Showing posts from April 6, 2014

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

There was excitement in the voice of my Lautoka mate, Fly, who called to ask if I was in Lautoka.

I told him I was in Namulomulo. He said, "Sobo, the Prime Minister is coming to meet us today."

 I told him that he was on a campaign trail and that he was gathering signatures.

Fly, in his excitement, said that at least some of the vendors would get to meet him and perhaps he could hear some of their issues.

And Fly hopes that the PM will return to meet them again and again.

Don't worry Fly. The PM is a man of his word.  Just give your support and ask him when the shelter would be built to shade the Lautoka market outside vendors.

Speed Kills
We can deduce from the report of the horror crash that speed was a contributing factor to the accident. (FT 4/4).

The report says that the accident was so loud that it woke the neighbours forcing them out of their homes.

As a matter of precaution drivers are told to stay four car lengths away from the vehicle in front. This g…

Fiji is experiencing improved business confidence and investment

Moves for elections improving confidence in Fiji, says ratings agency (Credit: ABC) In its first assessment of Fiji in a year the international rating's agency Moody's puts the improved conditions down to moves towards the country's first elections since the coup in 2006. Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Christian de Guzman, Moody's Vice President
DE GUZMAN: In Fiji, for example we are seeing an increase in construction activity and I think that is also reflected in the increase in investment in a lot of the tourist facilities that we are also seeing. We are seeing a lot of build up and we think that is really due to an increase in confidence ahead of the elections. I think people there and investors are pretty sure that elections will go ahead and there will be a normalisation, in terms of its foreign policy and its relations with its neighbours and that should be good for the economy.
GARRETT: So just how much new investment are you seeing?
DE GUZMAN: Well, …

Political Round Up for the Second Week in April

23 Weeks to the September 17 Election

Among several recent political developments two, and perhaps three, stand out.

First, the visit of the NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully and the announcement there will be bilateral talks that "signalled a new chapter in Fiji-New Zealand relations as the two countries sought to chart the way forward with goodwill and positive co-operation", and that Fiji workers will soon be  included in the seasonal workers programme.

Secondly, the ongoing kerfuffle about the CCF booklet.

 And thirdly the rapturous Fiji Sun report on the PM's tour of West and, with one exception, the near absence of any mention of the tour by the other online media.

ELECTORAL COMMISSION TO SEEK INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE on some of the provisions of the Electoral Decree of 2014. The decision followed the second meeting with civil society groups.  The major area of interest is  section 115 of the Decree that restricts NGO’s funded by foreign aid from being involved in …

Methodists to Keep Politics Out f Church

Methodist Church General Secretary Rev Tevita Nawadra Bainivanua  has reminded members in leadership positions to keep politics and the church separate, and in line with this instruction, Methodists appointed to  leadership positions in the Church must give up these positions if they choose to stand in the September Elections.They will retain their church status but not be able to perform any leadership role during the campaign.

"This is to ensure that they are not tempted to abuse the power and influence they have in the church to further their political aspirations,"  "What we are talking about is those who serve in positions of authority such as stewards, treasurers, presidents of fellowships, cell group leaders and at higher level – members of church committees such as department advisory committees, the President’s panel or the Standing Committee. This will be part of our code of conduct for the church."

“We are not discouraging our members from campaigning, …

NFP: New Leader's Speech at AGM

The National Federation Party- Our People’s Future
Speech delivered to the National Federation Party at its Annual General Meeting on 29 March, 2014 at the Nadi Sangam Primary School by Professor Biman Prasad; New Leader of NFP
Chief Guest, Gone Turaga na Roko Tui Bau, Ratu Joni Madrawiwi, Madam President of the Party, Ms Tupou Draunidalo, outgoing President Mr Raman Singh, Excellencies, members of the Diplomatic corps, invited guests, party stalwarts, members, branch officials, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Madam President, I congratulate you on your appointment as President of the Party. More so, I salute your courage in accepting the position in these most difficult of times. Madam, you are also not only the second woman President of the Party in our fifty years but also the first i-taukei to become the Party President. My heart felt tribute and tremendous appreciation to the National Federation Party for its wisdom and farsightedness in taking this decision. Madam, you have m…

Shallow Unbalanced Reporting on Fiji Unhelpful

By Crosbie Walsh
An article headed "Fiji: Regime Clamps Down on Advocacy NGOs Ahead of Elections" does not live up to the generally high standard I have come to expect from student journalists at AUT's Pacific Media Watch.

It appears to be a collection of mostly anti-Bainimarama government articles sourced from Fiji online media releases. Each of these stories has a history that cannot be fairly dealt with in one short article. It would, I think, have been better to have dealt more thoroughly with one issue, perhaps the 'clamp down' on the NGO, omitting the ragtag of other anti-government accusations.

The article is not helped by its use of value-laden words such as  'clamp down', 'lambasting' and 'lashed out' which set the tone and make a calm assessment of the issues difficult.  More  seriously, the article contained a number of errors and made no attempt to provide the background needed to understand the issues raised.

First, only one N…

Who Said Election Day will be Chaos?

I'm losing track  of who says what about what is wrong with whatever government does, but I think it was Mahendra Chaudhry who said voting day would be chaos with many people not able to select the right number from among 300 or so candidates. And the NFP also had some resrvations.

Yet all voters have to do is remember one three-digit number for two to three minutes.
This could not possibly produce a worse result than the rushed 2006 election when the complexity of the alternative vote and the above/below party-directed choice resulted in nearly one in ten votes being declared invalid.

The Elections Office website spells out what will happen.

Those intending to vote will have to have registered by 4 August. Overseas voters, those working on election day, the sick and elderly and those living in very remote areas will vote before the elections. Everyone else will vote between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm at the polling station (one of 2,000) closest to where they live on Wednesday 17 Septe…

The CCF Response and the A-G's Demand the Booklet be Wthdraw

PRESS RELEASE Response to the Attorney General’s comment on the CCF 2013 Fiji Government Constitution Booklet 07th April 2014. The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) has not received any official complaint from the AG’s office regarding the CCF 2013 Fiji Government Constitution booklets.
CCF’s intention is to educate the citizens of their rights and responsibilities as citizens of Fiji. The booklet is a summary of the constitution and is intended to break down the legal language in a simple way, which is easy to understand. It does not seek to compete with government nor does it intend to replace the government constitution.
CCF has engaged in positive dialogue with the Electoral Commission in regards to voter education and looks forward to working with the Electoral Commission voter education team in educating Fijians on the new voting system in the lead up the September elections.
CCF extends an invitation to the AG and others to discuss the content of the booklet or any other issue c…

Judge for Yourself

MIDA, the Media Authority, chastised FijiTV for broadcasting Ratu Timoci Vesikula's recent speech at the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting, saying it was a "hate speech" that violated the Constitution.

Government opponents and foreign journalists say MIDA is restricting media freedom.  The question is whether, in the Fiji context, Ratu Timoci's speech was a "hate speech" and whether FijiTV acted responsibly in not editing the part of his speech that could be considered racist and offend Indo-Fijians.  You be the judge. Here's the link to the FijiTV news item

And here, thanks to FijiLeaks, is a translation of the part of the speech that could be offensive:

"If you think that you'll get support from other communities just because of the Constitution that you have put together, then I can boldly state to you right now, "Forget It". If the people, the Vanua, do not back you, you will certainly not return to office.

In my experience, the…