News and Comments Friday 28 June 2013

SO MUCH IN A WEEK.   Fiji marked the change in name of its national carrier Air Pacific to Fiji Airways with the arrival of a new airbus replete with masi insignia.  Much more is expected of the airline in coming months. The courts, long accused of being subject to political interference, found former PM Laisenia Qarase had "no case to answer" and innocent of charges brought by the corruption commission for his actions in Fiji Holdings Ltd.  And the  judge was a Sri Lankan whose recruitment to the Fiji judiciary has also been criticised by Government opponents!  The PM is presently in Moscow on a trade and investment mission, the first Fijian PM ever to visit Russia. The visit is the latest example of the shift in Fiji's foreign policy that previously focused on Australia, New Zealand, the European community and the USA. And Ro Teimumu, SODELPA's first president, speaking to the party's first meeting, not unsurprisingly  said "For those who knew the old SDL party would know that many of the principles of the old party are embodied in the new Party and other changes which have been brought in..."  
  
PROVINCIAL COUNCILS will soon be providing assistance to all ethnic groups in the 14 provinces. Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary, Savenaca
Kaunisela said previously all provinces that were governed by provincial councils were merely for the iTaukei community. The permanent secretary was speaking at the
launch of the Public Service Day which is part of government’s efforts to improve service delivery. “All provincial councils will soon be servicing all ethnic groups
and assistance would be provided to them through the Roko Tuis ,” Mr Kaunisela said.
“We intend to deal with all ethnic groups from one office within the provincial
council vicinity.” Mr Kaunisela added that all ethnic groups will be able to raise their concerns at the provincial council offices. “The provincial councils will then
redirect their queries to the government ministry responsible to deal with issues that the community may have,” Mr Kaunisela said. He said the Ministry of iTaukei
Affairs, in emphasising service delivery, is working on creating a closer working relationship with all members of the community. “Regardless of whether you are
iTaukei or belong to any other ethnic group, the need to be provided with the correct information is important,” Mr Kaunisela said.

THE PM'S POLITICAL PARTY. How will it share up? Permanent
Secretary to the PM’s Office Pio Tikoduadua has not considered contesting for the 2014 elections. “During this time all I know is that I am the Permanent Secretary to
the PM’’s office and I have not considered anything yet,” Tikoduadua told FijiLive. Also still undecided is Attorney-General and Acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“There is still more work to be done and at this stage and I am still focused on getting all works done before making any decisions,” Sayed-Khaiyum said. Prime
Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama earlier announced that he will be contesting for elections and will be forming his own political party. Bainimarama also
announced that he will be resigning from his post as the Republic of Military Force Commander when he will contest. Under the Political Parties Registration Decree those wishing to register as a political party will need to have 5000 members from the four divisions around the country and should have $5005 as registration fee. The Registrar of Political Parties will then decide on the registration of each application. The decree has also stated that no political party shall be registered during the period commencing on the day of the issue of the writ for Parliamentary election and ending on the day on which the writ is returned.

SWITCHING ALLEGIANCES.  At least one group of villagers in former SDL-held Tailevu is changing sides because no former government has done as much as the present one for them.

VOTING REGISTRATION. Over 500,000 people were registered to vote before Phase III of the electronic registration progress, aimed to "mop up" still unregistered voters in Fiji, that is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The Elections Office will then turn its attention to registering  Fijian citizens living overseas.

Registration involves the taking of photograph and a thumbprint.  The system is expected to eliminate voter fraud by accurately identifying an individual who tries to vote more than once.

UNITED FRONT SIGNATURE GATHERING. The United Front for a Democratic Fiji, made up of the SODELPA, FLP and NFP,  continues to gather signatures against the  draft constitution which has yet to incorporate proposals made during the recent national consultations. Spokesman Mick Beddoes could not say when the petition would be presented. NFP president Raman Pratap Singh said the party still opposes the draft constitution but hopes necessary changes will be made. He wants  the Ghai draft brought back  for negotiations but the PM has already stressed that the Ghai draft will not come back.



DOCTORS SUSPENDED. Two doctors from Lautoka Hospital  have been suspended following preliminary investigations into suggestions of negligence. Although not directly related to negligence that resulted in the death of a tourist last year, this is taken as a sign that the Ministry of Health is becoming more vigilant.

A UNITING FORCE.  This is the view of one observer on the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

Comments

Bhaini's new best friend said…
Here is a recent address from one of Bhaini's new best friends....you are so correct Croz - Fiji under the military junta is moving ahead in leaps and bounds under its contrived form of 'democracy' and will learn a lot from the Russians and their other new friends..

On February 4th, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed
the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions
with minorities in Russia:

"In Russia live Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to
live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and
should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, then we
advise them to go to those places where that's the state law. Russia
does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant
them special privileges, nor try to change our laws to fit their desires,
no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination'. We better learn from the
suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive
as a nation. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with
the lack of culture or the primitive ways of most minorities. When this
honourable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have
in mind the national interest first, observing that the minorities are
not Russians.

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a standing ovation for five
minutes.

Anonymous said…
No comment about what Michael Green said about you in his book on the Muslim Coup in Fiji? Missed it?
Where is the coward Barr said…
Hey Croz
Where is the dribbling idiot Father Barr? The dictator growled at the junta slurper Barr who seems to have shoved his head up his cassock? Any news on the coward's massive retreat?
Duma Duma said…
A well deserved standing ovation, and one that would be given is most countries of the world.

While your cunning attempt to take it out of context is noted, Putin was referring to a very specific thing and not to minorities in general. He was referring to sharia law. In the far-flung regions of Russia, there are muslim extremists attempting to break away and form their own sharia state.

Human Rights activists as well as any person of sound mind (untainted by the filth that is that particular brand of fundamentalist islam), would support Putin. He has drawn a line in the sand, and made it clear that the muslim fundamentalists will not have their way.

Good move by Bainimarama (note the correct spelling of his name. If you can't spell your prime ministers name, you should probably stick to facebook wea U cAN ritE lik Dis, and stay away from intellectual blogs.)
Cin Cin said…
Croz

My understanding was that the FICAC chose not to present evidence against Qarase, effectively withdrawing the charge(s). The independence, or otherwise, of the judge and the judiciary were not tested as there would appear to have been no trial. An easy mistake to make, I'm sure.
Gatekeeper said…
By far the most significant development this week was the appearance in the Lautoka Magistrates Court on Abuse of Office charges related to bribery and corruption of a Senior Police Officer. He faces a penalty of 17 years in prison if found guilty. Did he personally benefit? Who allegedly paid him? He is bailed on a surety of $1,000 to appear for mention on 19 August 2013. Is this related to the 'disappearnce' of a Special Administrator and CEO? It is high time politicians angling for votes paid full attention. In seven years and more, they have not. The Duty to Protect is paramount under international law. Trafficking in Persons and Class A Drugs is a multi-jurisdictional crime. Do they know this? But whether they do or not is immaterial: ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Anonymous said…
Of course, we expect a full review of Michael Green's post-humuously published book: "Breaking the Bond". Book reviews are a sign of a civilised and intelligent society revealing and analyzing, with eloquence, drollery and often irony what the author sought to achieve. Writing a readable, serious book is no mean feat. We require a similar feat in the reviewing of it. Isolating fact from fiction will require considerable skill and integrity of purpose - also, courage. We require and anticipate that it shall be on sale in Fiji in bookshops and book-stalls without delay or demur. Start at the Airports and go on to the University Bookshops. This is the Data Age. Information and swift access to it is a clear sign of progress. The best legacy for any author anywhere.
Crosbie Walsh said…
I haven't read Green but if what you say about aq Muslim conspiracy is correct, HE obviously knew nothing about Islam. Aiyaz is Sunni; the Shameem sisters Ahmadiyya who Sunni consider to be heretics.
Crosbie Walsh said…
People who hide behind anonymity should not accuse others of being cowards.
No place for dictators said…
Croz
It is not surprising at all that khaiyum considers the shameen sisters as heretics. Thank you for informing us of this.
Perhaps you can give us some insights into what he thinks of Christians - particularly given the attacks on the Christian Methodist Church during the period of this human rights abusing regime?
Crush Dictatorships said…
Oh, hiding behind thugs with guns, who jump on pregnant women who speak against them and bash tied up people with iron bars, is not cowardly? The only thing more despicable is to take free jollies and trips from such thugs. Ring a bell with you croz? Have you and your missus paid back the money yet for your free trip to Fiji given to you by the illegal human rights abusing junta you support? This makes the coward father Barr look good?
Anonymous said…
As a New Zealander, I am ashamed that a well educated and experienced senior diplomat joins the anti-Fiji propaganda machine. His book peddles the old lies that we have seen so many times before trying to give them more credibility under the name of a High Commissioner. I am sure Croz and other experts on Fiji will dissect this mean piece of NZ government propaganda and show what it is. Green portrays the PM as a vindictive thug, unable or unwilling to negotiate or compromise. He shows a man who is widely accepted by a vast majority of Fiji's population as a violent dictator who has no respect for human rights. How can the NZ government allow that such vicious smear is being published, just a few months before the Honourable Bainimarama will be the elected Prime Minister of a sovereign nation? Come September 2014, they will have to deal with this leader and it would be wise not to provoke him in such an obvious way. Although Bainimarama is an intelligent and warm hearted man, he will not budge in the face of these provocations. He will put the devious politicians in Wellington in their place.
Anonymous said…
Lot of people write nothing but lies on blogs that Khaiyum and Shameem sisters are advising Bainimarama government. No one knows that all three are not even communicating with each other. Both Shameem sister's contracts were never renewed by this government. I also read somewhere that Nazhat Shameem did not even attended Khaiyum's latest wedding ceremony. How can one believe this GREEN?
Babra said…
Oh Crush please name the pregnant women who were victims of this cowardly act: Was it Shamima Ali of FWCC, or Varisila of FWRM ?????
Queen said…
We should also feel ashamed that our very own chief Ratu Jone Mandraiwiwi was part of such propaganda with Green.
As far as Micheal Field is concerned, Green was his main information provider. No wonder Field was silent for a year as his informer was dead.
Gatekeeper said…
Anyone, journalists in particular, who receives information from a sole source is suspect, not to be trusted. It is an improper way to verify information received and in a complex situation (viz Syria or similar) totally inadequate and insufficient. It is necessary and sufficient to test multiple sources of information and all diplomats of standing know this. So should all journalists of standing. Trust in potentially volatile environments is the single most important value. It requires Good Judgement on a daily, even hourly basis.

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