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Showing posts from March 31, 2013

Get the Facts Right, Then Criticize

Additional comments on the draft Fiji Constitution 2013 released to the public by the Prime Minister Commodore Baninimara on 21 March 2013.
The draft 2013 Fiji Constitution released on March 21 by the Prime Minister has attracted much criticism, not all of it fair. There has been a lot of hoopla associated with the Bill of Rights (Chapter 2) provisions in the draft, for example the strident claims that they are not the same as the rights provisions in the 1997 Constitution or other constitutions. An interesting criticism is that the limitations to rights in the government’s 2013 draft are longer than the rights themselves; however, everyone should look at the limitations in the 1997 Constitution before coming to that conclusion.
In addition, these critics should carefully study the 1970 Constitution’s Fundamental Rights chapter (Chapter II) to note the limitations set out there. Even the right to life is limited in identical terms as in the government’s draft. A recent comment from on…

Looking Back and Forwards

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By Rodney Cole
I like to  think that Fiji entered the computer age in 1969 when, as Secretary for Finance, I signed a contract with ICL for the installation of a 10902A computer programmed to process both trade data and eventually the civil service payroll.A giant of a machine taking up about half the ground floor of the former Suva Boys Grammar School.

Certainly Fiji has come along way since then having joined the cyber based communication revolution with enthusiasm. Nothing demonstrates more clearly this commitment to enjoying the benefits ofthe world wide web than the growth of blog sites associated with Fiji’s current political situation. Sadly all but a few of these sites, offering as they do the opportunity for anonymity, have failed to encourage a level of debate which might have had a bearing on policy issues confronting the incumbent Fiji Government as it seeks to achieve a national constitution that offers a democratic solution as an alternative to the current military regi…

Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

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              Simple Technique

Someone sent me a picture of people waiting to be served at a counter somewhere in the world. The picture is of people sitting on benches with their shoes placed one after another just like if they had been standing in line.

Fiji has so many places where people have to stand in line for a period of time. Some banks have an abundance of customers and during peak periods people stand for long. One place is the Registrars office in Lautoka they have seat's but people have to stand in line. There have been times when the cue-atic machine at LTA Lautoka breaks down and we have to stand in line.

In my opinion places where we have to stand in line for more than 15 minutes are not people friendly, especially for the elderly and the physically impaired.  We often see them taking a younger person to stand in line for them and when it's their turn they walk to the counter and the young person gives way.

But many places have seats that remain empty all the time…

The PM on the Mahogany Industry

SPEECH AT THE AWARDING OF 3-5 GRADES FIJIAN MAHOGANY LICENCES _________________________________________________________________
Holiday Inn Fri. 5th April, 2013 SUVA 1000 Hours ______________________________________________________________________________________
The Minister for Public Enterprises; Permanent Secretaries; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I’m very pleased to be here to present the first licenses for Grades 3 to 5 Fijian Mahogany. Today, we are celebrating both an ending and a beginning. The granting of these licenses marks one of the final steps of the first phase of my Government’s reform of the Mahogany industry. It also represents the beginning of a new era, marked not by corruption and mismanagement, but by integrity, sustainability and profitability. We all know that the Mahogany Industry desperately needed reform.   In my address at the inaugural meeting of the Mahogany Industry Co…

My Open Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister, Greetings from New Zealand! 
Thoughts on the draft constitution
Much of the Government draft constitution is excellent and in some ways superior to the Ghai draft that I thought unnecessarily long and complex. But from reading the comments of others, and from my own reading, there is still room for improvement. This, I assume, is the reason for your current meetings with the Fiji public: to talk and explain, and to listen to their ideas for improvement. For what it is worth, here is my list of what I think are the more important:
1. Much would be gained and nothing lost if indigenous land rights were enshrined , and if the constitution reaffirmed and promoted each culture and language, multi-culturalism and multi-lingualism..
2. Authority needs to be shared more widely, with others such as the relevant government ministers and the the leader of the the opposition involved together with the PM in appointments to the more important appointments and commissions.

Draft Constitutions. 2. The Ghai and Government Drafts Compared

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  By Crosbie Walsh (In the rush to publish this article, some errors may have slipped though. I would be pleased to hear from readers who detect any errors, and will do a more thorough editing job myself over the next few days)  In the first part of this article I made the point that the Ghai and Government draft constitutions were based on different premises. The Ghai draft endeavoured to include the diversity of views expressed in submissions to the Constitutional Commission and establish a raft of checks on the authority of Parliament and the Prime Minister. Most importantly, it recommended the formation of a largely non-elected National People's Assembly to oversee Government. The Government draft, on the other hand, proceeded from its "non-negotiable conditions", such as the secular state and the equal value of votes, which were not in accord with the some public submissions, and firmly placed legislative authority in the hands of Parliament, through the PM.

The …

What Do They Mean by a "Democratic" Fiji?

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Opinion piece by  Crosbie Walsh
The recently formed United Front for a Democratic Fiji, the subject of my earlier posting, hopes to hold meetings this week to protest the process and content of the Government's draft constitution which they say they totally reject. Many of my friends are likely to be present.

With them, I think some important changes are needed to the draft, but the UFDF makes no call for the public to make its opinions known to the Government through the channels available to them, which include emailing, phoning the PM's 02 number, and talkback programmes in Fiji's three main languages. 
Instead, it has adopted a totally hostile position that is most likely to be totally ineffective in bringing about changes. But this, I suspect, is a major reason for their opposition. The real decision-makers in the UFDF know political capital is to be made if their meetings are cancelled by the police and their calls for change are rejected by Government —and they …

Fiji's Mad Hatter's Tea Party*

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     Opinion piece by Crosbie Walsh


I think that sub-consciously each of us weighs what is said or done against what what we assume to be its intended effect. Often we do this without any prompting or assistance but sometimes our friends, colleagues, fellow bloggers and the media give our sub-conscious a nudge towards the "correct" interpretation. 
Thus, in considering recent Fiji events, each of the following linked announcements (and their media coverage) had its own purpose and intended effect: the Ghai draft constitution, the Government's draft, the Citizen's Constitution Forum's analysis of both, the "total rejection" of the Government draft by Attar Singh and the newly-formed United Front for a Democratic Fiji (whose other leaders, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, Mick Beddoes, Mahendra Chaudhry and Ram Pratap Singh, represent the old political parties) and PM Bainimara's reaction that Attar would obey the constitution or risk imprisonment.
The PM&#…