Showing posts from April 28, 2013

Even Government Supporters Did not Want This

More than one government supporter has told me the last thing they wanted was for  Rev Akuila Yabaki and the CCF to be found guilty, but the judiciary, independent as it is, could only rule according to the letter of the law.   We can now only hope that the man who for many years people have thought of as the  most honest voice of constitutional democracy in Fiji is not jailed.

CCF Media Release
High Court Finds CCF Guilty of Contempt of Court

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum and its Chief Executive Officer Reverend Akuila Yabaki have been found guilty of contempt of court by High Court Judge Justice William Calanchini this afternoon.

Justice Calanchini also refused the Recusal application filed by CCF.

CCF is currently analyzing the 30 page judgment with legal counsel, Munro Leys. Following the analysis and further consultations, CCF will announce its next course of action.

The matter has been adjourned to June 17th, 2013 for mitigation and pre-sentence hearing.

A copy of the judgmen…

Commonwealth, ANZ Hypocrisy on Sri Lanka, Relevance to Fiji

By Rod Ewins
The Canadian Government has put the Australian government AND HM Loyal Opposition (a.k.a. Opposition Coalition) to shame by seizing the high moral ground on the issue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting being held in Sri Lanka this year. Canada is boycotting the meeting on the grounds of the ongoing egregious violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, and is calling on other Commonwealth countries to do the same. Both sides of politics in Australia have rejected this call and say it is important for Aus to attend CHOGM.

That serious abuses and reportedly murders continue in Sri Lanka is not just a rumour. It has been reported by a number of human rights groups, and by individuals who have suffered at the hands of the government's torturers there, as recently as a few weeks ago. A man on a visa in Australia had to return there recently, and was grabbed by the "police" and tortured, including criss-cross branding all over his back wit…

The Status of Teachers in Fiji’s Emerging Democracy1

Biman Prasad, Professor of Economics and Chair of the Oceania Development Network

Address to the Fiji Teachers' Union, April 2013
The Honourable Minister for Education, Mr. Filipe Bole, The General Secretary of the Fiji Teachers Union, Mr. Agni Deo Singh, President of the FTU Suva, Branch, Permanent Secretary of Education, Dr. Brij Lal, Excellencies and Members of the Diplomatic corps, Members and Executive Committee, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen I feel very privileged and honoured to address the members of the Fiji Teachers Union this morning. I have vivid memories of my primary and secondary school days and of my teachers, who were members of the Fiji Teachers Union and Fijian Teachers Association. Memories of little words of encouragement, of learning moral values, of the right to express oneself, the need to respect others rights, the freedom to play, have fun and enjoy school life are just some of those. Opportunities provided to become class, house and school pref…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Safety at Sea
I was stationed in Levuka in the 80s as a Customs officer. The then CustomsDepartment also looked after the work of the Marine Department. One of theimportant aspects of the Marine Departments work was to see that no vesselsthat depart the wharf were overloaded.

We had 28 footer fisheries fishingboats departing everyday and it was always an issue to go to an overloadedboat and tell the captain that his boat was overloaded. I was always told
politely that they had been doing that for many years and I shouldn’t worrytoo much. 

These 28 footers had a loading limit as follows – when they were going outside the reef the limit was two people and inside the reef thelimit was four.. During my days in Levuka I saw a  boat come in from theouter islands with 29 people. Yes, 29 and I am not joking. The vessel I amreferring to is similar to the one that drifted and ended up in the SolomonIslands. 

Overloading usually happens during the beginning of the schoolholidays and the start of sc…


News and Comments Friday 3 May 2013

Note the large section on land issues in this posting, and check out the Weekend Readings over the weekend. 

TEACHERS NEED SUPPORT, NOT ATTACKS. The PM hit out at teachers last week for wanting a pay increase when rural children lack basic school needs. The accusation may seem sound at first glance, and it's certainly in step with his claim that many of his opponents are greedy and self-seeking.  But there is no direct causal link between teacher salaries and poor rural school facilities — unless, of course, the PM was saying that it they halved their salaries he would double rural education expenditure. It's also a bit rich for someone on the PM's salary to question the motives of professional people on much lower salaries.

What Fiji needs is better teachers, and it needs to make up for the longstanding and ongoing exodus of many highly qualified teachers overseas. Static, depressed wages  and attacks on teachers certainly will not help.   Higher salaries and better workin…

News and Comments Thursday 2 May 2013

HOW STRONG THE MEDIA RESTRICTIONS? Accusations about restrictions on the Fiji media continue with this from the Citizens Constitution Forum's Programme Manager Rodney Yee talking about CCF's Analysis of the Government Draft Constitution on Close Up.  But Yee was interviewed on Close Up for all of Fiji to hear and the opposition, doubts and questions on the Government Draft Constitution seem to be widely published, for example, this by Mereoni Chung of the Fiji Youth for Democracy movement. I've no doubt a degree of self-censorship exists but the situation is far better than it was under PER and not nearly as restrictive as some would have us believe.  Australian and NZ readers may also think back to the last time they heard a favourable,. or even a neutral comment, in their media about the Bainimarama government!

SUPPORT FOR FIJI'S "PROGRESS." Meanwhile,  USA Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs deputy assistant secretary Edgard Kagan has told Fiji Ambassad…

Sahba Supports Government Draft, and Party Update

The  Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has commended government for proposing a Constitution that should move the country forward.

Sabha trustee Pt Kamlesh Arya in a statement said the Council of Advisors of the Sabha met and gave a thorough attention to the provisions of the Draft and appreciated its contents which to them are inclusive, uniting and accepting.

Pt Arya said they support the idea of Fiji being Secular and of equal citizenry and appreciated the Bill of Rights provisions. They also acknowledge and appreciate the provisions of Freedom of Religion, Right to education and right to privacy and the removal of the race based politics and reducing the size of the Parliament to 45 representatives. The Independence of the Judiciary and provisions of the Right to equality and Freedom from Discrimination and the provision of the Constitutional authority to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption have also been welcomed.

The Sabha also notes the non electable position of the…

It Takes Guts, But More than Guts is Needed

By Crosbie Walsh

I take my hat off to Jagath Karunaratne. named after the Buddhist concept of compassion. He is a courageousman who attacks Government and then accidentally exposes the ineptness of its political opponents — and his own political preferences. .

Accused and convicted last year along with another three others for spraying political graffiti at several locations around Suva calling for violentaction against the Bainimarama government, he faced up to the Attorney-General at a public consultation at Rishikul last week and asked very blunt and, at first glance,reasonable questions on immunity, the Ghai draft constitution and the elections. 

Asked to elaborate by Coup 4.5, he said he cannot accept the Bainimarama Government because it is illegal. His focus seems to be on what he sees as infringements that limit political participation. He seems unconcerned about the positive things Government has done with which, in other circumstances, he may agree. He wants to believe in fr…