QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" -- Robert Hanlon.
"Our manifesto affirms SODELPA will place God in His rightful position," -- Ro Teimumu.
NFP MANIFESTO. The Manifesto Launch will take place today, Monday at 5.30pm. Des Voeux Road, Suva.
Meanwhile, it can be reported that SODELPA will allocate an "emergency" $50m to subsidise food costs, and continue with price control on basic food items which will be free of VAT.
It will also abolish laws that suppress freedoms, restore God to his "rightful position" in the 2013 Constitution ("Our manifesto affirms SODELPA will place God in His rightful position."), ensure that Fiji reverts to a Christian state (while protecting other religions), and re-establish the Great Council of Chiefs. "We are ready to reclaim Fiji, for work, food and freedom, for truth, justice and peace, for our future generation."
Ro Teimumu said their manifesto promises national happiness, progress and freedom. "Our manifesto explains how SODELPA will restore and renew Fiji and lead it to a new world of togetherness and respect, where we overcome our differences, live as good neighbours and help each other." She appealed for support for the party from Fijians locally and abroad, saying that through their votes, SODELPA will ensure "a Fiji of prosperity and opportunity."
Comment. The togetherness sounds great. I can only ask why did it not do these things before, when it was last in power and Laisenia Qarase was PM and Ro Teimumu a Cabinet Minister? And why they now want Fiji to be declared a Christian State, despite the likely opposition of other Christian denominations and other faiths which together comprise most of the population? This is hardly a sign of togetherness.
'HEARTBREAKING'. This is how retired sugarcane farmer Jai Prasad described what it was like "to see land where thousands of tonnes of sugarcane were grown [now] idle, turning into bushland."
Comment. If God gave Taukei the land, as Ro Teimumu, believes, I think it also likely He expected it to be used. The non-renewal of leases and the subsequent exodus of mainly Indo-Fijian tenant farmers, largely at the instigation of some NLTB officials and scaremongering politicians, was surely not part of God's Plan.
FIJIFIRST MEETINGS in the West last week were well attended with an estimated 2,400 people representing a "good mix" of ages and ethnicities attending four meetings. One locally important issue raised, given that Vatukoula landowners have never received any, is the share of mineral royalties now to be enjoyed by landowners.
PEOPLE INTIMIDATED. A FLP spokesman has attributed a low turnout at its Tavua meeting to a police vehicle cruising the street outside where the meeting was held. The Police claim no knowledge of the incident and have invited FLP to complain to them, Other parties have reported no similar incidents,
Comment.The low turnout could also be attributed to FLP losing much of its previous appeal. The latest Razor poll shows only one percent of those polled would be voting Labour.
THE INFAMOUS VIDEO RECORDING. The Police have closed their enquiry into the video tape showing a recaptured prisoner being beaten by prison officers and will be making no further statement on the case.
Comment. I think the decision misguided. The beating had nothing to do with politics but it was used by Bainimarama's opponents to show an abuse committed under his stewardship. The public needs to be assured that justice was done in this case, and there can be no assurance unless it is also seen to have been done.
SODELPA AND THE MILITARY. Assuming there's a gulf between the military and the people, Ro Teimumu is calling for reconciliation. "You are our brothers and sisters, our relatives; our family", she said, "It is time to bring the family together," She said a SODELPA Government would care for everyone in Fiji including military officers.
Comment. All she is asking is that the military apologize.
SODELPA CONCERNED ABOUT QORVIS. Ro Teimumu Kepa has raised concern about the cost of hiring of the American public relations company namely Qorvis Communications by the government. She apparently has no other problem with government hiring a public relations firm.
QARASE'S FIGURES DISPUTED. The former PM claimed unemployment was higher now than when he was PM in 2006. Labour Minister Jone Usamate said the latest rate was 6.9%, down form 8.6? His 50% living in poverty compared with 32% was also disputed by Minister for Social Welfare Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni. She did not have the figure on hand but Qarase's statement is "untrue." Qarase was speaking at a SODELPA rally at Caubati, outside Suva, attended by about one hundred people.
COCONUT OIL FOR FUEL. 40 fuel kits that will use refined coconut oil are being sent to outer islands to boost existing village electricity generators.
FIJILIVE POLL. "Do you think government is doing enough to educate voters about the new voting system for the September elections?" Yes 58% No 42%
RAZOR/FIJI SUN POLL. The open question for Week 21 of the polls asked "Are opposition parties telling the truth about land?" The opposition, particularly SODELPA, is saying the 2013 Constitution does not protect Taukei land. The PM denies this, saying the protection is as strong as ever before, and that the Opposition is playing to unreal fears in order to win votes. It seems the SODELPA tactic is succeeding. 51% said Yes, the opposition parties are telling the truth, 33% were unsure and 16% said No.