News and Comments Tuesday 26 June 2012
|Col, Mosese Tikoitoga|
THE MILITARY AND THE CONSTITUTION COMMISSION. The military, of course, will also be making submissions.
THE OVERSEAS VOTE. 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."
A SUGGESTION ON JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS from Facebook. "Protect judicial independence, but strengthen judicial accountability through an independent process controlled by the judges. Make gender competence a requirement of judicial appointments. Prohibit appointments on ethnicity and religion. Make judicial decisions immediately available on the net. Give judges powers to quash laws which are unconstitutional." I would urge all those who wish to comment on consititutional and electoral issues to use the blog www.fijipcforum.blogspot.com Fiji Political and Constitutional Forum.
VOTER REGISTRATION. Thirty leaders will be trained for three weeks by Canadian Code Corporation experts on how to operate the electronic voting kit that included filling appropriate forms, picture taking through a web camera, identification of thumb prints and the printing of identification cards. The first workshop was held at the Elections Office in Suva last week, and when all leaders have been trained, they will train their assistants. Voter registration is expected to take eight weeks, commencing on July 3rd. Fijians living off-shore will also be set-up soon with the voter registration process.
AIR PACIFIC FROM LOSS TO PROFIT. Fiji's national airline, Air Pacific, has returned its first operating profit since plunging to a F$91.8 million loss two years ago, declaring a group surplus before tax of F$13.4 million for the year to March 31, compared with an operating loss of F$3.7 million a year earlier.The 2010 loss was attributed partly to "a burst of competition from the arrival of Australian budget carriers Jetstar and Virgin." CEO Dave Pflieger said, ""To report a profit in a year that witnessed significant fuel cost increases, strong and continued competition in a key market from two low cost carriers, and two major flooding crises, is a rousing testament" but he warned that the turnaround was "far from complete" and "we remain mindful that a spike in fuel prices or changes to market conditions and therefore travel plans could impact our success while we finish restructuring. Air Pacific, that is soon to return to its old name, Fiji Airways, carried an additional 85,000 customers last year, compared with the year before, and 122,000 more than in the 2010 financial year.
FIJI MEDIA WARS, first published on Sunday, is the latest Fiji blog arrival. Published by the Head of Journalism at USP, Pacific newcomer Canadian Dr Marc Edge, it has wasted no time in attacking Alex Perrottet, Graham Davis and me. Citing without comment the FijiToday assertion that Fiji is "unlikely to have a free or fair election" tells us where he stands. It is to be hoped he does not continue to use his position at USP to side with those who, while appearing to promote media freedom, most obviously want a return to the "good old days" of racism, nepotism and corruption. We all know there are honourable men and women who oppose the Bainimarama government but they rub shoulders with many who are not.