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Showing posts from June 28, 2009

(G) The "Road Map" and Events to 2014

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Made your views known. To see Realfijinews poll on the speech, click here.

The PM's Address at the Tradewinds Convention Centre on Fiji’s Strategic Framework for Change, July 1 2009. Click here to read in full from the official government website. I know some readers will be disappointed at the lack of detail. It certainly wouldn't do as a military map, and it does seem to take a long time to get from A (now) to B (constitution, elections), but with the destination logged in and set on auto-pilot, the address suffices to show Government is serious about reform and elections in September 2014. One might hope the international community, having given up on earlier elections, might sometime between now and then respond to Bainimarama's appeal for assistance. “I invite our international partners and relevant development agencies who are interested in facilitating the practicalities of the rule of law, creating transparency, facilitating access to justice and removing syste…

(+) No Turning Back, PM Tells the World

Fijilive

I'm waiting for the dust to settle -- and there's quite a bit of it -- before commenting on the PM's "road map," launched yesterday at Tradewinds just out of Suva. I'm hoping I'll be better equipped to comment after I've read what others have to say but this, of course, will depend on the quality of the comments. Later today I'll publish a "chronology of events" leading to the 2014 elections from official Government sources. Meanwhile, read the FijLive account of what Bainimarama had to say by clicking the embedded link above.

(o) Tasteless Blog Posting on Swine 'Flu in Fiji

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UPDATE July 1. 7pm. There are now 19 confirmed cases.The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC) , with financial help from AUSAid and NZAid and manufacturers Roche, have donated 167,000 capsules of Tamiflu, enough to protect 2% of the population, and surgical masks and other protective apparatus to Fiji. Tamiflu is only used for severe cases.Fiji Sun.

Coupfourpointfive is one of the few rational anti-government blogs. Its particular strength is that it publishes information from "insiders" that is not, and at present cannot, be published by the Fiji media. Its comments (and presumably posts) are vetted by an Auckland-based panel before publishing. I have no problem with its anti-government stance; its insider information (necessarily anonymous and for the most part unverifiable) or its vetting of material submitted for publication. I do, however, think too many racist comments and unreasoned postings pass its censors. Freedom of th…

Snippets: Micro-Credit, FICAC, Methodist Church Warned, Minimum Wages, Overseas Indo-Fijians Help Poor

Bainimarama to address nation. The PM is expected to address the nation on Wednesday with a new "road map." According to State media, the address at the Trade Winds Convention Centre in Lami on Wednesday morning will focus on Fiji’s “strategic framework for change”.

Micro-Credit. The Reserve Bank is encouraging local banks to provide micro-financingthat would help small business, old and new. Fiji Live. Click here.

Tax evasion? Documents were seized from the supermarket chain RB Patel last week by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption, with its widened powers, to check on possible tax evasion. Fiji Times.Click here.

The PM has warned Methodist Church leaders to stop misleading the people by saying its conference will go ahead in August. He also cautioned parents against their children being used in an August march. FijiVillage. Click here.

Minimum wages non-compliance only $100.The new minimum wage awards start today but Government still needs to fix a provision that …

(+) Melanesian Spearhead Group Wants Dialogue with Fiji

FijiLive reports a Vanuatu initiative for the Melanesian bloc to re-open dialogue with Fiji, closed since the Pacific Islands Forum suspended Fiji's membership.Click here.

(o) Minimum Wage Increases: Feedback and Comment

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The minimum wage increases, though long overdue, have come at a bad time for a Fiji garment industry that in December 2008 employed an estimated 10,000 workers. Had employers voluntarily increased minimum wages a few years back when their profits soared, Wednesday's increase would have been less than 20%.

Since December there has been a 20% decline in orders, and several factories have reduced their labour force or cut working hours. While further layoffs may not be caused by Wednesday's wage increases, the increases certainly will not help. It's become a damned if you do or damned if you don't situation for employers. Retain today's workforce, with some workers paid more than before (but with many still paid below the poverty line), or cut the workforce leaving those made redundant with no wage income at all. One hopes garment employers (whose relations with their worker has been uneven, to say the least) will do all they can to be fair to their workers, while k…

(o) What Do Fiji Citizens Really Think?

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FijiLive runs readers polls that can be answered on line. Looking at 20 political polls since October last year allows some broad conclusions, with these reservations. Unfortunately, the polls are far from scientific. They are not random samples of opinion. We know nothing of the numbers polled, and nothing about the pollsters themselves other than that they ticked yes or no to certain questions. Some of the questions could have been better worded. We can be reasonably sure, however, that the results reflect the honest opinions of those polled. Here are some of the results:

On Chiefs and Church
Late last year in two polls pollsters were asked whether Bainimarama should apologize to the chiefs. 76 and 63% ticked No. This question has no value unless we at least know the ethnicity of the pollsters. A March poll asked whether the Methodist Church conference should be allowed also had little validity unless Methodists were fairly represented. 57% ticked no.

On Early Elections
Several polls…