ROUNDUP FOR Wednesday 25 September 2013
"Look North Policy." I don't know what to make of Government's reach into the Middle East, with the PM meeting the Iranian President and Ambassador Robin Nair meeting the Emir or Ajman, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, but if they keep going, I'm sure the USA and Fiji's former traditional allies will experience mounting concern.
Development for Women policy. Six new women's centres will open before the end of the year. Eleven women's resource centres have been built and 12 extended since 2011. Each new centre will have a business plan and focus on core products such as handicrafts, embroidery, jewelly, virgin coconut oil, tailoring, wood carving, catering, baking, salt making and seeweed production. The purpose of the centres is to help mainly underprivileged or rural women generate income for their families.
Election Registration. Registration of overseas Fijian with valid passports and eligible to vote in the 2014 elections started this week in Auckland and Wellington. It will then move to Australia, the UK and the west coast of North America. Some 540,000 people have already registered in Fiji.
Elections to cost $40 million. This is the A-G's estimate. Australia, NZ, the EU, and PNG are working closely with Government in preparation for the election, and PNG has said it will contribute $20 million towards election expenses.
Supervisor of Elections. The post has been advertised, and the person chosen with by appointed by the President of the recommendation of the Constitutional Offices Commission and and Electoral Commission. This procedure is fine for the election after this one when the Leader of Opposition will a member of the COC, but for this election all seems to be in the hands of the PM and the A-G. A bridging arrangement is needed to ensure that opinions outside the inner Government circle are consulted. Otherwise, anti-Government groups will maintain the whole thing is a jackup between the PM and A-G.
But who to add to the commission in the interim? A prominent and well-respected lawyer, professional, businessman or community leader, or one or more of the country's university Vice-Chancellors?
The Commissioner of Police. The same criticism can be made about the appointment of the next Commissioner of Police, whose position is vacant with the expiration this week of Brig. Ioane Naivalurua's contract. The current Constitution Offices Commission is not the transparent and balanced commission detailed in the Constitution.