News and Comments Tuesday 27 November 2012
|A leopard never changes its spots|
WHERE IS THE TUI CAKAU? In 2001 Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the Tui Cakau and head of the Tovata confederacy, was elected to parliament as a leading member of the ultra-nationalist CAMV party many of whose members had supported the 2000 Speight Coup that overthrew the democratically elected coalition government led by Mahendra Chaudhry.
Following the 2001 election, the CAMV joined a coalition led by Qarase's SDL party, and he was appointed Minister of Lands and Mineral Resources. Ratu Kamisese Mara's daughter, Adi Koila Nailatikau, spoke up against his appointment, saying she held him responsible for the burning of her father's cane farm at Matailakeba in Seaqaqa in the midst of the army mutiny at Sukanaivalu Barracks in Labasa on July 29, 2000. He denied this and other charges that claimed he supported the mutiny, saying but for his intervention mutineer supporters would have ransacked Labasa but he spent a short time behind bars.
In 2003, 129 years after the Deed of Cession, Ratu Naiqama said political authority should be returned to the chiefs because it was the chiefs who had ceded Fiji to the British Crown. He wanted Senate to be abolished and its duties taken over by the Great Council of Chiefs.
As the 2006 elections approached, the CAMV party declared itself bankrupt and prominent members, including Ratu Naiqama, joined the SDL party. He was appointed Minister for Fijian Affairs and Minister of Lands and Provincial Government,and in the months leading up to the military coup in December 2006, he was a strong advocate for the three bills, opposed by the military and many other citizens, that would have given the Speight plotters immunity and iTaukei further rights over their land and fisheries. Qarase's refusal to permanently withdrawn these Bills was the reason given by Bainimarama to carry out the Coup.
Since the 2006 Coup he has opposed each and every move by the Bainimarama government. He told iTaukei not to sign the People's Charter and Cakaudrove chiefs to oppose any land being made over for land bank development.
He is clearly a man who believes chiefs are born to rule and lead their people. With these thought in mind, and not forgetting his political record and ministerial responsibilities, we ask how the situation described below could have occurred in his province under his leadership and how his people can possibly have benefited.
The agricultural situation
Senior Agricultural officer Savusavu, Esava Tuimoala, told the Cakaudrove Provincial Council
last week that fewer Taukei were "planting on the land around them as the source of their food ... [they] opted to eat commercially manufactured food sold in shops rather than plant their own fresh produce."
"The ministry," he said, "is setting its target at reducing the purchase of imported goods when they can be produced locally and consumed directly from farms. We are encouraging people to grow their own food for personal consumption, for occasions and for commercial purposes. Government is concerned about who will take over from farmers in using land that is currently lying idle. Hence we are encouraging farmers to use the empty farm land that we have."
As Fiji braces itself for the cyclone season from November to April, the agricultural officer asked about "local and traditional knowledge to conserve food and store supplies."
He could also have asked (but being iTaukei, was probably too respectful of chiefly authority, to ask) what Ratu Naiqama has been doing to encourage the fuller use of land, more self-sufficiency, cyclone preparedness, and other measures to improve the living standards of his people.
How could a worthy Tui Cakau allow such a dismal under use of resources by his people!
CAKAUDROVE MATAQALI REJECTS WATER AUTHORITY REQUEST for the lease of land at Savusavu for the construction of a sewerage plant. Tui Nasavusavu Ratu Suliano Naulu said the decision by the mataqali did not mean they disagreed with having development in Savusavu. The only reason for not agreeing to the proposal, he said, was because they wanted the mataqali members to make use of the land because of its small size. He said the piece of land wanted by WAF was not sufficient for such a development.
He did not suggest another, large and more suitable, piece of land. Which raises the question: Genuine response? Or an ingenious (clever at contriving) Ratu Naiqama-style refusal?
UNION LEADER SAYS WAGE INCREASES OKAY BUT ... Fiji Public Service Association General Secretary, Rajeshwar Singh has welcomed the pay increases for established and unestablished Government workers but said other civil servants should have also been given a pay rise.
All established civil servants with an annual salary below $10,000 will get an increase to go to the $10,000 level while unestablished workers or government wage earners will get a 10% pay rise. This will benefit 4,541 government employees. The pay increments will be effective from January 1st next year and a bonus system will also be introduced for the civil service.
Meanwhile, as announced in this year’s National Budget, there was a 3% pay increase across the whole of government from 1st January this year.All nurses and doctors also received an additional 3% pay increase which means that they received a 6%increase in total in 2012.Police officers also received a 9% pay rise this year. Government said the increase in salary for unestablished workers and civil servants at the low scale is to balance economic and social development.The cost of the pay increase is $5.7m
FNPF BIG GAIN. The Fiji National Provident Fund has recorded a net surplus of $115 million, even after paying out $127 million to pensioners who opted for a lump sum withdrawal.CEO Aisake Taito
said the pleasing result was due to strong performances from the Fund’s investment portfolio. Total members balance grew by $200m to $3.2b compared to $3blast year.
SOMETIMES THE ANTI-GOVERNMENT BLOGS ARE PATHETIC. There are sound reasons to criticise the Bainimarama government on a number of counts as this blog has shown, but criticisms of the anti-government blogs sometimes verges on the imbecilic.
Two recent examples, from Sai Lealea's Fiji Coup 2006 and copied by Matavuvale, concern the promotion of Lt Col Inia Seruiratu from a permanent secretary to Minister for Agriculture, and Fiji's rugby loss to Ireland.
On the ministerial appointment Sai reminds us that Bainimarama swore no military officer would benefit from coup but now military personnel "are inhabiting government roles without proper procedures being followed." He claims they all are unqualified for the positions because they lack academic training and qualifications. They have "just military experiences. And much more experienced and academically qualified people have been overlooked, dismissed or run out of the civil service by the Bainimarama thug machine."
He finds it "sad and disgusting" that the appointment was made with all the trappings and ceremony as if they are legal and proper. Even worse when the person in question and the family thrive and lap up the limelight of such contrived occasion.
Sai seems unaware that officer training includes far more than "experience" and that senior officers have passed examinations as rigorous as many academic examinations. He also seems unaware that permanent secretary (but not ministerial) positions are advertised, and the processes of appointment are as transparent as they always were. The truth is Sai does not like the Bainimarama government and he would find fault with whatever it does.
Military "torture man" causes rugby loss
This is even more obvious is in his posting blaming the team manager "military Torture Man, Major Aseri Rokoura" for the 53:0 loss against Ireland and the earlier 54:12 loss against England. Sai put the losses down to low morale caused by the imposition of Rokoura's "enforcing military-style discipline on team members."
Not to waste an opportunity Sai adds: "Rokoura is just being a carbon copy of his tyrannical master, Dictator Bainimarama whose every order he follows to the letter, including the torture and abuse of innocent civilians taken up to the military camp in Suva." Huh! Who? When? 2007 or later?
Sai seems a little out of touch with news from Fiji but he's up with the play trying to make some money out of advertising on his blog. Go there if you are a 53-yr-old woman who wants to look 25 ("Mom publishes 1 simple wrinkle trick that has angered doctors) or visit "Zoosk Personals. Still single? So are we? Browse free."
Sai, I don't like to be overly critical. We have mutual friends. But if you intend to continue publishing,
criticise the Bainimarama government on important issues, check your facts and try to keep up to date. Take a check on your anger. Use your head.