News and Comments Tuesday 7 May 2012
UN PEACKEEPERS TO SYRIA. Fiji will send eight senior military officers to support the United Nations supervision mission in Syria.
METHODISTS SUPPLY AGENDA.Church assistant general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra Banivanua said last year's agenda was submitted to the police, in its application for a meeting this year.The only changes were the names and dates. He confirmed that the names of church president Reverend Ame Tugaue and church secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, who are the main casues of police complaints, would remain, explaining they could not be changed until the conference was held. It is significant that they have not offered to resign, although almost certainly they will not stand again for election after the Conference.Rev.Banivanua said most of the annual meetings in the 55 divisions had already been held and others would be held this week, depending on their permits.
POLICE COMMITMENT. Police officers will renew their commitment to their code of ethics this month following a directive from Commissioner Naivalurua. The Commissioner said some officers have forgotten the meaning of the ethics that guide their work and "that is why I’m directing all officers to re-look and renew their oath and sign a declaration of their commitment." He accepts seriously the increased complaints against police and complaints against service.
POLICE BEATINGS ILLEGAL. Questions about police beatings were raised at the Kadavu Provincial Council last week following complaints that 30 men interrogated during a recent drug operation suffered injuries. Villagers had been told the "new decree" permitted the assaults. Deputy Police Commander South Tuapati Volau informed the meeting police had no authority to beat up anyone, and under Section 10 of the Criminal Procedure Decree they could only arrest a person with the use of ‘reasonable force’ if those arrested were resisting. The allegations are being investigated.
Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said they were looking into these allegations
NEW DIALYSIS CENTRE OPENED. The new Centre in Nadi will help save money and time for patients in the West. A reasonable fee will be charged for treatment and it hoped to establish a trust fund for patients who can’t pay for dialysis. The Centre has four dialysis machines that cost nearly half a million dollars.
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH REPORT. The Pacific Media Watch freedom report and video are now live. Feel free to point to it.
THE BLOG AIMS. A reader, dissatisfied with my response to a comment, asked what the blog aims are — and then told me! For such readers, read the title and sub-title to the blog, and check out the page "Blog Aims,Publisher." And then hold me to account on my aims —not your aims.
THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS FISHING TRIP. Ratu Tevita Mara's account of how he went fishing off Kadavu (armed with "documents that would prove all" and which he has still to produce) and finished up being picked up the same day by a Tongan naval vessel off southern Lau should be submitted in the biggest lie category for Guinness. But what he's done since is almost as remarkable.
He seems to be the sole spokesman and official for The Council for a Democratic Fiji that was formed in Auckland when he visited from Tonga. The Council claims to speak for the SDL and FLP but neither Qarase nor Chaudhary have backed this claim. But its "way forward" is identical to that of the two parties. Mara has written, on behalf of the Council, to the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Professor Yash Ghai and Ministers Carr and McCully, telling them not to trust Bainimarama.
He has decried the abolition of the Great Council of Chiefs and accused Government of not providing sufficient flood relief. In short, he has opposed everything Government is doing. Which is to be expected.
But I have two two questions for Ratu Tevita: 1. Have the SDL and FLP formally endorsed your Council, and the press releases you claim to make on their behalf? 2. What is the source of the Council funding —and yours? Or did you stuff a wad of dollars into the carry-all you took on the "fishing trip", together with those special and as yet unseen documents?
FIJI AT ADB. The PM, who is also Minister of Finance, attended the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila, Philippines last week. He was accompanied by Reserve Bank Governor Barry Whiteside, Finance Permanent Secretary Filimone Waqabaca, and Pita Wise from Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics.
NEW MEDIA WELFARE ASSOCIATION. A taskforce has been appointed to look into the establishment of an association that will represent the welfare of journalists and media personnel in Fiji.It followed the call from the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) secretariat for an informal get-together of journalists in the Central Division to celebrate World Press Freedom Day last Thursday.