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Showing posts from September 30, 2012

What Government, Business and NGOs Can Do About Poverty

POVERTY IN FIJI ISSUES WHICH NEED TO BE ADDRESSED BY GOVERNMENT, THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND THE NGO COMMUNITY (Suva, Holiday Inn,Holiday InnH October 2nd 2012) Kevin J. Barr

INTRODUCTION
I would like to begin with the observation of Mahbub ul Hag in 1998: “We cannot leave intact the model of development that produces persistent poverty and wistfully hope that we can take care of poverty downstream through limited income transfers or discrete poverty reduction programs. ... A few technocratic programs downstream are not the real answer. The real answer lies in changing the very model of development, from traditional economic growth to human development, where human capabilities are built up and human opportunities enlarged, where people become the real agents and beneficiaries of economic growth rather than remain an abstract residual of inhuman development processes.”
Note that ul Hag stresses that a few poverty alleviation programs are not the answer. We must make a radical change …

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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Lessons from the Floods

Tavioka (cassava) is getting very scarce in Lautoka. But we have switched to taro, dalo ni tana and green bananas for our meals and we are doing well. The scarcity of cassava, I am told, is because of the factory on Ra. They are buying the commodity at a very good price and the famers have chosen to go that way.

 I say – good one, because if it benefits the people then so be it. And we have switched to other root crop and uto (Breadfruit) will soon be in season.

 Anyway, I have been travelling all around Nadi,  Lautoka and some parts of Ba. Just after the floods we began our tour to assess damage done to farms and what the farmers needs were. The first flood happened in January and then another one in March. And then there was a heavy down pour in April that washed away much of the vegetables that had just been planted. We did our bit distributing seedlings, seeds, farm implements and fertilizer. It is now September and the markets are flooded with vegetables. …

Changes in Constitution-Making in Fiji Part VI – After 1987

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Changes in Constitution-Making in Fiji Part VI – After 1987 By Subhash Appana
The last article argued that by 1987 Mara’s hold on the Fijian polity through the Fijian chiefly system had weakened enough to present Fiji with a new PM in Dr. Bavadra for the first time in 17 years. This centralizing of the traditional Fijian system was always flawed because it refused to acknowledge the inevitability of change – of new ideas, new aspirations, enlightened endeavours, individual pursuit of success, etc.
For those who attempted to seek success outside the ambit of the traditional socio-political system presided over by the chief, new political parties had to be explored. This is why disgruntled elements joined Butadroka as early as 1975. That voice of demand and dissent had always been managed and subsumed within openings offered by government in the form of the Alliance Party.
Apolosi Ranawai’s demand was for access to business opportunities held tightly by white planters. Butadroka wanted to …

News and Comments Friday 5 October 2012

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WEEKEND READINGS. • Allen Lockington Column Subhash Appana continues his series on constitution-making in Fiji  • Fr Barr talks of what government, business and NGO's can do about poverty.

KITE FLYING: RELEASE GEORGE SPEIGHT. To "fly a kite" is an expression similar to "testing the waters". I'm proposing that 2000 Coup frontman George Speight be released from jail. He has now served longer than many would serve for murder when good behaviour is taken into account; the deterrent message has already been posted, read, and ignored; the main movers behind the 2000 Coup remain undetected and unpunished; George is costing the taxpayer money; and no further purpose is achieved by his ongoing incarceration. Your opinion?

U.S.PREFERENTIAL TRADE. In response to the submission to the US hearing of a petition filed by the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations that Fiji be removed from the list of eligible beneficiaries of the Generalized …

This Story Needs to be Told Over and Over Again

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Racism Took Land Out of Production
 Macuata has suffered more than most provinces from the politically motivated non-renewal of land leases backed by extreme ethno-nationalists during the Qarase SDL time in government when there were so many stories of Native Land Trust Board officials urging iTaukei landowners not to renew leases to Indo-Fijians farmers, and promising government would compensate them for the loss of lease money.

Now, Macuata chief Ratu Aisea Katonivere is calling for new legislation on land use and land leases to "create an enabling environment for land use development."

Speaking on his submission to the Constitution Commission in Labasa earlier in the week, he acknowledged the contribution of the Indo-Fijian farmers, the effects of their forced relocation, and the vital role of agricultural ventures like sugarcane farming which he said was "the lifeblood in the North as it had been in the past decades."

One does not need to look any further to se…

U.S.Trade Preferences Decison: Update

GOVERNMENT MEDIA REALEASE : FIJIAN GOVERNMENT ATTENDS GSP CASE IN USA
A delegation representing the Fijian Government today attended the hearing of a petition before the Generalized System of Preferences Sub-committee (“GSPSC”) at the United States Trade Representative Office in Washington DC.
The petition seeks to remove Fiji from the list of eligible beneficiaries of the Generalized System of Preferences.  
The delegation was led by the Acting Solicitor-General Sharvada Sharma, and included His Excellency Ambassador Winston Thompson, Principal Legal Officer from the Solicitor-General’s Office, Salaseini Serulagilagi, and First Secretary, Ray Baleikasavu.
Addressing the GSPSC, the Acting Solicitor-General updated the members of GSPSC about the constitutional processes that have been implemented by the Fijian Government. This includes an inclusive nation-wide dialogue process by an independent Constitutional Commission that will result in the promulgation of a new Constitution in early 2…

Government Has Only Itself to Blame But ...

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Opinion by Crosbie Walsh
This blog criticized the introduction of the Essential National Industries Decree when it was introduced a year ago. We maintained the decree undermined national trade unions, exposed workers to the whims of employers, and earlier legislation made the decree unnecessary.

The legislation  was not unique and similar legislation, prompted by the same neo-liberalist philosophy, now exists in many Western countries.

But in the highly charged Fiji context, it became a critical political issue. Government was seen to be aligning itself with employers and alienating support from trade unionists and "middle" Fiji.

With so many elements of the "old regime" still alive and well, it was also a tactical —and possibly a strategic — error.

Some people have said the enactment of the decree was a turning point in Government's commitment to a fair Fiji. Where, people asked, is the idealism of the  People's Charter?  Had Government lost the plot?

Sinc…

News and Comments Wednesday 3 October 2012

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SOLOMONS BACKS FIJI.Solomon Islands PM Gordon Lilo told the UN General Assembly that the Solomons recognises the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Fiji, and says his country will continue to dialogue with Fiji. He called on the region and the international community to support Fiji’s “Engaging with the Pacific” process and its road map to the 2014 general elections.

PACIFIC FORUM LINE COUlD BE SOLD. A NZ Government plan to sell a state-owned asset considered vital to Pacific  development is expected to be rubber-stamped this week. The Sunday Star-Times understands an urgent meeting  took place last week in Tonga, to be followed by another this week in Fiji, finalising plans to sell the 35-year-old Pacific Forum Line (PFL) to Singaporean firm Sofrana.The move has drawn strong criticism from the NZ Labour Party with foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff claiming small island nations would bear the brunt of a decision made behind closed doors. "It is being con…

CCF Submission Trying to Please All But One

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Review and Opinion by Crosbie Walsh The Citizens' Constitution Forum submission to the Constitution Commission in Levuka last week could be striving a little too hard to achieve a general consensus at the expense of forfeiting once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for change.

The preamble and general principles will, I think, be accepted by all fair-minded people in Fiji— respect for differences, social justice, protection of NGOs, affirmative action based on needs,  a bill of rights, and leadership code of ethics, and decisions by dialogue and consensus.

Electoral reform
The document is forward-looking in its support to call all citizens Fijians, and for electoral reform that
includes proportional representation,1 open list seats, fewer electorates (the four divisions and the overseas diaspora), a voting age of 18 years, a smaller 51 seat parliament, and political parties that must  be open, inclusive, reflect diversity and promote national integration.

Accountability
In addressing th…