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Showing posts from April 1, 2012

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 Fiji. I thank Allen 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.

               Illegal Operators

There is a report that says that there is some concern about illegal operators along Valley Road. That question can be answered with another question, Why, are they operating?

We have lots of illegal vans in Lautoka, but we are benefiting. If you took all of them of the road, the travelling public will suffer. The authorities know this but are booking them because they are illegal. And that is the unfortunate part of things. We have to come to some compromise about illegal vans because many of them have been operating for so long that their drivers have become the wage earners for hundreds of families.

If I had my way I would find a way to assist the van drivers…

Disinformation #3. Bainimarama "Fiddles while Rome Burns"

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FijiToday's stories about helicopters, drunken parties and a hopeless police force.FijiToday stoops to lows more usually associated with Coup4.5.

Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

My first two Disinformation exposures were from Coup4.5. In  #1 a trio of the Chief Justice and the Shameem sisters had met secretly on New Year's Day at the Macau Hotel in Nadi to plan their draft Constitution and the Dialogue procedures.  All three deny the meeting and one sister was overseas at the the time of the alleged meeting. My exposure was published on March 23rd.

PINA Moves On with 'Eakalafi Moala's "Go Forward"

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This posting comprises Prof David Robie's analysis of the recent Pacific Islands News Association meeting in Fiji and a selection of hyperlinks to papers delivered at the meeting.

Background
PINA is a log established grouping of Pacific journalists. Following the Abrogation of the 1997 Constitution in Fiji, PINA resolved to keep the doors open to the Fiji Government in the hope of maintaining some degree of media freedom. They also accepted the Government's position that freedom does not come without responsibilities, and that part of the Fiji media had abused its freedoms.

Several prominent members disagreed with this position, considering it a sell out on the issue of media freedom. They sought unsuccessfully to have the PINA  office transferred to Samoa and soon afterwards formed PasiMA, the rival Apia-based Pacific Islands Media Association based in Samoa. PasiMA boycotted the PINA meeting.

I now find myself with two former students, Cook Islander Lisa Williams Lahari and …

It's Time to Build a Stronger State

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By Sundarsan  Kant
The story is told, most likely apocryphal of a British Officer who stumbles upon a sati ceremony in a remote Indian village. He hastily descends from his horse and authoritatively warns the group and the widow from proceeding with the act of self immolation. Annoyed at the intrusion of the foreign interloper, the village headman angrily proclaims that in his country the sacrifice of a wife on her husbands pyre is a time honored custom, to which the British Officer replies that in his country it is also a time honored custom to hang any man who burns widows.
This is one of those stories that provide an inexhaustible supply of hermeneutical possibilities, from the civilizing justifications of the imperial project to the layered critiques of European hubris and racism.

One could argue about the problem of selection bias in narratives like these where rare acts such as sati were generalized in order to condemn entire societies as barbaric and primitive. The underlying the…

Happy Easter Everyone

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WEEKEND READING Easter Saturday April  7 2012 • Allen Lockington column •  Bainimarama Fiddles while 'Rome Burns'    -- Croz Walsh • PINA and Moala's 'Go Forward'  -- David  Robie • It's Time to Build a Strong State    -- Sundarsan Kant

Man-made Elements in Fiji Floods?

From Graham Davis on his blog Grubsheet.

VAT Exemptions Not Good Enough

The announcement (see below) that the PM has lifted duties and VAT on overseas flood relief donations so long as they are channelled thought Government is not good enough.
Duties and VAT should not be charged on ANY donations, local or overseas, for ANY registered charity, not just a one-off for flood relief. Government  claims VAT was imposed on all donations because some people were abusing the system.  The way out is to register all acceptable charity organizations, and businesses and individuals making donations,   and insist on them submitting an annual account of income and expenditure. This is the practice in NZ and, I understand, in many other countries. If this is still not considered secure enough, duties and VAT could be initially charged and then refunded when the necessary documentation is submitted to Customs and the Tax Department. Many donors, including Australia and NZ,  would prefer to target their donations to institutions such as St Johns, and NGOs involved in charit…

News and Comments Monday 2 April 2012

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CYCLONE ALERT issued.

THE FLOODS RAISE ISSUES. Three major floods within almost as many months requires a rethink of Fiji's emergency preparedness.  El Nina will come again and global warming will not go away. The short and longer term costs to the economy and, of course, to people's livelihoods, defy description.  In the short term, Fiji's idyllic tourist image will suffer  as Australian and NZ television show returning tourists pleased to have
escaped alive. The sugar industry has again been badly hit and major roads, some recently completed with loan money,  could be severely damaged.

Questions that come to mind involve basic infrastructure, a high priority on Government's Roadmap: Is it sufficient to dredge river beds or are levees also needed? Do some villages need relocation? Should more houses be built on raised foundations? Are road building materials and methods  suitable for the wet tropics? Can emergency services be better coordinated? Why was there such a de…

Even though his home is under water, he can still smile.

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From Allen Lockington
Croz, would you post this to your Blog. The source is Imagine South Pacific. The man's wife had sent him to save the TV and he returned in a bath tub, with some bele for their dinner and a rake for his oar.    Picture taken in Nadi.
Even though his home is under water, he can still smile.   -o0o-
VAT ON FLOOD DONATIONS. Two readers have asked me to ask Allen to send his article (published yesterday)  about VAT on flood donations to the media. I'd suggest he also send it to the Ministry of Information and DISMAC.  P.S.   Allen says the article was published by the Fiji Times yesterday.  He had a comment, which I now can't find, on why VAT was imposed.Some people were taking advantage of being able to import goods without VAT so Government changed the law to tax everyone.  Seems pretty clumsy to me. And not a good reason at all. VAT should be lifted on all donations and if people are misusing this concession, they should be detected and punished. "…