News and Comments Monday 12 November 2012

DIWALI CELEBRATIONS 2012. General Secretary of the Sanatan Dharam Mahamandal of Fiji Govind Singh says sharing the spirit of Diwali in a multiracial, multicultural and multireligious country like Fiji is an  enriching occasion for all.

He said this year's celebration was special with the nation trying to write a new constitution in the hope that everyone would be able to live and prosper with dignity and humility.
"Diwali festival is a joyous occasion for both Hindus and non-Hindus alike, this stems from the fact that the message for Diwali and the prayers associated with it are very special, very powerful, meaningful and has a universal appeal," Mr Singh said.

He called on all Hindus and people of Fiji to recommit themselves to building a peaceful, progressive and dynamic Fiji that would become a leading nation in the South Pacific.

"The human body itself is like the temple, church or mosque and one needs to nourish it with truth, peace and good health.It needs to come out of darkness into light through spiritual, moral and ethical awakening. In the festival of deepawali, the earthen diya  (see photo) and light have a strong message where the diya represents humbleness, selflessness, thoughtfulness and above all unity."

ANOTHER RUMOUR WRONG. Sorry, anti-bloggers, you're wrong again. Bainimarama wasn't waiting to be president. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has been reappointed. The official ceremony is at 11am today. Rush, or you will miss it.  And don't forget to dress appropriately: no canvas, jeans, or flip flops.

WELCOME MOVE BY SDL. In a welcome about face, the ousted SDL Party says the Constitution Commission and its head, Yash Ghai, should be given all the support from the people, and especially the regime, to complete its work. The party says the people of Fiji see this Commission as the best way forward in the political dead end Fiji has been in since 2006 when the military overthrew the government. The party said it is unfortunate the Commission chair has been constrained by what it calls unnecessary hassles from government which will not help his work.

There has been a fundamental shift in the SDL position. First, it condemned the commission calling it illegal and its commissioners illegally appointed.  Then, together with the other old political parties, it made a submission to the Commission that basically called for a return, with a few minor changes, to the status quo of 2006. Now, following the apparent fallout between Ghai and the PM, it makes its first positive move in six years. We look forward to more. -- Based on Radio NZI.


CCF: AMENDMENTS UNWARRANTED. The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum has stated the amendments to the Fiji Constitutional Process  (Constitution Commission) and Fiji Constitutional Process (Constituent Assembly and Adoption of Constitution) Decree 2012 means that government, and the Commission,  have  reneged on their  assurance that citizens would have an  opportunity to express their views and make comments on the draft constitution before it goes to the Constituent Assembly.

The amendments  mean that neither the Constitution Commission nor  the Constituent Assembly are  empowered to  present the draft Constitution to the people  for their comments or hold public meetings for the collection of submissions or the hearing of views on the draft..

The amendments could also deter individual citizens and groups from accepting appointments to the Constituent Assembly, as the amendments further prohibit the Constituent Assembly from debating the views of the people of Fiji on the draft.

It is vital that the members of the Constituent Assembly be permitted to take the draft constitution to their constituents, to get feedback before they can constructively debate these issues in the Assembly’s deliberations as this is the first time Fiji has resorted to a Constituent Assembly in the absence of a democratically elected parliament.

The amendments to the decree also bring into question the assurance by the Bainimarama government that the Constituent Assembly will consider the draft constitution in an inclusive and transparent process.

We urge the Bainimarama government to reconsider the amendments and allow the Constituent Assembly to consult the citizens on the draft constitution as in the end, the path to legitimacy will be based on the peoples’ acceptance and confidence in the final document; that it does reflect their views..-- Based on CCF media release.


Comment. To place the CCF statement in perspective, it needs to be said that this constitution will have seen far fuller discussion that any previous constitution and  it is being drafted by a more legally able and representative team.  Restrictions on discussion prior to the submission of the draft to the Constituent Assembly is regrettable and is rightly opposed by the CCF, but  I cannot see why the Assembly, if it is truly representative of a wide spectrum of public opinion, needs to refer its deliberations on the draft to the public. Nor am I sure it was ever intended. No parliament acts in this way, short of a referendum or general election,  and if even further discussion is called for, one must ask when the process will end. Further debate on the Constitution after the Assembly meets will distract attention from preparations for the elections in 2014. Fiji needs to move on. 

PM WARNS PROFITEERS. Speaking at the opening of investor Bobby Khan's $3,000,000 Votualevu Shopping Complex, the PM reiterated his government's commitment to fostering business:

"My government assists businesses because they provide people with jobs and sustainable livelihoods. Jobs and a sustainable livelihood lifts people out of poverty. But businesses also have a responsibility to play by the rules and ensure fairness for customers," he said. Government has reduced or zero-rated duty to make goods more affordable for ordinary Fijians but certain business houses that import these goods do not reduce prices accordingly. They reap huge profits at the expense of government and the consumers." Such businesses are "on notice that we are watching them closely and we will take the necessary action to remedy this greed. We are building a Fiji to ensure that all Fijians benefit from our policies. We will not allow these policies to be thwarted by a few," he said.

Investor Khan said the shopping complex is destined to revolutionise shopping at Carreras, housing U Save Supermarket, a seafood shop, a DVD movie outlet and vegetable markets. It is the first in a series of investments. Others being considered are a resort near Sonaisali and possibly a new hospital. Khan welcomed government's  foresight in allowing the dual citizenship which "brought me back home after being away for 22 years."

FSC DEBT DOWN. It's not all bad news in the sugar industry. Increased mill efficiency, high sugar content in standing crops and huge reductions in debt are signalling the return of the sugar industry to its former glory according to Sugar Permanent Secretary LtCol Manasa Vaniqi. When government took over in 2010 FSC debts were $175 million. Last year, thanks to reforms and financial readjustments, debt had been reduced to $36 million.

Vaniqi said, "There was a lot of speculation among naysayers and calls for the government to sell off the FSC but we had faith in the reforms and after extensive consultations with experts, we have managed to come through despite two major natural disasters." The two floods earlier this year had reduced cane production by 400,000 tonnes resulting in a total crop of 1.6 million tonnes this year  but if all goes well next year should see a full recovery.

MY THANKS TO PETER FIRKIN AND FIJITODAY for this: "The attacks on Croz for rightly declaring he was sponsored by the Fiji Government on his recent junket are absurd. It is premature to say his report will be a whitewash for the government. We must wait and see but he has been upfront about the circumstance of the visit and for this we must give him some Kudos. While I disagree with him not asking the opinions of those opposed to what is happening in Fiji, I do however know he spoke to Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi and this interview alone is worth the wait. Wait and read  the message before you decide to shoot the messenger." For the record, a half of those I spoke with were "opposed to what is happening in Fiji" to a greater or lesser degree. Peter."

ELECTRONIC VOTER REGISTRATION centres reopened on Saturday giving people another four weeks to register, and those already registered the opportunity to verify their enrolment on the provisional roll. Registration centres opened in Navua, Lami, Suva, Nasinu, Nausori, Korovou and Lautoka on the 10th, and Nadi, Sigatoka, Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki, Labasa, Savusavu, Nabouwalu, and Levuka will open today.

ONE THOUSAND JOBS. More than 1,000 people have found employment through the National Employment Centre since its inception in 2010. According to NEC data, 1,390 people have found jobs with 145 in 2010, 444 in 2011 and just from January to date 801.NEC director Viliame Cagilaba said 2,748 people have registered with NEC this year with 554 people currently undergoing work attachments. Cagilaba said there are also 214 signed employers with the National Employment Centre.


Comments

Croz,
A little Min Info hospitality seems to make you very forgetful.

It is less than 2 months ago that the FSC announced a $120m loan from ANZ. There has been no word this has been repaid. I reckon that means the debt is above $150m.

Please don't repost obvious regime Lies. It does nothing for the credibility of this site as a "balanced" site. It just makes it look like another regime propaganda outlet.
junta thieves said…
Croz
In your junta paid trip to Fiji did you and your misguided missus find out how much the dictator and his puppet master are being paid by the puppet master's aunt? Or have you come to the convclusion they are just thieves stealing from the people of Fiji as you are? And Croz, pay the money back you owe the people of Fiji ASAP!
Sheez Shazzer

How many times do I keep telling you - don't say Holiday Inn, tell me the TraveLodge! That's how I think of it. My memory's not what it used to be and if it's the usual 5pm meeting I've probably consumed a few Aussie Journalistic Medicinals by that time as well. Because of the confusion, I ended up in some joint on Robertson Road. I have to tell you Shazzer, that is not the sophisticated end of Suva the City of Dreams and not the sort of place for a Walkley and Logie-award winning journalist (that's me). When I asked for a Cab Sauv they called a taxi. So I asked for a Pinot Noir and the man said "she's off today." It wasn't going well and I was getting a bit irritated, especially when they brought me some terrible thing called Tribe to drink. I said "Do you know who I am?" and the man said "just wait until you sober up, then we can help you find out." I was getting very angry by now and told the man, "do you know that I have a Walkley AND a Logie?" He said "me too, but the girls don't mind." The company on offer didn't seem to be of a fixed gender and I have to say Shazzer, in my mind's eye you were looking like Miss World Fiji in comparison. Then I started getting hallucinations about the Red Crested Owl of Government Buildings and knew it was time to get out of there.

Cash Guy...Cash Guy - who are you talking about Shazzer? There's quite a lot of Cash Guys in our government after all. I mean the PM and the AG don't mind the folding stuff, half the Cabinet's on the take...who could this be?

As for Crazy Welsh. I got that one, you are a clever minx the way you use these secret codes, lucky I am also clever. Did you know I won a Walkley once? It could have been worse. It's a good thing you gave him that government vehicle. So when some old white dude jumps out of a G-plated Toyota Land Cruiser at Suva Market and says "tell me totally objectively and confidentially what you think of Frank's government" at least people know what to say. But be careful when you pay old farts who left the country years ago to come back to say nice things about your government. You never know how it will end. I mean, with some of them, not all of them. I mean, don't get me wrong. And don't stop sending the cheques.

So you saw our latest strategic move on the scrap metal? It was all getting too hard and the task force was getting bored and there was no budget to pay us allowances so we decided just to ban the trade altogether. A brave official asked us 'where is the logic in that?' Silly man, we said. Because we can. Then we sacked him.

End of Part 1
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Sheez Shazzer ... Please stop piggybacking on this site. We publish original comments, not those you have already shared on your extensive mailing list. But I'll give you a brief mention in my next News and Comments. Why not join me is using your satirical skills to take Fiji forward? Surely, there's something worth your attention in the anti-Bainimarama camp?
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ junta thieves ... I find your comments insulting and unhelpful. Say something that will help Fiji more forward. Put on a new DVD.
Crosbie Walsh said…
This was a continuation of Sheez Shazzer's earlier comment.
Croz,

We have a major difference of opinion where Fiji is heading under Bainimarama You believe forward to a true democracy. I believe we will be continuing our journey to a true dictatorship. As such I feel by posting Shazzer's emails on your blog site i am making a very small contribution to moving Fiji forwards. Anything that highlights the lies, hypocrisy and corruption of the regime has to be a good thing.

I really find it incredible that any intelligent individual can fall for the dictator's lies and hypocrisy. We all know the Constituent Assembly is going to be filled with a cross section made up entirely of Bainimarama Yes Men. They will agree to anything he tells them to do. To believe otherwise is just contrary to all the evidence and his past behaviour.

So my friend Long Live Shazzer and Grubby and I hope you will raise a glass in their honour this evening. You can be sure they will both be raising more than one in dishonour

Hugs and Kisses (As Shazzer would say)
Boring Shazza said…
Initially, Shazzar piqued my interest, but only just.
Very quickly he has has become stale, boring, tedious, vacuous, childish and immature.
Nothing wise or constructive in his articles.
Mostly wisecracks that have have lost their appeal already.
Shazza doesn't understand wisecracks have limited shelf life.
His articles are obviously a big turn on for him.
Not for me, and I suspect many others.
Most people can spot a boaster when they see one.
People can tolerate a show off for only so long.

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