Showing posts from October 21, 2012

Inappropriate and Appropriate Models

I remember years ago in Niue  noting that the agricultural programme was based on the NZ model. No local trees were used in afforestation; the imported sheep died, and no attempt was made to improve the local pigs or chickens.  Similarly, in PNG, the slopes behind Port Moresby were declared by the Australian administration  as unsuitable for agriculture.  But they were used by squatters from the Highlands to grow cash crops and could have been more sustainable  had they followed Filipino examples. I wonder also what's happened to the extensive via plantations that  once fed densely populated Rewa in pre-contact days. Would another, non-Western, tropical  model have sustained or extended production?

Rebuffed by its Australian and NZ mentors, the  Fiji Government has "Looked North" for new friends and development partners. This has  led to visits by officials and ordinary people to countries such as India, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia, and the transfer of  some te…

PM Straight Talking on Land Policies and Reforms

Address to the  Annual TLTB Strategic Corporate Planning Workshop Warwick Fiji Resort, Monday  22th Oct., 2012

Members of the Board of Trustees;
Senior management and Staff of the iTaukei Land Trust Board;
Permanent Secretaries and CEOs;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you.

As Chairman of the Board and Minister for iTaukei Affairs, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to address this most important of our nation’s institutions and its staff.

Since 1940, the TLTB has been entrusted with the task of administering and managing iTaukei lands- to lease them, to collect and distribute rent, and above all to maintain the integrity of those holdings to benefit the landowners.

As landlord of at least 90% of the land in Fiji, the TLTB is also responsible for ensuring that iTaukei lands are accessible for development purposes: that they are used as productively as possible. It is no exaggeration to say that the success of the Fijian economy is dependent on the success and moder…

Sugar's $40,000 Hiccups Could Spark Major Reforms

Smallholder farming replaced sugar plantations when the Australian-owned Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) left Fiji in the 1920s, and for many years it provided a reasonable livelihood for some 23,000 mainly Indo-Fijian farmers, 21,000 mainly iTaukei seasonal workers (most from inland villages), rentals for iTaukei landowners, multiple downstream earnings in the sugar towns of the West and North, and made sugar the largest contributor to government revenues. Until 1988 sugar it was also Fiji's major export.

Since then almost everything has gone downhill. Leases and the sugar industry have become political footballs. Between 1997 and 2002 only 48% of leases were renewed and it has got no better since.  Government is at odds with the FLP and the smallholders association it dominates. World sugar prices have dropped resulting in small margins and less investment in weedkillers and fertilizers. Production per hectare and sugar per cane tonne have declined. The Indo-Fijians small…

Allen Lockington Column

Don't Give up Mr Siga
What a pity that a group of former inmates have lost about $13,000 worth of tilapia from their fish farm. We have these men trying their best to return to society and mak a decent living and this has to happen. Whether from natural causes or vandalism, I hope the police and the fisheries department track down the death of the 8000 fish.
Many of us have reached out to help former inmates re-gather their lives in the hope that they will integrate with society and to see this I feel for them.
To Penisai Siga, bro, keep on doing what you have been doing and never give up.

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. 

Police probe death of 8000 fish
A GROUP of former inmates lost about $13,000 after 8000 tilapia from …

Could Such a Man Want a Christian State?

Weekend Reading.  • Allen Lockington column • Sugar Hiccups and the need for major reforms • Straight talking on the land issue by the PM
 • Inappropriate and Appropriate Models for Fiji by Croz Walsh

Much has been made of the presence of Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi at the presentation of the Bau submission to the Constitution Commission which urged making Fiji a Christian State. The suggestion is that Ratu Joni supported each and every part of the submission. I do not think so. I think he was present as Roko Tui Bau, the leader of his vanua who, having explained his position, abided by the majority decision of others, while keeping his musket dry for other opportunities to influence opinions.
Rishab Nair, writing in the Fiji Economic Forum on Facebook is of similar opinion but is disappointed Ratu Joni appeared to support all the Bau submission. He writes: “Somehow I think that's not his own personal feelings. He was after all the most liberal [of people] and someone I looked up to. Well…

News and Comments Thursday 25 October 2012

PEACEKEEPERS' SUBMISSION. The  submission by Fiji's Peacekeeping Veterans Group (PVG) to the Constitution Commission last week called for compulsory military training for men and women from all races aged between  of 18 and 21. PVG co-ordinator Taniela Senikuta said military recruitment would  help youths build their character, become disciplined and help curb crime. The next item suggests that this is not necessarily so.

EXCESSIVE FORCE. There has been no further statement from the police concerning the escaped prisoners who robbed the Bank of the South Pacific in Nabua, Suva, and were subsequently arrested by a combined police and army team.   The prisoners are reported to have resisted arrest. All were severely beaten and were hospitalised for a week.  One of them has since had his leg amputated.

I find it incredible that police and army did not immediately condemn the excessive use of force and say that those responsible would be appearing before disciplinary committees. T…

News and Comments Wednesday 24 October 2012

TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE THE 1997 CONSTITUTION? I think too many people are making an issue out of this question. 

FijiToday even claims the "PMs Office interferes in the work of the the Constitutional Commission by stating what it can and cannot recommend",  and in their submissions the old political parties have asked for the resurrection of the 1997 Constitution saying there's little wrong with it that cannot be easily amended. 

This view also incidentally coincides with their own best political interests. Tinker with the election issues, leaving some communal (racial) representation, give more power to parliament and a little less to the President and the resurrected Great Council of Chiefs, and make sure Bainimarama is locked up for a long time.

Predictably, the Bainimarama side does not agree. People should forget about any possibility of the 1997 Constitution being reinstated, says Kisoko Cagituivei from the  Prime Minister's Office. He says their calls are impossi…
I take pleasure in publishing this notice about a most worthy cause.  Please also read this poster (click here) about their work.  It will take less than ten seconds to download- Croz
To Whom It May Concern.
Thank you very much for your support of the Friends of the Pacific Foundation. This letter sets out a brief background to, and the objectives of, FPF.
FPF is a New Zealand-based trust that seeks to improve the health outcomes for the poor and needy people of Fiji and the rest of the Pacific by focussing on three key objectives: To coordinate the delivery of a range of medical services by volunteers, both in teams and as individuals. This is to ensure the delivery of medical expertise that is either not available or to enable existing staff to take leave or be up-skilled. To coordinate the collection and delivery of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and consumables to hospitals and medical clinics. This is through a network of suppliers of new and reconditioned supplies. To …

News and Comments Monday 22 October 2012

A THOUGHT TO START THE  WEEK. Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better. -- Richard Hooker.

MY VIEWS ON THE OLD AND NEW SENATE. The old Senate comprised 32 members, 14 of whom were appointed by the President on the advice of the Great Council of Chiefs to represent the 14 provinces, 9 by the Prime Minister, 8 by the Leader of the Opposition, and one by the Council of Rotuma. The old senate reflected chiefly power and replicated parliament without adding anything to its skills or representativeness.

The new Senate could be an assembly of some 24 representative experts with authority to receive public petitions, advise Government, and perhaps defer certain legislation for further parliamentary consideration.

Membership could, for example,  comprise the Vice-President as chairman, and one or two representatives each from  designated sections of society such as the professions, educationalists, lawyers, accountants, environmental scientists, trade unions, employer…