Showing posts from November 25, 2012

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

 Burglar Alarm
During one of my visits to farmers I went into a settlement in Lautoka which is about five minutes drive towards the sea from the main road in Natabua Lautoka. The   little tin shack is made of flattened 44 gallon drums.  The home sits right in the middle of a vegetable and cassava plantation. 
After handing over farm implements I asked the owner if I could have a look around his compound. We came to a waist high fence that had empty tuna cans tied neatly together at various intervals. When I asked what they were for the owner said, “Qori noqu burglar alarm.” 
He went on to say that because he lives in such an isolated place his home often gets burgled. I am amazed that his home gets burgled because he is a squatter and lives in dire poverty. His home is bare and the roof leaks, yet people still rob him. 
How cruel can that be!
But the empty tuna cans is an ingenious device and he said that it has alerted his family many times when people try to climb over and the tins rattl…

Temporary Folly

By Dr Sudarsan Kant*

The recent series of vignettes on the principal actors in Fiji’s constitutional drama by Dr. Walsh is a noteworthy reminder of how high the stakes are regarding the future of the country we love and deeply care about. We should be grateful for the yeoman work he is doing in helping us untangle some of the strands in the story thus far and hope that in due time, a clearer picture will emerge for the way forward. It is tempting to jettison the national project of building a better constitution because of current disagreements, but that would be a grave mistake and I concur with  him that this is a temporary wrinkle between men of goodwill and ought to be resolved for the sake of the nation.

A distressing feature of politics in Fiji is the notion that politics is always a zero-sum game and therefore pursued via a scorched-earth policy often to the detriment of society. The current standoff involving the Prime …

News and Comments Friday 30 November 2012

UNION TO FORM  POLITICAL PARTY. The news that the Fiji Trade Union Congress will disassociate itself from the Fiji Labour Party, the party it helped found in 1985, and form its own political party for the 2014 election, comes as no surprise. Nor does the reaction of the FLP's Mahendra Chaudhry  who dismissed the news as "basically the creation of the two unionists, and they do not even represent Fiji's union movement." Although, with the FLP almost a Chaudhry family affair, this does seem to be a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

FTUC President, Daniel Urai told ABC's Pacific Beat on Tuesday that the FLP has betrayed its foundation values and "has seemed more like only looking after one ethnic group and just one group of farming community."

Urai denies he is giving the Bainimarama government legitimacy by forming a party to stand at the 2014 elections. He says he and his supporters are "between the devil and the deep blue sea ...You…

News and Comments Thursday 29 November 2012

FREE INTERNET ACCESS FOR FIJI. Fiji’s Government is soon expected to provide free internet and data access for Fijians across the country. The move was announced yesterday at the opening of  the Tele-centre at Nukuloa School along the Lautoka/Ba corridor by acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Another seven Tele-centres will  be opened at other locations around the country in the coming weeks.

“This is one of the Government’s most important initiatives – to provide free access to the internet for ordinary Fijians. This is a way we can bridge the digital divide between rich and poor and rural and urban people in Fiji,” he said. 

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that ten more centres would be established in 2013 as part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to forge a smarter, better connected and more modern Fiji. “Only about 25-thousand Fijians have regular access to a fix-lined internet connection at the moment and we believe that this initiative will improve that figure dramatically,” …

News and Comments Wednesday 28 November 2012

FIJI TIMES PLEADS GENUINE MISTAKE. Lawyer John Apted  said the FijiTimeswould print a front page apology for publishing a a story from NZ's Sunday Star Times that questioning the integrity of the judiciary. [Readers should be aware that while anyone can criticise a judicial judgement, no one anywhere can criticise the integrity of the judiciary without breaking the law.]

Apted explained that the deputy sports editor had reviewed the story and made a wrong decision as he was not aware of the legal implications.Following the incident, the newspaper has instituted further training and constant newsroom meetings.He said the rule of the newsroom now is that if you cannot get a story reviewed, leave it out of the paper. Apted said further steps are being taken to strengthen the system.He said that every day at 8pm, the general manager and the publisher are sent a list of stories with a summary.

The Fiji Times position was made more difficult because of its failure to attract staff at th…

News and Comments Tuesday 27 November 2012

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 Cessio…

Let's Be Honest: Address by the PM

An address to the Nation by the Prime Minister Voqere Bainimarama
I announced one of the biggest spending programmes in Fiji’s history. We’re providing more money for families in need, for the elderly, for housing, for education, for our police, our prisons and for access to justice for all.

More money for rural communities, for sport and to teach young people new skills. And we’re also putting more money into the hands of many ordinary Fijians by raising the tax threshold – the point where tax kicks in – to $16-thousand a year.

We’re also cutting the price of electricity by five cents a unit so that families don’t have to be so anxious about their power bills.

But there is one item of spending in the 2013 budget that outstrips all others. And I want to explain to Fijian families why it is necessary and what it will mean for us all.

Every Fijian knows how bad our roads are. It isn’t just the time it takes to get anywhere or the punishment our vehi…