News and Comments Tuesday 20 August 2013
“The sanctions regime has not worked and the National government needs to admit that to itself, then admit it to its partners and finally admit it to the Fijians and from that, start anew with an approach that recognizes Fijian sovereignty, recognizes that the type of governance in Fiji is not ideal from our point of view but we need to engage them nevertheless.” Buchanan is principal and director of 36th Parallel Assessments, a New-Zealand-based Pacific-focused geopolitics and strategic assessment consultancy (www.http://36th-parallel.com) -- RNZI.
PM INTERVENES TO EXTEND INTERNET HOURS. The PM has directed police to reverse their decision to close internet shops in Suva before their normal closing hours. "We must allow all Fijians, and especially our young people, who want to access internet shops the ability to do so at every opportunity," Cde Bainimarama said.
LOAN AND SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME TO BE REVAMPED. Government's aim is to ensure that all Fijian young people with university entrance will be able to attend university. The right to education and the ambition to pursue it is not something that should depend on a family’s ability to pay tuition fees. The PM says the government will help poorer students who previously could not fulfill their dream with the new $2.2 million Tertiary Education Loan Scheme.
NEW CONSTITUTION OUT THIS WEEK. The A-G says the new constitution is likely to be made public by end of next week and definitely by the end of the month.He also said the Code of Conduct for public office holders and the Freedom of Information law will be out soon.
FORMER FORUM LEADER SUPPORTS FORMATION OF PIDF. A former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Sir Noel Levi of Papua New Guinea, has come out in support of the newly established Pacific Islands Development Forum. Click here to listen to the video.
INSULTING AND UNBELIEVABLE. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo was asked to undergo an explosive body search by Australian Security Officers at Brisbane Airport, last Saturday. The PM is said to have had a 'stand-off' with security officers involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP) when he refused the search. "They told the Prime Minister that even Rudd and the Australian Governor-General must go through the same process- which is rubbish," said the eyewitness. Sir Trevor Garland, Honorary Consul-General of the Solomon Islands in Sydney confirmed that the Solomon Islands' PM is exempt from such searches. "So, what went wrong?" asked Sir Trevor? "The Solomon Islands' PM is afforded close personal protection by the Australian security agencies while in Brisbane," Sir Trevor remarked. "They must have known who he was." This latest airport stand-off recalls a similar incident in 2005 where Papua New Guinea's PM, Sir Michael Somare, was asked to remove his shoes at the same airport. It prompted an insulted Sir Michael to suspend Australia's Aid programme in protest. -- Solomon Star, 19/8/13.
REAL 'RELLIES' OR MORE DISTANT KIN? Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says Australia and NZ cannot consider themselves “relatives” because they do not share the development aspirations of the Pacific.
Responding to NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s comments, Kubuabola said a relative in the Pacific context implies a bond, a connection of culture and trust, a connection with respect and a connection of being equal partners in the region.
“If Australia and NZ really consider themselves to be a “relative” or a "part' of the Pacific, then why is it that the Pacific Islanders are still required to obtain a visa to enter Australia and New Zealand...why is it that in the international arena, for instance in the United Nations, Australia and NZ are not with the Pacific grouping but under another umbrella group of countries when it comes to consultative discussions?” Kubuabola said that if Australia and New Zealand were really relatives of the Pacific, then they would have consulted the Pacific at large on their Asylum Seeker Policy without trying to dump the solution in the Melanesia Group. “Now then, McCully, how do you define the term 'relative'? Is it one who is your close neighbor and is selfish, or is it one who has an altruistic outlook? I say it’s the latter.” -- based on Fijilive, August 18, 2013.
FRENCH FUNDING FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION. A funding agreement signed last week in Noumea between the French Development Agency (AFD), the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will see four Pacific countries, including Fiji, host pilot sites for the regional cooperation project in the South Pacific - Restoration of Ecosystems Services against Climate Change Unfavourable Effects (RESCCUE).