Showing posts from November 24, 2013

Ethnic Balance in the Fiji Military

By Crosbie Walsh

It's not the first time the issue has been raised.

Thakur Ranjit Singh wrote several years ago on why there were so few Indo-Fijians in the RFMF. It was a concern mentioned in the People's Charter consultations.  There's periodic reference to it in the blogs, and this blog has mentioned it more than once.  

But what prompted our interest this time was a RFMF advertisement in the Fiji Sun, brought to my attention by a Fiji friend.  This is what he wrote:
Dear Croz,  I thought I’d draw to your attention a couple of facts about the RFMF advertisement for its new recruits that appeared in last Thursday’s Fiji Sun (21/11/13). First, out of 250 recruits, only 7 are Indo-Fijians and 5 have names that identify them with mixed race and Pacific islander ethnicities. Second, these recruits were to march into camp last Saturday with among other personal belongings,  their ‘Bible, Hymn book’.  All the recruits are men so there is no pretense at gender balance. At least…

Global Warming and Human Rights: Relativities and Priorities

Issues affecting human welfare are always difficult to prioritise but the West's attention to human rights, so often  narrowly defined as political and individual rights, seems at odds with the lack of attention given to basic human rights, such as the right to food, shelter and employment. Thus, in the articles that follow, the Asia Development Bank draws attention to the likely economic effects, including food supply, on millions of Pacific Islanders, while the European Union, that has withheld funding to the struggling Fiji's sugar industry, funds a Pacific Islands Forum-directed consultation on human rights in Niue, with a population of 1,200, about the same as that of Levuka. The consultation involved church and community groups — and 17 (sic!) government ministries and agencies. One outcome was a proposal to form a  Human Rights Committee!  ADB’s Chilling Report on Pacific Climate Change

Kiribati: soon gone?
Disaster looms for low-lying countries
With world climate talks in …

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

Base of Mount Everest

Many people do not know where Fiji is unless they are Sevens fans. But thanks to Matthew Webb, an Englishman who works in Suva, we received a little extra publicity when he joined a climbing group in the Himalayas.

"When I told my team that I was off to do this trip, they got very excited and gave me a survival pack to take along that comprised of a can of Fiji Gold, some wet wipes due to limited bathroom facilities on the mountains, and a Fiji flag to take up to base camp."

He made sure to take a Fiji flag with him when he embarked on an adventure to the Himalayas, the world's tallest mountain range.

Vinaka Mr. Webb.

Police Patrol
I have a sincere plea to the police officers at the Lautoka police station. Could you please step up patrols in the CBD and the fringes of the City? There has been a slight increase in robberies and your presence will help keep would be crime down.

In the CBD pick pockets have emerged and they are very brave. They work in …

The Driti Trial

WEEKEND POSTINGS Allen Lockington Column Climate Change and Human Rights The Ethnic Imbalance in the Fiji MilitaryBy Crosbie Walsh

Former Land Force Commander Pita Driti has been found guilty of inciting mutiny and is now remanded in custody as he awaits sentencing on the 10th of December.  The maximum possible sentence is 15 years. Also accused is Ratu Tevita Mara who fled the county last year rather than face trial.

The case is of more than usual interest because of some obvious and some perhaps not so obvious issues raised. Driti and Mara supported Bainimarama's removal of the Qarase Government in December 2006. Mara was almost certainly involved in the well publicised abuse of women protesters in early 2007. But later they appeared to be disenchanted with the way the Bainimarama government was proceeding.  They seemed particularly concerned that the Military Council, of which they were members, did not have as much influence over Cabinet decisions as they had hoped. And they w…

Budgets and Deficits by Prof. Tiru Jayaraman

Dr Jayaraman is a Professor at the FijiNational University’sSchool of Economics, Banking and Finance, Nasinu Campus. Another Pacific island country (PIC) and another budget!
Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s budget for 2014 was presented early this week. Fiji’s budget was announced two weeks ago. Vanuatu’s and Solomon Islands’ 2014 budget are yet to be unveiled.
The worries continue to be the same: deficit, debt and sustainability.
Greater concerns are now about two other PICs, Samoa and Tonga, whose fiscal years are July to June. Their budgets for 2014-15 are due in June or so.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Samoa is more alarming.
PNG’s budget 2014
It is a record budget for K15.29 billion or US$ 5.74 billion.
The main objective is to offset the decline in huge construction expenditure in early 2014 as the US$ 19 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is nearing completion.
The budget is a countervailing instrument, aiming at keeping up the aggregate demand for maintaining …