News and Comments Friday 18 May

WEEKEND READING  • Allen Lockington Column • Police Confessions • Poverty and Destitution • A Journalist's Lot is Not a Happy One • Emerging Investigative Journalism

. "My beloved uncle and mentor, Sir Moti Tikaram (a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji, former President of the Fiji Court of Appeal and Fiji's first Ombudsman) passed away last night in Suva, Fiji. May his soul rest in peace." - from Julian Moti QC

AUSTRALIA'S CARR SOURS JAPAN-FIJI RELATIONS.  The Japanese government had invited PM Bainimarama to an international conference in Japan until Carr, probably fearful of losing critical trade union support for the struggling Labor government, persuaded Japan to withdraw the invitation. Click here to see what Grubsheet says.

A GOVERNMENT POLITICAL PARTY FOR 2014?  Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said there have been no discussions within government about forming a political party.

This, of course, does not mean discussions may not be held in the future. But a better option might be some accommodation with other political groups or parties, leading into the elections with a party of national unity.

THE FIJI LABOUR PARTY has refuted the A-G's claim that political parties have always contested elections with ethnic agendas, saying the FLP was founded on multiracialism and the party fought elections on issues rather than a race in 1999, 2001 and 2006. The FLP also criticised the high proportion of Taukei in Government appointments.

WAQAVONOVONO SAYS YOUTH MAY DECIDE 2014 ELECTIONS, a youth NGO spokesman, Peter Waqavonovono,  says many young people want new faces in parliament, and with a lowered voting age and 60% of the population under the age of 35, youth could be the decisive factor. Radio NZI reported him to have said, “A lot of young people, they are very well-educated. They are almost, like, bought by very liberal ideas, democratic principles, so a lot of these young people will vote for any political party or leader that can promise them a future that’s safe, that’s secure for every individual.” He says political parties appear to be gearing up already to attract the youth vote.

NEW MINIMUM WAGES. A new national minimum wage to cover workers not represented by unions or wages councils will be announced soon but it will be below the current poverty line of $185 a week.Wages Council chair Father Kevin Barr said the Wage Councils are also working towards a wage increase for workers covered by the garment, security, wholesale and retail, road transport, manufacturing, mining and quarrying and building sectors. The ten Wages Councils, that each comprise two employer, two worker and two independent representatives, represent over 60% of those in full time employment. See Weekend Readinig tomorrow, Poverty and Destitution.

POLICE CANCEL GAY MARCH to protect the marchers. This was after the  Fiji Sun announced,  "Today, our gay community will stand up against discrimination and promote awareness.They will march through the capital city beginning at 5:30pm from the Suva Flea Market to Sukuna Park.The march against homophobia and transphobia hopes to address the issues faced by this minority group." See earlier posting, "Homosexuals are Citizens, Too."

MEDIA RELEASE: FIJI POLICE FORCE CLARIFIES PERMIT CANCELLATION. The following statement was released today by the Fiji Police Force: The Fiji Police Force today reversed an earlier decision to approve a permit application to march by the Oceania Group. Police Commissioner Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said reversing the decision took into consideration the safety of those that wanted to march this morning, which is why he directed an immediate review of the permit application. Earlier on there were also some concerns raised about safety.“Recent attention towards the group’s decision to hold a march today has influenced my decision to cancel the permit”, Brig-General  Naivalurua said.“At the end of the day, the safety of all Fijians is the main priority for the Police Force”. Brig-General Naivalurua said that as a non-discriminatory organisation, the Fiji Police Forces’ decision to cancel the permit was only done so in the interests of all Fijians.

SOLDIERS FOR PEACEKEEPING. Eight soldiers leaving to help UN Sudan peacekeeping.

MERE SAMISONI. The defence lawyer representing businesswoman Mere Samisoni has asked the court for the Director of Public Prosecutions Office and investigating officers to release her diaries and cheque books if they are not being used in investigations. It is alleged that along with others she "conspired to overthrow by force of violence the Government of Fiji" last year.


National disunity said…
Croz, governments of national unity should be strictly reserved for wartime. They are the antithesis of strong government and we've got a very good example in Australia of why they don't work. So how would one work in Fiji? What, Bainimarama in the same cabinet as Chaudhry and Qarase, assuming these two are still free men by the time the election comes around? It's simply inconceivable.The PM needs to form his own multiracial party and go for it.
Anonymous said…
@ National

I assume Croz meant forming a party with the former failed parties (the ones where his ministers have come from) not SDL or Labour obviously.
Paula said…
Interesting that Mr Carr went to considerable efforts to convince Japan to un-invite Bainimarama who was scheduled to take another little trip to attend the PALM meeting in Tokyo. It would appear that the AG's show put on to convince the ministerial delegation that we are free to consult and voice our views in the constitution process has done little to convince Carr and McCully. Why is that? Are they just ignorant and pugnacious? Are they vindictive and hostile towards the regime? Or are they realists who believe more in action than in talk?
Hissy Fit said…
Davis and the junta he supports can hissy fit as much as they want. The fact is (and how history will record it) that Japan rejected a visit by the Fijian dictator Bainimarama. A correct decision. I suggest the junta and its friends build a bridge and move on and hurry up and return Fiji to democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
Croz Walsh said…
@ National Disunity ... To clarify: I would see this as a temporary (say, one-two year) measure to allow transition to a fuller democracy. It need not be made up of existing parties, though it could include them, along with the more significant parties that emerge over the next two years. In some ways, it would be better to include no existing parties, and comprise respected individuals who would come together just for the transition. Alternatively, as you say, the PM could form his own party and just "go for it" but there is no guarantee it would win, or be sufficiently powerful in Parliament to block immunity and constitutional reversals.

@ Paula, Are you not "free to consult and voice (your) views" Why pre-judge a process that has not yet started?

@ Hissy Fit ... Welcome to the blog, and what a cute name. The Constitution reform process is doing just that: moving Fiji on to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Get in behind it and make sure it does not come off track.
Fiji Labour Party and banana politicians said…
THE FIJI LABOUR PARTY was a multiracial party when Bavadra was leader. Then Chaudhry became leader. It was the beginning of the end.

Surrounded himself with 'yes-men', and purged the party of anyone who dared to question him. Leading lights of the party left. Party became one-man show run by an autocratic leader surrounded by lapdogs.

Under Chaudhry party took on distinct Indo-Fijian character. Everything was about farmers and Indos because that's where the vote-bank was. Multiracialism was just a convenient front for Mahen. So was democracy given how he quickly joined the Bainimarama government (then when forced resign, started to critcise Bainimarama) .

Labour party became family affair or, as they say in Hindi, "palwari mamla". Chaudhry son Rajen had lot of influence in party. Treated it like daddy's party.

An appointed party official, thanks to daddy's largess Chaudhry Jnr. acted like a mini-dictator. He acted more snr. to FLP MPs who were elected by the people! The sheer arrogance of this man, who was often rude and disrespectful to the MPs.

Another example of palwari 'mamla' was mahen circumventing party processes to appoint his in-law, Sachida, as a senator. All this while he was loudly preaching about evils of nepotism to the rest of the world. Hypocrite.

As they say, too much power corrupts. There is the overseas fundraising fiasco in which $3m somehow made its into Chaudhry's private bank account, earning him the name, Fiji's Robin Hood. And of course, facing tax evasion charges while as finance minister, vowing to go crackdown on evaders.

Chaudhry ruined Fiji Labour Party and did immense damage to Fiji. As long as he is head, Party has no moral authority. It is really galling to hear this most hypocritical and dishonest of politicians still moralising to us.

Chaudhry used to describe Fiji as a banana republic. He is a 'banana politician' (curvy) in a banana republic.
Cicero said…
No political parties is surely the way ahead? Those that existed in the past are hardly going to be relevant now without major reforms, new Manifestos, entirely new approaches to the way things are not only in Fiji but in the region and in the world at large. The role of the individual needs to be enhanced: the individual voter, the individual taxpayer, the individual as a responsible, empowered and educated citizen who holds the Nation State accountable and all those who run it using public money derived from taxation. It has been said elsewhere that there is no such thing as 'society': society is but a collection of individuals acting in concert at times. This is scarcely a relevant or applicable view to countries of the South Pacific region. But the formula for the running of political parties needs to change in Fiji. They must be fully democratised and be seen to be so, held to account by their membership and by relevant legislation to forestall abuse. There have been abuses in the past in the manner in which political parties have been run. Look in particular at the way they raised their funding and the failure to disclose large sums and where they were obtained. Even donations in kind require oversight and this oversight should be by an impartial and independent body. How do we propose to achieve this? The time frame would appear too short.

Popular posts from this blog

Fijian Holdings Scandal: Betrayal by their trusted sons

Lessons from Africa

The Ratu Tevita Saga, Coup4.5, Michael Field, the ANU Duo, and Tonga