QUICK ROUNDUP Tuesday 17 September 2013

QUICK ROUNDUP. Summarising and providing hyperlinks on the regular News and Comments postings takes up quite a time so, starting today, I'll also be posting Quick Roundups, sans hyperlinks and tidy summaries, but probably with more personal opinions. If you need to follow up on an item, you can of course always refer to the online Fiji media.

What the NFP is up to is still anyone's guess.  Their meeting in Nadi indicates they will stay with the United Front for a Democratic Fiji because they (or at least Attar Singh)  think the Bainimarama government is a greater evil than SODELPA  (the old SDL) and FLP parties. It's ironically that the political system approved by these parties denied the NFP any seats in recent parliaments.

I do, however, share their concern about open lists. The closed list system is more likely to see more women, youth, minorities and marginalised representation in parliament because they can be selected by the political parties to ensure wider representation.

 FLP's Mahendra Chaudhry says he will raise the basic wage, increase pension eligibility, and increase the retirement age if the FLP is elected to government. And then wait for the next coup!

SODELPA spokesman Pio Tabaiwalu has warned people against the new constitution, saying the decrees should have been analysed first. But most of the decrees are only part of the constitution until the elections, when the incoming government can remove them.

He said, "The things that we [the UFDF] have in common are democratic rule, free and fair elections and freeing up the media."  I find the claim hard to swallow. His comments, and those of the NFP and FLP parties, are fully reported in the media. The former SDL was subject to racist influences, the electoral system it supported gave votes unequal values, and undue powers to the unelected Great Council of Chiefs.  What unites the UFDF is not democracy; it is the need to survive.

Three youth groups, the  Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji youth group, the Youth Coordinator for the Serua Province and the the Namosi Provincial Youth Coordinator,  have said youth have no problems with the new constitution.

NZ's Murray McCully's statement that some travel bans will be lifted, scholarships re-opened and electoral assistance offered in recognition that some progress has been made towards elections was met by Bainimarama who said the offer was "insincere, unneeded and too late."

My guess is that the Fiji government is no longer really interested in these minor concessions.  It wants a genuine change in policy that would see NZ urging Fiji's immediate return to the Commonwealth and the  EU to resume aid to the sugar industry. Others have said Fiji is  far more interested in what the new Australian government has to say.

Bainimarama also said Fiji was not interested in re-joining the Pacific Islands Forum. They consider it too much influenced by Australia and NZ.

Government has advertised for a new Supervisor of Elections who must have at least 15 years experience in conducting elections; be able to conduct an election in one day, and pass on skills to local people. Applications close on 25 October and the expectation is that an overseas person will be appointed.

Under the new Constitution, the appointment should be made by the Constitutional Offices Commission that includes the Leader of the Opposition and another person appointed by him.  This raises a question, with no Leader of the Opposition at present. Will Government make the appointment itself, or  invite two reputable people to represent the Opposition, and if so, who would would be widely accepted as reputable?

Of non-political news, 

  • Jittu Upgrading. I was pleased to read that another upgrading of the old Jittu Estate squatter settlement in Suva  is now complete. Some 53 Lagilagi households will soon move into new homes. The initiative has cost $5m funded by Government and the German Catholic NGO MISEREOP. Peoples Community Network Semiti Qalowasa says it will take another $5m to complete stage 2, of double- and three-storey buildings totalling 150 units.
  • The Consumer Council registered 10,769 complaints worth $16.3million over the past five and a half years, and recovered $6.7m by solving 6816 complaints through mediation. The Council and the Commerce Commission mediation workshop being held in Lami this week aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of mediators from Small Claims Tribunal, Fiji Commerce Commission, legal practitioners and the council."Mediation is a useful tool to alternatively resolve disputes to save money and time." Chief Justice Anthony Gates said the judiciary "have found the dialogue with and positive criticism from the Consumer Council very helpful, focused, reasonable, and just." He said new laws and new courts in the consumer field were in the pipeline and would bring about a healthier approach to consumer concerns. 
  • Micro-finance. The Reserve Bank has announced awards in micro-financing that are soon expected to involve 150,000 "unbanked people",  an increase of 20,000 on those already receiving awards.
  • Telecentres. Some 31,500 people (school children and adults) now have access to telecentres, and the number continues to increase as more schools get broadband access. And access costs the users nothing. 

Comments

When PM when ? said…
Dear Croz,

For all your concerns and complaints about the old parties you have to ask the question when will Frank form his party. It looks to me like he is delaying this for a number of reasons. 1) Having to conform with his very own rules on political parties, for example assets and income disclousure, signed up members 2) Having to give up his role as Commander (his power base and only real mandate) 3) Having to name party office holders and 4)having to admit he is now the politician he has always hated.

I don't disagree with you on the old/reinvented parties but surely Frank has to come clean and start his party so we can know who they are and what to expect. This cant be left until the last minute and we can't have him use all of governments resources to ensure he is elected.

History will judge said…
"And then wait for another coup"

I know you are probably joking Croz but its not a laughing matter. The last thing Fiji needs is another coup. If...and thats a big outside chance 'if'...Chaudhry was elected as PM then the military and Bainimarama must support this. Hard to swallow for Bainimarama but if he truely believes in his constitution and democracy he must accept it and ensure there are no more coups....none, zero, nill.

The real test in history I believe will be what Bainimarama does when he loses a election. This one, or the next one or the one after that. Only then will we see his true colours. Right now it looks like his main interest is and has always been "self interest". I do hope I am wrong.

Regards

History will judge
Anonymous said…
I hear that Frank and Naz meet some where along the Queen's Highway - small place every so often. Only a few people know about it - and his inner security guard monitor it. Photos exist.
Bill Carson said…
Publish the photos.
Anonymous said…
The post is by rajendra chaudary. The man is having nightmares as he knows FLP will be forgotton just like NFP. Also he know papa MPC will soon be celeberating at naboro hotel
Anonymous said…
It will be the thugs with guns party. Without the thugs and without the guns the dummy spit dictator would be very quickly where he belongs - on the dust bin of history.
Tin Con Beef said…
@Bill

Anonymous can't publish photos that don't exist.

@Anonymous

Go back to c4.5 where you can spew all the bullshit you want and it will be warmly welcomed.

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