Showing posts from August 18, 2013

An Independent Judiciary?

Former High Court Judge Nazhat Shameem* had this to say in reply to an enquirer:

I have been saying all this while, that there is no evidence that the judiciary lacks the ability to make independent and impartial decisions. While there has been much talk of stifling free speech in the Yabaki case, if one reads the judgment, one will find that the law applied by the judge was the law of England on contempt of court which says that while people are free to express the most trenchant criticisms of judgments, saying that they are wrong or mistaken, what one cannot say is that the judge or judiciary is corrupt or biased or that it is motivated by irrelevant considerations such as a bribe or public opinion.

This jurisdiction of contempt is alive and well in every Commonwealth country. It survives not to protect individual judges but to p…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

    Passenger Safety

People will be wondering  and saying, "Well, I never."

We read that a mini van traveling from Nadi to Suva  caught fire near Nabukavesi and the driver allegedly refused to stop when passengers heard a noise coming from the engine. If this is true, can the driver be charged, and after inspection of the van can the owner be charged  if the fault was caused by negligence or wiring for speakers.

Public service vehicles must be safe to travel in and it doesn't help when arrogant drivers refuse to stop. It seems some drivers only want to get to the destination and return so that they can earn more. The lives of people on whom they depend for their pay comes in second.

As a matter of further concern, is it true that fuel lines on some buses are made of plastic?

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They…

Did Polynesia Miss the Plot on the PIDF?

Veteran Tongan publisher 'Eakalafi Moala thinks some Polynesian countries may have missed the significance of participating at the recent inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum in Nadi.   This report from the Pacific Institute of Public Policy's  new blog that publishes news, views and analysis from around the Pacific region.

                        Polynesia – a new pathway
Polynesian countries may have missed the significance of participating at the inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum, writes Kalafi Moala.
Polynesian countries as a group may have missed the significance of participating at the recent inaugural Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) held in Nadi, Fiji on August 7 – 9. Host of the forum, Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama hinted disappointment in his opening address, that it was unfortunate some countries did not attend, possibly because they regarded the meeting as political instead of focusing on development…

The PM on the New Constituton

Address at the opening of Certified Practising Accountants Conference in Nadi yesterday
Attorney General, CPA Officials, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Bula Vinaka and a good morning.
We gather here today at an important juncture of our history – the unveiling yesterday of the new Constitution that will take us to the election next year
It’s the job of accountants, of course, to take stock of the financial positions of individuals and companies. So I can think of nowhere better than to take stock of the position of our nation at this point and outline where I think we go from here.
It’s a great pleasure to be here in Nadi among you for this conference, which has become an important venue, over the years, to share ideas and improve the quality of the national debate.
By now, most of you will be aware of the major points of the Constitution, that will pave the way for the first genuine democracy in Fiji next year of equal votes of equal value.
I’m very proud of this document. It e…

Constitution Released: Reactions, Thoughts and Content

The old political parties condemned the new constitution without reading it. Mick Beddoes said they'd prepare their own document. They could be cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum said they'd study it and release their analysis soon but said it was the Government's constitution, not the people's.  I thought this qualification unnecessarily provocative and not altogether correct.The draft constitution has been significantly amended as a result of public consultations and over a thousand submissions.

I have read the constitution and for the most part I cannot see how any reasonable person could totally denounce it. Human,civic, political, and religious rights are suitably protected. Trade union rights are protected but I would have liked to see the Essential Industries Decree revoked. The provisions on women, children, the disabled, gender orientation, education and languages, absent in earlier constitutions, are commendable. …

News and Comments Thursday 22 August 2013

NEW CONSTITUTION OUT TODAY.  Fiji's new Constitution will be unveiled by Attorney General and Elections Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum  today. The document will be released in English, i-Taukei and Hindustani languages to the public. The release will be followed by four briefings with important stakeholders and the document will then be passed on to the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on September 6. The 2013 Constitution was put together following widespread consultations and based on submissions received.

These were the words used by Fiji Times Editor Wesley in welcoming  the announcement on the constitution. He particularly welcomed the news that briefing sessions with the media, registered political parties and diplomatic corps will highlight where amendments took place in the draft constitution which was compiled following widespread consultations. "We all should rejoice with the state that we finally have something to guide us to the 2014 Elections.


News and Comments Tuesday 20 August 2013

NZ POLICY NOT WORKING, SAYS POLITICAL ANALYST Julie Bishop, Gerald McGhie and I are not the only ones questioning the effectiveness of N Z policies on Fiji (see earlier postings).  We have been joined by Dr Paul Buchanan who told Radio New Zealand International the most obvious sign that the policy hasn’t worked is that the United Nations has welcomed Fijian peacekeepers in greater numbers since the 2006 coup, in defiance of requests from Australia and New Zealand that they not be used.

“The sanctions regime has not worked and the National government needs to admit that to itself, then admit it to its partners and finally admit it to the Fijians and from that, start anew with an approach that recognizes Fijian sovereignty, recognizes that the type of governance in Fiji is not ideal from our point of view but we need to engage them nevertheless.” Buchanan is principal and director of 36th Parallel Assessments, a New-Zealand-based Pacific-focused geopolitics and strategic as…

Methodist Church to Reconcile Rival Factions

The Methodist Church of Fiji is now preparing itself for the future by trying to bring its two rival factions together. A reconciliation process will start this year to set the tone for the church’s healing wounds of the past within and outside the church.

I'Taukei nationalists dominated the church from the 1980s, leading to the imposition of Christian laws on non-Christians in Fiji after the 1987 coups. In 1987, the then President of the church Reverend Josateki Koroi was ousted by Reverend Manasa Lasaro after the coup.

Following this they pushed for the Sunday ban to restrict all public events on Sundays. Leading up to the 2000 coup, there were also reports of some Methodist church ministers openly making racial attacks from the pulpit.

After the George Speight coup in May 2000, the then President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi visited the parliament complex where the members of the People’s Coalition government were held. A letter of support from Reverend…

Earlier economy forecast more realistic: Economist

The 2.7 percent economic growth forecast by the Prime Minister in his 2013 Budget address is more realistic says economist, Professor Biman Prasad.

He made the comment in response to an announcement by the Reserve Bank of Fiji to revise the economic growth forecast to 3.2 percent – the highest since 2004.

“I think the Prime Minister’s forecast in his 2013 budget, in my view, remains realistic. Given what’s happenning in the real sector, in the sugar industry, the agricultural sector and the manufacturing sector – and given the quality of investments we might have had in the last 18 months, it’s too optimistic and too early to announce a revised growth forecast of 3.2 percent."

The economic growth projection has been revised because of growing optimism in the economy.

In a statement earlier this month, the RBF said the growth is projected to be broad-based with positive contributions from all the sectors except for the mining and quarry sector.

The manufacturing: ag…