News and Comments Tuesday 26 June 2012

Col, Mosese Tikoitoga
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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 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.


Military role said…
Croz, I am OK with the military making submission but it seems unfair that no one else is aloud to comment on the role of he military yet the military will be making submissions....on the role of the military. And its a fair guess they will not be asking to reduce there size, their power or their percieved "above the law" status.
Taking the edge off said…
I wouldn't worry about Dr Edge too much Croz. If he continues to be negative of the military government then I doubt he will be employed by USP for long.
Anonymous said…
Have you noticed there has not been a single comment for your last seven postings ? That seems odd and I know I made comments on at least two occaisions.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymous... Strange. Sometimes there's a delay because I have to vet them first. Please resend any comment that has not been published. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Joe the Blogger said…
@ Military role:

Maybe use the Constitution Forum on this site to offer comments on the role of the military. Croz, will these comments be sent to Ghai's commission, especially for those of us living overseas? Appreciate a reply.
Anonymous said…
Oh dear Croz you immediately slag off Dr Edge but looking at your bedfellows who is throwing their lot in with whom? Lets not forgetb the howlers fro you in past explaining and dismising absue by this regime... and their dubious appointment.
Paula said…
Have you noticed the new TV decree gazetted o the weekend? It seems that the regime is adamant to take the most confrontational course possible. This does not bode well for the constitutional process and the elections. No challenge is allowed to the AG's decision should he decide to punish a TV station that airs a critical view.
Anonymous said…
Yes again we see this is how the regime deals with anyone reporting on critics, where else would you expect that a television station will be told AT THE LAST MINUTE whether it will be able to continue broadcasting or not. I expect we will see Croz valiantly defend the regime and/or hoping we just don't notice or complain. Perhaps he will wheel out the much used 'things were even worse under Qarase' or even his spin on 'it is only racists who keep picking on the military regime'. I mean they have only had five years.

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