News and Comments Friday 5 October 2012
WEEKEND READINGS. • Allen Lockington Column Subhash Appana continues his series on constitution-making in Fiji • Fr Barr talks of what government, business and NGO's can do about poverty.
KITE FLYING: RELEASE GEORGE SPEIGHT. To "fly a kite" is an expression similar to "testing the waters". I'm proposing that 2000 Coup frontman George Speight be released from jail. He has now served longer than many would serve for murder when good behaviour is taken into account; the deterrent message has already been posted, read, and ignored; the main movers behind the 2000 Coup remain undetected and unpunished; George is costing the taxpayer money; and no further purpose is achieved by his ongoing incarceration. Your opinion?
U.S.PREFERENTIAL TRADE. In response to the submission to the US hearing of a petition filed by the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations that Fiji be removed from the list of eligible beneficiaries of the Generalized System of Preferences, Fiji representatives called for a bilateral informal dialogue process with appropriate US trade and labour officials to assist in obtaining "true facts" about the rights of workers in Fiji. Both sides now have three weeks to respond. A final decision is not expected for several months.
WILL THE PM FORM A POLITICAL PARTY for the 2014 elections? There's been a lot of speculation but no firm news on this question but Kisoko Cagituivei of the PM's Office told FBC News yesterday that he thought there should be a party to safeguard all the work that this Government has done and will do before elections in 2014.
GRAHAM DAVIS EXPOSES COUP4.5 FORGERY. This article exposed a supposed email exchange between Sharon Smith-Johns, Permanent Secretary of Information, and the Grubsheet publisher.
WAGES ANNOUNCEMENT NEXT WEEK ... The ten Wages Councils are currently considering submissions on the proposed Wages Regulation Order, according to Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Jone Usamate, and should be able to submit their recommendations next week. The exercise has taken longer than expected because of the "significant numbers of written objections received." The Minister said Government is fully committed to social justice for workers in ensuring fair wages that are also affordable to employers. An 8-15% increase has been proposed for the printing trades, wholesale & retail trades, hotel & catering trades, garment industry, sawmilling & logging industry, road transport, building & civil & electricity workers.
... BUT EMPLOYERS' FEDERATION CEO Nesbitt Hazelman expects only "modest" increases.
SOME 3,000 WELFARE RECIPIENTS have been disqualified as a result of an ongoing review by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation to ensure that assistance is not provided to the ineligible. Most cases involve those whose circumstances have improved over the years. Those disqualified can write to the Appeals Panel for clarification.
KIWI EVACUATED AFTER ASSAULT. A New Zealand national who was injured after he was allegedly assaulted by four people at his room in a hotel in Nadi was evacuated to New Zealand last week. Four people have been charged and produced in court for their alleged involvement and their alleged involvement in a series of robberies and break-ins in Nadi over the past few weeks.
Fji Today seems to think that the use of the word "alleged" means that police are dodging the issue. They write: Alleged assault? There were witnesses and he has spent a week in hospital………..but we will spin it as an alleged assault" The word 'alleged' is always used when people stand accused but their guilt or otherwise has not been decided in Court. It has nothing to do with the police brushing anything under the carpet.
An overseas reader says he's been told from friends in Fiji that cases like this are not reported in the Fiji media. I am unsure about the print media but the electronic media seems to be reporting most cases of public interest.