News and Comments Friday 30 November 2012

Daniel Urai
UNION TO FORM  POLITICAL PARTY. The news that the Fiji Trade Union Congress will disassociate itself from the Fiji Labour Party, the party it helped found in 1985, and form its own political party for the 2014 election, comes as no surprise. Nor does the reaction of the FLP's Mahendra Chaudhry  who dismissed the news as "basically the creation of the two unionists, and they do not even represent Fiji's union movement." Although, with the FLP almost a Chaudhry family affair, this does seem to be a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

FTUC President, Daniel Urai told ABC's Pacific Beat on Tuesday that the FLP has betrayed its foundation values and "has seemed more like only looking after one ethnic group and just one group of farming community."

Urai denies he is giving the Bainimarama government legitimacy by forming a party to stand at the 2014 elections. He says he and his supporters are "between the devil and the deep blue sea ...You don't partake, things still move on  ... if we partake, then we may be able to have some say in the formation of the next government."

The name and office holders of the new party will be announced in around two weeks time.

BUS CARDS FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED. Over 30,000 identification cards have been distributed since March 2011 to individuals with disabilities and the elderly  according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.The disabilities have red IDs that entitles them to free bus travel and the elderly over 60 have yellow ones that entitles them to a 50% discount. Both groups can also get a 20% discount for the first 20 kilometres if they travel in taxis."

The Ministry's Permanent Secretary Govind Sami said the allocation in next year's budget will

permit them them distribute more IDs to those who are yet to receive the cards. He commended government for its $11million allocation in the 2013 budget.

POVERTY BENEFIT SCHEME. In April next year a new Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS)  will replace the Family Assistance (FA) scheme to benefit 13,000 of the poorest households in the country. The Social Welfare ministry says the existing food voucher scheme is poorly utilised, and with welfare covering all family assistance recipients, they are only able to assist 2000 people.

The new expanded food voucher program will target three groups: those over 70 years, children attending schools in rural areas, and pregnant mothers using rural stations.

All current social welfare recipients will continue to receive assistance but the new scheme will target households with a maximum of four members. Maximum payment will be $150 inclusive of a $30 food voucher, and able-bodied individuals in the households will undergo some skill training to help "graduate the family out of the system."

MORE HOME LOANS WRITTEN OFF. Nineteen families from the central and northern divisions have had their home loan accounts written off as part of the Housing Authority's new social housing policy that applies to H.A. homeowners who have paid one and a half of the principal loan amount, are unemployed because of advanced age or disability, and can prove genuine financial difficulty. To date, some 239 families have benefited from the scheme.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR NAUSORI. The market and service town of Nausori was the fourth town, after Levuka (1879). Suva (1881), and Lautoka (1929), to be incorporated as a town in 1931. Today's population is about 6,000 with a further 16,000 in the surrounding urban area.

Located at the eastern end of the so-called Suva-Nausori corridor, it has not seen the development that one might have expected from its early start. But three impending developments could see this start to change.

First, is the significant upgrading of King's Road that should see greater investment in farming and tourism in eastern Viti Levu. Second is the planned doubling in size of the Nausori market that will cater for over 1,200 vendors (presently 770). Government has allocated $1.5m for the development over the next two years, and the Town Council will contribute $6 million from bank loans.

Airport upgrade

The third development is the start of the ten-year upgrade of Nausori airport. The first phase of the upgrade is expected to be worth $20.7million, and will involve improving the operational safety of the current runway at the airport. This will entail widening the runway, strengthening the adjacent grass runway strip, building internationally required runway end safety areas, and installing approach lighting to allow for night time operations.

In stage two a new international terminal is to be built on a site where the hangars are now

located to provide much improved passenger services. The present terminal will then be refurbished for domestic commercial use and private jets. Stage two will also include the construction of a new control tower.

An extension to the runway from its present 1,868m to 2,300m that will be long enough to accommodate larger aircraft is scheduled in stage three of the development. The total redevelopment program is estimated to worth $60million.

NEW CURRENCY NEXT YEAR. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth will be replaced next year with a new series of banknotes and coins that depict Fiji's flora and fauna

Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Barry Whiteside said members of the British Royal Family have featured on our currency since 1934 and the country is grateful to have had the privilege of this association over the past 78 years. He said that while it is sad to see the transition taking place, it is time to move forward and promote Fiji’s unique national treasures and the biodiversity that lies around us. The new notes and coins will start to come into circulation from 2nd January, 2013.


Ha said…
I'm no fan of the ay the current PM came to power nor the fact he has helped himslef to government coffers (back pay, salary, perks) but I have to say at least he seems to be getting thing going....finally.
Fiji ke Robin Hood said…
Urai is right that FLP has betrayed its values and is looking after one ethnic group and one group of farming community. He forgot to add that FLP is looking after one family, the Chaudhrys. Mahen Jnr is being groomed to take over as leader. Chaudhry in-law Sachida was nepotistically appointed FLP executive. The rot runs deep, with party name used to raise funds for Chaudhry family coffers, using name of poor. It's clear party has been hijacked to serve the Chaudhry khandaan's (clan's) interests.

Mahen has $AUD2.5m in secret Australian bank account to prove this. He gave 50k to loving daughter. But not a cent in charity. Mahen single-handedly destroyed party, as some had predicted. Well not single-handedly. With the support of lackeys and yes men in the FLP executive who were appointed for the purpose of rubber stamping everything mahen said.
Junta Gravy Train said…
Hey Croz
When is your next gravy train junket for you and your wife to get a funded holiday to Fiji at the expense of poverty stricken Fijians who still have no rights to vote as a result of thugs with guns and the human rights abusing regime you both support?
bullshit train said…
as soon as qarase gets out of jail, after all democracy was a foreign flower in fiji
Anonymous said…
Stick it up your Junta. Bored with all this crap from you losers. Long live Crosbie! And long live the glorious rule of our great Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama!

We should rename the country Great Fiji. Because that's what it is with these losers gone and the rest of us on a path to a more equal and just society.
Fiji's vilest politician said…

Mahen Chaudhry is Fiji’s most selfish, greedy, manipulative, destructive and self-serving politician.
He single-handedly wrecked the multiparty government and supported a coup.
After he failed to form a governing coalition in 2006, Mahen tried to keep Labour out of multi party govt.
But was outnumbered by caucus members.
Mahen submitted his nominees for multiparty Cabinet without discussions with FLP leadership.
True to his ungrateful and complaining nature, he claimed that the 9 portfolios offered to FLP were those that SDL had messed up.
After his members joined cabinet, mahen did everything he could to destroy the multiparty.
He even attempted to have himself appointed Leader of the Opposition – greedy to boot.
Krisha Datt rightly said Mahen advocates a confrontational and adversarial approach to conflict resolution.
Mahen lacks capacity for good faith, respect, mutual trust, consensus building and fair dealings.
Those who participated in the multi-party Cabinet considered that it worked effectively.
Multiparty was good for Indians because demographic trends were turning against them.
But mahen expelled from the FLP members who supported multiparty.
He placed himself in a strategic position to destroy the multi-party government.
With it he destroyed Indians best chance at government.
Read a comprehensive account of how Mahen destroyed the aspirations of Indo-Fijians and of Fiji as a whole:
Mahen 'garibi hatao' Chaudhry said…
Mahen Pal Chaudhry deserve to be in jail for supporting FB coup and raising donations under false pretences in the name of the poor to feather his nests and nepotistically appoint family to FLP executive, such as in-law Sachida. MPC used to campaign against poverty (garabi hatao) but was fooling public for very long time by masquerading as champion of poor and destroyed multi-party cabinet by supporting coup.

garibi hatao said…
With $A2.5m stashed in secret Aust account, Mahen has been very successful in garibi hatao (remove poverty) in favour of Chaudhry khandan (clan), with $50k gifted to loving daughter but the poor FLP supporters can bet their bottom doller they will never see a cent of monies raised int their names!

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