Showing posts from May 13, 2012

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.
                     Hope of Progress

I hope there'll be positive progress in the Constitution process, and thatgovernment will soon appoint more civilians to head the various posts in government, rendering the situation — government of the people.

 And as for complacency, bureaucracy and procrastination in government, I sincerely hope it will be a thing of the past by the next general elections.  If you compare the services of a private company to that of some government offices, the private companies have far better customer service.

It is true that some government departments have improved, but others need a very healthy dose of pure adrenaline (or something stronger) to keep them moving…

Police Confessions

                                                           By Taveuni

A comment on Fiji’s supreme court decision last week to turn down the appeal by Dip Chand of Rakiraki who was convicted of killing three sisters in June 2005, and imprisoned for five  years.

The primary basis for the original conviction and the recent rejection of the appeal is a confession made by Dip Chand to the police. The supreme court judges also referred to some circumstantial evidence but the print media did not provide details of this. Some DNA evidence implicated him to the crime but how rigorously this evidence was examined is not clear.

My main concern is our police and the way in which confessions are obtained, and then used in our courts to convict people.

Poverty and Destitution

Fr Kevin J. Barr
It was of great concern to learn that the Ministry for Social Welfare plans to remove over 3,000 recipients of the Family Assistance Programme (FAP). The Permanent Secretary, Mr Govind Sami, was reported as saying that they were disqualified on the grounds that they “were no longer eligible to receive welfare assistance” as per the existing social welfare criteria.

A Journalist's Lot is Not a Happy One

A personal note
Years ago I was a cadet reporter on the Christchurch Star-Sun. I was 20 years old, had been round the earth one and a half times, and I had good university passes in English and Geography. I'd dropped out of History and Economics because I needed to work to live. I spent two months as a copyholder in the proofreading room and when I was eventually allowed to report anything it was the AGM of the Shirley Bowling Club.  My story and all subsequent stories were closely scrutinised by the sub-editor before it went to press.  I became a journalist for the interest, the glamour, the salary and the career prospects. 

How does my experience compare with typical reporters in Fiji?

Rotuma Day Address by the Chief Justice

I'm  a little late in publishing it but the CJ's words are still very pertinent

Emerging Investigative Journalism

AUCKLAND (Pacific Journalism Review / Pacific Media Watch): Universities are part of an emerging investigative journalism culture that is pushing boundaries on models of collaboration and international inquiries, say the editors of the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review.

Aust NZ Will Help Voter Registration

Experts from Australia and New Zealand, facilitated by their respective governments, will work with the Fijian government to register its voters for the national election scheduled in 2014.  They will join a logistical expert from the RFMF in creating a deployment plan for the upcoming electronic voter registration (EVR) period scheduled to begin in early July.
 “For the first time in Fiji’s history, the Bainimarama Government is guaranteeinguniversal suffrage- one person, one value, one vote,” said Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. 
“Comprehensive and thought-out logistical planning is necessary to ensure that each and every Fijian has the opportunity and ability to register.”
With a population of slightly less than 900,000, spread across more than 110 islands, the scale of this undertaking is immense. The logistical and technical requirements for such a process, most notably transportat…

Government Response to March Cancellation

The following statement was released by the Fijian Attorney-Genral Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum :
The permit for the LGBTIQ march was cancelled by the police, the authority authorized to grant permits, following their professional assessment.
The Bainimarama Government strongly stands by its policy of non-discrimination. The cancellation of the permit does not in any way reflect a change in this policy.
The Bainimarama Government has put in place measures that assure that there is no discrimination between one group and another; one Fijian and another. Every Fijian is treated equally under the law.
In a clear break from previous governments, it is the Bainimarama government that has institutionalized non-discrimination by changing the policies of the past and enacting legal reforms insuring equal rights for those suffering from HIV-AIDS, victims of domestic violence and establishing gender neutrality in the law.

News and Comments Friday 18 May

WEEKEND READING  • Allen Lockington Column • Police Confessions • Poverty and Destitution • A Journalist's Lot is Not a Happy One • Emerging Investigative Journalism

. "My beloved uncle and mentor, Sir Moti Tikaram (a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji, former President of the Fiji Court of Appeal and Fiji's first Ombudsman) passed away last night in Suva, Fiji. May his soul rest in peace." - from Julian Moti QC

AUSTRALIA'S CARR SOURS JAPAN-FIJI RELATIONS.  The Japanese government had invited PM Bainimarama to an international conference in Japan until Carr, probably fearful of losing critical trade union support for the struggling Labor government, persuaded Japan to withdraw the invitation. Click here to see what Grubsheet says.

A GOVERNMENT POLITICAL PARTY FOR 2014?  Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said there have been no discussions within government about forming a political party.

This, of course, does not mean discussions may not…

Homosexuals are Citizens, Too

                                 By Fair Minded
“The last minute withdrawal of the permit to allow the sexual minority group (LGBT) to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by the Fiji authorities reveals a reactionary and non-inclusive side of the current government.  A month ago the authorities including the police approved the permit application for the march to mark the day. Representatives of sexual minorities and human rights advocates spent a lot of time and resources in preparation for the event. However, on the eve of the peaceful walk through the city, the police cancelled the permit for ‘security reasons’. The organisers were told on Friday morning, just hours before the march was to take place n that the permit has been withdrawn.
In my view, and many agree with me, this action has nothing whatsoever to do with security but has much to do with a mindset that is intolerant towards sexual minorities and their treatment as equal citizens of t…

News and Comments Tuesday 15 May 2014

The Constitution Process: 
Far more tact needed
I don't know whether the process has started well or not but everyone involved —or who wants to be involved— needs to be very careful how they word their concerns and, before speaking, think how they'd like to be on the receiving end of their remarks. The last six years has understandably left many people with very thin skins. 

So far, much that has been said reminds me of the pugnacious and insensitive style of the old politics.

Both Professors Ghai and Murray pointed to the need to lift 'restrictive' legislation but Prof Ghai also complimented Government on its work so far.

Not so, some local commentators who jumped to endorse the professors' concern but had nothing complimentary and little positive to say about anything else.

NFP's Pramod Rae, for example, wants the terms of reference for the Constitution Assembly gazetted, which is fair enough, but did he need to add "so that there are no surprises and a… � ‘Fairer, ethical’ reporting can help protect media, says blogger academic

Constitution Consultation will Help Economy

The announcement of the Constitution consultation will have a direct bearing on improving Fiji’s economic growth, says Economist Professor Biman Prasad.

Professor Prasad said historically, Fiji’s economic growth has been linked closely with political stability. He said looking  back at Fiji’s economic history for the last 25 years, one would  note that there was an average of only two to 2.5 percent economic growth. Prof Prasad said the first period of political instability adversely affecting  the economy was only  offset when political dialogue commenced between 1994 and 1995.

“The result of that 25 years of stagnation is the poverty and other social issues that we have in the country today and not because of the past five years. I think we need to understand that.

“That is why, from an economic point of view, the announcement of the Constitutional consultations is a very, very good one. In fact, the start of the work on the Constitution itself can generate the kind of confidence in…

News and Comments Monday 14 May 2012

MISS FIJI AND ROTUMA DAY COVERAGE BLOCK OUT IMPORTANT POSTINGS.   A sad human drama and a happy national event have probably caused readers to overlook the other weekend readings. Of much longer national importance is the fate of the Constitution Commission.

 I encourage readers who have not already done so to scroll down to my article on the Commission.  It provides a good background to the constitution and electoral events that will unfold in coming weeks. It is no exaggeration to say the future of Fiji  will hang on the outcome.  See also Graham Davis's comments in Grubsheet.

OLD PARTIES PREPARE FOR TALKS. The National Federation Party (NFP), for long the party that represented most Indo-Fijians until it lost the remainder of its parliamentary seats to the Fiji Labour Party (FLP) in the 2006 elections, met on Friday to discuss its submissions to the Constitution Commission. General secretary, Parmod Rae, said: “The party’s preparations will involve extensive interactions with va…