News and Comments Frday 20 July 2012

WEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington reflects on the pre-internet era • Fr Barr provide a "state of the nation" account of Fiji today • I review a book by Rev Winston Halapua on the KaiSolomoni people at Wailoku.  

(I am currently working on an article about the A-G taking the Rev Akuila Yabaki and the CCF to court on a contempt charge and may publish it during the weekend.) 

Dredge, Malau Island, mouth of Labasa River
NEW PORT FOR LABASA. Macuata and Sasa tikina leaders have agreed their qoliqoli (fishing) area can be used to build a new port of entry for Labasa, Vanua Levu's main town.Macuata’s paramount chief, Ratu Aisea Katonivere, applauded Government for allowing the Native Lands Commission (NLC) and the Office of the Roko Tui Macuata to lead the process of discussions, rather than Government itself.He said the Middle Point port would boost investment opportunities in the Northern  Division.“The Look North Policy is now turning into a reality as the construction of a port of entry is underway.” 

FRENCH AMBASSADOR COMMENDS PROGRESS.“It is not for the representative of a foreign power to speak about the internal politics of a friendly country therefore in this regard I would like to say that we hope that all Fijians play the game, without ulterior motives, so that the undeniable progress that has already been made is not jeopardized.”  

M.Montagnier said countries like France could only wish for a growth rate of 2.5% that Fiji enjoys; albeit seemingly low, there were other challenges here that were being addressed and should continue to be addressed “with patience and determination”. Montagnier said Fiji take a very positive view of the establishment of a committee of experts to monitor the preparation of the electoral process and prepare the future constitution. “The caliber of these five members is beyond dispute. The same goes for the launch of the voter registration which was made in a timely manner.”

NEW WAGES ORDER TO BE GAZETTED. Wages Council chairman Fr Kevin Barr  said the new wages recommended by the ten wages councils will be gazetted after leaving a month for objections. The wage order will affect some 60% of workers in full-time employment.

 NAMOSI LANDOWNERS STILL AGAINST MINING. A survey conducted by landowners shows some 90% are still against the development of the copper mine. No details were provided about how, when and by whom the survey was conducted.

WHY CULTS IN RA AGAIN? Far more than any other province, Ra seems to generate cults. Here's
another one that prevents its children from going to school or its sick from visiting a hospital.

METHODIST CONFERENCE. The Methodist Church is looking to extend their annual conference in line with the suspension of Section 8 of the Public Order Amendment Decree which allows for mass gathering without a permit.

QARASE TO BE SILENT. Former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase  today confirmed to High Court Judge, Justice Priyantha Fernando that he has preferred to remain silent in the Fijian Holdings trial and will not take the stand.

IMMUNITY IN DECREE. Clear conditions for immunity  have been set in the Fiji Constitutional Process (Constitution Commission) Decree which sets the functions and powers of the new Constitutional Commission. While it is obvious the Commission (and the Assembly) will have to address this question, Government must ensure it does not influence outcomes or be seen to do so.

THE ALLEGED PLOT TO KILL BAINIMARAMA. New Zealand intelligence agents would not have searched the home of former SDL minister, Rajesh Singh and seized his computer if there was not a genuine concern over allegations of a plot to assassinate Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama according to NZ Prime Minister John Key.   Related item by Graham Davis on Grubsheet.


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