Showing posts from September 7, 2014

Elections Only First Step to Democracy

In an article published on Friday, Lowy Institute's Jennifer Hayward-Jones, after noting Fiji's critical importance to Australia's regional security,  assumes a Bainimarama election victory on Wednesday and spells out what she thinks Australia should do to help "restore" democracy after the election. 

She lists strengthened inter-parliamentary links so that Fijian MPs can learn from their Australian counterparts; strengthening Fiji NGOs and civil society so that they can  hold government to account, an independent judiciary with new judges appointed from Commonwealth countries, and a free media for which she does not mention any Australian assistance.

Ms Hayward-Jones is writing for an Australian audience. I doubt she would be so outwardly patronising if her intended audience were Fijian. But it has clearly never crossed her mind that Australians could learn something from Fijians about the various meanings of democracy. Or that perhaps her white liberal definition…

News and Comments Friday 12 September: Don't Throw Your Vote Away

DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR VOTE. COALITION A POSSIBILITY, Auckland University and former USP academic Dr Steve Ratuva says if the polls published so far are to be trusted, the earlier overwhelming support for the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is slipping.  He says the smaller parties have drawn away support from FijiFirst while the indigenous-back SODELPA has gained ground.

"FijiFirst if it wins, it might win with a very small margin, otherwise it may not have the majority and therefore it needs to have a coalition with someone else. Those five smaller parties and two independents, they can actually become kingmakers if the situation arises where no one gets the majority."

Comment. If Steve is correct, people thinking of voting for one of the minor parties should  very seriouslyconsider whether they want a FijiFirst or SODELPA government. If they vote for one of the minor parties, they could well be helping to make their lesspreferred major party the next government.  


Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

School Starts Again

Once again school starts again, children have to be woken up early, no more lying in and getting up at 1100 am. Uniforms to be ironed, school books to be found and dusted. Shoes to be clean and some have to look around for their school bag. Some stay at home mothers are about to do cartwheels and cant wait to see the kids go to school. Some mothers are already missing their kids.

Teachers will be groaning and hoping the holidays will be a bit longer.

To all the school children, enjoy your school days it wont be here all the time, soon you will be out of school, many will find work and a few will drop out and there will be those who will not be able to get a job.

To the teachers, enjoy your work, be a good educator and lift the standard of your school. Be a good role model to your students.

To the stay-home mothers or fathers who cant wait to see the children go to school, love your children, even if they are brats.

To the children, go and get a good education so th…

Fijian Prime Minister delivers statement on the release of 45 peacekeepers

Peacekeepers Released: Announcements and Lessons Learnt

Click here to listen to the video.

"The Syrian rebel group the Nusra Front has released all Fijian soldiers who worked as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights. Thanks to Frank Bainimarama and Fiji Military Commander for their great effort in releasing our troops. God Bless!"-- Sam Looper on Facebookl. Watch the Al Jazeers video

FIJI FOREIGN POLICY PAYS OFF. "Qatar, one country in the Middle East thought by the United States to have influence with the armed rebel group, said Fiji had formally requested its assistance in freeing the hostages." -- Al Jazeera.

FIJI ASKS QATAR FOR HELP.The Government of the Republic of Fiji requested the State of Qatar for mediation in the release of Fijian soldiers serving with peacekeeping forces detained in Syria.

This came during a meeting between HE the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah and the Minister for Foreign Affa…

The Khaiyum Thesis: a Conspiracy Theory

Most people would think ridiculous claims that the Americans knew in advance about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, that Pope Benedict resigned before he was exposed as part of the Church's sex scandals, that Jews are taking over the world, or that Bill Clinton was  quietly assassinating his associates. People who believed such conspiracy theories would be considered to be out of their minds.

But  Fiji has never been short of its conspiracy theorists, people who think —or want others to think—  events are master-minded by some dark forces.  

Think of the historic (and still active) fear generated by claims that the "Indians" were taking over Fiji, or more recently the Muslims, Al Queda or, believe it or not,  the Syrian army. Think of  the innumerable plots in which Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a convenient target, is supposed to have been engaged.

I was thinking of this when I listened to an hour-long radio interview with Mike Beddoes, recorded about three weeks ago. Much of …

The Latest Poll Results

Note: the other political parties have been on less than 5% except for the FLP and PDP that reached this figure in the June 28 poll.

The latest opinion polls give some indication of voter opinions in urban areas. The Razor Poll is smaller but it conducts four polls to every one of the larger Tebbutt Polls, making the grouped samples broadly similar in size. The Tebbutt Poll is more truly random and will reflect a wider spectrum of opinions in the urban and peri-urban areas sampled than the Razor Poll that represents the opinion of people who catch buses within the urban areas and between the urban areas and neighbouring rural areas. 

The latest  polls were taken before Fiji First released its Manifesto. 

 The latest The FijiTimes/Tebbutt Poll  showed Bainimarama the preferred PM for 49% of those interviewed (down from 60%) and Ro Teimumu at 20%, up from 17%, 

FijiFirst was the preferred political party of 45%, SODELPA 21% and 10% were unsure. The Tebbutt poll is based on a random sample o…

SODELPA Does Not Needs Friends Like This

A posting yesterday on the Facebook group Fiji Economic Forum by someone calling himself Rahul Singh (probably not his real name or ethnicity) is much more than bad taste; it is an incitement to violence against an Indo-Fijian young woman, and a punishable offence in any country. If he really lived in Suva, I hope the police reveal his true identity and bring him to justice.

It is one thing to use the social media to express an opinion and differ with another's opinion (and even to yet excited about doing so); but it is quite a different matter to write that a person is "the source of all evil, racism and hatred in Fiji" and urge those reading your comment to  "spit at her, beat her up, mutilate her and burn her house down."

He goes on to talk about the "jihadi terrorists" who run Fiji but he is the one speaking the language of terrorists. The rest of what he writes is an incoherent rambling about foreigners who have taken control of Fiji, intent on wip…

Some Chiefs Beg to Differ

Opinion by Crosbie Walsh

Ro Teimumu is the sister of the late Ro Lady Lalabalavu Mara, the wife of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and the head of Burebasaga, one of Fiji's three tribal confederacies. 

With SODELPA's campaign increasingly focused on issues such as putting God back in the Constitution, restoring to Taukei the exclusive use of the title "Fijian", the restoration of the Great Council of Chiefs, and accusations that Bainimarama is stealing Taukei land, many  people could may think that Ro Teimumu Kepa is  expressing the concerns of all chiefs.   

But even within her own family this is not the case. 

Her nephew Ratu Tevita Mara certainly supports her now but initially he supported Bainimarama and is thought to have been the officer in charge of the beating of women NGO leaders in 2007. But  then he plotted against Bainimarama and dodged a charge of treason by  fleeing to Tonga where he is now on the King's personal staff.   

Her niece  Adi Ateca Ganilau, Ratu Mara…

Economy Looks Set to Help FijiFirst Deliver on Manifesto Promises

First, Mahendra Chaudhry criticized Fiji First for resting on its laurels on past performance (most of which he also criticized)  and making no statement on future policies. Now, with the release of the FijiFirst manifesto, that spells out its future policies,  Mahedra accuses it of vote-buying, unrealistic promises. He'd a hard man to please.

Party leader Voreqe Bainimarama said FijiFirst will continue the reforms of the current government by strengthening existing laws and introducing new ones. Most importantly, it will reduce the impact of inflation and the rising cost of living,  focus on poverty alleviation and improving the lives of all Fijians.

The full manifesto can be read on the FijiFirst website .

 Here are some of the party's promises:

Increase the electricity subsidy for low income families from the current 75 kw to 85kw to provide immediate relief to thousands of households.Provide 91,250 litres of free water per year to Fijian households earning less tha…