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Showing posts from May 31, 2009

Snippets: Regional Security; the Economy; Fiji Holdings Ltd; Wages

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(o+) Pacific Security Discussed Without Fiji

There's ahole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza
There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole
Then mend it, dear Goofy, dear Goofy, dear Goofy
Then mend it, dear Goofy, dear Goofy, then mend it ...
-- Burl Ives(photo credit)

The latest, almost laughable Burl Ives-ish, case of "cutting off your nose to spite your face" is provided by the Pacific Islands Forum.

Fiji, suspended from the Forum, could not be invited to the two-day Forum Regional Security Committee (FRSC) that met in Suva last week to discuss "transnational crime and counter-terrorism to political and security challenges." So the meeting proceeded without its second largest Island member whose geographic location and network of air, sea and yacht services put it at the very centre of likely criminal activity and exchanges in the south-central Pacific. Isn't this something like going for a wide-out try instead of scoring between the posts or patching se…

(o) Methodist Church Should Consider Dialogue as the Way Forward for Fiji: CCF

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At last a breath of fresh air!
A call for the way so many disputes are settled in the Pacific. A call from Fiji's "middle ground" (those unhappy with some of Bainimarama's methods who nethertheless see merit in his stated aims for a non-racist Fiji). A call from Fiji's most reputable governance NGO. A press release by the Citizen's Constitutional Forum.Photo: Rev. Akuila Yabaki.

The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) describes the call by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, for the removal of two senior ministers from the Methodist Church, as tough and unfortunate.

CCF however feels that given the history of the support by senior Methodist Church ministers for ethno-nationalism and the coups of 1987 and 2000, the church should now consider engaging in dialogue with the military and government, to find a way forward for Fiji.
Bainimarama’s call, as well as the ban on the Methodist Church Conference due to be held in August, are against fundamental r…

(-) Bainimarama warned to stay away

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Coupfourpointfive reports: "The Marama Roko Tui Dreketi and the head of Burebasaga Confederacy, Ro Teimumu Kepa, has warned interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama, is not allowed in Lomanikoro. The Lomanikoro village was supposed to host the August conference.

"When the military issued a statement banning the conference, the Standing Committee of the Church tried to diffuse tension with the regime, by extending an invitation to Bainimarama to address the conference. However, according to sources, when Ro Teimumu heard of the proposal, she made it clear that Bainimarama should not set foot in the chiefly village, and if he agreed to giving a speech at the Methodist conference, then it would have had to be at another venue like Nausori. Sources say this message was conveyed to Bainimarama by Church President Reverend Ame Tugaue and Secretary-General Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu when they met him yesterday.

"But instead Bainimarama made it clear to them that as far as t…

(o) Government and Church: What Do They Mean by "Politics?"

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Methodist Church President Revs Ame Tagaue and Secretary Tuikilakila Waqairaru (photo) met with PM Bainimarama on Wednesday but were not successful in persuading him to lift the ban on the church's Annual Confererence and AGM planned for August. “Basically," Bainimarama told Fiji Live,"the conference will [only] happen once they remove politics not only from their agenda, but from the church too.” [Not an easy ask. See previous posting.]

So where does this leave Fiji, its major religious institution, and its search for a resolution to its present - political - problems? What do the Government and the Church mean by politics? Are they talking about the same thing?

The Government means any anti-Government action, ranging from the relatively mild and healthy criticism of groups such as the Citizen's Constitutional Forum, to the obstructionism of the Fiji Law Society, to the media's alleged one-sided account of events, to the crusading posturing of people like Rev. …

(o+) Taukei* Methodism: Why Government has Banned the Church's Annual Conference

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"Am I reading other people's minds rightly that the term 'Christian' is synonymous with whatever is 'Fijian'? -- Rev. Ilaitia Tuwere,1997.

The announcement that the Government has cancelled the Methodist Church's August's annual Conference and AGM at Lomanikoro in Rewa is regrettable, but comes as no surprise. The decision will win Government no new friends but, unless Church leaders can this week convince PM Bainimarama otherwise, Government really had little other choice. The catalyst for the decision, taken to avoid "instability in the country," is thought to have been an anti-Government "plan of action" submitted to the church by Rev. Manasa Lasaro.

For weeks now elements within the church, led by Lasaro and the Taukei faction, and without, have been pressing for direct action against the Government. Different forms of confrontation have been proposed by the church sub-committee headed by Lasaro, in more than one pulpit around t…