The early part of the week saw further sniping at the Judiciary. The Opposition persists with accusations that the judiciary is not independent of Government, although it has yet to produce a single piece of evidence to support its claims —and it never notes when judgements go against Government.
Then, the blogs claim senior judges have resigned and are fleeing the country before they are held responsible for supporting the Bainimarama government. And, again they never publish denials by the judges.
Similar accusations were levelled at USP over the cancellation of a student's scholarship when it should have been obvious that the decision was that of the Scholarship Board acting on advice from USP's Student Advisory Services. But not so writes someone as a comment on this blog: "USP VC Rajesh Chandra and deputy Esther Williams are responsible for this debacle... they are only too happy to follow directions from Khaiyum."
And so we follow the countdown to the elections. Lots of accusations, no evidence, and little concrete on new or alternative policies. Then, on Thursday we heard from PM Bainimarama and Dr Prasad. Accusations were made by both, but neither stooped to personalities. Both dealt with differences and rebuttals on policies. Good on them!
Here are the main news items since Wednesday ....
was launched at the party’s office in Brown Street, Suva, on Friday afternoon. Its advertisement for people wishing to stand as FF candidates says they must embrace the core values laid out in the FijiFirst Constitution which include integrity, a commitment to the Fiji Constitution, inclusiveness, self-reliance and opportunity for all Fijians. Other attributes listed were reliability, honesty and trust, unity, loyalty. discipline. Wow! The political movement [why don't they call themselves a party?] is also calling for volunteers to join the campaign. Written applications can be sent to the FijiFirst office or through its website. http://fijifirst.com/ This is a link to what Bainimarama said at the opening ceremony
Dr Prasad address to Rotary on Thurday.
SODELPA CANDIDATES. The names will be announced tomorrow, Saturday.
USP RESPONDS. Click here for the university's statement on the cancellation of the scholarship of Seruiraduvatu Tamanirarama, the student who volunteered to help Independent candidate, Roshika Deo.
541 CONSUMER COMPLAINTS, valued at $1.2 million, have been received by the Consumer Council in the first five months of this year Mobile phones, electronic goods and landlord-tenancy related issues topped the list of complaints received by the Consumer Council that has resolved 85% of the complaints.
TWO ITEMS OF NEWS CAN BE MISINTERPRETED.
1) The announcement that the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Force, Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga and RFMF chief of staff, Brigadier-General Mohammed Aziz have set up office in downtown Suva, while also keeping their offices at the Nabua barracks in the outskirts of Suva city, will almost certainly be viewed with suspicion by those opposed to the Bainimarama government, and the Commander's statement said his new office was in a location where he could easily carry out his work will definitely raise eyebrows. Click here .
2) Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has confirmed that public Service and private vehicles can be used by political parties for their campaigns. Only public structures which include buildings, electricity posts and monuments needed approval from the Fijian Elections Office to be used. The FEO has so far named 92 "places" that can be used for campaigning. Click here. [I think the clarification comes after complaints about the FijiFirst Party bus with logos on its sides, but I am surprised public service vehicles can be used in the campaign.]
ILLEGAL LAND DEVELOPMENT EXPOSED. FLP'S Mahendra Chaudhry has raised concerns about the possible abuse by a foreign developer of a Suva site at Sawau Rd in Bayview Heights, currently zoned for civic development, probably being developed for commercial purposes. Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has written to the Director of Lands for clarification. "A visit disclosed that substantial structures are being constructed on the subject land," he wrote. Suva City Council has confirmed that approval had not been granted for the building and engineering plans submitted by the company for the construction work being carried out. The ongoing work is therefore illegal. Comment. Brownie points to Mahen. But I hope his interest is apolitical. The SCC has prime responsibility here. Not the Government.
HICKUPS WITH ROTUMA-TUVALU TRADE. Government attempts to provide cash incomes on the northern island of Rotuma (improved shipping, jetty improvements, freezers, quarantine facilities) have been temporarily put on hold because the islanders have been unable to meet Tuvalu demand.
Rotuma Island Council advisor, Major General George Konrote admits there are some issues with the trade deal. “I believe there are brighter days ahead as you’ve heard the Prime Minister – we are now ironing out the shipping problems, the storage problems. I have no doubt following more dialogue and discussion with the government of Tuvalu things will improve.” Meanwhile, Tuvalu is importing directly from Suva.
BLOG COMMENT OF THE WEEK. "I am a "I-Taukei" and a very proud one at that who has had a "gut-full" of our inability to debate in such a forum without resorting to name calling when people disagree with someone else's opinion.
"Rather than trying to swap their perception through constructive well structured arguments backed by concrete evidence, we start "mud-slinging" mate. You just have to go to anti-coup blogs to see this sort of immature behavior. Whilst I agree with them on principles, I loathe the way we talk to each other online. It's so so sad."
TO CHEER YOU UP, TWO JOKES. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a racecar is not called a racist?
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?