Showing posts from July 15, 2012

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Delightful Letter
I don't often receive letters or postcards in the mail. Mail meaning those things that come from the Post Office. Well last week I received a most welcome postcard all the way from Levuka. It was sent by a good friend who has called the Old Capital home. His message was, “Keep this postcard on your kato-ni-wai-liliwa to remind you where you should move.” The caption on the  card referring to the photos says – Levuka is the main town on the island of Ovalau, Fiji. It is situated just east of Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. Levuka was once the capital of Fiji. Levuka is situated on the ocean, and fishing is a major industry and pastime there.

Most of my correspondence these days is by  email. Just imagine what life would have been without the Internet. Here are some of my thoughts on what we used to do before the Internet came into our lives.

Without the Internet we would be playing sports or going for a bus ride. We would be out on the road going for a walk. We…

A Comprehensive Assessment of Fiji Today

by Fr Kevin J. Barr
Two years ago I was asked to write an Assessment of the Fiji situation as I saw it. Now I have been asked once again to reflect on the current situation and make an assessment of Fiji today.
Two years ago I wrote:

“Unlike the 1987 and 2000 coups which were carried out in the name of ‘indigenous Fijian rights’, this coup was in the name of multiculturalism. Moreover, while the 1987 and 2000 coups sought to protect the economic interests of certain business and traditional elites, this coup aimed to address corruption and economic mismanagement and see that the economy works in the interest of all Fiji’s people (35% - 40% of whom live below the poverty line). Moreover, the Bainimarama government says it wants to return Fiji to real democracy and that his coup was a coup to end all future coups.”
How well have the aims of the 2006 Coup been fulfilled? I guess the big question now is how well have the aims of the December 2006 coup been fulfilled?
Combatting racism In t…

The Plight of the Kai Solomoni

On Monday we published  an account of the meeting of the PM with descendants of Solomon Island indentured labourers (Kai Solomoni) who were celebrating the 34th anniverary of Solomon Island Independence.  This is my review  of Rev. Winston Halapua's book on the Kai Solomoni.

Halapua, Winston, Living on the Fringe: Melanesians of Fiji. Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva. 2001. pp.152. 1 Between 1865 and 1911 some eighty thousand indentured labourers arrived in Fiji, some to return home after their three, five or ten year indenture, some to be recruited again, but many to stay and make Fiji their home. The first indentured labourers were from nearby islands— mainly from Kiribati, Malekula in Vanuatu, and Malaita in the Solomons— but their high mortality rates, opposition to ethnic Fijian involvement in the new money economy, and the ongoing demand for manual labour on the European-owned plantations, saw labour recruiters turn first to Calcutta and t…

News and Comments Frday 20 July 2012

WEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington reflects on the pre-internet era • Fr Barr provide a "state of the nation" account of Fiji today • I review a book by Rev Winston Halapua on the KaiSolomoni people at Wailoku.  

(I am currently working on an article about the A-G taking the Rev Akuila Yabaki and the CCF to court on a contempt charge and may publish it during the weekend.) 

NEW PORT FOR LABASA. Macuata and Sasa tikina leaders have agreed their qoliqoli (fishing) area can be used to build a new port of entry for Labasa, Vanua Levu's main town.Macuata’s paramount chief, Ratu Aisea Katonivere, applauded Government for allowing the Native Lands Commission (NLC) and the Office of the Roko Tui Macuata to lead the process of discussions, rather than Government itself.He said the Middle Point port would boost investment opportunities in the Northern  Division.“The Look North Policy is now turning into a reality as the construction of a port of entry is underway.” 

Citizens’ Constitutional Forum Limited 23 Denison Road, PO Box 12584, Suva, Fiji Phone: [679] 3308 379 Fax: [679] 3308 380 E-mail: Website:

Media Release (For Immediate Release)19th July 2012
THE suspension of Section 8 of the amended Public Order Act must be seen for what it really is – an initial step towards the removal of restrictions on the freedom of expression placed on all Fijians.
Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki stresses that, “Critical to this process is the opportunity for Fijians to be able to speak freely about their aspirations and dreams and their fears and frustrations about past, present and future governments.”
“If the discussions on the constitutional process are to be transparent and in order that all people may be apprized of the views of others, the media must be permitted to provide unfettered coverage of discussions, views and consultations,” says Rev Yabaki…

Tupeni Baba's Racist Views on Indo-Fijians

The incredibly confused and racist views of  Tupeni Baba, former Professor of Education at USP,  former Deputy PM under Chaudhry in the FLP-led Government, founder of the New Labour Party in opposition to Chaudhry, currently a member of the SDL party, who is still looking for a political home.   In this email to political friends he tells us what he thinks of Indo-Fijians.  It provides a good example of how a person's perceptions are distorted by their prejudices. 
"Let me just comment briefly on the Indo Fijian situation For them politics is life, it is the only way forward apart from education.They will mortgage their farms and pay for the fees of their children but politics is the leverage through which they can access all the other conditions they cannot access otherwise.
"As a  group that are already been broken up by colonisation and when they came through the 'Girmit' they crossed the 'kala pani' or muddy water(ocean) which means that all their…

DISINFORMATION #7 Dictator Bainimarama off to China for Treatment for his Ailing Health

Another blog, similar to Coup4.5, but less well resoured, is Sai Lealea's FijiCoup2006. Having not been in Fiji since before the 2006 Coup Sai has to rely totally on what others tell him. His story in June is another one of the "Bainimarama is dead-dying-terminally ill-seen staggering-needing support" stories that have been published by anti-Government blogs for over three years. Many, like this one, are associated with trips to China. Here is Sai's  story published on June 6th:

 "The Regime is using a Trade Symposium as the excuse for the illegal Fiji PM is taking visit to China tomorrow! As has been reported recently on this Blog, the Dictator has been bedridden and seriously sick and not been seen at work or be it only fleetingly."

And here's the probable explanation to the mix of truth with false conclusions that typifies his misinformation:

"The PM had the flu about two weeks ago, as did many people in Fiji.It's the cold and flu season h…

Deregister the Old Political Parties

                                                                         Opinion by Crosbie Walsh

Government is clearly uneasy about the activities of the old political parties. Not long ago police raided the SDL headquarters in Suva where some SDL members were sharing a bowl of yaqona (and not having an illegal meeting) and last week police raided a private home in Nadi where a former FLP MP was also conveniently sharing a bowl of yaqona with 14 FLP members and supporters (and not having an illegal meeting). The old parties are waking from their hibernation.
Meetings between SDL's Qarase, FLP's Chaudhry and UPP's Beddoes with a view to presenting common or similar submissions to the Constitution Commission, and possible political cooperation leading up to and after the 2014 elections, hint at future collusion. 

Given that the only thing these three parties have in common is their opposition to the Bainimarama government and their determination to restore the old status quo,…

News and Comments Monday 16 July 2014

ONGOING REVIEWS OF PUBLIC SERVICE PERFORMANCE. Public Service Permanent Secretary Parmesh Chand has announced that the work of two large ministries, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, and Information will be reviewed this year. Particular attention will be given to governance, delegation, policy development, compliance, monitoring and evaluation and quality standards. Over the past two years the following ministries and departments have been reviewed: Education, Health, Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Fisheries and Forests, Agriculture, Public Service Commission, Youth and Sports, and the Office of the Chief Registrar.

Right-sizing could result in outsourcing, corporatisation, management contracting out, mergers and amalgamation. Where established officers become redundant, they will be redeployed elsewhere. Un-established staff will be paid a redundancy amount determined by Cabinet. .Read more on FijiLive.

QARASE NO CASE TO ANSWER. Former Prime Minister La…

Removing Over a 100 Years of Discrimination

Speaking to Fijians of Solomon Islands descent (Kai Solomoni) at the celebration of the 34th independence day of Solomon Islands at Wailoku, Suva, last week, the PM  reaffirmed his call for a united Fiji regardless of descent:

 “We have many histories, many heritages, and many stories. It is this diversity that makes Fiji the dynamic country it is today and that shapes our common identity. My Government has been working to ensure that all Fijians are treated equally and with dignity. Together we stand as Fijians, united as a nation.” 
Spokesman of the Fiji Solomon Islands Descendents Association, Josateki Gusuivalu, said they welcomed Government’s plans to eradicate discrimination:
“We, the descendents of Solomon Islands labourers being for so long the victims of discrimination, stigmatisation, marginalisation and other suppressing laws and policies, are very grateful with the Government’s intention to urgently remove unjustifiable systems, policies and programmes which are based on r…

Update. Competition for the Best Caption: Minister McCully in Samoa

STOP PRESS. It would seem the photo (now removed) is of Minister McCully showing his respects to victims of the tsunami that struck Samoa two years ago.  It is therefore inappropriate and would be disrespectful to make a competition of the photo, but it is not disrespectful in  New Zealand pakeha culture to mix a political point with humour while sniping at political leaders,  as one reader suggests.

The competition for the best caption was prompted by a reader's comment to an earlier posting: "Who allowed this alien to land on earth?"  Can you come up with something as clever or funny or appropriate? Something perhaps that comments on NZ's relations with the Pacific Isands? There are no limits to the number of entries and they can be quite daring so long as they are not personal and stay within the bounds of normal decency.