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Showing posts from July 18, 2010

Why the Negative Publicity on Fiji Tourism?

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Rip off? Fiji no, New Zealand yes: NZ media balance under question
Thakur Ranjit Singh Just on the heels of bad publicity about Fiji and misrepresentation in other mainstream media, TVNZ has been accused of being the New Zealand’s tool in hurting Fiji further with its unbalanced news and doing a ‘hit’ on Fiji’s tourism.

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.

Sports Disparity
As I read the news about sports in Fiji I see a huge disparity.  Once again we read that Netball Fiji is asking for help. Right next to that we have the soccer debate. Soccer is so rich that clubs can import players from Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. There may be other countries that I haven’t named. But we see the two sides of things in Fiji’s sporting arena. While one sport struggles to make ends meet, the other is soaring, and good on them. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world. Bigger than rugby, and the passion that supporters have is overwhelming.

An Open Letter from Moses Stevens and PINA

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AN OPEN LETTER FROM PINA PRESIDENT IN RESPONSE TO VANUATU DAILY POST.

Pacific Islands News Associaton president Moses Stevens accuses Marc Neil-Jones, publisher of the Vanuatu Daily Post of bias and ignorance of Fiji. He draws parallels between the current Fiji situation and that of Vanuatu when it was struggling to establish itself after independence, and defends PINA against the new journalism breakaway orgnization recently formed.Links to  Stevens and  Neil-Jones.

The Natadola Communique & Concluding Press Statement

The Natadola Communique

Natadola: What Might it Mean?

Pacific Scoop's Acting Editor Selwyn Manning presents an interesting interpretation  of this week's Forum-MSG-"Engaging With The Pacific" Natadola goings-on.   The rabid anti-government bloggers have already condemned it, so it's well worth a read.  Click here.

Fiji Economy Update 2010: Prasad's Presentation, Whitehead's Response

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A now annual event hosted by USP and ANU is the Fiji Economy Update.  This year's meeting was held last Tuesday with presentations on the economy, the prospects for tourism, agriculture and land policies, manufacturing and commence, poverty, social welfare and housing, national planning and public policy, and monetary and stabilisation policies. I'm hoping we'll learn something of these presentations in the next week or two.

Meanwhile, the only presentations to which I have access are those by USP's Prof Biman Prasad, who details how Fiji had fallen behind its neighbours since the 2006 coup, and how each coup since 1987 has had a heavy financial cost, and by Mr Barry Whiteside, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, who addresses some of Biman's comments.

Both presentations were in a pdf format that I cannot easily transcribe (tables and double columns collapse) but these links ( click here for Prasad  and  Whitehead ) only take moments to download. For readers who …

The Media, Key & Downer on Natadola; Chaudhry & Field

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FIJI TIMES REPORTS ON NATADOLA. The Fiji Times came out from under the table today and surprised its readers with news that a meeting involving "one president, three PMs, three ministers and four diplomatic representatives" took place at Natadola yesterday. It was called an "Engaging With The Pacific" meeting hosted by Fiji.  That's it, folks.  Hot off the press. From our very own free, fair and balanced Fiji Times. Could be more tomorrow if they report that the meeting continued yesterday.

OTHER ON-LINE REPORTING.  In contrast, Fiji Live had five items on the Natadola meeting, including one on John Key's reactions (see below) and Fiji Village had three, including a statement by former Australian Foreign Minister, Alex Downer (see below.) Both  on-line sites informed their readers about what was actually happening at Natadola, an 'oversight' in the Fiji Times report.

RIGHT ON KEY. "In the end, unless we’re going to see a group of those leaders c…

Solomon Islands Academic Speaks about Forum Tensions

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Solomon Islands academic, Dr Tarcisius Kabutaulaka, who holds bachelor and masters  degrees from the University of the South Pacific and  a PhD from The Australian National University, is a professor at the University of Hawaii with a major research interest in Pacific governance.  He answers ABC questions on the Natadola meeting, the MSG, next month's Forum meeting in Vanuatu, relations with Australia, and tensions within the Forum. Click to listen. Scroll down to Windows Media.

Bainimarama Interviews, Whaleoil on NZ Policies, Aussie Boomerang, Bainimarama's Welcoming Speech at Natadola

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STOP PRESS.  NZ REACTION TO NATADOLA MEETING.  PM John Key says that today's  unanimous support by Pacific leaders for Fiji's  Roadmap to Democracy changes nothing. A change in NZ policy could only come after the meeting of the PI Forum in Vanuatu next month. It is to be hoped there will be a change then to more realistic and helpful policies, even if it does mean losing face. But I'm not putting any money on it. Key could have attended the Natadola meeting. He has been invited to visit Fiji to see for himself but fouled the first offer and rejected the second.   "There are none so blind who will not see."

Meanwhile, ten Pacific nations (one President, three Prime Ministers, two Ministers, and four Ambassadors) will continue their deliberations at Natadola tomorrow Friday. The only PI Forum members absent were Australia, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, and Cook Islands that sent an apology. What had NZ to lose by sending its Acting Head of Mission?


BUT AT LEAST ONE KIW…

Fiji claims egg on Aussie faces as dictator pulls off PR coup with summit | The Australian

Fiji's Kiwi Solicitor-General Replies to NZ Law Society

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PRESS RELEASE
Invitation Extended to New Zealand Law Society
The New Zealand Law Society’s (“NZLS”) concern about the independence of the Fiji judiciary being undermined is misplaced and recent comments made by the NZLS are ill-informed and just plain wrong.
These comments were made by Fiji Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary for Justice, Mr Christopher Pryde yesterday in reaction to reports that the NZLS had been advised that five Magistrates had recently been dismissed without notice.
Mr Pryde said that this was an old issue which happened last year and he questioned why this is being brought up again now.
Mr Pryde said that Judges and Magistrates in Fiji continue to have the freedom to decide cases on their own without interference from the executive branch of government.
In responding to the allegation by the NZLS that a Magistrate was dismissed for questioning the propriety of a prosecution against a human rights lawyer and her husband by the Fiji Independent Commission Against …

Kubuabola on Natapei, US Tourism, Consultations on Elderly, Manhunt Questions

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URGENT NOTICE.The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) has produced  its first film ‘Enduring Hope’ to promote racial harmony and tolerance in Fiji.  The 30-minute film, which is in  Fijian, Hindi and English with sub-titles in English where necessary, will be launched tomorrow  Wednesday, 21st, 6.30pm–8pm, at the Marine Studies Lecture Theatre, University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus, Suva. 

TACTFULLY NOT CALLING HIM A LIAR. Responding to a 19th July press statement by Vanuatu PM Edward Natapei on his reasons for deferring the MSG Summit that was to have taken place in Suva later this week, Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola  (photo) said the statement "contained what could be deemed as inaccuracies and misrepresentation of facts."

Specifically --
The claim that he had consulted and had the support of PNG and Solomon Islands when both had given their support in writing for Fiji to Chair the 2010 MSG meetings as hosts, in line with the traditions and pra…

NZ-Fiji Need Drug Co-operation, Travel Bans, the Media, Natapei Decision Unpopular

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See new Quote for the Week in the right side bar.
DRUG CONTROL REQUIRES UNIMPEDED NZ-FIJI CO-OPERATION. The seizure  in Suva last week of a huge supply of the precursor drug needed to make methamphetamine (also known as 'ice' and 'p') had an estimated processed street value of F$28m. The consignment of powder arrived from China, via Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, and was finally intercepted at Suva Wharf. 
In an earlier seizure in 2000 drugs were thought to have originated in Myanmar, for stockpiling in Fiji before shipment to the US, Canada, Australia and NZ.
In 2004, overseas and local police arrested half a dozen Asian nationals and found the biggest methamphetamine manufacturing plant in the Southern Hemisphere. Over one billion dollars worth of methamphetamine was seized.
Last year Asian drug smugglers were caught using kava from Fiji to smuggle methamphetamine ingredients into New Zealand. These operations were uncovered by a 14-month joint oper…

Fiji, the Pacific Islands and Australia

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AUSTRALIA OUTPLAYS SUPREMO. I thought I'd misread this heading, but no, this is how the blog Coupfourpointfive  reports a "Media in the Pacific"  article by Graeme Dobell.*  Dobell seems to think that because Vanuatu PM Natapei deferred the MSG meeting,  and I quote, "Australia can point to mounting evidence that it is closer to the rest of the South Pacific than Fiji." Dream on!

The leaders of ten PI nations, the Director of PiPP, FTUC leader Daniel Urai and even Major-General Rabuka do not think so. That leaves Dobell, Usaia Waqatairewa (see below)  and presumably the publishers of Coupfourpointfive.

*Dobell is Radio Australia's Associate Editor for Asia Pacific, and a regular contributor to the Lowry Institute's The Interpreter. Radio Australia is owned by the Australian Government. The Lowry Institute calls itself an "independent international policy think tank." Its directors comprise four members of the wealthy Lowry family (Westf…