Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Words by Dallas Swinstead (on Swinstead), Wadan Narsey (on Itaukei), Brij Lal (on Ratu Iloilo) and Mason Smith (on Itaukei Agriculture)

NOTE THE NEW FEATURE at the top of the right sidebar.

N0117. A DELETED COMMENT, published to remind ourselves just who we are dealing with. Joe has left a new comment on your post "Telling the PM ..." (edited): Just butt out croz mother f*****r. Leave us Fijians alone d***head. We could do without you white trashes supporting the treasonous lot. Just F*** OFF.

N0118.ABOUT FACE (AMBIGUITY INTENDED). What on earth is outgoing Fiji Times publisher Dallas Swinstead trying to say? In an open letter on Cafe Pacific he makes six comments on why he left so soon after taking up the job.
1 and 2.  The owners Motibhai couldn't organize insurance or medical evacuation (Why not? Why didn't he organize his own?).
3. He was tremendously proud of what he achieved (This is not a reason for leaving and to be honest I didn't notice any difference).
4. He supported the People's Charter and said so but would not be "kissing arses." (You'd think this would be a reason to stay, not leave.)
5. "The government continues to subsidise the opposition newspaper ... In return it publishes verbatim, mostly, all government releases. It is a shameless, even dangerous, publication."(Okay. He did not like the opposition but how again is this a reason for his departure?).
6. "Depending on what happens in Fiji in the weeks ahead, I may, or may not, fill in the details..." (What details? We don't even have the reasons  All we have are problems with his insurances and a hint that things were not as he expected. For a newspaper publisher this is very wishy-washy.

N0119. FIJIANS AND OR ITAUKEI, INDIANS OR ... For all Prof Wadan Narsey's myopia that sees him analysing almost everything in Fiji in terms of race, his article  'I-Taukei’ or ‘Fijian”? Name change by decree can’t change ethnic mind-set is well worth reading. It makes some very valid (and only a few not very valid) points.

Among the former, two are critical: 1) "without widespread indigenous Fijian consultation and approval, this attempted name change will make little real difference to the social and political realities of Fiji, while it may make racial antagonisms worse." 2) it will be "a nightmare for statisticians and demographers" because a very important demographic characteristic will be removed, and make analyses on a host of social and economic issues that much less useful. He also has useful things to say on the racial marginalising of Indo-Fijians by previous regimes. 

N0120. RATU ILOILO. I find it strange that Radio NZ International had to ring Prof Brij Lal in Australia for his comments on the death of Ratu Iloilo.  A person's death is not the time to make derogatory political observations, and coming from an Indo-Fijian in exile makes it even more inappropriate. See the comments on this blog under "Ratu Iloilo Passes Away" which showed Ratu Iloilo in a very different light.

Condolence messages can be emailed to These messages will  be posted on a comprehensive website of Ratu Ilioilo's life accessed through .

N0121. ASSISTANCE IS NOT SPOON FEEDING. The criteria for the Agriculture Department's Demand Driven Approach programmes that provide assistance to mainly itaukei farmers are being reviewed. The review will that farmers are held accountable for what they undertake to do and take greater ownership of projects.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary Col. Mason Smith says, "It is fundamental for our people to understand that the programmes are not meant for spoon feeding people. They are meant to give them a boost so that they can stand on their own two feet and survive at a semi-commercial level.” By November the Department expects to be able to identify the type of farmers it is going to help in the future, what their contributions will be, and what Government will be responsible for.

[To readers unfamiliar with Fiji, this may seem too obvious to report, but unaccountability and lack of a sense of ownership in the past has seen many million of dollars wasted on rural itaukei development of one kind or another.] -- Based on 2011, No:0312/MOI.


  1. Perhaps he was simply saying the level of censorship was higher than he expected and it is impossible to work as a journalist Fiji other than being a positive mouthpiece for a military dictator.

    Why he didn't know all of this earlier is really beyond me.

  2. Croz, to follow is a comment I posted on David Robie's Cafe Pacific when the Dallas Swinstead story broke on Wednesday. I'm submitting it here because it mirrors some of the points you've made today (Thursday).
    Dallas evacuates said...
    Dallas Swinstead would have been better off saying nothing at all than serve up this miserable offering about the circumstances of his departure from the Fiji Times. I thought he'd left because his glorious mission had been accomplished. He'd saved the Fiji Times from closure, replaced a self-indulgent editor and could move on with his head high having placed Fiji's historical newspaper of record on a healthy, profitable course. Instead, it turns out to have been a grubby dispute with Mac Patel about his personal insurance, presumably an insistence on his part on a big policy and evacuation provisions that Motibhai eventually decided it couldn't afford. Why on earth do we need to know this? Was there such a public clamour for an explanation about the circumstances of Swinstead's departure that one was required in the national interest? Hardly. I haven't seen one person in Fiji seeking any such explanation, either in the letters columns of the Fiji Times or the unnamed blog sites Swinstead says he doesn't read. But what really marks this out as a mean and singularly self indulgent exercise is Swinstead's attack on the Fiji Sun. He accuses it of being a stooge of government and "even dangerous" without giving any detailed evidence to support his claim. What does he mean by "dangerous"? Dangerous to the bottom line of the Fiji Times? Unfortunately, reading between the lines, one can't help but suspect that Swinstead's beef is that the Sun has a commercial advantage over the FT because of the "3000 advertising pages a year" it gets from government. In his public comments when he took the publisher's gig a few months ago, Swinstead specifically mentioned trying to win some of this advertising back. Did he fail to do so, even after he sacrificed the government's bete noir, editor Netani Rika? Without proper explanation, this whole thing reeks of sour grapes, not just about Swinstead's relationship with Motibhai but the regime. I, for one, would welcome a much larger missive from The Great Man on the issues he dangles before us in such cursory fashion. As it stands, he's made a spectacular evacuation of his own all over Motibhai's doorstep without fulfilling the first requirement of any newspaperman, which is to tell us the full story.

    February 7, 2011 11:25 PM

  3. Croz, you're right to say that no-one can notice the difference in the Fiji Times since the change of ownership. It's still poorly written and doesn't seem to be able to cover even the biggest stories properly.

    Look at its coverage of Ratu Iloilo's death. At every turn, it's been outgunned by The Sun, which just seems to have a lot more detail.

    If the Fiji Times was a better paper, Dallas Swinstead would be entitled to snipe at the Sun. But it's not so all he's doing is drawing attention to his own failings. What's he got to be proud of?

  4. Hang on a minute...i do remeber his appointment being hailed by VERY many people as an example of how this regime can work with well respected newsmen. I also remeber that ir ead on this very blog how his departure was nothing out of the ordinary blah blah....obviously, again this is inconvenient as it draws attention to the dilemna of working in fiji as a journalist and not towing the line dicyed by the regime and it's censors. we are now five years into this regime and STILL the style and talent of journaists are being attacked and criticised. Here's a thought, how about Croz try to publish his blog comments locally and his terribley thoughtful prose and lets see how far he is allowed to go before the knock at the door.

  5. @ Sasas'sista ... Is it deliberate that you nearly always miss the point of a story and then make a tangental point of your own? This story was about Dallas's reasons, not the regime or censorship or me. I've no doubt Dallas had his reasons, and they may well have someting to do with the regime, but other than his insurance problems (surely a non-political issue) he did not give them. And that was the point of my posting.

  6. I thought Dallas Swinstead was above what he said about the Fiji Sun. Or has he been used.

    And as for the anon bloggers who post swear words on any blog, it just shows their character.

    Poor people.

  7. @Croz, well he hasn't finished yet, probably like you, he may cover it over a number of weeks . And yes, like you, I almost entirely miss the point to promote my own agenda, it is just a different and deliberate agenda to yours. Sometimes your observations and short memory just don't interest me. It's like a buffet really. I am happy to give credit, you are on the ball, you just let to many through sometimes.

  8. Croz, i am confident the expletives don't bother you. If anything they emphasize that your are doing good work for Fiji which is bothering this particular idiot.

  9. Croz, I'm getting very tired of these pathetic postings by Sara'ssista. Always the same old, same old and never anything new or clever. You must be tempted to ban her from your site. But she's actually quite helpful in showing how empty-headed the opposition is. Yes dear, time to bite back. Three, two, one, cue!

  10. Standing on our own two feet!Friday, 11 February 2011 at 08:54:00 GMT+13

    @ Col Mason Smith and "standing on your own two feet".....

    Can you imagine anything more sensible than this remark? Yes, 'Standing on our own two feet', eschewing taxpayers' dollars when we are able - saspo - is the way for any country to go if it wishes to develop and move ahead. The world will not stop for us and taxpayers' dollars are finite (all too finite!). Why has it taken the Military to have to tell us so? ....But it has?

  11. Bula from Fiji! Reading the newspapers gives you an eery feeling. Do I fail to see the reality of this wonderful new world where everything is absolutely fine. The press would not even report bad weather as if the government was responsible for it. In fact a private consulting has opened because the government met service is unable or unwilling to report bad news. While I see that democracy is an elusive and ambiguous concept in small Pacific countries, I cringe at an atmosphere where absolutely nothing can be criticized and nobody can express a view that is not aligned with the regime.

  12. @omg... It appears your only contribution is to comment on my comments....and yet never offerered anything at all from you...oh dear.

  13. @ OMG....

    What makes you SO sure Sara'ssista is a woman? We prefer to believe this 'Persistent Pain' is not. The fact that the posts are so often rambling and irrational? Resorting to gender bias is a profound mistake. We prefer to believe that Sara'ssista is a Cabal of Persistent Pains and they might mostly be male!

  14. Surely, Dallas Swinstead's medical cover might have been arranged for him by Post Fiji? There appear to be plenty of people there who remain unconvicted and yet to be sentenced. In view of what took place previously, arranging a spurious overseas-based Medical Cover would have been chicken feed?


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