gave villagers in Lau his mobile phone number and told them to contact him if they are not getting service from any government department. This must be a first for any PM anywhere.
(-)THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2010 uses the present continuous verb tense (-ing) to describe Fiji's transgressions when the past tense(-ed) would generally have been more appropriate. You can't continuously suspend a constitution or dismiss a judiciary?
Fiji, it reported, is "witnessing ongoing human rights violations and impunity; with the military-led Government suspending the constitution; dismissing the judiciary; imposing emergency regulations to stifle media dissent; and implementing a policing policy that granted impunity to those who perpetrated domestic violence." What policing policy?
The report, however, did broaden its usual definition of justice to include "being able to go to school, to have access to clean water and to obtain decent health care... the rights that we need to live our lives in dignity.” These shortcomings are apparently evident in other Melanesian countries.
New Zealand also came in for some criticism about "discrimination of Maori by the Foreshore and Seabed Act, risks posed to asylum-seekers due to the new Immigration Act, and the privatisation of prisons." I didn't know we had yet privatised our prisons. AI does a lot of good worldwide, but the latest report shows a lack of balance towards Fiji. It under-estimates the task of providing basic services in PNG, Solomon and Vanuatu. All of which suggests that for its Pacific investigations, it is overly reliant on some urban, Western-funded NGOs for information.
(o-) IMF "SUGGESTIONS" FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY include reducing the Government's wage bill; trimming subsidies to vulnerable groups by increasing transparency and accountability and better targetting assistance; eliminating tax holidays, streamlining tax incentives and improving tax administration; and by raising taxes on luxury goods and petroleum. Similar measures have been adopted in many countries since the onset of the Global recession. How they are implemented is as important as the measures themselves.
(o) RESERVE BANK AND IMPORT SUBSTITION. A Reserve Bank five-year and 6% loan facility aimed at encouring domestic agricultural production and reducing the country's imports payments will see $20m lent to commercial growers of produce in which Fiji is not self-sufficient, namely, fruit, vegetables, root crops, dairy produce and beef production. Pork, canned meat and chicken producers,items in which Fiji is self-sufficient, will not be able to access the funds.
(+) LAUTOKA City Council chief executive officer Pusp Raj is on leave pending investigations by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.
(+) FICAC. The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption has been given permission to adjourn the trial of one of its former officers Marica Rokotavaga who is charged with 37 counts of Forgery, Uttering Forged Document and Obtaining Money by False Pretence for allegedly using more than $15,000. The adjournment was granted pending possible charges against other officers.
STATE-CHURCH RELATIONS AND THE GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS. Scroll down to new Na Sala Cava questions on these topics. For earlier topics, click on the link to our companion blog in the side bar.