News and Comments Thursday 5 September 2013
|"The way forward"|
In an interview with RNZI, McCully said: "Let's be fair. There is a steady stream now of activities that are all consistent with elections being held in 2014 as the Fijian administration has said they would be. I think we did see in the latter part of 2012 some steps in a backwards direction that we expressed concerns about at the time, but since then, we've seen quite a lot of progress, seen four political parties registered to contest the elections, we've seen very practical progress being made."
McCully did, however, say there were some provisions in the Draft Constitution that he hoped would be discussed further. "But we want to look positively at what's going on there. Progress is being made towards the machinery for elections and the ground rules for elections in the form of the Constitution, and we want to support that process in every way we can. McCully was speaking from Majuro in the Marshall Islands where he is attending the 44th Pacific Islands Forum.
FBC POLL. "With Australia and New Zealand now supporting the new Constitution, should all travel restrictions against Fiji stop? Yes 79%, No 21% but so far only 54 people have voted.
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MICK BEDDOES speaking for the United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) said it stands by its claim that there cannot be free and fair elections under the regime's constitution as the entire election apparatus will be controlled by them. Speaking of the easing of the NZ position towards Fiji, he said " What PM Keys needs to understand is that the regime's constitution is not based on democratic principles but is tailored to keep the regime in power. It has no legitimacy and is being unilaterally imposed on the people at gunpoint."
Comment.The constitution does no such thing and, apart from its immunity provisions, has been widely applauded by many government opponents.
BABA SAYS NO WAY. SODELPA'S Dr Tupeni Baba, says "In no way will Australia and New Zealand push us to elections. NFP's Raman Pratap Singh says Australia and New Zealand’s acceptance of the Constitution doesn’t matter. "We have to live under this constitution and as such we have a different perspective to look at it."Acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says despite what’s coming from the political front, the government will hold elections in September 2014
Comment. Which poses one big question for the old parties: stand for elections and have some influence in the future of Fiji, or do not stand and become irrelevant. I can't see the likes of Beddoes or Baba following the latter route. Their political careers have been marked by position and party switches, partly based on principle or necessity but mainly based on political survival. So what do they hope to gain by adopting their present stance?
THE PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY has accused the old political parties, the SODELPA, FLP, and NFP, of being all talk and no action. Spokesman Nirmal Singh said the PDP would never join their United Front for a Democratic Fiji. Instead, despite some reservations, they have welcomed the "forward movement undertaken by Government" towards elections in 2014.
FIJIAN HOLDINGS LTD has recorded a group consolidated income of $233 million for the financial year ending June 30, 2013. Total assets grew by 32% to $475m with an investment portfolio of $210m.
Founded in 1984 to accelerate iTaukei participation in the economy, FHL is now a major player in Fiji's corporate sector. Its shareholders include Provincial Councils, the iTaukei Land Trust Board, the Fijian Affairs Board, tikina (district) and village groups, iTauke co-operatives, individual iTaukei and family companies. Shareholders equity grew during the year by 15% to reach $202m.
CALLING ALL OVERSEAS FIJIANS. The Elections Office is calling on all Fijian citizens living overseas who want to register to vote in the 2014 parliamentary elections to submit an expression of interest online.This is the first step from the Elections Office to register overseas voters.
Submission of an expression of interest is not mandatory to be eligible to register. It is simply designed to help the Elections Office plan for the deployment of resources in order to best cater for Fijians.
Those wishing to vote are asked to complete a form on the Elections Office website (http://www.electionsfiji.gov.fj/overseas-evr/) which includes name, date of birth, city and country of residence, passport number and email address. A valid Fijian passport will be required in order to register as an overseas voter. If the passport is due to expire within the next six months, it will need to be renewed. The Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) system requires that individuals register in person so that they can give their thumbprint and have their photograph taken.
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ALBERT WENDT. Samoan writer, poet, and academic at USP, the University of Hawaii and the University of Auckland Emeritus Professor Maualaivao Albert Wendt has been been awarded NZ's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand, which is limited to only 20 people. Malo, Albert.