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Showing posts from April 18, 2010

(B) Land, The Emotive Issue

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"Jon"   posted these thoughts as a comment on another posting. I 've re-posted it here because I think his thoughts  merit more  prominence.

So, the government is now going to change the existing land lease law to ensure the NLTB Act doesn’t apply if it is seen to be getting in the way.

There’s the usual justification for this selective abuse of process, ignoring a law which, despite some faults, has worked pretty well for the past 70 years and which has prevented the undoubted anarchy that would have prevailed if developers had been allowed to do their own negotiations with landowners in the past.

That justification is ‘Change the law to allow for the landowners to reap the best possible benefit from the land that belongs to them.’ This is laudable in principle but will, I’m sure, be shown to be derisible in practice since it potentially throws open the gate to anyone (or is it only government ones …?) to negotiate direct with landowners.

Land is the most emotive subjec…

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. Employment Centre
We have encouraged our children to go to school. Government subsidizes some kinds of payment that enables parents to send children to school. (I hope.)

We have three universities, hundreds of secondary and primary schools run by government, the various religions organisations and private institutions. We also have special schools for the handicapped and the blind. Education is the key to success, it has been said. But that’s debatable.

Another thousand citizens will have graduated from USP. The Fiji National University just churned out round about 2,000. We put emphasis on education yet a report says that not all will have a job. Can we r…

Short Briefs: Govt Appointments, Charter Update, Small Business, Melbourne Storm, Gender Equality, Corruption, What Hassan Khan Actually Said on Poverty

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Musical Chairs. The New Acting Permanent Secretary for Information is  Sharon Smith-Johns, former CEO of the Telecom subsidiary  Connect Ltd. She replaces LtCol Neumi Leweni who has been moved to the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources. The PS position will be advertised soon. Sharon is the current chair of the Fiji Audio Visual Commission. The on-off moderate anti-Government blog Coupfourpointfive says she was "dumped" from the Connect position, despite her presumed pro-Coup status, amid claims of poor performance. Others said expatriates were being replaced by locals wherever possible. (Photo: FBL)

Third Meeting of National Charter Advisory Council: Update. Chairman Josefa Serulagilagi revealed that 23 ministries and departments had submmitted  reports on their progress towards meeting targets of reforms as required in the draft People's Charter, but four government departments have failed to do so.

The NCAC is currently focusing on three sectors -- Good Governance,…

Short Briefs: More Apologies, Charter Progress, Somare, Poverty, IMF Visit

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(+) Nadroga/Navosa Apologizes. Noting that the province was the first to oppose the People's Charter, Chairman of the Provincial Council Ratu Sakiusa Makutu, speaking in Sigatoka  yesterday, asked  forgiveness from the Government. Ratu Makutu said he has changed his stance with his people behind him and he will now support the People's Charter. Meanwhile, the Turaga Na Kalevu said they are now awaiting word from the government on the proposal to separate the two provinces.

(+) Gau Apologizes. The villagers of Lovu, Gau Island, presented a traditional apology to the Prime Minister as he started his tour to the Lomaiviti Group  yesterday.The villagers said they now support the government’s initiatives and the People’s Charter.

(+) People’s Charter Meeting Underway. The third National People’s Charter Advisory Council (NPCAC) meeting, delayed because of Hurricane Tomas,  is currently underway in Suva. It will be reviewing reports submitted by various ministries into their operatio…

Live Concert in Aid of Hurricane Victims

Live Concert in aid of  Hurricane Tomas victims,  24 April,  2-9 pm, Vodofone Arena.  Sponsored the National University of Fiji and others.  Click here for full details.

Short Briefs: Methodists, School Names, Fiji Times, Tuilaepa, Fairer Lease Payments, Sugar

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(o) Methodist Leaders Defied PM: Which Way Will the Dice Fall?  Seven of the 27 churchmen charged with breaking the Public Emergency Regulations face an additional charge of disobeying a directive given during a meeting with the Prime Minister, when he ordered them not to hold the Church conference in 2009. Following the meeting, the Church leaders, who included President Reverend Ame Tugaue and General Secretary Tuikilakila Waqairatu (Photo: Fiji Live), met with the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa in Lomanikoro, Rewa, the hostess and site of the intended Conference, to discuss the Commander’s decision. Prosecutors claim this was a futher breach of the PERs.The Defence lawyer said they needed more time to respond to the additional charge.

Opinion.
It would seem  Government intends to maintain pressure on the Church in the hope that the top leaders (who oppose the People's Charter and the Government Roadmap) will resign (which they have refused to do) or be replaced (which c…

Short Briefs: Milk, Poverty, SDL Pensions, Tuilaepa, Methodists, Somare, Unoffical Villages, Asylum Seekers

Sweetened Milk. Government has made an irresistable proposal to Fiji's 235 registered dairy farmers. They will receive government subsidies for milk production, directly access assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture, manage their own co-operative, and retain their shareholdings in Rewa Dairy. The farmers supply about 11 million litres of milk a year, all which will be purchased by Rewa Dairy.

The Poverty Eradication Unit of the PM's Office held a workshop, addressed by a World Bank expert, on impact assessment yesterday.  The Qarase and Bainimarama governments have  paid out $1.5 billion from 2000 to 2008 towards poverty alleviation but poverty levels continue to rise.  The Roadmap, I think rather unrealistically,  aims to greatly reduce poverty levels by 2014.  Very major changes are needed to the Fiji economy, wage levels, land tenure, housing, institutional structures and the empowerment of the poor, to significantly reduce poverty.  At best, World Bank tweeking will on…

(+) A Counter-NZ Herald Editorial

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Opinion to Counter an Opinion Crosbie Walsh
(Top photo: NZHerald, showing either that Bainimarama has not changed his clothes for the past three and a half years, or that their photographer is on holiday. Bottom photo taken by NZH photographer on holiday in Fiji. He expressed surprised Bainimarama had another set of clothes. The Herald only had photos of him in uniform.

The latest NZHerald Editorial on Fiji  "Decrees show NZ must stay firm on Fiji" has really put the cards on the table.  If we had any doubt before, we now know how little they know about Fiji and how they see NZ's paternalistic role in the Pacific.
The Editorial opens by sympathising with the "democracies as they fight to ostracise, shame and sanction dictatorships around to their own way of thinking." This short sentence needs deconstruction. Who are the democracies? Australia and NZ. How do they fight? By ostracism, shame and sanctions. They do not seek to understand or offer assistance to…

Military Arrest Bottle Collectors, and Other Stories

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Breaking News. Military Arrest Bottle Collectors.  Check out this breaking news.
Other news. "Kevin Rudd [is] to learn Fijian dialect after Mandarin. Aims to learn dialects of nations with strict media controls."
Still more. A new survey that shows a "list of positive contributions to this country by Fiji Times. Being used as lunch wrapper hits it at # 1."

At long last, a political satire to make us laugh. Namuamua is back. 
Check out the site. If it continues as good as this, we can expect to see  Dorsami Naidu and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum laughing at the same article. And perhaps even Qarase and Bainimarama? No. That would be going too far.

(o) Old Hand Tells of Working for the Fiji Times. Not all as it may seem.

Check out Blog Comments. People should be careful about what they write about others on a blog.  They can be sued for defamation according to this article in the NZHerald which defined a defamatory statement as "one that tends to lower the person in the es…