STOP PRESS. A SAD LOSS.The late Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca (81) passed away on Monday after a long illness. He will be remembered for his contribution to the development of the country and religion.
Teimumu's address to SODELPA's AGM at the weekend should inform
voters about the party's priorities and intentions.
It was a long
speech, some 3,800-odd words, of which most (nearly 70%) was about
how the Bainimarama government was threatening to take away Taukei
the other topics, “the
shocking spread of poverty and unemployment, the decline of
government services and infrastructure and the crippling cost of
living” far less was said.
had 28 words on unemployment, 83 on health (half of which was about
the Navau woman who unfortunately lost her baby), 25 words on the
economic damage caused by the Bainimarama government and wage
stagnation, and three words about the spread of poverty. Government's
Look North policy was “a farce and a failure” written off in 14
words, and 271 words were reserved for the rising cost of living, as
illustrated in Mick Beddoes' survey of food prices — up 86% from
2006, not the previously stated figure of 60%.
land she was quite specific on what SODELPA would do in government:
the multiple constitutional and legislative protections on land,
Senate and the Great Council of Chiefs would be restored, the NLTB
would be given its old powers, and the direct payment of all lease
money to the land-owning mataqali would be “reviewed”. The
Bainimarama government's Land Use Decree and the Land Bank would be
did not, however, address the really burning issue on land which is
its use, not its ownership. A thriving Fiji economy needs much
greater use of land by Taukei villagers, the restoration of
non-renewed leases (that contributed to the massive exodus of
dispossessed Indo-Fijians tenants, an increase in peri-urban shanty
town dwellings and a drop in sugar and other agricultural production),
and fair agricultural and non-agricultural leases for lessor and lessee.
all the other issues Ro Teimumu only spoke in generalities, but
promised specific policies once the party's manifesto is released.
Meanwhile, she called on members to rally and unite for truth and
justice, for work and food on the table, to choose democracy over
dictatorship, before concluding, “Thank you for listening and
may God bless us all.”
issues emerge: the economy and the cost of living; the present
dictatorship, and Taukei land. I
will write something on the economy and cost living shortly; the
dictatorship issue will answering itself in under 80 days, and I will wait to see if
others re-visit the question of Taukei land ownership. -- Croz