Showing posts from March 3, 2013

The Fiji Times and the Fiji Government

By Crosbie Walsh
It's so easy to flick quickly though the news and accept what the journalist writes or says, often reporting the views of another, without taking time out to really think what it all means. The recent court sentence* against the Fiji Times is a case in point. Most people have already made their mind up on the rights or wrongs of the case, and many will have had their prior opinions confirmed one way or another. 
For those supporting the Bainimarama government, justice has been done and the Fiji Times got all it deserved. For government critics, this is further evidence of injustice and the lack of media freedom.  And for the politically undecided —and those who recognize that while one can question a judgement, no one, in any country, can question the integrity of the judge or the courts without the risk of appearing in court themselves—it would have been better had the case not come to court but since it did, the sentence was probably correct but the fine was exc…

Security in the Pacific Islands: Voices on a World Stage

Remarks by Mr. Solo Mara
High Commissioner
Republic of Fiji High Commission to the United Kingdom Before the
Spring Ambassador Speaking Series
Pacific Islands Society at SOAS
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
March 5, 2013
Introduction I am pleased to speak to you this evening on the future of traditional and non-traditional security in the Pacific Islands.  I am sure that many of you are familiar with the Pacific Islands region; few in the general population know much more than the information featured in tourism literature, and many from outside my region have no desire to look much further beyond those images of tropical idyll.  However, with fourteen votes in the UN and rich marine resources, the Pacific region has a voice on the global stage. A voice that is beginning to be recognised, first in the name change of the UN Asian Group to Aisa-Pacific and Fiji’s current Chairmanship of the G77+China. Its internal security, and international security, are of growing interest outs…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

No Case to Answer

Seven  police officers go free. Good one. I bet they will be breathing sighs of relief because their careers and future would have been affected if they had been convicted. The officers will have families who depend on their salary for food, shelter, clothing, school and other things.

We read that the magistrate said, "I am minded to add that the standard of investigation conducted in this case is seriously flawed in that the identification of the properties together with its accurate description was seriously lacking, especially the chain of causation of the recovered items from the individual searches."

Whatever the circumstances , whether the police officers were guilty or not, I hope they will be reinstated so that they can return to normal life. They will have learnt a lesson in this “near miss” case and I bet they will become role models never to do any wrong.

And I commend the magistrate for calling a no case to answer and for his plea for better stan…

News and Comments Friday 8 March 2013

WEEKEND READING.  • Allen Lockington's weekly column 
• Ambassador to the UK Solo Mara on new threats to Pacific security
 • My interview with Fiji Times publisher Hank Art and editor-in-chief Fred  Wesley and my comments on Fiji Times-Government relations.
TODAY ISInternational Women's Day.

RUSSIAN MILITARY ASSISTANCE. Fiji’s military plans to get technical help and equipment from Russia. Fiji’s interim government has announced it will enter into an agreement with Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation. The interim Minister for Defence and National Security, Joketani Cokanasiga, says the deal will help Fiji’s military forces improve their capacity and capability. The Russian agency supplies equipment, weapons, services and investment to other countries achieving more than 13 billion US dollars in sales in 2011. A former head of the agency, Mikhail Dmitriyev, has also described the service as a foreign policy tool designed to mark Russia’s presence in a…

News and Comments Wednesday 6 March 2013

ONE POLL DOES NOT A PM MAKE BUT  over 140 consultations in Greater Suva indicate that  "Most people want the Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, to continue leading the country after the 2014 elections" according to Strategic Framework for Change Co-ordinating Office representative, Kisoko Cagituevei. He said this particular group wanted the PM to form a party, contest the 2014 election and continue leadership.

Cagituevei said a common point raised in meetings in these areas is the ability of the present leadership to stop corruption in Government. People told the team from the Co-ordinating office they were happy with the services provided by the current Government. Many said that before they were only visited by politicians when the nation was preparing for an election and a lot of promises were made just for their votes. Most people were still waiting for what was promised to them by those politicians.

Cagituevei warned them to expect more such visits in the lea…

More Charges Against The Fiji Times

The Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde (photo) today laid charges against the Fiji Times Limited and its six directors for breaches of the Media Industry Development Decree 2010. The charges allege that Fiji Times Limited and its directors breached section 38 and section 43 (1) of the Decree by failing to ensure that all its Directors were Fiji citizens permanently residing in Fiji.

The particulars of the charge are that Fiji Times Limited, a media organisation duly registered with the Media Industry Development Authority together with Mahendra Patel, Kiritbhai Patel, Rajesh Patel, Manu Patel, Bhupendra Patel and Jinesh Patel being Directors of Fiji Times Limited between the 1st day of January 2012 and the 31st day of December 2012, at Suva in the Central Division, failed to ensure that all its Directors were Fiji citizens permanently residing in Fiji. The matter will be listed for first mention on Friday 22 March 2013.

Comment. Coming on top of the $300,0…

Beatings Video (Updated)

STOP PRESS.Please ignore the sentences n italics.  I am informed the video did not show this incident.IThe video now doing the rounds on the anti-government blogs allegedly shows a police beating of two escaped prisoners in September last year. It is vivid, horrid and looks authentic.  I commented on the incident at the time. The prisoners had allegedly robbed a bank in Samabula and gone on a rampage in other parts of the city that some thought was intended to spark more general unrest. They were reported to have been armed with caneknives and they resisted arrest. One prisoner, Epeli Qaraniqio, a diabetic, later had to have his leg amputated as result. Beatings have long been a common practice used by Fiji Police to obtain confessions and to this extent the September beatings cannot be attributed to a breakdown in law under the present government. Government condemned the beatings but I can't recall if any legal or disciplinary action was taken against its perpetrators.  A public…