and community activist, Penelope (Peni) Moore.
A veteran of the civil society and NGO movement, Ms Moore worked with SPCA for years, after which she became the first co-ordinator for the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement from 1987 to 1993. Since then she has been the creative director at Women’s Action for Change (WAC).In her 18 years at WAC, Peni has engaged marginalised communities throughout Fiji, empowering women, providing mentorship to juveniles at risk, and rehabilitating former prisoners.She also serves as a commissioner in the Fiji Legal Aid Commission.
As the last commissioner on the constitutional commission, her appointment creates a majority of females on the commission — a ratio that is a first in Fiji’s history, and perhaps one that is also a first for many nations.
The chairperson of the Constitutional Commission is world-renowned constitutional scholar Professor Yash Ghai; the second international member is human rights and constitutional expert Professor Christina Murray; and two of the three distinguished Fijian members are Taufa Vakatale, the first female deputy Prime Minister of Fiji, and Dr Satendra Nandan, academic, writer and former member of parliament.-- Based on MOI release.
ON HER APPOINTMENT TO THE COMMISSION PROF MURRAY SAID: “Clearly to have proper public consultations, the public has to be able to speak freely. And from what I understand of Fijian politics at the moment, something is going to have to be done about that. Of the members of the commission, the only person I know is Professor Ghai, and I know that he will be insistent as chairperson that the process is open and that it gives people a real opportunity to contribute.”
NZ VISITOR ARTICLE on the floods. What a tourist said.
NEVER AN OPPORTUNITY LOST. Those opposed to the Bainimarama government continue to focus on only the sensational and "bad" news.
• The FNPF was late paying pensioners last week. Mick Beddoes called it "disgraceful." NFPF expressed deep regret saying the delay was due to a "processing problem." Some 90% of pensions were paid on Friday and he remainder should be paid today. The good news is that Radio Fiji reported pensioners were furious. This would not have happened two months ago.
• The Methodist Church jumped the gun saying the police had refused a permit for a meeting later this week. But the Police Commissioner said he has not made up his mind and has asked the Church for a copy of their agenda. Both positions were also reported on Radio Fiji. A possible permit denial would seem an unjustifiable measure by the police, unless one considers the active role many Church leaders have played in fermenting unrest in 1987, 2000 and since 2006. The Church needs to rebuild its reputation as a Christian religious body and refrain from ethno-politics.
WORK AHEAD FOR SUGAR INDUSTRY. The Fiji Sugar Corporation will focus on repairing the rail transport system, cane access roads and the Rarawai sugar mill before they declare a crushing date this year.
GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS. LISTEN TO Graham Davis, Brij Lal and Tui Savu on ABC. If you've not read it, you may also care to read my four part analysis of Ro Teimumu's letter to the PM on the Great Council of Chiefs. Perhaps start with the last part, published last Thursday. Many things claimed for the GCC were doubtful or untrue.
THE PM ON FORMER POLITICIANS. The PM said he was not surprised at the speed former politicians rushed to comment on the constitution consultation process, but they appeared not to have learnt any lessons from the past six years. “What is surprising to me though, is they are still coming up with the same old politics that has been the cause of all the problems in the past in Fiji.” They are still focusing on race and racial discrimination while what Government has been trying to do is move away from the emphasis on race and create "an even playing field for everyone... We really don’t want these people to come back and bring in the same old same old dirty politics that has not done us any good in the past.” His Government's policies have "been geared to hand over a new, better Fiji to the politicians coming in after the 2014 election."