News and Comments Thursday 27 September 2014

TOO MANY IDEAS TO DIGEST. If the Alternative Vote has to be abandoned because it was too complicated and poorly understood by voters, the relentless bombardment of disparate ideas on what needs to be included in the Constitution is far worse.

There's no way an ordinary —or even an extra-ordinary— person can give them proper consideration, and order then into more and less important categories. With so many alternatives and contradictions presented, even on single issues, opponents of change could well argue there's insufficient agreement on change, so let's go back to the good old system.

Take, for example, this submission by Yavulo villagers in Nadroga (Fiji Times, 10.9.12) and count the topics covered in the submission and in the Fiji Times report. The villagers want a smaller parliament; a revised role for the military; a secular state with government following Christian principles; the reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs (and "All the rights and benefits of our chiefly systems are to be restored in order for them to fully carry out their responsibilities or obligations"); the coup culture stopped, those involved brought to justice and the deposed governments compensated; land tenants to be disallowed from using underground resources; land ownership to be always be with the mataqali; no discrimination against disabled people; the abolition of gay rights; the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools; and all election candidates to be God-fearing.

All these issues need thought and discussion but the ingredients need to be arranged, and each dish served to the public one at a time.  So far the print media has reported what,  but popular, readable background and analytical feature articles are also needed. Surely some academics or NGO could oblige.  TV and radio would also help people's understanding of the issues if they ran regular forums and interviews.

To date the public has been fed  a non-digestible  equivalent of  dalo, vakalavalava, noodles, nama, ice cream and jelebi, served in no particular order and often out on the same plate.

NFP FEARS REINTRODUCTION OF PER.  The National Federation Party (NFP) has raised concerns that the Public Emergency Regulations could be reintroduced once the Constitution Commission finishes the consultation process. Senior Government officials have so far not commented on the claim ut there has been no indication of any reintroduction of the Public Emergency Regulations.

EXCESSIVE FORCE? The NGO Coalition on Human Rights in Fiji has protested the alleged use of excessive force and the involvement of the military in the re-arrest of the five bank robbers but so far no media outlet has published their statement. Seven people appeared in court yesterday charged with harbouring the criminals. In an earlier statement police said they used reasonable force as the robbers resisted arrest, but four of the five are still in hospital. Government had earlier condemned the use of excessive force and has now launched an investigation into the allegations.

MAKE SUBMISSIONS SOON. Constitution Commissioner Peni Moore has appealed to people to make their submissions on the new constitution soon. The Commission will start work on the constitution draft in two weeks time.

PM' OFFICE 'SPY'. An employee at the Prime Minister's office appeared before Magistrate Janaka Bandara yesterday charged with alleged bribery amounting to ten thousand dollars. Bail was refused and the FICAC is asking for the accused to be further remanded as investigations are continuing.

ECONOMY IMPROVING. Provisional figures show that the Gross Domestic Product last year saw an improvement. The Bureau of Statistics has released the 2011 GDP showing an increase of 1.9%.  Economic expansion was 1.8%  points higher than 2010. Major contributors were agriculture, including sugarcane and taro, and financial intermediation such as insurance.  High growth in these areas offset sizeable declines in Public Administration and Defence which dropped by over 9% and domestic trade which fell by 3.2%.

FIJI UNDERGOING 'ENORMOUS TRANSFORMATION.'  This is how the Attorney-General described  the changes Fiji is going through on the way to what he called a modern nation. "We are going through enormous transformation, enormous reformation and that is to correct many of the injustices of the past, not just to modernise our laws but to also modernise our infrastructure.”

He was speaking at the 15th Fiji Muslim Sports Federation that draws participants from Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America. “For those of you who have not visited Fiji for a while, many physical changes are taking place around you. Whether it is road upgrades, whether its airport upgrades or whether it’s in terms of providing various benefits, that will improve the day to day living of ordinary Fijians.” The Minister urged the former residents to participate and contribute to the changes and take advantage of the dual and multiple-citizenships now possible.  -- Based on MOI release.

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Desmond said…
Yes illegal AG, your lack of legitmacy has tarnished everything you have touched. Even the good ideas are sticking of hypocracy. While you waffle about the 'enormous transformation'?! i don't think anyone accepts you have brought ther fijian people with you. There is no mandate for you,and rather than create it, you demand and dictate.YTou have brought noone with you on anything.Dress it up howvere you like, someone elected is going to have to go back over all of this again and do it properly. what a waste of time.

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