News and Comments Friday 4 July

MY RECENT FIJI SUN ARTICLES: A CLARIFICATION. I do not submit my articles to the Fiji Sun.  But it has my permission to publish them so long as I am informed and they are not edited. I extended a similar invitation to the Fiji Times, who thanked me and said they had their own senior reporters. I trust Hank and Wesley know the offer still stands.

ANYTHING FOR A STORY. Fairfax Media is up to it again, upholding its right to media freedom. This time it claims Bainimarama had told them a EU Commissioner had offered him 500 million Euros in aid if he held elections. Bainimarama is reported to have replied: “You think Fiji is like some African Country, and every time we have a coup, you just give us money? I nearly hit him over the head with a bottle of Fiji Water.”The EU Delegation in Fiji is unaware of the supposed offer.

STOP SPREADING FEAR ABOUT LAND TO WIN VOTES. The Citizens' Constitutional Forum is calling on all politicians to engage in dialogue to address the concerns of some Taukei that the 2013 Constitution and various decrees may have taken effective control of native land out of Taukei hands, a claim denied by the PM.

The CCF said that all discussion on land should be free of ethnic politics and that political parties should refrain from instilling fear into Taukei landowners and ensure that the protection of the legitimate interests of all communities will become part of the national ethic and practice.

The full media release, which  said land politics has hindered Fiji since 1987 and the key players should be focusing on collaboration rather than politicizing the issue, may be read on the CCF website.  CCF News also included an ad for a new CEO and a report on young people and democratic participation.

'BULLDOG' BEDDOES. The UFDF spokesman has again used Radio NZ International to accuse Government of "devious" behaviour. He says shutting down the Public Accounts Committee is "a clear attempt to further hide the salaries of senior government figures like Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama." The A-G says all the Auditor General's reports will be considered by a new Public Accounts Committee, once Parliament resumes. Meanwhile, the "accused" have just released details of their salaries. See separate article.

RO TEIMUMU AND BAINIMARA AGREE on one thing, They've both urged voters to differentiate between the truth and lies, with the PM adding —between promises and deeds. Ro Teimumu  refute Bainimarama's allegation that her alliance with FLP is a "coalition of hypocrites."

RATU NAIQAMA  Lalabalavu, one of Fiji's three paramount chiefs, says he wants to stand for parliament as a SODELPA candidate but women in the party had voted against his nomination for what he did in 1987.

PRAMOD RAE JOINS NFP LINEUP.  The former GenSec of the  Fiji Bank and Financial Sector Employees Union has confirmed he's put his name up for candidacy.

CHARAN JEATH-SINGH JOINS FFP.The prominent Labasa businessman seems to disagree with Ro Teimumu's claim that the Government Look North policy  is "a farce and a failure."  He wants to be a FFP candidate because “The Prime Minister Mr Bainimarama if you see all that he is doing now – the free education, bus-fares and also in the North – there are so many things that are being done that was not done previously. My idea is to support him so he can actually do what he is doing and complete that plan. It’s about time you get a leader who commands good respect and can run the country well.”   Health Ministry Neil Sharma has also confirmed his availability.

A long time supporter of the NFP, Singh thought the NFP should support the FijiFirst party and work with them.

NGO'S APPLAUD INCREASES PENSION.  Two Non-Government Organisations,  FCOSS, the Fiji Council of Social Services, and the Chanel Home of Compassion have both applauded Cabinet's approval to increase Social Pension Scheme for the elderly from $30 to $50 early next year. The pension is currently paid to nearly 10,000  senior citizens over 70 who do not have any form of income or pension and have never been part of a superannuation scheme

FLOATING CLINIC TO SERVICE LAU GROUP. Fijians on remote islands of the Lau Group will now have access to free medical services through a partnership between the Health Ministry and the  Sea Mercy Foundation.

Two catamarans will service Northern Lau and Southern Lau, and a new vessel, the MD Robyn, will service the Lomaloma medical subdivision in Lau.

Health Minister Neil Sharma says they plan to launch a third vessel to service the Yasawa Groups with all the facilities of the other 'floating clinics’, including specialist nurses, doctors, dentists and eye specialist. There will be lot more advocacy for health, there will be screening, treatment will be undertaken in timely manner so there will be fewer emergency referrals,” he said.

VODAFONE SELLOUT. Vodafone is to sell its remaining 49% in Vodafone Fiji to the FNPF for F$160 million. When the sale is completed, the FNPF will own about 79% of the local company, and be assured of a regular return on its money.

AND NOW FOR A JOKE. Tonga's Land Minister Lord Ma'afu, a descendant of the Ma'afu who once contested the Cakobau for control of Fiji, has proposed Tonga give up the contested Minerva Reef in exahange for Fiji giving up  the Lau Group.


Anonymous said...

Who's Hans? It's Hank Arts and Fred Wesley at the Fiji Times and they don't want your articles because you are sympathetic to the government and they are the opposition newspaper in Fiji. So biased it's ridiculous.

Crosbie Walsh said...

Thanks Anon. I looked twice at Hans and thought it didn't look quite right. Sorry also to Hank.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Croz for bringing us the truth. Please keep up the good work, right now it is more important than ever. The forces of evil will come out now and try to smear our AG and PM. There will be unfounded accusations of corruption, there will be claims that our PM has staged the coup in order to avoid prosecution for murder and torture. There will be even lies about the salaries that Nur Bano Ali has been paying out. There are even claims that the RFMF general has threatened the opposition.

Anonymous said...

Lord Ma'afu must be joking...surely! Minerva Reef is not for him to give away in the first place! It is part of the southern Lau Basin and falls within Fiji's EEZ. He can confirm that from the International Sea Bed Authority. Take it to the International Court of Arbitration if necessary but don't use gunboats please.

Anonymous said...

Croz you have been doing this too long and now sound like a snide old woman. It's time to retire when you can’t get the facts right.

Your little story about Fairfax media for example. The newspaper group ran a story with a direct quote from Bainimarama. You then have the gall to accuse them of making a story. It is not their fault if the idiot dictator can’t help himself but to make stupid comments and exaggerate. If he gives them the story surely they should run it.

Although the interview was fairly recent Bainimarama is referring back to the days when he had promised the leaders of the Pacific and the EU that we would have elections in 2009. Do you remember those days? I am not sure you do as you always accuse Chaudhry of forgetting his past statements but never Bainimarama.

Anyway I digress. At the time The EU had $350m not Bainimarama’s exaggerated $500m to give to Fiji as aid to the sugar industry.

As we all know Bainimarama broke his promise to have elections, the EU money went to other countries and the Sugar Industry has never recovered.

So not surprising the current EU apparatus in Fiji have no idea about a $500m bribe to Bainimarama.

Crosbie Walsh said...

@ Anonymous 2:35 pm. My account of the story was based on what FijiLive published this week. The reference was given as a hyperlink. I'm fully aware of the facts you mention, but there's nothing factually wrong in what I wrote. I suppose the next thing you will be advising me on is not to read even the slightest trace of sexism into your comment on "a snide old woman." And now a word of advice from me: Your rudeness may have given you a buzz feeling but it detracts from what you say. I'd suggest you leave it out in future correspondence.. .