News and Comments Thursday 22 August 2013
|The road ahead|
'LET US REJOICE. These were the words used by Fiji Times Editor Wesley in welcoming the announcement on the constitution. He particularly welcomed the news that briefing sessions with the media, registered political parties and diplomatic corps will highlight where amendments took place in the draft constitution which was compiled following widespread consultations. "We all should rejoice with the state that we finally have something to guide us to the 2014 Elections.
"Despite what skeptics will say, this is good news by the government. We have finally left gravelled road and turned on to a tarsealed highway as we look ahead to 2014. We now have a document that will guide us to the elections and beyond.The onus though is on everyone to ensure this road to the polls is good and big enough for us all ... It should be a catalyst for hope and change. There will be differences of opinion. However, at the end of the day, it is imperative that we never forget that we finally have a document that will allow many things to happen. This is a new beginning for us all."
SUBMISSIONS ON THE 2014 BUDGET. Various community organizations and business groups yesterday presented their submissions to Government as part of the lead-up to the 2014 budget in November. As well as airing their views on the direction the next budget should take, a talanoa session provided an opportunity for the various organizations to hear each other’s views.
|FCSS Director Hassan Khan|
A-G Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Bainimarama Government had made significant reforms over the past few years that were badly overdue. “We need to treat the development of the economy in a holistic manner, balancing the different interests and ensuring that the much needed fundamental structural changes provide benefits for all Fijians.” -- Fiji Live.
The reports also said Fjii needs to boost business confidence by relaxing price controls, increase and give stable access to customary land use,continue to focus on infrastructure upgrades, and reduce political uncertainty.
MICROFINANCE KEY TO GOVERNMENT POLICY. This was the message
|Dr Jiko Luveni|
VOTERS NOT PARTIES RULE. A summary of Prof Jonathon Fraenkel's views on the proposed voting system.
FIJI MAY PRODUCE ETHANOL. The Fiji Sugar Corporation is awaiting recommendations from Brazil on its initial feasibility study for ethanol production in the country. Ethanol, mainly made from sugarcane, is used as a motor fuel and additives, in feedstock, alcoholic beverages, and as an antiseptic or solvent.
WHY THE PIDF AND NOT THE PIF Speaking earlier in the month, PM
Bainimarama is, however, hopeful that relations with Australia (and NZ) will improve after the 2014 elections.
“I can tell you that if I win the election, we can rebuild the relationships but it won’t be the same relationship. It won’t be Fiji kow-towing to Canberra.” He said Fiji wanted a genuine partnership with genuine friends – governments that treated Fiji as equals and with respect.
“We might be small but our vote at the UN has the same weight as Australia’s and anyone else who isn’t one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.“A good relationship with Australia will only come when there’s a change in the mindset of Australia’s ruling politicians.”
Meanwhile, in another interview, he said Fiji will not accept an Australian High Commissioner until "the Australian government stops trying to damage us, They’ve tried to damage us at the United Nations; to get our peacekeepers sacked; [and they have] stopped us getting loans from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank." He stressed that Fiji had no problem with the Australia people, but with the Australian government because they don’t treat Fiji with consideration and respect.
* [The Pacific Islands Forum meets in Majuro, Marshall Islands, this week.]