News and Comments Monday 30 April 2010

"A rose by any another name..."**
 MISS FIJI CONTEST REVEALS RACIAL PREJUDICES. "The decision to award the title to Torika Watters, who is of mixed European-Fijian heritage, prompted hundreds of racist and violent comments which had to be removed from the official Miss World Fiji Facebook page." -- The Telegraph.

 A reader 'Racist agit-prop on social networking' (see comment on Guy Threllfell's Saturday posting] called reactions to her election "a saddening episode (in which) the entire world may now see and read through a variety of media 'Fiji Racism'.

'Racist agit-prop referred to Facebook comments by a prominent "female lawyer" that could be seen as "tantamount to a criminal offence under the Crimes Decree #44 of 2009. This person may yet be found to be 'aiding and abetting' a crime of racial hatred by conspiring with others."

'Racist agit-prop' urged  "the Fiji Police Cyber-crime Unit take a closer look at what has been said on Facebook and consider carefully their response. They should note the letter in today's Sunday SUN newspaper on page 9 by one Rakesh Chandra of Nasinu. Our call for investigation will be lodged directly with the Fiji Police today. "   See also these links the The Telegraph (UK),  Fiji Times and Grubsheet articles.

** Meaning: What matters is what someone is is, not what they are called. From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. At least one of Torika's ancestors was in Fjii 2000 years ago.
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NZ JOINS AUS IN FIJI VISIT.  NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully will join Aussie FM Bob Carr in Fiji next week where they hope to "engage directly" with Government. McCully said:"Next week's meeting comes at a pivotal time for Fiji and follows a number of positive developments. These include the decision to commence voter registration, the establishment of a constitutional commission and the commencement of a public dialogue on the shape of the constitution on which elections can be held.These are all constructive moves which I have welcomed on New Zealand's behalf." Signs of progress?  We earnestly hope so.

GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS.  A series of Inter-Agency Consultation workshops will be organised  this month by Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation to educate rural women on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) and also to strengthen government’s partnership with communities for the implementation of CEDAW principles. The workshops,  which will be held in all four Divisions,Western, Eastern, Northern and Central, will help rural women in understanding and exercising their human rights through CEDAW. Women from NGOs, Faith-Based Organizations and from remote, rural villages will learn, and relate to the articles of CEDAW and how to exercise their rights to make informed decisions. Minister Dr Luveni said that the workshop were timely as government’s focus is to increase women participation into decision making bodies. "We want to enlighten women, including rural women, about their rights to actively participate in the constitutional consultations and electoral process, so that they become more visible and knowledgeable in their societies." -- MOI.

POLICE STILL AWAIT METHODIST AGENDA... before meeting permit decision can be made. 

. Rod Petricevic has been jailed for 6½ years. Earlier, Gary Urwin was jailed for two years and Bruce Davidson  was ordered to complete nine months of home detention, 200 hours of community work, and payment of $500,000. Two other directors, Rob Roest and Peter Steigrad, await sentencing. Bridgecorp's collapse in July 2007 cost 14,500 NZ investors NZ$490 million, and through it part ownership of the Momi Resort development the FNPF F$121 million.

NZ ECONOMY SICK, TOO. With anti-bloggers blaming the Fiji government for the poor state of the economy, this note from NZ may be of interest. The 2012 economic outlook: predicted GDP growth down, the current account deficit  "larger than predicted.  A stagnant economy sees government tax revenue falling below forecasts and the prospect of the public accounts showing a surplus in 2014.15 is diminishing."

PACIFIC MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS. A most useful Pacific Media Centre review  of who's who by Alex Perrottet.

MEDIA FREEDOM: CONTRARY REPORTS OF PINA MEETING.   USP's Marc Edge talked of "keeping a lid on dissension" and "decisions made behind closed doors" while Graham Davis wrote of "the hand of sweet reason healing past divisions" and David Robie of "notable achievements" and a "convivial and relaxed atmosphere." They can't all be right.

WHY THE FIJI TODAY DETERIORATION? Thanks to a reader, I can now understand why the quality of the FijiToday blog has deteriorated  (see Disinformation #3) so suddenly. The publisher, Peter Firkin, has decided to invite others to contribute to the site and it would appear he has not been able to keep a close enough eye on their contributions.  Previously, the blog's postings  mainly comprised a comment added to short news items from other sources. The comments were invariably negative to the Bainimarama government but they could be checked against the news sources and readers could make up their own minds on the appropriateness of the comments.

Now, postings have increased and most are longer items containing the opinions of his new anonymous editors, and many purport to be based on leaked information. Peter seems unable to check the sources.  Hence the increase of disinformation and the loss of the blog's moderate status.   We now have another blog with a Coup4.5 format and approach.  To be fair to Peter,  he invited people of different persuasions (and I urged readers to accept his offer)  but only those opposed to the Bainimarama government seem to have responded and been accepted.


name and shame said…
why shouldn't this prominent female lawyer be named/shamed on this blog, especially if her identity is already in the public domain?
jambalaya said…
Murray McCully disembarking from commercial flight to Fiji. No P.A to carry his luggage from the plane-must be all the cost cutting in NZ Foreign Affairs.
I want to know said…
name and shame asks a valid question, why shouldn't this lawyer be made known to us all? The person has made a public statement about a public event in a public forum in a society that's trying with much opposition to fight it's way out of the evil clutches of racism. I think we all deserve to know who these unsavory persons are.
Paula said…
It is certainly disturbing how much intolerance, hatred and sheer stupidity is out there. Bainimarama's vision of a society free of race is apparently a long way off. And the hypocrisy of his government that wants to regulate access to the planned casino based on ethnicity is simply appalling.
Anonymous said…
Is there a Bainimarama vision?? i thought it was primarily to keep himself out of gaol for mutiny?? The rest just a red herring to keep us all hopeful and distracted
Nothing 'civil' about racist remarks! said…
@ Paula

The vision of a 'race-free' society in Fiji is indeed a long way off. Many people known to us all fully intend that it should be so: despite the fact that our taxes pay for their expensive upkeep.

The exposure of a female barrister who was unwise enough to make certain highly publicised remarks about a winning contender for the Fiji "Miss World" contest, to be held later this year, should rally us all to the "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark" (Hamlet 1601 - act1, sc4,l90)appreciation.

These remarks have now appeared in the London Daily Telegraph (a newspaper of high repute and right-of-centre bias). They will have done none of us any good whatsoever.

Far from calling for an exposure of the name, the person who made these remarks should 'out' herself thus saving us all the effort? By far the wisest course at this juncture. For the Almighty World Press will arrive there eventually!

And, by the way, this cannot and ought not to be merely a civil matter? There is nothing 'civil' about racist remarks.
sara'ssista said…
Discussing race and having an opinion is not racism. I am with u barbara! She just has the guts to say what she thinks, how un-pacific of her.

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