more is expected of the airline in coming months. The courts, long accused of being subject to political interference, found former PM Laisenia Qarase had "no case to answer" and innocent of charges brought by the corruption commission for his actions in Fiji Holdings Ltd. And the judge was a Sri Lankan whose recruitment to the Fiji judiciary has also been criticised by Government opponents! The PM is presently in Moscow on a trade and investment mission, the first Fijian PM ever to visit Russia. The visit is the latest example of the shift in Fiji's foreign policy that previously focused on Australia, New Zealand, the European community and the USA. And Ro Teimumu, SODELPA's first president, speaking to the party's first meeting, not unsurprisingly said "For those who knew the old SDL party would know that many of the principles of the old party are embodied in the new Party and other changes which have been brought in..."
PROVINCIAL COUNCILS will soon be providing assistance to all ethnic groups in the 14 provinces. Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary, Savenaca
Kaunisela said previously all provinces that were governed by provincial councils were merely for the iTaukei community. The permanent secretary was speaking at the
launch of the Public Service Day which is part of government’s efforts to improve service delivery. “All provincial councils will soon be servicing all ethnic groups
and assistance would be provided to them through the Roko Tuis ,” Mr Kaunisela said.
“We intend to deal with all ethnic groups from one office within the provincial
council vicinity.” Mr Kaunisela added that all ethnic groups will be able to raise their concerns at the provincial council offices. “The provincial councils will then
redirect their queries to the government ministry responsible to deal with issues that the community may have,” Mr Kaunisela said. He said the Ministry of iTaukei
Affairs, in emphasising service delivery, is working on creating a closer working relationship with all members of the community. “Regardless of whether you are
iTaukei or belong to any other ethnic group, the need to be provided with the correct information is important,” Mr Kaunisela said.
THE PM'S POLITICAL PARTY. How will it share up? Permanent
Secretary to the PM’s Office Pio Tikoduadua has not considered contesting for the 2014 elections. “During this time all I know is that I am the Permanent Secretary to
the PM’’s office and I have not considered anything yet,” Tikoduadua told FijiLive. Also still undecided is Attorney-General and Acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
“There is still more work to be done and at this stage and I am still focused on getting all works done before making any decisions,” Sayed-Khaiyum said. Prime
Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama earlier announced that he will be contesting for elections and will be forming his own political party. Bainimarama also
announced that he will be resigning from his post as the Republic of Military Force Commander when he will contest. Under the Political Parties Registration Decree those wishing to register as a political party will need to have 5000 members from the four divisions around the country and should have $5005 as registration fee. The Registrar of Political Parties will then decide on the registration of each application. The decree has also stated that no political party shall be registered during the period commencing on the day of the issue of the writ for Parliamentary election and ending on the day on which the writ is returned.
SWITCHING ALLEGIANCES. At least one group of villagers in former SDL-held Tailevu is changing sides because no former government has done as much as the present one for them.
VOTING REGISTRATION. Over 500,000 people were registered to vote before Phase III of the electronic registration progress, aimed to "mop up" still unregistered voters in Fiji, that is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The Elections Office will then turn its attention to registering Fijian citizens living overseas.
Registration involves the taking of photograph and a thumbprint. The system is expected to eliminate voter fraud by accurately identifying an individual who tries to vote more than once.
UNITED FRONT SIGNATURE GATHERING. The United Front for a Democratic Fiji, made up of the SODELPA, FLP and NFP, continues to gather signatures against the draft constitution which has yet to incorporate proposals made during the recent national consultations. Spokesman Mick Beddoes could not say when the petition would be presented. NFP president Raman Pratap Singh said the party still opposes the draft constitution but hopes necessary changes will be made. He wants the Ghai draft brought back for negotiations but the PM has already stressed that the Ghai draft will not come back.
DOCTORS SUSPENDED. Two doctors from Lautoka Hospital have been suspended following preliminary investigations into suggestions of negligence. Although not directly related to negligence that resulted in the death of a tourist last year, this is taken as a sign that the Ministry of Health is becoming more vigilant.
A UNITING FORCE. This is the view of one observer on the Melanesian Spearhead Group.