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Showing posts from May 30, 2010

(B) Democracy in Fiji : Unravelling the Myth

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by Rodney V. Cole

Fiji-born and now Australian citizen, Rodney Cole spend 20 years in Fiji's public service, in both district and the central administrations. At various times he was a Member of the Council of Ministers, the Executive Council, the Legislative Council, and the Fijian Affairs Board. He held a Commission in the Fiji Military Forces and in 1984 led a team which resulted in changes to the structure of the Fijian Administration. In this brief article, he traces the erratic path of Fiji's incomplete democracies, and considers what Australia can do to break the current impasse.

It could well be regarded as Fiji’s ‘day of infamy, May 14th 1987, the day a senior officer of the Royal Fiji Military Forces led a coup to usurp the authority of an elected government. Acting as he did the perpetrator of the coup not only shattered the idea that Fiji was a democratic country but also destroyed the long held belief that Fijian commoners venerated the authority of …

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.

Phone Calls
When I read that Commander Frank Bainimarama had given his 01 phone number to the people of Lau, I thought back to the days when politicians came around villages and towns to make promises. At a rally a few years ago, the vying politician would say, “I will be your voice if I get into Parliament. I will make sure you get what you want.” Well, maybe not in those exact words but the manifestos usually said it.

Many politicians also gave their phone number to people but when people did call, they would get irritated. The promise was, “Please come to my office anytime.” But when they got there they had to make an appointment because the line was “…

2. What Bainimarama May Be Prepared to Do

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Opinion: Crosbie Walsh

One way of answering the question of what the Bainimarama Government may be prepared to do in response to Forum requests for "progress" on democracy is to start by asking what the Government would definitely NOT be prepared to do. Photo: Bainimarama and Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, mid-2006. newcom.au
To which the most straightforward answer is no major change will be made to the three Roadmap "stages" leading to elections in 2014, and the main pillars or constructs of the People's Charter are non-negotiable.

The first stage, until 2012, will continue to focus on administrative reforms and improvements to physical infrastructure.  The former involves public sector reform, land and sugar industry reform, and anti-corruption and abuse of office measures; the latter involves roads, to a lesser extent airports and seaports, and greater agricultural productivity, in sugar, vegetables, import substitution and food security. All these  measures are aim…

Two Announcements, Land, Visas, Airlines, Typhoid

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ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. New Na Sala Cava questions will be posted next week when a new approach to this feature will be announced. Scroll down for this week's questions.
2. The second commentary on the Forum MCG meeting fallout, promised for today, will now be published tomorrow.

(G) STATE LAND REGISTER UNDER REVIEW. The land register administered by the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources is currently under review to ensure an effective administration of state land, says Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Lt-Col Neumi Leweni.

“With whole of Government seeking social stability and sustainable economic development, the state land register is crucial to these aspirations being realised,” Lt-Col Leweni explained. The ministry recognises that land is a source of wealth and for the ministry to unlock that wealth an effective system of state land registration needs to be in place. “Good land registration would enable Government to clearly determine the best use of the land…

1. Bainimarama and McCully: the Way Backwards

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Opinion -- Crosbie Walsh

We know Bainimarama is no diplomat.  He calls it as he sees it, and the devil take the consequences.  Sometimes this is refreshing. It's not often a country's leader speaks so openly. But most times it is not the best way to speak to -- or about -- other governments if you want to defrost relations, and find a way forward.


 Now Bainimarama has a twin, Murray McCully, who cannot be excused, as some would say Bainimarama can, for his lack of lèse majesté. McCully is not a military man. He is an experienced senior politician, Godzone's foreign minister, a diplomat who should know better than to say what he feels -- even when his bigger Australian brother, Stephen Smith, sets a poor example and says almost the same thing.

Speaking immediately after the Forum's Ministerial Contact Group meeting "broke up" in Auckland on Monday afternoon,  McCully reported no progress on Fiji. He said the situation had deteriorated on human rights, censors…

Roads, Loans and Roadmap,Forum & ABC Reporting Bias, Prisons Showcase

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(G) PRESIDENT CALLS FOR UNITY. Ratu Epeli used the occasion of the opening of the Ratu Naevo Road in Nadi to call for "unity among the different ethnic groups for a better Fiji for the future." The 320-metre four-lane link road built at a cost to the Town Council of $1.3m will lessen conjestion in Nadi's narrow main street and speed traffic along Queen's Road, the most direct route from the West to the southern coast and Suva.

Stressing its infrastructural importance, Ratu Elepi said "Nadi is one of the fastest growing towns in Fiji and with a sizeable population and hub of tourism activities, infrastructure developments play a very important role." The road is named after the late Ratu Apisai Naevo, a former senator and Nawaka chief. Based on Minfo release.

(o+)  PM THANKS MALAYSIA EXIM BANK
for its US$40m loan for  road upgrading work. The PM was speaking  at the ground breaking ceremony in Nadi yesterday to mark the commencement of a US$40 million road r…

Forum MCG Meeting, Text 01, FNPF Loss, Typhoid, Charter, Church-State and Chiefs

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FLOP OR NOT? The Auckland Forum meeting yesterday closed with little obvious change in the Forum's stance on Fiji, but channels are to be kept open and the Ministerial Contact Group will visit Fiji within the next five weeks to "see things on the ground." I shall have a substantial opinion piece on what messages can be taken from the meeting today or tomorrow.

(G) PM'S 01 TEXT SERVICE a HIT
.So far 237 queries have been received from the public on the Prime Minister's 01 text service. Most queries and complaints were about water supply, the time police took to process cases. and road conditions. Agencies are given 24 hours to responde or take action, and if they don't a message is sent to the respective permanent secretary.  Condensed from Ministry of Information release. photo:mediabistro.com

"It's the PM's eyes and ears on the ground,"says Personal Staff Officer PMO, Capt Rokoura, adding that the 01 unit "is essentially a command, mon…

Afghanistan: the Blog's Latest Flag

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Presuming that the blog readers in Afghanistan are Fiji soldiers, a sincere welcome to, and best wishes from, this blog site. Take care.

Ticks for Key, Sevele, Bainimarama; AI & IMF Reports; Import Substitution; Corruption - Again

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(o) A TICK FOR JOHN KEY. NZ has relaxed its ban on Fiji government personnel by allowing Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola to attend a meeting today with the PI Forum Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) comprising the prime ministers of Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The group will prepare a report on progress towards democracy in Fiji to be put to the 15-nation Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu, in August.  Fiji is attending thanks to an invitation, agreed to by other Ministers, from meeting chairman and Tongan PM Feleti Sevele.

(+) ... AND ONE FOR BAINIMARAMA. The PM gave villagers in Lau his mobile phone number and told them to contact him if they are not getting service from any government department. This must be a first for any PM anywhere.

(-)THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 2010
uses the present continuous verb tense (-ing) to describe Fiji's transgressions when the past tense(-ed) would generally have been more appropr…

Typhoid Reports in NZ Media:Croz Complains; Barbara Dreaver Replies

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Following the misleading typhoid outbreak reports by the NZ media, I complained to RadioNZ and TVNZ. Below are my letter of complaint,  Barbara Dreaver's reply from TVNZ, and my reply to Barbara.  RadioNZ has not replied.

My Letter of Complaint

TVNZ, RadioNZ and teletext news could lead our tourists to believe they are in danger of catching typhoid if they visit Fiji. Navosa, where the outbreak has occurred, is 50km inland from Sigatoka and the Coral Coast, in an area only visited by tourists on arranged tours of Fijian villages. The main tourist areas are nowhere near Navosa, and the chance of any tourist catching typhoid is extremely remote. To my knowledge no tourist has ever died of typhoid in Fiji, and I doubt many have been infected. The disease can be avoided by taking normal precautions: Do not drink unboiled  water, and wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet.

Further details may be found on my blogsite: crosbiew.blogspot.com

While I am sureTVNZ has not …