News and Comments Sunday 8 June 2013

NEW CATHOLIC  ARCHBISHOP. Fiji’s new Archbishop Peter Loy-Chong has called on the nation for its support and loyalty towards his work. He replaces Archbishop Petero Mataca who co-chaired the People's Charter dialogue in 2007. Emeritus Archbishop Petero urged his successor not to forget the poor. Archbishop Chong will also look after the Archdiocese of Rarotonga and Kiribati.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK. "Of course it is possible to argue that hypocrisy is a necessary, even desirable component of politics and that form of it known as foreign policy. Anyone who doesn’t accept the necessity of hypocrisy is being simplistic, overly pure. It is also possible to argue, as many economists do, that economics should and can be separated from politics, ethics and so on: what appears as hypocrisy is simply a clash between distinct spheres of human understanding for which different principles or rules apply." -- Scott MacWilliam.

'TIS SO, 'TISN'T SO.  The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA, the old SDL party) says that police officers turn up during our meetings is scaring members. The A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says government is not monitoring political parties activities and that officers were also voters and were free to attend any political party meetings if they wish to.

NFP MEETS. Members of Fiji’s oldest party, the National Federation Party met over the weekend in Lautoka to further discuss the draft Constitution and their upcoming jubilee celebration plans. Most members will get the chance to deliberate and share their views regarding the draft Constitution. “Delegates attending the working committee of the NFP will subject the draft Constitution to intense scrutiny,” NFP President Raman Pratap Singh said.

TO THE FIJI TIMES AND NOT PUBLISHED. Why? It's a very reasonable comment.

 Dear Sir,
Some commentators have drawn attention to the Government’s draft constitution (GDC) and the difficulty of amending any of its clauses and provisions. Amendments require extremely large majorities in parliament together with a large majority in referendums. These requirements make it well neigh impossible to amend the constitution by legal means.

What is disturbing is that even minor typographical and technical errors will require the majorities indicated above. A better way forward is to have a constitution that allows for amendments with different majorities (plus 50% or 75% of parliament) depending on the provisions that may require amendments. Entrenched and protective clauses will require the latter majority for change. There is no need whatsoever to go through the expensive referenda.
Failure to address the difficulty to change provisions of the constitution is a recipe for extra-legal abrogation of the constitution.

Vijay Naidu, Suva

The i-Taukei Land Trust Board, acting on behalf of Nausori land owners, are still awaiting a reply from the Airports Fiji Limited and the Director of Lands regarding the expansion of the Nausori Airport. Their letter sent in March and has not received any response. Landowners are concerned about the lease, employment and other compensation. The acquisition of the 93 acres of land for the redevelopment of Nausori Airport will cost $60 million.

GETTING THE FIGURES RIGHT. Jonathan Bower, cited on Facebook, gives this "more correct set of data" on the Fiji's economic performance since the 2006 Coup (2007-11): inflation 6% average, up from 2.4% in 2006; people living below the basic poverty line, 31%, down from 35% in 2002;  growth rate in real GDP per capita  -0.4% compared with 0.1% 2000- 2006; public debt 54.2% of GDP in 2011 compared to 49.9%5. If true, 20,000 women joining the workforce is not a bad thing. I could find no data on this. Mostly based on Bureau of Statistics, IMF and Reserve Bank figures.

STREET BEGGING. An Inter-Agency Taskforce has been formed  to re look and scrutinize the issue of street begging in Fiji. The Taskforce has declared  "an absolute zero tolerance on child begging."

ALLEGATIONS OF LIES TOLD TO VILLAGERS. A team from the PM’s office is visiting villages to counter the lies they say are being spread by Government critics. Permanent Secretary  Lt.Co,Tikoduadua said the critics are targeting Tailevu-North and Wainibuka, and their main message is that the new constitution will threaten their land ownership and security. “They’re saying that the landownership of the iTaukei people would be under threat when the new constitution comes into effect.” He said critics had been telling the people that under the Land Use Decree, government had the power to take native land on whatever terms it liked, which was quite untrue. “They’re just trying to get support for the upcoming elections”, he said.

INVISABLE MONEY. The  European Union statement that it will have spent $136million by the end of the year on assistance to sugarcane farmers is not visible on the ground, says Sugar permanent secretary LtCol Manasa Vaniqi. He said if the EU had committed such a significant sum of money for growers, there should have been some visible signs of improvement to their lives. "$136 million is a huge amount of money, if it really came to the farmers then they should have been millionaires by now," he said. "We don't know where this money went because we cannot see it directly translated to improvements on the ground." The Permanent Secretary also criticised the  Deloitte Report and the IMF had made recommendations that we sell all our mills and the industry over to private enterprise. "But we knew that we needed the industry and we needed to ensure that the jobs of the 200,000 people who depend on the industry for their livelihood would not be affected."

. the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) application for registration has been approved by the Registrar of Parties. Party Interim General Secretary Poseci Bune said they have worked hard to bring the party to this stage and to comply with the many requirements of the Political Parties Decree.  Bune said the party respects the rights and places of Indigenous Fijians within our wider multicultural society. He said the official launching of the party will be in the next few months and they are confident of being the party of the future. Bune, a former Labour Party Minister, has joined trade unionists who were also dissatisfied with Mahendra Chaudhry's leadership of the FLP, in forming the new party.

Following it restructuring and reorganisation on the recommendations of external expert assessors, FHCL is entering a new phase.While plans are being finalised, operations at the Waivunu Sawmill and Navutu Manufacturing site, have been running at a substantial loss for years, costing massive amounts of taxpayers' money. are suspended. Workers will receive a full three weeks paid leave in the interval. This leave will not be deducted from workers' accumulated leave, and is in addition to any existing leave.

This financial situation and the dilapidated condition of the facilities' equipment are the result of minimal reinvestment in maintenance or modernization since these operations were acquired by FHCL eight years ago.  In addition, FHCL accumulated  over $18 million of Government-guaranteed loans and  received more than $25 million in outright Government grants from 1998 until 2006. Recently, the Navutu and Waivunu locations have been the targets of thefts, with more than $24,000 of cash and equipment being stolen in the past year, in addition to a significant amount of timber. The situation obviously could not be allowed to continue.

FIJI HUB OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC. Fiji is positioning itself to become the communications hub for the South Pacific. Home of the Southern Cross cable network Fiji is now being approached by other Pacific nations to connect to its system. Fiji's broadband policy aims to have 95% of the population with internet speeds of a minimum of 2MBs by 2016.

ROTUMA PLANS COME UNSTUCK.  Government plans to promote agricultural exports to Tuvalu from the northern island of Rotuma are experiencing problems.  The Rotuma Enterprise Marketing Co-operative Limited (REMCOL) has lost about $40,000 since it started trading in 2011, partly as a consequence of "cassava that we harvested and processed but it turned out bad” and partly as a result of  "the frequent breakdown of the freezers where produce is stored."  The company has been unable to meet several orders. Commissioner Eastern Lt. Col. Netani Rika says work is  underway to get the freezers in Rotuma fully operational.

THIS HOW WE DEAL WITH CORRUPTION IN NZ. Wellington's David Ross, at the centre of the collapse of a suspected Ponzi scheme involving about $450 million, has been stripped of his membership of the Institute of  Chartered Accountants  by the ICA disciplinary tribunal. The head of a collapsed bullion trading firm - which owes investors more than $2.5 million - has been charged by the Serious Fraud Office. Fifty-two-year-old  Kairuaiti Tangata Oropai Robert Kairua, the director of Grace Holdings NZ Limited, faces 29 Crimes Act charges of theft by person in special relationship and false  statement by promoter. Grace Holdings, which traded under the name Bullion Buyer, had an office in the Vero building in downtown Auckland. Property developer Glenn William Cooper has been remanded on bail for sentencing  after a Serious Fraud Office investigation into his dealings with a family with whom he built a relationship. Victims of the mortgage fraudster face losing their homes after the conman sold them properties and arranged large mortgages using vastly inflated valuations. Cooper has pleaded guilty to five charges of dishonesty  brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

CORRUPTION: THE FIJI FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNIT has recently exposed six cases of unexplained wealth. Director Razim Buksh told the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress 2013 that Fiji now has a more modern law for dealing with sophisticated proceeds of crime cases. The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Decree now  requires a person to show that wealth was obtained lawfully in order to keep it, rather than the law enforcement agencies to show that the wealth was obtained unlawfully in order to forfeit it.  He said the unexplained wealth provisions for both public officials and private individuals and businesses are the best mechanism that can now be used in Fiji. Buksh said the idea is to take the profit and wealth away and deprive them from enjoying their ill-gotten wealth taken from unlawful activities and tax crimes. He said this process can be undertaken whether or not the DPP and FICAC are able to secure a conviction of the predicate offence.


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A role for Hypocrisy? Surely not said…
Extraordinary quotation of the week. How might hypocrisy ever be a desirable component of politics? Hypocrisy is a form of lying or at best being economical with the Truth and it subsists on Double Standards. Double Standards destroy and betray trust. That vital compoment of any value system as Confucius himself so clearly ennunciated. He went on to reinforce the absolute value of Trust by the common people over and above: Arms and Food. Older than the bible itself, this insight resonates.
Asha Lakhan said…
“Rajendra Chaudhry 8 hours ago via mobile about an hour ago near Sydney, New South Wales 2013: “We need to set up a Fiji Nationalist Front to protect Fiji from mainland Chinese invasion and Muslimisation by Khaiyum.”

This is what Rajend Chaudhari, the son of M. P. Chaudhary wrote on his Facebook.All Muslims now decide: will you vote of any party where M. P. Chaudhary stands as a leader/or candidate?Make a choice now. Say no to racism. …”
Traffickers Without Borders said…
"An experienced, industrious, ambitious and often quite picturesque liar"

(Mark Twain - Private History of a Campaign that Failed)

The double standards of hypocrites are revealed in evidence that surfaced opportunistically yesterday. Traffickers in persons (TIPs) are purchasing property in Nadi.Their activities are known to lawyers. Who else knows? Bankers? Or do the Greeks come bearing gifts: cash in suitcases? What do we intend to do about it? These international criminals require 'hoovering up'. They lurk cheek by jowl among us encouraged by the hypocrisy and sheer indifference of all who are obliged professionally to protect. Who benefits? Certainly not the long-suffering Fiji Public! In the meantime, the aspiring politicians pontificate. What hypocrites they all are! All of them. And where is the Great Fiji Press? Still on the sideline, admiring the view? The Chinese invasion is 'fait accompli'. The Islamisation ditto. Beware of Greeks bearing Gifts!
Anti-hypocrisy herons rise in Rome said…
An "unscripted pope", no more "business as usual at the Vatican"? Pope Francis hints at a Gay Lobby within the Vatican (CNN News). It appears that anti-hypocrisy herons (belo) are now rising on the horizon in Rome. Adelante el Papa argentino! Que Dios le ayude y le bendiga!
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Rondo a la Turque said…
"If speaking is silver then listening is gold"

Turkish Proverb

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