News and Comments Wednesday 17 July 2013
This time the heading reads "Fiji regime bullies Fiji TV into appointing media censor 'news manager.' Click here for full report. The "evidence",they say, is based on "monitoring posts and speaking to our sources" and is based on two threads: the dismissal a month ago of a TV sports announcer and the return from Beijing of Major Neumi Leweni. Put these two unconnected events together with rumours that Fiji TV is about to undertake major organizational changes and Coup4.5 has its story. It is evident, they claim, that "the regime is firmly on a path to making the station another puppet, just like the Fiji Sun and Fiji Broadcasting Commission." The anticipated path will see a "purge of Fiji TV personnel" and their replacement with staff headed by Major Leweni.
The story is a complete concoction. Fiji TV has just had its licence renewed for six months at the company's request while it undergoes a restructure. And there is no suggestion of Leweni going anywhere near the place. He doesn't know anything about running a newsroom and the whole notion is laughable.
My take on the story is that it is yet another exercise in Coup 4.5 (and Michael Field) mischief designed to trigger alarm and dissent. But I could be wrong. Coup4.5 says: "We have established that Fareed told Patel that if Fiji TV wants its licence to be permanent instead of the current 6 month extension, then Leweni must be appointed news manager." The validity or otherwise of the story will be evident if Leweni is or is not appointed news manager. Watch this space.
VILLAGE DEMARCATION LOOKS AT FUTURE PLANS.Government will soon demarcate boundaries in i-Taukei villages to deter land disputes and allow for better future planning. Government has committed close to $348,566 to the project to ensure that all villages in Fiji are demarcated and gazetted as full i-Taukei villages by 2016. The Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs permanent secretary Mr Savenaca Kaunisela said the work was being done in order of provinces with three provinces in the Northern Division already completing this process.
“It has been taken for granted over the years that, this is an i-Taukei boundary and the elders decided that the boundary is from here to there but when the idea of village bi-laws came in it could be easily challenged through the law,” Mr Kaunisela said.
Mr Kaunisela said thorough consultation processes are carried out with all villages in order to explain the reasons behind the land demarcation. “When we go into the villages we sit with them for about an hour and explain the work we are doing and why we are doing it,” Mr Kaunisela said. Mr Kaunisela added the talanoa sessions enable the villagers to think about future developments and amenities such as footpaths, reticulation systems and sewerage before the boundaries are drawn up.
He said in past, houses in villages were built in an ad-hoc manner but through the demarcation process, villagers are now advised to have a systematic way of building within boundaries. The project has received a further boost with a separate budgetary allocation of $100,000 for the demarcation of un-surveyed land; while $148,586 has been provided for demarcation of village boundaries.
Divisional commissioners play an important role in formalising the demarcation process through witnessing the signing of a declaration forms by village elders on the agreed boundary. “We bring this (form) and present it to the i-Taukei Board where they formally declare, that the village has officially fully become an i-Taukei village and is then gazetted in the official gazette,” Mr Kaunisela added. We prepare what we call the Registrar of i-Taukei villages, something like the Registrar of i-Taukei lands so we do the RTL and the RTV as well.” The Ministry is currently working on demarcating villages in Kadavu. -- MOI.
FLP TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED. The Fiji Labour Party has been temporarily suspended for failing to comply with a key financial requirement of the Political Parties Registration Decree.
ADVERTISING COSTS COMPLAINT. The Commerce Commission is expected to make a decision today on the official complaint of the three political parties regarding the advertising cost of the declaration of their assets and liabilities.
SODELPA SEARCH FOR LEADER. The Social Democratic Liberal Party expects to gather the list of names of nominees for the new party leader from the four divisions by the end of next month. Former PM, Laisenia Qarase will be on the selection committee but he cannot become the leader because under the Political Parties Decree, a person is disqualified from being an office holder of a political party if that person, has in the five years preceding the date when he or she applies to be an office holder, been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than six months.
BA TOWN SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR Arun Prasad has been sacked following allegations of corrupt practices. Mr Prasad ha denied the charges.
STRIKE COULD CRIPPLE SUGAR INDUSTRY. Radio Australia reports sugar industry expert Dr Padma Lal as saying the proposed strike by Felix Anthony's Sugar and General Workers Union, prompted by the mill workers not having had a wage increase for seven years, could cripple the industry, timed as it is right in the middle of the crushing season. Lal says government could take the approach that 'This is an important industry and we can't actually be hostage to unions also... not be dictated to by people outside... who may not be seen to have the interest of the country at heart."
Anthony is a long-time Government opponent and not the easiest of people to deal with, but it is hoped Government will handle the issue with more wisdom than it has earlier union issues. And seven years is a long time to go with no wage increase.
NZ NOT TO PRISSY CLEAN. "The (NZ) Law Society has just issued a report that makes this country sound distinctively Albanian in its trajectory. In the society's assessment, our Parliament has just passed five laws that remove the courts' constitutional role of judicial review, three giving the Cabinet unjustifiable powers, three that give rise to serious human rights concerns and five laws that the government's own Attorney-General, Christopher Finlayson QC, refused to give a tick to under the Bill of Rights." -- NZ Listener, July 6-12, 2013, p. 14. In an unprecedented move, New Zealander of the Year, Dame Anne Salmond, had this to say. Click here.