News and Comments Friday 15 June 2012

WEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington on symbols of national identity • Fiji's first multi-racial cricket club • Remittances • Launch of Fiji Political and Constitutional Forum 

ADI SAMANUNU passes away. May she rest in peace.

. Col. Tikoitonga should not have risen to Mick Beddoes' unhelpful remarks and Mick should stop carping. The most important thing is to help Fiji's future. Taunting Tokoitoga will not help Fiji, and could undermine the constitution process.

This is an extract of what Apo Gucake had to say on Facebook: "While the constitutions of many countries guarantee the right to vote for all citizens, in reality voters who are outside their home country when elections take place are often disenfranchised because of a lack of procedures enabling them to exercise that right. Overseas voters are a potentially important political force whose votes can in many cases significantly affect election results. Political parties, sitting governments and oppositions are therefore likely to have different views on participation in the elections. External voting is currently allowed by 115 countries and territories in the world. Of those countries, some two-thirds allow all their citizens a vote from abroad, and one third partially restrict the right to an external vote. One hundred and fifteen countries, or more than 50 per cent of the world’s democracies, guarantee universal suffrage [by] allow[ing] overseas voting."

I hope Apo makes these points in the new FPCForum blog that will be launched tomorrow Saturday.

 THE WANING FIJITV SAGA. FijiTV chairman Isoa Kaloumaira  confirmed last month's meeting with the A-G, as reported by the anti-Bainimarama blogs, but he said "initial reports that have come out regarding Fiji TV in the international media and the politicization of the issue by the political parties, does not have any merit. He said none of these allegations have been verified by him or the Board of Fiji TV." See also, licence  will be renewed for another 12 years.

QOLIQOLI PROBLEM. Government steps into feud between villagers, their chief and commercial fishermen.

EU MAKES FIJI AID CONDITIONAL on progress.The European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, says "the EU is very much on the same page as Australia and New Zealand regarding support for Fiji and will follow the advice and analysis of Australia and New Zealand regarding the type of support it will give Fiji." Which is not surprising given that the EU followed their advice in stopping aid in the first place!

ACP URGE SUPPORT FOR FIJI. The African Caribbean and Pacific ministerial group meeting in Vanuatu has urged the European Union to release money due to the Fiji sugar industry.

SUGAR FARMERS URGED TO DIVERSIFY TO HORTICULTURE following the channelling of $63 million from the European Union through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Land Resources official Inoke Ratukalou said the sugar industry faced numerous challenges, including the end of the sugar protocol and price support, the price paid for sugar I(down from €24.4 to €18.4) and the consequent drop in production from a peak of 341 000 metric tonnes in 2000 to less than half of that figure today. In addition, the steep slopes and shallow soils that account for 20% of the sugar cane areas, and low lying areas subject to endemic flooding are unsuitable for sugar farming and should put to other uses.“20% of the land presently used for cane production in particularly on the steep slopes with poor and shallow soils is expected to be released for other uses. Ratukalou estimated that some 5,000 farmers have left the industry since 2000.

MINING LICENCE. A Chinese firm has been granted a licence to mine iron sands from the mouth of the Ba River. Once in operation, some 300 new full-time and 50 part-time jobs will be created.

In a letter to the Fiji Sun (June 13)  Wages Council Chairman has offered conditional support for this Fiji Commerce and Employers' Federation campaign and its $500,00 grant from Government. But he recalls that three years ago the Wages Councils proposed a similar campaign “Promote Fiji Made and Keep Fiji Working”that was short lived due to lack of Government funding.  The accent was on the workers of Fiji and ensuring their employment and decent wages.  He hopes the employers' campaign will have a positive effect on wages because while business may be the “engine” of economic growth, it is the workers who keep the engine moving. Fr Barr also hoped the campaign would be scrutinised by the Ministry of Labour and the Consumer Council to ensure standards in working conditions and products.


Freedom said…
“The most important thing is to help Fiji's future”
Some would say the best way to help Fiji’s future is to remove a brutal and corrupt dictatorship.
Some do not have faith in Khaiyum and Bainimarama to run free and fair elections and that 2014 will usher in the same dictatorship just under a different name.
Remove the military from the equation and then we just might have free and fair elections. Even you Croz have voiced concern about the involvement of the military
As you can well see every time THICKOitoga opens his mouth more threats are made. That is hardly the setting we need for open Constitutional Consultations and free elections.
Fiji TV Anon said…
FBC – Regime Nepotism at its best.

The CEO of FBC, Riyaz, was appointed by his brother, Aiyaz, the Minister of communications.

The original $15m loan from the FDB, now $22m, was guaranteed by the Government on the instructions of Aiyaz, the brother minister.

In addition to its annual grant FBC is currently getting an average media spend from the Government of over $200k per month. Without that income FBC would be unable to pay its debts. FBC is getting between $4-5m from Government every year. By comparison Fiji TV gets virtually none.

The advertising market in Fiji is currently the most depressed it has ever been and there is no way FBC could even repay the interest on the loan without Government support.

FBC did not have to wait for its TV license. The brother minister granted it straight away.

Fiji TV is still waiting for its new license with only 2 weeks before the current one runs out. Why don’t they have the license? Because their biggest competitor’s brother has not bothered to sign it even though it has been on his desk for over 3 months.

The consultant who did the specifications for the FBC equipment also owned the company that supplied the equipment at very high prices?

The equipment was over specified and every FBC transmitter uses 2x more fuel than the Fiji TV transmitters?

The same consultant is related to the Khaiyum brothers?

The Consultant was awarded the contract without following proper tender procedures.

The Consultant was awarded the Equipment Contract without following the proper tender procedures

I am sorry but the FBC story is not one of good governance and transparency. It is one of nepotism, cronyism and corruption. It is symbolic of the corrupt dictatorship that made it happen.

Croz, if you would like a copy of a report on the FBC overspend I would be happy to send it to you.
Commodore Coupster said…
“Which is not surprising given that the EU followed their (ANZ) advice in stopping aid in the first place!”

Please get your facts right. The EU is obliged by law to withdraw aid to governments in power through coups.

You yourself say coups are wrong. So tell me what should the EU have done? Should they have done nothing and said Commodore Coupster that’s fine carry on. No don’t worry we will give you even more aid because we want to encourage the military in more democracies to take power with the gun.
Last chance! said…
Croz, have you noticed that your postings are down? Want to know why? Because of the ridiculous codes you have to write to get anything through to the keeper. Have a look yourself. Most of the time I can't understand what they're asking you to repeat and have to keep clicking the circular arrow to get another combination. Anyone else would just give up. If 4.5 and grubsheet don't require this, why do you? It's almost too frustrating for words. It's says please prove you're not a robot. But honestly, it drives me crazy and I'm going to stop bothering if you don't get rid of it.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last Chance... The problem started when Blogger changed to a new dashboard interface, and right across the web people have been complaining. I did remove word verification for short time and I was flooded by spam. I'll try again, at your request, and hope most of the spam is filtered out. Thanks for the complaint.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last chance .. Trying this with the word verification removed. The postings have not been down. About a thousand a day. Let's hope they increase now that word verification is removed.
Anonymous said…
Your only reaction to threats and more ominous warnings from the military is to blame others for 'taunting' them? I suppose you see it as progress that opponents are not taken out and beaten, oh yes we have come along way to democracy. Why on earth would anyone have confidence in what proports in fiji to be consultation, when the military grant themselves immunity from accountability for everything they have done while they demand we all celebrate their rule!!
Anonymous said…
You will see that Croz's usual line in relation to nepotism in this regime is that the best person got the job the rest is pure coincidence. What a lovely world he must live in.
Paula said…
The commodore seems to take politicians once labelled 'insignificant' quite serious again. I am not so sure, however, that he really helps the constitutional discussions with statements such as ....“The day when the military will be taken to prison, that will be the end of those who are behind it.” (Fiji Sun)
Anonymous said…
Well if Mick (or Muck as we refer to him here in Fiji) wants to escalate things to a 'fight to the death' scenario with the military, guess who will win?

Muck is behaving like a spolit child. He cant demand Tikoitoga "show restraint" and the next day he himself shows a total lack of restraint by suggesting that the military should all be thrown into Naboro whilst Lai, Mahen and Muck put on their bedroom slippers and slip back into Government Buildings and pontificate to us about the greater good etc whilst lining their pockets, no doubt!

Those who say that the military should not play a part in crafting the new Constitution are living in 'LaLa Land'.

The new Consitution has to take into account the views of the military coz they are the ones who got us here in the first place and who, therefore, have a stake in Fiji's futute.

This is a time for pragmatism; not a time for vengeance of the type Mucky Bedooes calls for. I ask of Mucky, where is the spirit of reconciliation in your position? Its all based on exacting vengeance which will get you and the three stooges (Lai, Mahen & Muck) nowhere!
Anonymous said…
@ Paula

So who do you reckon will win if its a 'fight to the death' scenario?

Mucky and the 3 stooges or the military?

Coz thats what the 3 stooges are gunning for.

In wanting to escalate the situation this way the three stooges want to be public heroes, but in reality they are nothing more than the private fools!

Where we look for creative minds to resolve our future, the three stooges revert to the old style politics of confrontation. They offer up no alternative future for us...just more of the same!

What a disgrace they are!
Pure Contortion..... said…
We should recall the extraordinary position taken by a representative of the people, paid for by the people, speaking in Parliament from the Opposition Benches vehemently AGAINST the provisions and policies set out in the Annual Budget and for it.

What logic might be applied to that? What inherent message was 'gotten across'? What picture of coherent thinking, conducive to Nation-Building and sustainable, equitable development?

To many of us, it seemed an exercise in pure contortion. No helpful, strategic message of hope. No clear way forward from which a measure of hope might be derived after years of turmoil. It was a postration of people's deepest aspirations for better things ahead in the pathway of oppressive domination.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Last chance ... You may have hit the nail on the head. Visitors up 30% a day or two back. I'll live with the trash mail. Many thanks.

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