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Showing posts from September 16, 2012

Christian State Does Not Have the Numbers

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[iPad and smartphone readers who cannot see the table and graphs may download the full article in pdf format from scribd by clicking this link. It is very quick.]

Crosbie Walsh
Executive Summary. The submission to the Constitution Commission by the President of the Methodist Church, ReverendWaqairatu, on behalf of the Methodist Conference,for Fiji to be declared a Christian state runs against all logic; it is contrary to all notions and proclamations of human justice and equality within a nation; and it detracts from ongoing efforts to create a fair and equal Fiji.  This article shows he also does not  have the numbers.  Christians are  the majority populations in Fiji but not in all provinces, and more to the point Methodists, even assuming they all agree with the President, are not the majority religion in Fiji. The more economically advanced provinces are more mixed, and Christians or Methodist Christians are the overwhelmingly dominant  population mainly in  the less populous, remot…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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Bad Smell I can't believe that the bad smell from the Qawa River in Labasa is still there.

This issue was highlighted many years ago yet no one is taking responsibility. Has there been any kind of investigation to determine the cause of the stench?  Here I mean if the stench is being caused naturally or from manufacturers spilling their waste products into the river. The community at large is suffering from the smell and the loss of fish.  The report (FT 24/8) says that the Ministry of Environment has received complaints and that they were working with the Fiji Sugar Corporation to address the issue — and guess what the investigation started some ten years ago! And reading the article I see the buck being passed around. And the executive chairman, where the buck should stop, has chosen to remain silent. Very sad, very sad indeed.

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to re…

The Trojan Horse in the Pacific?

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Kevin J. Barr

I am sure most people know the story of the Trojan Horse which is recorded in Homer’s Iliad. In ancient times Greece was a war with Troy but its defence was gradually failing because the Trojan resistance was strong. The Greeks could not penetrate the walls of Troy. Despite the warnings of Cassandra, the prophetess, the Trojans were tricked into hauling inside the walls a huge wooden horse which the Greeks had left at the gates of the city as a gift. However the inside of the wooden horse was full of Greek soldiers. During the night they emerged from hiding and, because they were now inside the walls, they were able to sack the city and so win the war. Later the saying became common: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”.
Today analysts often express their suspicions about the motivations of those who provide aid or loans. Are they sincerely wanting to help us in an unselfish way or do they have ulterior motives? If so, what do they want in return? Do they want to he…

Ranjit Singh's Recent Visit Home: Changes in TV Viewing

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The phoenix at Fiji Broadcasting Commission rises from its ashes Thakur Ranjit Singh
It was a very comfortable ride in Sunbeam round –the –island bus leaving Suva bus station at 6 am on a clear Hibiscus week morning via Kings Road for Ba on Thursday 23 August, 2012.
 I was pleasantly surprised at the improvements in Suva after a lapse of five years. Apart from that, the standard of public transport, especially buses have remarkably increased. After arriving in Suva from Nadi via Pacific Transport’s new Chinese air-conditioned coach, I had no hesitation in catching Sunbeam’s equally elegant –looking bus. The almost-completed (some ten minutes remaining) Kings road looks and feels great. Having travelled Canada in Greyhound buses between Terrace, Jasper, Edmonton, and Calgary on my recent trip for some 25 hours, I found Fiji services equal to or even better and friendlier, but that is another story for another day.
When I reached my dusty settlement Rarawai Golflinks in Ba at around midda…

The ILO Visit Termination: Causes and Consequences

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Weekend readings: • Allen Lockington • Ranjit Singh's home visit •Fr Barr's Trojan Horse • Croz on Christian State lacking numbers. 

Crosbie Walsh, with large inputs from two others. 
 Background
To understand the issues in dispute between the major Fiji trade unions, the ILO and the Government it is necessary to consider the 2011 Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree that started it all. 
I considered this decree at length in a posting last year titled  Why on Earth Did Government Need the Essential Industries Decree?  Click on the hyperlink to read.
 In the article I compared the 2011 Essential Industries  decree with the 2007 Employment Promulgation. I concluded the 2007 promulgation was sufficient for government's stated purposes, and criticized the Decree because it:   “weakens the collective bargaining power of workers by atomising labour organisation and weakening the national trade unions. It creates more opportunities for workers to leave unions than to …

Government Statement on ILO Visit

Statement from the Attorney General
Fijian Government Welcomes New ILO Visit on Revised Terms
The Fijian government has a policy of openness and transparency to outside scrutiny by organizations such as the International Labour Organisation. We welcome such visits as long as they are conducted by an independent delegation with no predetermined outcomes and a focused agenda.
The ILO delegation in question was not “ejected”, “expelled”, “deported” or forced to depart Fiji in any way. In order to make way for the next ILO visit under the Terms of Reference provided to the ILO delegation on Monday, they were asked to leave at their earliest opportunity. The Terms of Reference are being released separately.
The Fijian Government will be pleased to welcome an ILO visit that will produce an objective evaluation of the issues set out in the Terms of Reference.  Such an ILO visit will be welcomed to Fiji if they arrive tomorrow or anytime in the future. Terms of Reference for ILO Delegation Visit:…

Most Disturbing News: ILO Visit Aborted

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ILO mission to Fiji aborted An ILO direct contacts mission on freedom of association has been obliged to depart from Fiji without having completed its mandate.

Press release | 19 September 2012 An ILO direct contacts mission on freedom of association, mandated by the ILO Governing Body, has been obliged to depart from Fiji without having completed its mandate.

This unexpected and precipitous departure of the mission comes at the request of the Office of the Prime Minister.

The mission has been visiting Fiji at the invitation of the Government in light of various complaints made by the trade unions. Itbegan its programme on Monday, 17 September 2012, based on already-agreed terms of reference with the Government and with an agreed list of senior public officials and representatives from the employers’ organization and national trade union centres. In the midst of its first meeting, with the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, the mission was asked t…

The Mysterious Case of Justice William Marshall

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Justice Marshall's contract as Resident Justice of Appeal was not renewed in April after he had served in Fiji for less than two years. The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says this was because the judge was corrupt.

Justice Marshall says the Attorney-General is an “irrational and vengeful man” who opposed the renewal of his contract because he could not be relied on to do what the Attorney-General wanted.
He accuses the Attorney-General of interference with the judiciary and has produced a 100-plus page petition to the PM detailing his case. It is not an easy petition to read because the pdf pages are reproduced in reverse order and to make sense of the document, one has to read it backwards. It is also a difficult document upon which to form an opinion. Some of my contacts think his petition is sour grapes, and some of its details are certainly incorrect, but in this layman's opinion he has made a sufficient case for his arguments to be heard.
Unsurprisingly, his pe…

News and Comments Wednesday 19 September 2012

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BRIJ LAL AND RADIO NZINTERNATIONAL AT IT AGAIN. I don't know who rings who first but if it happens a few more  times Prof Brij Lal will be seen as "Resident Advisor" to RadioNZI which continues to give him  an unquestioned platform to express his opinions on all and everything on Fiji, a country he has not been in for several years.

Why, and on what evidence, does he say that the writing off of Fiji Water Authority debts (see below) is vote buying when it is still two years out from an election?

And how is this measure any  different from the many other government actions such as the subsidised school lunches, free public transport for the elderly, or solar energy,  rural development, new ports of entry, ending the syphoning off of land lease money by the NLTB and the chiefs and giving all lease money to the landowners? Most trace their origin to the Pillars of the People's Charter. And that was in 2008. Were these also vote-buying? Will  he construe all  government…

News and Comments Monday 18 September 2010

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NEW HYDRO SCHEME WILL SAVE MILLIONS. With the opening of the Nadarivatu Hydro Electric Scheme last week, the country will start  to save some $42 million on fuel imports a year. The $200 million scheme was financed by increased tariffs and with loans from the China Development Bank, local borrowers, ANZ Bank and the Bank of South Pacific.

In opening the scheme, the PM said government is working towards catering for 90% of the country's energy requirements through renewable energy sources by 2015. “This will not only reduce the deficit in our balance of payments position but ensure that we protect our environment by reducing green house emissions and contribute to the global effort of mitigating risks of climate change and environmental degradation.”


LEAD KINDLY LIGHT. Last year, UN Women together with the Barefoot College of India in cooperation with the governments of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Nauru, locally based Civil Society Organisations  as well as t…