Another Month Starts 1.October 14

YOUR COMMENTS ARE VERY WELCOME BUT YOU MUST USE YOUR REAL NAME OR A PSEUDONYM.  It helps communication and only takes one more click on Name/URL before posting.

PM AT THE UN (AND A COMMENT BY BIMAN PRASAD). Speaking at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in New York at the weekend, the PM said he had kept his promise to hold elections, and said Fiji would maintain its contribution to peacekeeping.   He also extended a hand of friendship to all his political opponents, calling on them to put aside their differences and work constructively to improve the lives of every Fijian when the new Parliament convenes on October 6.

WOMEN SHOW THE WAY TO GO.  Two womens' organizations, FWCC and FemLINK, have signaled their intention of working with the new Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation,  Rosy Akbar. The more people who come forward to assist the various ministries, the greater the benefits for the nation.

PHOTOS OF THE CABINET.  Click this hyperlink to see photos of the new  Cabinet and their responsibilities

ELECTION TIDBITS

  • A Fiji Live informal poll asked "Are you satisfied with the outcome of the 2014 General Elections?" 81% said Yes and 19% No. 
  • The Election turnout was the highest ever. 81.9% of registrered voters voted. 
  • Informal votes also set a new record. Less than 1% were informal compared with 8.8 % in 2006 nd 11.9% in 2001.  Invalid votes were even higher for Fijian Communal voters: 10.4% and 12.9%.  The figures for Indian Communal voters were 9.3% and 13.2% .
EU AID.  Fiji could benefit from a EU initiative to support sustainable energy projects in the less developed countries.

MEDIA FREEDOM. Reporters Without Borders and the Pacific Media Cenre headed by Prof David Robie have expressed concerns about media freedom in Fiji, and singled out the Media Decree for special mention.

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS should not be too far away now that the elections are over.

MEDIA AND SODELPA.  The media were excluded from aThanksgiving service at the weekend.
Comment. Media freedom?

A PLEA TO AUSSIES. Sydney-sider Peter Reith urges Australians to holiday in Fiji and help democracy.

BEATEN BY SOLDIERS?  The social network is full of wild accusations but this one, on Fiji Economic Forum, seems genuine and can be easily checked.  Asenaca Rokowati Bilitaki says her Father was beaten by four soldiers last Friday and had to be taken to the CWM Hospital.  Would readers please check this out with the police and hospital.

PUT DIFFERENCES ASIDE. The Minister for Agrculture, Rural-Maritime Development and Natural Disaster Management Inia Seriratu has urged workers in his ministry to set aside their political differences and work together to on the work that needs to be done to build a better Fiji.

VILLAGE INITIATIVE SHOULD BE COPIED. Nadavaci village in Nateva  tikina has started its own library. Librarian Lote Saro said, "We need to change the attitude and mentality of our people in villages and bring closer to them services like the library to help broaden their understanding," he said.  "Most of our elders didn't complete their education and only reached lower forms or even primary schools so this library is helping out a lot, teaching them again basic English words," he said. "For our little children at home, we read stories to them when they come in on Saturdays and most of them enjoy it.

 CAN ONE MP CALL ANOTHER A MURDERER? Strange questions at Q&A session.

RECORD LAND RENT PAYOUT.  The iLTB paid out $51,927,128 to land owners and is on track to pay more this year. Some 87% of Fiji land is in indigenous communal ownership. Retiring general manager Alipate Qetaki said the iLTB had embraced government's land policies for the benefit of landowners and remained firmly anchored to the Board's trustee role.  See also Alipate's remarks at his retirement.

METHODISTS ULTA CAUTIOUS in The Methodist Church in Fiji is in the process of developing a policy for engaging with communities of other faiths. See more on developing inter-faith communications.

CONFUSION REIGNS ON MEANING OF SECULAR STATE. The Methodist Church  will not be helped by uninformed sentiments like this from Nayagodamu Korovou on Facebook:
"The President of the Methodist Church elect should be commended for standing up and speaking out about what they believe in that Fiji should be a Christian State. May all Christians religious leaders join us in declaring the Name of God even Jesus Christ as the only God of Fiji. May we be united in prayer and in spirit about this issue and continue to love our neighbour even as Jesus has loved them. May we have more combined meetings organised each month to pray together for the future of our Nation Fiji."

Nayagodamu seems unaware that most modern states, including the UK, USA, Australia and NZ, are secular states and in none of them is religious practise threatened.

NEW WEBSITE. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has launched its newly revamped website.


PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO COMPLETE MY SURVEY IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO.  Click  here to view and answer.  And tell your friends and colleagues of all political beliefs. All are more than welcome!

Comments

Tin Con Beef said…
> Would readers please check this out with the police and hospital.

No need to ask your readers. This has been all over social media (and therefore known to all media orgs). I'm sure it will be headline news soon. I mean... we have media freedom here, don't we?
Riverside said…
Croz,

I have a little suggestion and would hope the Govt considers.

In order to assist our future Church pastors - esp. those at Fiji's largest Christian denominations, I think it would be good if Govt considers offering these Churches at least 2 to 3 scholarships per year to undertake their Masters degree in courses which can address areas in which our pastors need development in.

Just a suggestion that can perhaps ensure that future Church leaders are equipped to move their congregation in the right path.

Just a thought. Thanks.
Riverside said…
Oh, another little idea Croz, my humble apologies for forgetting to include in my posting above,

I hear so much about the Auditor General's report and always wonder how and what is being discussed.

So, I think another good idea to assist in accountability and transparency in Fiji is to consider televising the Public Account Committee meetings so the public can hear first hand issues in relation to the Auditor General's reports.

My apologies if this is not the normal procedures - I have very little understanding on this.

Maybe some overseas countries do televise these meetings and we can learn from them.

Well, it's just a thought I hope good enough to contribute for our dear nation.

God Bless you Croz.and especially Fiji.
Perth said…
Hi Croz - Peter Reith is a former Minister of the Australian Givernment and was the head of the Multinational Observer Group. His statements regarding the conduct of the elections are the most qualified and independent.
Protection racket said…
The Bainimarama government appears to be nothing more than a protection racket. Protects those who feed them $ and wash their feet, and uses cowardly military thugs to bash those who don't agree with their standover tactics. Combined with a corrupted thug supporting judiciary and a 'yes man' police commissioner this augers very bleakly for Fiji's future as a so called democratic state?
Ratu Naita said…
@Protection Racket

The use of the word "appears" in your very first sentence speaks volume of your unfounded allegations in the subsequent sentences. The "little bubble" where your head is firmly inserted may have been mixed with tad strong soap powder as it appears to have clouded your view of reality.
Please give us some substance and how you have arrived at the wrong bus station where it is so deserted and looks bleak because 60% of Fijian voters are in a different station.
Taxi Driver said…
Croz,

I do note the significant number of iTaukei voting for SODELPA and have heard of how they felt of their concerns. I do feel for them and hope something can also be done to address their concerns adequately.

I believe that it is always good practice to see the past, identify how things are right now and plan for the future. So I suggest maybe the Govt. can start by providing statistics of how things were and how they are right now and then plan how they intend to move us forward – esp. with regards to addressing iTaukei interests.

These statistics can include the following and it can be the Ministry of iTaukei’s responsibility to be checking, analyzing and reporting in their website or Annual Report:
- Total No. of Scholarship given and number given to iTaukei.
- Total No. of taxi licenses given and number given to iTaukei.
- Total No. of taxi bases and number owned by iTaukei.
- Total No. of business licenses given and number given to iTaukei.
- Total No. of Businesses and number owned by iTaukei.
- Total No. & Income for the various classes of worker and number for the iTaukei.
- Etc.

This way the iTaukei can have first hand information of how their interests are at any stage and what the Govt. is doing to ensure that adequate efforts had been planned for and undertaken by Govt.

Vinaka.

Taxi passenger said…
Taxi Driver - you do realise more iTaukei voted for FF than any other party.
Namadi said…
Please stop your propaganda. Even the International Observers can see through your lies. You seem passionate about Fiji, spend your energies for the good of the country and it's people.
Taxi Driver said…
Another suggestion for Govt to look into:

A mechanism needs to be developed whereby small dalo, cassava and other agricultural farmers are given group/cooperative agreements by Manufacturers and Exporters and large purchasers of these products so small farmers can be organized and assisted.

The mechanism can be such that allows these groups of farmers to issue quotas to their members to meet. This way the group can have a strong voice, well-organized, easy for Govt. to assist and also ensure consistency in the groups’ performance.

A formula can be used as a mandatory criterion whereby these groups can only apply for at least 60% of what they are able to actually supply. Hence this will enable that supply to the Manufacturer, Exporter or the large purchasers of these products to remain consistent and not affect expectation. A farmer who cannot fully meet their quota can sell part of his quota to another small farmer so the group’s performance is not affected.
Taxi Driver said…
Yes and so did I.

But FijiFirst must not rest on it's laurels and work harder to fulfilling our dreams of making Fiji the country we dream it to be.

Just a thought.
Taxi passenger said…
Good idea driver. Keep going bro, I am listening.
Stop the propoganda said…
I don't know the answer. This is the problem with Social Media. Mr Bilitaki himself has stated on a blog and social media that these are lies. Damage done if it's a lie; purpose achieved. It's a story very heavily promoted by the racist coup4.5 where Mr Bilitaki had stated it's a lie.
Lies said…
Croz - you posted some guidelines on checking if something felt like propaganda. I wonder if you have fallen for it. The PM has been overseas since start of last week @ UN etc
Taxi passenger said…
Sorry for jumping to conclusions. I thought you were going down a tired old race based attack.

I do agree they can and should do a lot more for the iTaukei and your suggestions would be a good start.

God bless Fiji.
Taxi Driver said…
Another idea.

A passenger who was a Cook at a hospital once told me that the Ministry of Health was buying apples and pears from overseas when bananas and pineapples were in abundance I suggest the Govt ensure that Ministries do seriously consider buying Fijian made produce when these are in season. Perhaps they can use Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance’s expertise in putting something together so we buy Fijian produce.during these seasonal times.

Small farmers can really benefit.
Ratu Naita said…
@ Taxi Driver

Some thought provoking ideas there mate. Keep it coming.
Taxi Driver said…
It's OK Passenger I understand. And thank you very much for listening.

Taxi Driver said…
Another suggestion for Govt.:

Another passenger told me that Prisons Dept. uses convicts to plant agricultural produce. Sometimes they find it challenging to try and sell these produce.

I think Govt. should also be encouraging other Ministries to order from Prisons Dept (who can sell at very competitive prices) so some monies can also go back to Govt.

Maybe Prisons Dept can also venture out and have an agreement in place with manufacturers and exporters with regards to selling their produce but then have quotas for each Prison in the various districts to produce. Prisoners who have little time left to serve or on good conduct can be encouraged to take part in this and receive some good payment for their labor in contributing to economic development.

But Prison will also need to hire more Prison Officers who are also accountants and ensure the checks and balances are in place to reduce any theft and ensure all required policies are created to ensure smooth running of this operation. If need be create some kind of monitoring unit in the Dept. to check every now and then. Maybe Ministry of Finance to come and check every 3-6 months to see everything is running smoothly. But before venturing out Prisons Dept. may need to ask for ideas from other Ministries esp. Ministry of Agriculture and Finance to help them plan the business operation. After the planning then start otherwise Prison will not be in control of the business operation.

As an incentive to the Prison Officers who take part in this programme (as they may be reluctant to take part as its additional work for them) maybe Govt. can give a very little percentage of the income to their Officer’s welfare fund because my passenger said if this is done then a lot of officers would be willing to be involved in this type of operation for a very long time.

Taxi Driver said…
Thank you Ratu Naita and all you my good passengers for listening.

Sorry I can’t give you a discount on your fare however as a token of my appreciation please allow me to share another suggestion for Govt.

A passenger once said that a lot of our youths are not very good with their education but very good with art and craft.

I like to suggest to Govt. to have more very good courses on art and craft at FNU so we can train these youths to do carving and engraving and the sort on wood and our black pearls.

One passenger told me that Fiji has one of the best mahogany in the world and if we produce some exotic carvings it can sell well as rich people like exotic crafts purchased for their homes. These rich people can be our target customers.

And another said our black pearls sell well at the market and fetch even more returns if we are able to add gold to it and engrave it well.

Maybe Govt. can come up with schemes like the one that it gave earlier on to some of our youths who are engaged in farming. So when our youths graduate maybe Govt. can give the best 10-20 a prize every year in the form of assistance (like tools and small machines (maybe donated by aid from another industrialized nation) and a small working capital) to start their own small businesses. But some kind of coaching and monitoring mechanisms from the Dept. responsible for Microfinance will be needed to ensure success.

Maybe help will also be needed from the Dept. of Trade and Commerce in setting up a good system whereby our youths can go through in order to successfully sell our exotic and ‘5 Star Fijian Made & Crafted’ products to targeted customers.

Bro. I may not be well school like our good Parliamentarians and the intelligent people out there but imagine if Govt. considers some of these ideas and address and plan all the areas well I really think Fiji will surely head in the right direction and FijiFirst will have more trump up its sleeve when the next general elections comes to lure in more supporters.

Anyway, thanks for listening bro and all you fine passengers.

God bless you all and Fiji.
Ratu Naita said…
@Riverside

Whilst I applaud you for "your heart being at the right place", I have to disagree with you that the Government should consider offering churches scholarships for Pastors with the ultimate aim of being able to move the congregation in the right path. I am not going to label myself as someone who is very strong spiritually but my thinking is moulded by the following facts:
1) They have been "called" by God to carry the responsibility of leading "sheeps" to greener pastures and as a result their responsibility is spiritual rather than POLITICAL.
2) As a result of their spiritual strength, I believe that they should always make good judgement calls that takes them away from the temptation of being involved in anything politically motivated or bluntly put, anything that will lead to them gaining anything materially.
Whilst I see your point especially the desire to develop Pastors to stop meddling with other stuff (including politics) apart from "God's work", the problem would be people (especially opposition parties) would start blaming the government for not giving out enough scholarships if certain Pastors keep participating in these so called activities. Herein, comes another body to blame for the current issue. The buck stops with their respective church. That's why they have hierachial leadership and disciplinary policies within their own church structure so senior pastors could mentor younger or upcoming ones.
Ratu Naita said…
@Taxi Driver
Brother you don't need to be well-schooled to have great ideas because sometimes wisdom and practicality leads to very good suggestions. It seems you have spade loads of both.
Kalougata tiko Ratu Taxi Driver and keep it coming.
Crosbie Walsh said…
@ Stop the propaganda ... I've checked Coup4.5 and can't see his denial but then most of their comments these days are in Taukei and mine is too rudimentary to follow very much. Perhaps you could copy the denial and paste it here, or send it to me at croz.walsh@xtra.co.nz
Crosbie Walsh said…
This was aired on ABC http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/man-allegedly-bashed-over-abusive-message-to-fijis-pm/1374385
Christine said…
I've found the post. Of course it can't verified, but it makes you wonder

Josefa Bilitaki said...

Can Coup 4.5 contact me first before posting this blog.I was never assaulted by anyperson,there was a difference over the allowances paid to me and I have been duly paid half in advance and the other half was deposited in my bank account this morning.Thanks for your concern anyway.vinaka vakalevu.God Bless.

October 1, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Anonymous said…
I agree totally with Ratu Naita....and I am an i'taukei....o cei e via bolei au?

The last Fijian Methodist Minister who was sent to ANU to do a PhD (I shall refer to him as Talatala Tevita...may he RIP) in the late 1990's - 2000. He was the guy who, in support of George Speight's 'civilian coup' drafted the so-called 'Deed of Sovereignty' that was the fount of the ethno-nationalist 'Cause' back then ( remember that refrain: "we support the Cause...but not the Method"?).

This was a classic case where "knowledge was inded a dangerous thing'. This Talatala used his academic knowledge in the wrong way...in that he used his ethno-nationalist bias and prejudice to subvert Fiji's fragile democracy in 2000. We see the same thing with the recent letter by Rev Iliesa Naivalu. It was a poltical statement supporting SODELPA's political position. So far, we have seen the Methodist Church leadership rub themselves down heavily with coconut oil so that they can once again squirm out of the damage caused by one of their Ministers in that 'letter'. He clearly does not understand that a secular state means nothing more than religion is a private matter fore the individual. To go beyond that and to want to impose it upon a nation state, is to be poltical. PERIOD.

I agree with Ratu Naita that what is needed is close supervision of subordinate ministers and a mentoring program that will keep pretentious Methodist Minsiters on the straight and narrow and not branch out into areas that are beyond their competence. Vinaka.

Bill Wadely
Anonymous said…
@ Taxi Driver

Great ideas brother, which made me think...why not address the issue of us i'taukei lagging behind economically c.f. other races by getting government to place a higher premium (scholarship costs & allowances etc ) on i'taukei students who chose to study economics, banking & finance, actuarial studies etc? In this way, the i'taukei can be encouraged to eneter into the 'mainstream' of Fiji's economy, as opposed to being passengers and observers in the international banking & finance world? I am sure if scholarships in these areas are worth more than your usual undergraduate BA etc degree, more people will apply for it.

Why cant we (Rosy Akbar please hear this) make a special grant for women in Nadroga to develop further their traditional potting skills? Lets encourage them by finding markets for their products, subsdising their costs in such occassions as the Fiji Womens Trade Show etc? Lets extend that to mat and basket weaving, chutney and pickles, etc.

Just a thought

Bill Wadely

Taxi Driver said…
@ Anony

Everything will depend on statistics so appropriate policies are formed smartly.

Maybe e.g. Certain number of Scholarships for Art & Craft specifically targeting a specific field, Sporting Scholarships also targeting specialized sporting field, etc.

But policies needs to be worded correctly so it's not racist and is fair and is targeting a need of Government or our nation that needs developing and whoever wishes to apply can apply for the scholarships.

Just a thought.
Riverside said…
@ Ratu Naita

Thank you for your well founded views and comments.

My suggestion is based on the idea that if an appropriate number of pastors in Churches have the knowledge (degrees) on issues relating to the need /benefits of promoting secularism, multiculturalism, equality, etc in a nation’s Constitution then may be Churches’ congregation could then be enlightened and guided to the right path by them.

Because if there’s insufficient pastors who themselves are not sufficiently enlightened on the above issues and do not really understand the importance of promoting these tested principles then there will not be enough ‘light’ in the Church on tackling issues as such.

Also Govt. can consider staggering the offer of these scholarships to every 5 years for example so that we can know from the outset that not too many of such scholarships will be offered by Govt. It is only offered as it is of national interest.

The risk for Govt. perhaps of not doing anything is that Govt. will not be able to ensure that this particular need is well addressed and history may be repeated.

Just a thought. Thanks
Marika said…
There still seems to be this presumtion that this govenrment now comprised of the very same regime that controlled Fiji for eight long years, will take advice and seek to consult? A little naive isn't it? There will be no inquiry into any malfeasance over the past eight years, the media, judiciary and police are successfully neutered, they have installed themselves opr their family into every position of influence, so why on earth would they need to consult anyone. I see the status quo for a very long time. You get what you vote for i guess.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Marika, Who knows but consultation has already started on the 2015 Budget, and I understand Ro Teimumu has been offered the deputy chairmanship of the ILTB. . I think your accusations too sweeping but things could be much better with a Parliament and an Opposition making wise use of its powers. To be optimistic is not to be naive.
Taxi Driver said…
Croz,

From the very depths of my heart, I wish to thank you for proving a forum as such to all citizens and those overseas who may want to help to put in their suggestions in your blog.

For me (who is just a small time taxi driver and an unknown) I feel very honored to have at least aired my suggestions in your honorable blog that is full of you fine and intelligent folks – who knows maybe some big time bosses from the various Ministries are reading my little suggestions and may have taken them on board. Maybe some are very highly qualified Professors like your good self. And maybe some Ministers too.

I dearly hope that suggestions from all citizens will somehow find its way to those in power to consider at least some of them so we can all participate in building our Fiji. This is our Fiji. Our dear Fiji.

I have faith that all you fine people with influence out there and you Croz will somehow ensure that our suggestions (hopefully including some of my little ones) will reach the high places where something can be done about it so we can really fulfill our dream of a prosperous Fiji.

So when little people (like me) grow very old and can’t drive or work anymore at least we can tell our grand children that we too have done our little part in contributing and building our Fiji.

Once again, thank you Sirs and Madams out there and thank you Croz.

God bless you all and our dear Fiji.
Taxi Driver said…
Sorry.............

should be 'providing a forum' ...............not proving. Thanks
Riverside said…
Thank you for your comments my dear Anonymous 5:09pm,
My suggestion is not on promoting Christian beliefs or defending God. On the contrary my dear.

I fully agree with you that we should not impose Christianity on others. Why? Simple – God Himself has showed Christians the way: – He lets the individual decide his/her own decision for this is His gift to mankind.

My suggestion on the other hand is based on the notion that the Govt. may need to recognize the very fact that there is a vast number of Christians in this country. Thus to avoid history repeating itself or Christians again try to change the Constitution to make this land a Christian State then Govt. may need to address this risk now. Bainimarama and all of us will pass away but we need to now consider building a new pathway.

So I’m suggesting that by offering a very small number of scholarships (on the above specific field of studies) now this risk can in the long term be kept at bay.

So far I have not read any other new suggestion on mitigating or addressing this risk so I thought maybe I can contribute something on this issue and let Croz decide suggestions he will forward to Govt. But please feel free to disagree with me. Your disagreements are always welcome as after all we all want a better Fiji.

Thanks.
Tom Dain said…
@riverside
You assume that further education will help the Churches. You are right and wrong. Right in that it may well bring them round to agreeing that the secular state is the best way forward. Wrong in that what helps the Churches is not more education but rather greater commitment to the one who calls them to serve.
Riverside said…
Thanks Tom for your comments.

I agree greater commitment to the call is needed in the Churches.

As for the Govt. though ensuring that at least some of those (who are committed) are well enlightened / educated on sensitive issues like above is a national need that must be addressed.
Tom Dain said…
@riverside

I agree with you – the “national need..must be addressed”. A correction - I did not say “commitment to the call” but rather commitment to the caller. The call is to be pastors, the caller is the christian God. When there is no caller all you end up with is work.

Education is a double-edged sword. Granting scholarships to the churches may result in a greater mistrust of the secular state. You cannot assume that being “educated on sensitive issues” will result in minds being pro-secular state.

But to back up a bit, the comments made which has prompted your initial responses were triggered by the outburst of the PM, to which the Methodist Church leader was obliged to respond to publicly. Putting aside religion and politics I prefer a nation state whose leader’s responses are not outbursts.

Interesting that Croz Walsh should write “that most modern states, including the UK, USA, Australia and NZ, are secular states and in none of them is religious practise threatened”. It appears that the right for a church group to simply and clearly state their position/ preferences is being discouraged here. And it’s not even a “religious practice”. Doesn’t make sense in a country that is officially a secular state. But it does make a lot of sense when one realises that separating state and religion or beliefs is not as easy as one may think. I think it is close to impossible but the nation is now committed to try.

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