Peoples' Charter Progress, Media Decree, Arrestee "Disappears," Kamikamica Embezzlement Charge, NZHighCom, Bio-Fuel on Koro
(o) Peoples' Charter. The second meeting of 16-member National Peoples' Charter Advisory Council (NPCAC) was held on Tuesday at the Parliament complex in Veituto to discuss progress reports from various ministries on the progress of the Peoples Charter in 2009, and government programmes to be delivered in 2010. Photo: Parliament complex, Veiuto. Click to enlarge.
The National Council and its sub-committees will play an advisory role providing support to Government which is the main implementing authority of the Peoples' Charter for Change, Peace and Progress. The Council's responsibility is to monitor progress,carry out civic education and conduct dialogue on important national issues. The outcome of today’s meeting will be presented to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
(o-) Media Decree. A media authority and tribunal could be introduced soon, after which PERS, the Public Emergency Regulations will probably be lifted. Highlights: the Tribunal will probably he headed by a judge; all media organisations will be registered; criticism that the system is too controlling will need to be backed by facts. Consultations with media organisations excluding the Fiji Times and Fiji Television will begin next week.
Comment: the Decree aims to foster "responsible journalism", a worthy goal but the balance is an extremely fine one, unlikely to be achieved until an elected government replaces the military. The military mind seems to demand a level of obediance that is unhealthy in a democracy society. Similarly, genuine dialogue, which the consultations presumably seek, requires the inclusion of contrary and questioning opinion. The process is not off to a good start with the military-led goverment excluding the Times and FijiTV. Nothing is gained by exclusion, and much is to be gained by inclusion. Government well-wishers, including this blog, urge it to reconsider the exclusion.
(+) Kamikamica and embezzlement charge.A bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of former Roko Tui Rewa Savenaca Kamikamica for failing to appear in Court on Tuesday. Kamikamica is alleged to have embezzled more than $11,000 meant for development schemes from the Fijian Affairs Board while holding the position of Roko Tui Rewa. Ridding Fiji of corruption is part of the Roadmap.
(-) Military detains Rinakama. Former FAP MP Peceli Rinakama is reported by blog Coupfourpointfive to have been arrested by soldiers last Friday and his whereabouts are still not known to his family. Rinakama was arrested from the Toorak, Suva, home of Naitasiri High Chief Inoke Takivekata, where together with "other subjects and friends" he was drinking yaqona soon after the latter had been found guilty of attempting to murder PM Bainimarama, a charge that was made and then withdrawn in December 2007 against Rinakama. In other words, Rinakama was one of the eleven people then thought to be co-conspirators.
The military has the power under the Public Emergency Regulations to arrest people deemed to be holding a meeting and, in the circumstances, this is what they seemed to be doing, but they do not -- at least in my books -- have the right to detain anyone for this length of time without charge, without legal counsel, without informing next of kin, and without the right to receive visitors. They most certainly do not have the right to beat the arrested. Two weeks ago a group of men including deposed SDL MPs were arrested drinking yaqona at the SDL offices, allegedly beaten and released five to nine hours later.
This blog is deeply concerned that the Bainimarama goverment has condoning this behaviour by its silence, and just as concerned that it apparently cannot see the damage such actions do to its reputation -- and the plausibility of the Roadmap.
(o) The NZHighCom welcomed Acting Head of Mission Philip Taula on Monday with an isevusevu ceremony using a tanoa presented by the late Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, to former president, the late Sir Kamisese Mara. Taula, a career diplomat, will be responsible for a staff of 55, including 48 locals.
(+) Bio-Fuel on Koro island, Lomaiviti Group. The PM will launch Fiji's first bio-diesel plant, in which diesel is made from copra, on Koro today. The plant will benefit 14 villages on the island. In addition to the final bio-diesel product, the milling of coconut oil can be transformed into cooking oil, body oil, soap and copra meal, which can be used as feedstock for livestock production and fertiliser. The development is part of the Roadmap to improve rural Fiji infrastructure.
(+) The Reserve Bank has released new criteria to be followed by financial institutions in the appointment of CEOs.
Free advertising? Last week I floated the idea of offering businesses whose activities support the Fiji economy free, non-intrusive advertising. One person responded positively. What do other readers think? Several anti-government blogs include "automatic" advertising for which they are paid. Please comment, and if you think it a good idea, say what businesses (or types of businesses) you would recommend.