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Showing posts from August 23, 2009

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in www.connectme.com.fj/news/opinion. I thank Allen and Connect for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Backyard garden

Reading the story of Mr. Manoa Mate (Fiji Times 15/6) and his 300 kg yam is an inspiration. The story says that he planted it in his backyard in Nepani. Nepani is a housing estate, wow.

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What is the possibility of printing stories of people who plant in their little back yards to supplement their meager wages?

Now is a good time for government to import good inexpensive farm implements to get the people going like Manoa. Fiji TV can also start a show titled ‘Agriculture in the back yard’ showing what people have achieved.

If things go well the only people buying root crop and vegetables should be tourists and those who don’t know h…

(o+) Former Fiji Diplomat Urges International Attitude Change

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His Credentials
Born in Fiji, 16 years in the Fiji civil service, district officer, permanent secretary to the Governor-General when the 1987 coup occurred, author of Kava in the Blood about the coup (he was arrested on the first day), Fiji diplomat in Tokyo and Sydney, and now a private consultant in Australia on Pacific Affairs, Peter Thomson (photo) has recently returned from a visit to Fiji where he had a one and a-half hour one-on-one talk with PM Bainimarama. Click here to listen to what he had to say in an ABC Counterpoint programme. The interviewer is Paul Comrie-Thomson.

Thomson's comments are best heard in full and in context but for those in a hurry, these are the points I found most interesting:

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Reasons for the 2006 "Bainimarama" Coup
In talking about the reasons for the 2006 coup he drew attention to one cause that had slipped "under the radar," the military's opposition to Qarase's Indigenous Claims Tribunal Bill that would have…

The Chaudhry-Qarase Arranged Marriage (Amended)

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It was certainly not love at first sight, they hated each other for years, but for several months now they have been seeing an unusual amount of each other, and we were all left wondering when an engagement notice might be expected. It seems that when Chaudhry's earlier courtship with Voqere Baimarama foundered, the disappointed Mahendra turned his attention to his earlier rival Laisenia. And it's now official. FijiLivereports the couple have sent a "joint letter" (sic!) to the PM asking him to be best man.

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At first sight things look promising. Chaudhry and Qarase seem to have accepted the need for electoral reform, or at least that the issue be discussed but with no "prejudice to outcomes." They will participate in a reconvened Dialogue Forum, to meet this month, but only on their terms, one of which is the immediate lifting of the Emergency Regulations that would see "freedom of the press" restored. The Forum must focus on holdi…

NO ONE CAN STEAL YOUR IDENTITY

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QUESTION: CAN ANYONE FIND OUT MY NAME OR EMAIL ADDRESS IF I VOTE IN THE POLLS OR MAKE A COMMENT IN THIS BLOG OR THE NEW POLL BLOG?
ANSWER: NO. YOUR IDENTITY IS TOTALLY PROTECTED -- IF YOU WANT IT TO BE. NO-ONE CAN TRACE WHO VOTES (NOT EVEN ME) AND YOU CAN CHOOSE TO COMMENT ANONYMOUSLY.


AFTER MAKING A COMMENT YOU ARE ASKED "COMMENT AS..." TO COMMENT OPENLY, LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS AS IS; TO COMMENT ANONYMOUSLY, CLICK ANONYMOUS.

BUT ADOPT AND USE A PSEUDONYM IN YOUR COMMENT, OTHERWISE WE'LL HAVE A LARGE FAMILY OF "ANONYMOUSES." PSEUDONYMS WILL ALSO ALLOW EVERYONE TO REFER TO OTHER PEOPLE'S COMMENTS BY NAME.

Include Fiji in Talks or Else Pacific Split: MSG

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John Key had hardly finished punching above his weight by telling China what to do on Fiji and the Pacific (don't give too much aid) when the Melanesian Spearhead Group, never comfortable with Australian and NZ attitudes to Fiji, is giving them back something of the same (don't exclude Fiji from regional trade discussions).


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Fiji Live reports:


Members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group have backed Fiji’s participation in regional trade talks after their meeting in Suva yesterday.

The MSG representatives - from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu - recognized Fiji’s right to participate in regional trade agreements to which it is a party. They also opposed the potential economic fragmentation of the Pacific and the MSG Group through Fiji’s exclusion from regional trade related meetings.

The group revealed in a statement that Vanuatu had proposed a reconciliation process “which would pave the way for open and genuine dialogue amongst leaders at all levels o…

"High Noon" QUIZ 2.

[See Quiz 1 for further information.]

1. What was Intelligentsiya's poll about?
2. Click what to receive blog updates by email?
3. Name my only female "Follower."
4. Write Tarte in "Search the Blog" and then "Up-to-date Blogs." What is the date of the last Stuck in Fiji MUD post on Mr Tarte?
5.Click anywhere on Geospace Visitors. Find "Country List." What do the letters MU stand for?

This week's theme: Fiji's Economic Activities.

With what economic activity are the following places most associated?

6. Rakiraki, 7. Vatukoula; 8. Monasavu; 9. Levuka; 10. Mamanuca.

If you wish to go into the draw for a prize, email me your answers croz.walsh@xtra.co.nz by this coming Sunday. Answers will be published on Monday at 9:00am.

(+) Anti-Government Blogs Seem to Write Only for the Similarly Minded

A Walk Around the Blog Sites (No Pun Intended)

I continue to be disappointed by  anti-Government blogs.  I look to them for reasons not to support the present regime, and suggestions on the  "way forward"-- even if they point backwards to the old regime. I expect them to disagree with Government; giving it hell for its restrictions on media freedom, the shutdown of the Methodist conference,  its policies on this and that, and its sometimes all too obvious weaknesses, but I expect also to see argument based on reason, backed where possible by evidence. If this is lacking, they write only for the similarly-minded and they will win no new readers to their cause. Surely they can do better than these typical samples from their postings on Tuesday.

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Coupfourpointfive
Speculation is one thing; wilful guessing another.  I see nothing necessarily sinister in the Fiji Development Bank loan to Radio Fiji, but the blog sees this as evidence of Government FBC control, and chicane…

Two Important Announcements: One Blog Closes, Another Opens

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QUESTION: CAN ANYONE FIND OUT MY NAME OR EMAIL ADDRESS IF I VOTE IN THE POLLS OR MAKE A COMMENT IN THIS BLOG OR THE NEW POLL BLOG?
ANSWER: NO. YOUR IDENTITY IS TOTALLY PROTECTED -- IF YOU WANT IT TO BE. NO-ONE CAN TRACE WHO VOTES (NOT EVEN ME) AND YOU CAN CHOOSE TO COMMENT ANONYMOUSLY.

The Real Fiji News blogsite is closing down.  Read what its readers have to say by clicking hereReal Fiji News is a pro-Government site -- the only one since IG closed earlier, as far as I know -- and many of its posts have been to correct misinformation published in one or another of the numerous anti-Government blogs.

By coincidence, I chose the same day as Real Fiji News' closure to launch a companion blog to Fiji: As It Was, Is and Can Be.
The new blog, Public Polls on Fiji's Political Situation(click here) will be devoted entirely to polls on specific political issues, and those voting will have unrestricted access to discuss each issue with each other.

I'm hoping the discussion will b…

Snippets: NZ, China, Economy, Religion, Melanesian Spearhead Group, Political Change

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Notice: See new poll in lefthand column.

Now Hear This!
John Key has told China its aid the the Pacific Region may undermine what he called Australian and NZ efforts to "improve governance in the region."
China, Government Loans to Housing Authority
Government has guaranteed $150m over five years to the Housing Authority in case the Authority's soft 2% loan of $70m with China falls through. The money will be used to house approximately 10,000 families, including squatters.

Fiji-China Trade
A China Embassy spokesman said trade last year was good for both countries, and is expected to increase again this year, especially in tourism from China.

Tourism Up
The Hoteliers Association says tourist numbers have increased over the past two months and are expected to remain bouyant until Christmas. Many, however, are visiting for shorter stays.

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Momi Bay Auction The failed multi-million dollar Momi Bay resort will be auctioned tomorrow. The auction has attracted over 100 possib…

(o) What's Really Happening in Fiji? An Insider's Impartial Observations

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"If we want freedom of speech, democracy and diversity on the ground [in Fiji], we should apply the same principles in terms of the voices and sectors we draw upon to understand the situation.”
-- Dr Katarinia Teaiwa, Pacific Studies Convenor, ANU.

I asked Fai (not her real name, a non-citizen living in Fiji and with prior PNG and Tongan experience) what was really happening in the country.

"My small circle of informants are divided," I said. "Some say Government is on course and enjoys grassroots support. The majority think Government has lost the "middle ground," among the "middle" classes at least, and some have lost hope in positive outcomes."

After saying some of the opinion differences could be due to the the Pubic Emergency Regulations and the media, in protest, not publishing some Government media briefs, she had this to say about on course,grassroots support,loss of the middle ground, and lost hope. She works closely with a wide range…

High Noon Quiz Answers 1

Answers to Quiz 1.

1. Waisele Serevi; 2. Any one of : Socialists, Australian ~, socialist journalists, Patrick O'Connor and Richard Phillips 3. August 13; 4. 4; 5. Archives.

6. Io , Haan, Sega, No Naa/Nshi; 7. Tilou/Jilou*, Kshama keejeeae; 8. Bula, Namaste; 9. Vinaka/daumaka, Accha; 10. Ca, Boora.

*Au lako mada yani also acceptable.

The next quiz will be posted at "High Noon" on Wednesday.
Answers submitted for the draw must be emailed to me no later than Sunday. croz.walsh@xtra.co.nz.
Answers will be posted Monday 9am.

(-) The Once Most Respected Daily in Fiji

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Since the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) came into force in July, Fiji's oldest and once most respected daily newspaper The Fiji Times has published absolutely no local political news. Coverage has gone overboard, from political binge-drinking to total abstinence.

There is, of course, some cause. The editor and staff were subjected to more harassment than other newspapers (because they were the most anti-Government) but I think its present stance has passed its "use by" date. There are better ways to restore responsible media freedom, and publishing some political news is one of them.

Friday's other dailies, Fiji Live and Fiji Village, managed to report John Key's political statements on Fiji to Canberra's National Press Club. "NZ PM Concedes Bainimarama Will Not Change His Stance" (Fiji Village) and"We Can't Pressure Fiji 'Easily'" (Fiji Live).

But all that the online Times published, on its World tab (sic!), was Key's co…

(o) NZ's "High" Moral Ground

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No to Fiji, Yes to Burma
Gordon Campbell in the NZ independent online paper Scoop writes: "The New Zealand foreign policy stance – a tiger towards Fiji, a pussycat towards the far worse regime in Rangoon- is taking its cues from the US, and from ASEAN. Same as it ever has. Funny how a government that makes such a fetish about the need for consistency in economic policy, should be so happily inconsistent when it comes to its foreign policy.” [Photo credit: Murray Fagg, Fungus on dung.]


Opinion: COZYING UP TO THE REGIME IN BURMA
Click here for Scoop or for Pacific Media Watch.