Showing posts from January 13, 2013

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

A Bridge Too Far
When reading the article about the bridge that was supposed to have connect Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, an old joke came to mind.
A man was walking along a beach and saw a lamp half buried in the sand. He picked it up and thought to himself that it could be a magic lamp, so he rubbed it. Out came a genie who said, “You have released me from a thousand year prison you may make a wish.
The man quickly said, “Build me a bridge from Viti Levu to Vanua Levu.” The genie mmmm’d and aaaaahed and mmmm’d and aaaaahed some more. Then he said, “Hey man think of something easier, that’s one massive job.”
The man then said, “Ok, look into my wife’s mind and see what she really wants from me and life.”
The genies once again mmmm’d and aaaaahed and mmmm’d and aaaaahed some more and said, “How many lanes do you want on the bridge master.”
But the bridge article is interesting and I’m thankful that it has been cancelled. The reason – just look at our present roads, do you really think w…

News and Comments Friday 18 January 2013

• Daylight saving • Download copies of recent decrees, the leaked draft and submissions • Corrections to my party decree article  • Commendable code of conduct for political parties    • Father Barr, Judas and the PM
• Methodist church turns over a new leaf • Victor Lal, Mick Beddoes: the heading tells it all • Mark of the Beast

DAYLIGHT SAVING. Sunday 20 January. People in Fiji should put their clocks back one hour at 3am otherwise their children may arrive an hour too early at school on Monday when Term I commences.


Political Party Decree Misconceived

By Crosbie Walsh
The new Political Party (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosure) Decree  comes into force from this Friday, January 18, 2013. The 16 existing political parties, and any new party in the process of formation,  will need to register within 28 days. The registration fee is  $5005.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says  the decree drew its inspiration from the existing law, the Kenyan and New South Wales (Australian) model as well as the Canadian model.

To register, parties must show they are "truly" representative. They will need  at least 5,000 members drawn from all the four divisions: 2,000 from the Central, 1,750 from the Western, 1,000 from the Northern and 250 from the Eastern Division.  The A-G says  5,000 equates to about one percent of registered eligible voters and the geographical distribution is similar to that of the overall  population. Parties are also required to have party offices in all these divisions, which he says is a co…

Australia adopts softer stance on Fiji's constitution process

• Carr sees draft inconsistencies  • ITUC free to enter Fiji but sees only TU people  • Brij Lal assumes worst • Ratu Epeli: draft mixed bagAustralia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, says he can understand why Fiji's interim government would reject aspects of the draft constitution. Australia appears to be sympathetic to the Fijian interim Government's rejection of the draft constitution.
While New Zealand and Samoa have been highly critical of the recent development, Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, is taking a softer stance.

"The notion, for example, of a largely unelected national people's assembly comprised principally of non-government organisations sitting alongside the parliament is something I can't think of enjoying precedence anywhere else in the constitution of a democratic country," he said.

"The re-creation of an unelected Great Council of Chiefs would seem to give rise to the suggestion that ethnic divisions in the cou…

Whistling in the Wind: "Brave But Futile Attempts"

For months now this blog has urged those opposed to the Bainimarama government to be realistic. This is not because I approve of everything government has done —far from it— or because I am in the pay of the military junta or the PR company Qorvis as some have claimed I am, but because it should be evident to anyone with any knowledge of Fiji, the RFMF or, indeed, human behaviour, that this government does not respond well to threats. Whatever the obstacles, it will not abandon its stated goals.

Responses to Government's intended redrafting of the "Ghai" draft constitution are also human. No one likes to be pushed around and abandon their stated goals. All but two published reactions reflect this mentality. 

 The exceptions come from former commissioner Peni Moore who expressed disappointment that the draft was not put to the Constituent Assembly for them to change if they thought fit, and from the Citizen's Constitution Forum that limited itself to asking Government…

Spinning Jenny*

The only overseas observer to put a positive spin on recent events is Australia's Lowy Institute analyst Jenny Hayward Jones. She expressed disappointment in Government's withholding of the Ghai draft but went on to say that the 7,000 people who made submissions to the Constitution Commission "now have a taste again for what it means to participate in a democracy. If the eventual constitution or future system of government does not give them a voice or trashes the ambitions they had proposed for their new constitution, they are unlikely to be happy about it." They would now also be able to compare the Ghai and revised drafts. 

Despite the setback, she hoped international actors including Australia should continue to press for progress in re-establishing democracy in Fiji and engage where they can to maintain momentum in the process. The process will very likely continue to involve backward steps, but the forward steps (as long as there are some) still need to be enc…