News and Comments Monday 7 January 2013


QUOTE OF THE WEEK. The game is to stir up emotions, polarise people and make rational debate and compromise impossible.  Sadly, rational debate and compromise are two foundations of democracy, and actively discouraging them has resulted in an increasingly dysfunctional Government. -- Letter in the NZ Listener. 

Margaret Twomey. Australian HighCom elect.
NO AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER: MORE WASTEFUL TIT FOR TAT. One can only deplore the short-sightedness of the Australian government's refusal to issue a visa to the head of the Fiji National Provident fund who wished to visit Australia on FNPF business, and the equal short-sightedness of the Fiji government to issue a visa to the incoming Australian High Commissioner in retaliation. Such behaviour gets neither country anywhere and comes as especially bad news at this stage of the constitution dialogue.  Australia's ability to influence outcomes are now reduced to zero as is Fiji's ability to use Australian influence to moderate opposition within Fiji.

Graham Davis has argued in Grubsheet that the Australian action on the visa is due to trade unions influence on Julia Gillard's beleagured Labour Party government.  And so it might be but if this is the case it should have been a signal to the Fiji Government to seek support from its own unions.

This may seem an impossible tactic. The Fiji unions first sought and won overseas union help over Government's unnecessary repressive Essential Industries Decree.  But times have changed. The draft constitution recommends all decrees that may compromise human —and trade union—rights be redrawn.  The situation lends itself to a quid pro quo solution: union help with the sanctions; Government's assurance the controversial decree will be reviewed. And if not this quid pro quo, another that will lever the unions away from supporting a coalition of the old political parties.   An urgent meeting now with union leaders to discuss their representation in the Constituent Assembly would be a good place to start.  Finesse makes for good diplomacy; not threats and tit for tat exchanges.

THE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER ELECT.  Graham Davis has this to say about her:
The great shame about Fiji feeling obliged to turn away the new Australian High Commissioner to make its point is that Margaret Twomey is such a terrific appointment. She knows Fiji well, having been Deputy Head of Mission in Suva several years ago and has many local friends and acquaintances. She understands Fiji like few other diplomats and is known to be sympathetic to its challenges. The fact that she was due to come to Suva from the prestigious post of Ambassador to the Russian Federation was also a reflection of the importance Bob Carr and the rest of DFAT place on a successful outcome in 2014. But alas, all that – it seems – will come to nought.

FIJI SUN. HALF MY STORY. The Fiji Sun's front page on Saturday had the heading "ACCUSED. Neutrality of Yash Ghai's Commission questioned" in which part of what I had written  in "Making Some Sense of Recent Developments" immediately preceded what Col. Mosese Tikoitonga had to say which left us looking like babes in arrms.  The Sun did not misrepresent what I said but it only published half of it — the half sympathetic to Government.  I'm pleased to report that the Sun's publisher Peter Lomas has agreed to publish the whole article in today's issue.

THE FIJI FLAG.  The FLP has protested PM Bainimarama's announcement that plans are afoot to change the Fiji flag and I have to agree with them.  A new flag may be needed to symbolise Fiji's new identity but other matters are  more pressing and no change should occur until the people have been consulted. A nation-wide competition, as was the case with the present flag, and its adoption after a new Government is elected, is the way to go. No flag-ation without representation could produce another Tea Party.


CHAUDHRY STAKES HIS CLAIM. Mahendra Chaudhry continues to claim "the regime" needs to explain why  it is keeping the draft constitution secret . “It is a public document," he says on the party's website. "The people have every right to know what it contains. We all know that the Constituent Assembly will debate it. But the Assembly is not an elected body – it will not have the mandate of the people ... FLP’s position is that the composition of the Assembly should be transparent and fair and [note this] take full cognizance of the elected representatives of the people."

Wrong, Mahen.  See the amended decree. The draft will become a public document when it is presented to the Assembly in which your party has been invited  (and apparently declined) to participate. Methinks your "mandate" is now a little old. You really do have to decide whether the FLP intends to participate in the Assembly, or oppose it. Or do you wish to sit back —as you did with the Constitution CommiSsion— to see whether it accepts all the FLP submissions, before giving or withholding your approval?


FLP AND THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY.  With the names of members likely to be announced next week, the Fiji Labour Party has denied a Fiji Sun report it has asked to be represented. Instead, it has sought information on the size of the Assembly and the allocations to be made for each political party, civil society and other organisations invited, the criteria to be used to decide on seat allocation and the number of seats to be allocated to the Fiji Labour Party.  A not very promising view of their likely uncompromising  attitudes even before the curtain has raised.

A THOUSAND SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THE POOR. Among key targets in the Public Service Commission’s annual corporate plan for 2013  is the award of at least 1,000 scholarships and loans for those below the poverty line, the upgrading of 80 government quarters, and the provision of 100 local training programmes to civil servants.

SUGAR NEWS PROMISING. News that many evicted cane farmers are showing an interest in land availability (Sugar Cane Growers Council's acting chief executive officer, Sundresh Chetty, said his phone had been ringing non-stop) is encouraging "This renewed interest." says Chetty, " has been buoyed by a huge improvement in mill performance, increased support from industry stakeholders and the government and also a significant increase in the actual cane price expected for last season's crop."  Incentives such as  a reduction interest for loans for lease renewals by the Sugar Cane Growers Fund and the waiver of lease surrender fees by the iTaukei Land Trust Board negotiated by the Sugar Ministry and Committee on Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) have also helped.

Another encouraging sign is that some 200 cane growers in the Western Division have received lease renewals for 30 years, and more are expected in 2013.

RAIWAI HOUSING PROJECT STOPPED.The Suva City Council has issued a stop work order for the Public Rental Board project at Raiwai contracted out to China Railway First Group (Fiji) Company Limited. The action is the result of a long dispute between the contracted company and the Public Rental Board over the building code. In 2010 the Board signed a $20-million commercial contract with China Railway First Group for the construction of 500 flats at the Raiwaqa and Raiwai sites in Suva  to provide low to middle-income earners with affordable rental housing. Some  $11m was to be used for  the construction of one and two-bedroom flats at Raiwai and $9m for the same in Raiwaqa. It is hoped the dispute will now be quickly resolved.

AGRICULTURE IN 2013. Fiji Live reports on the new agricultural scholarships for school leavers announced by government last year that will culmnate with graduates receiving substantial assistance to start their own farms  Other 2013 initiatives include the Demand Driven Approach Programme that promotes exports and reduces imports for local vegetables, dairy, beef and root crops has been given a funding of $2.2million dollars for  2013. Rice, coconut.cocoa, ginger and cottage industries, developments in the Saivou Valley and Nadarivatu  will also be assisted. Nearly $3 million  will go to livestock rehabilitation, the dairy industry and apiculture. Funds have also be allocated to research programmes. and land and drainage work.

Comments

Junta wankers said…
Croz
You, davis and the other coup groupies need to stop wanking - ban the australian high commissioner if you have the guts - this junta dictatorship is nothing but rhetoric and bluster. Who gives a rat's arse what you dribble on about?
Anonymous said…
Actually, Fiji should ban her and stay out of all the other crap organizations that are influenced by the mozzies!! Things are moving forward.. and we are looking forward to a brighter future. Funny thing is that most of the achievements were done recently...change the gov, change the Queen's portrait on the notes, change the flag,change the constitution! This is more nationalist than anything done to date. The elite clans should keep crying because it is too late now..No one can help you now.. Keep the posts coming Croz, there are a lot of us who live in Fiji and are happy to read this stuff. Lets put it this way, the old way of thinking must change and this must be done now.. Just waiting for the elections to put an end to the past rubbish forever!
Anonymous said…
Why ever would we choose to deliberately shoot ourselves in the foot and ban the most suitably qualified and experienced Australian High Commissioner we might ever have? Ambassador to the Russian Federation. If Ms Twomey is good enough for President Putin and his sagacious, adroitly-positioned Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, then Margaret Twomey would be more than qualified for Fiji. We must put the interests of our people ahead of our personal agendas. Or is this puerile and Pure Pique at work? Keeping someone waiting? Well, the Fiji Pensioners were kept waiting without explanation for over half-an-hour. An example of a maladroit move if ever there was one: a full eighteen months ago. There are some forms of conduct which to not bear brooking. Keeping the elderly waiting when time is so short, is one of them. Manners makeyth Man.
Double talk said…
"FLP’s wants the composition of the Assembly to be transparent and take full cognizance of the elected representatives". Yet mahen denies that FLP has asked to be represented." If so, why worry about the need for the assembly to take cognizance of elected representative? Why seek information on the size, allocations for each political party, selection criteria, and FLP's share of seats?

Haha, this is typical cunning mahen chaudhry double-talk. Just as he deviously and deliberately gave the false impression that FLP would boycott 1992 election, then fielded candidates in the last minute.

What a joke: FLP wants transparency. How much transparency is there within FLP? What about transparency regarding $Aud2m in mahen's secret bank account? How did so much money find its way into mahen's private account? Is this what we mean by Fiji's Robin Hood and champion of the poor?

How much transparency was there when mahen nepotistical appointed his in-law Sachida a senator?

We are all sick of mahen who built his career on shouting from the rooftops about transparency, accountability, honesty and integrity but has failed to practice it. He has been instead busy feathering his nest, to use one of his favourite terms when attacking others. The FLP smacks of hypocrisy, nepotism, and greed, with mahen making all decisions to be rubber stamped by his yes-men. party is there to further mahen and the chaudhry families' interest, that all. mahen is hoodwinking people. Hoodwinking, by the way, is another one of his favourite terms.

grow up and pay your own bills said…
What a fantastic outcome!! Aus keeps the staus quo, fiji can go to china for bsuiness leadership courses. Please now break of diplomatic relations with Aus altogether and spare us from having to pay for your self-inflicted follies. I am not aware that Aus needs a senior diplomat there anyway as the militray is often claiming we have no influence so lets just shut it down, upgrade travel warnings and let Fiji officials travel to China and India.Please, I am sick of paying and having to host these people who sem to think they get a better deal with Venezuala and Azerbaijan. And to the clown who thinks a military government is a development and a way forward....oh please.How long have you been independent?? and Fiji can still manage to shoot iself in the foot, every couple of years and expect others to keep paying to find a solution.
Anonymous said…
The way Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga is going on, especially with his don't mess with the RFMF, he is sounding more and more like the man he wants to replace. Rememebr in 2006 Bainimarama was constantly on about the rights and power of the military... then he started threatening a coup, and then setting a date.... and then there was a coup. Tikoitoga is following the program; you watch, soon he will not be happy and the soldieers will be back on the streets. You heard it here first
Fijiana - Neocolonialism said…
Typical colonialist attitude from 'Grow up and pay your own bills'.
Australia does not give aid to Fiji purely out of the goodness of its heart - far from it.
We are not so naive to believe that.
Aid is a geopolitical tool. It always comes conditions/strings attached.
Aid programme is designed to benefit australia at various levels, from diplomatic to economic.
Fiji is major market for australian goods, australians have investments in fiji.
We are a tourist destination for your stressed out workers.
We send tourists back refreshed, recharged and in good shape, so show some appreciation.
In trying to bring out stability, Aust is to be applauded.
But Australia is also looking after its own interests.
I am not saying self-interest is wrong , just stating it is the case also to counter the pretence from Grow Up.
Stability in fiji means a better, stronger market for australian goods, services and investments.
So aid is an investment, as well as a geopolitical weapon.
It is not a one-way street, Australia is too smart for that - it is a give and take.
But colonialists are a cunning breed - they will have us believe that it is one-way street, and use aid as blackmail.
You have to give it to the colonialists - even while screwing you, they wil tell you it is for your own good.
And actually make you believe it.
Much of the aid goes back to australia anyway - heard of boomerang aid?
We love australia, but we hate it when australia and australians patronise us.
we want to continue doing 'business', but we won't fall on our knees, or bow to the master.
Colonialism is history (neo-colonialism remains a problem, e.g., Grow Up).
If need be we can and will survive without Australia, so do not overrate or overestimate yourself.
Crosbie Walsh said…
Rat's arse, You obviously do or you wouldn't bother to make this comment.
Anonymous said…
so refuse it then, i dare you. Please decline from UK, US Nz and Aus. BTW Fiji needs the trade and the relationship more as far as i can see. Isn't it Fiji that keeps wanting the sanctions lifted and has this immature need to be rewarded??
shrek the green said…
Sanctions are to do with hypocrisy, double standards (where are the sanctions for China and please tell us why the UNHRC is so annoyed about the Nauru concentration camps?) and paternalism.Fijians in power have learnt to cope with them, and are even able to laugh about them. What is not funny or fair is the effect of sanctions on ordinary people like FNPF members, boy scouts and university students. Fiji is entitled to be annoyed about those, and is entitled to ask why we should pretend to be nice to a country who is so overtly hostile to ours?
paper moon said…
umm....the good colonel is planning a coup to remove himself from the barracks? Anonymous 4.49 must have forgotten to take his medication.
Anonymous said…
This would be the same country that needs to be ruled by the military and while complaining and moaning about 'colonialists' they do they love the trappings - the ranks, uniforms, medals and awards. Just look at the hypocrisy of all they keep to make themselves feel like a nation state like one of the big boys...BTW every other country partonises you mate...you really think you have an equal and honest partnership with China, India, Cuba and Brazil??!! How bizarre. We don't need to show appreciation for a service we pay for, actually. As the other guy said, refuse it, and have some spine, then go begging China for better terms rather than whine. I am not sure Botswana, or Singapore moan about how misunderstood they are. Given recent events in the Ausaid budget we may be taking this out of your hands anyway to pay for these 'desperate people' fleeing from Indonesia and malaysia because they take care of their own mess, who also think we owe them something.
timoci said…
not that hard to see in Fiji where there has been little or no investment in infrastructure since the british did run the place...the first oppeoruntiy to do something they then give the contract to chinese companies to prove how they can do it themselves...lol oh dear
Anonymous said…
so shrek, why not blockade australia with your navy... have your own sanctions on aussie visiting and teach them a lesson...
Anonymous said…
There seems to be some assumption that Australia has to justify something... they never changed the relationship, the Fiji military did, because fijians were to easily mnaipualted and ignorant to run their own country and apparently welcomed a military takeover. Well you have it, so keep it. I trhink keep them out of the pacific work program too, they can get plenty of muscle from Tonga and PNG.
wati s said…
The Fiji regime seems to think they have acheived something when all that is happening is that they are now at best standing still and at worst, going backwards in th eyes of the region. Who needs to prove what to who??!
oz said…
my wife just asked why we should care what happens in Fiji if we are not affected....so i have nothing much to say now that i think about it. We have visa for Fijians for a reason.
its my banana said…
The Fiji junta is sounding more and more like a bunch of baboons fighting over a banana. The sooner there is 50% + indo-Fijians in the military and an indian president and PM the better off the nation will be.
Paratha said…
We are bigger and stronger than you so we will do what we like. After all, might is always right.
Anonymous said…
what a weird site
Fijiana said…
Looks like not only PM Howard, but some of you aussies have also taken Bush's 'sheriff of the Asia-Pacific' tag seriously! Is taking orders from the White House how you get your kicks? Look at how much trouble it has gotten you into in Afghanistan. It might serve Australia better if it stops acting like the schoolyard bully against smaller Fiji and develops balls to stand up to the US, but maybe that's how you derive your satisfaction!
Fijiana said…

Looks like not only PM Howard, but some of you aussies have also taken Bush's 'sheriff of the Asia-Pacific' tag seriously! Is taking orders from the White House how you get your kicks? Look at how much trouble it has gotten you into in Afghanistan. It might serve Australia better if it stops acting like the schoolyard bully against smaller Fiji and develops balls to stand up to the US, but maybe that's how you derive your satisfaction!
Anonymous said…
i recall it was Aus that took the lead in the Fiji issue and others followed...including EU, US etc
Anonymous said…
as the others said , if you want to go it alone , go for it. Have the balls to say no to aid and take the consequences.
Fijiana said…
We do not have to say no to anything to aid, it is Australia's prerogative to continue giving or refuse aid. Australia does not jave the balls to stop the aid, it will continue to give due to its own geopolitical concerns, including fear of driving Fiji further into China's arms.

You may think it does, but Fiji's world does not revolve around Australia.

Anyway, Australia owes it to Fiji. Australian CSR sugar company profited enormously from Fiji sugar's industry during the exploitative years of colonialism; our country helped you economy grow, so it is pay back time, although it is not a payback without strings attached, or repatriation of aid monies back to Australia in various forms and guises.

So stop kidding yourself about Australia's relevance, contribution and usefulness to Fiji. We do love Australia, it is a great neighbour to have, even though we do not appreciate how it is a US lackey, and can't even protect own citizen Assange, which is cowardly and immoral; overall Australia is a good Fiji friend, but let's keep things in perspective, and do not try to push us around too much, we can only take so much; Fiji will not buckle like other island countries.
Anonymous said…
@Paratha... no. what it means is that you have deliberately screwed up your own country, so don't expect other countries in the region to line up behind your military who have no mandate to change anything and if you do decide as a country to reform, how about starting with your own military who don't seem inclined to have an auditor look over their books,their spending and how much they pay themselves.They want to 'talk the talk but not walk the walk'. and BTW doesn't Fiji do what it likes?? It has also thumbed its nose to anyone who doesn't agree. Lets not forget after every coup, comes the request for 'help ($$$$)' we also have been down this track before.Every coup in Fiji has had a 'plan' where they expect Aus to support.
Anonymous said…
If Aus is the Sherrif then Fiji is the spoilt child of the pacific. Slagging off their neighbours when it suits and then craving attention when it needs it for reassurance.
Anonymous said…
OK that's really weird. Why do you give us money if you hate us?
Anonymous said…
its pity not hate...make us feel better.It continues the very humiliation you clearly find embarrasing.
watis s said…
@Anon1:45....All that happens is rather than actual reform in Fiji, you exchange one patronage for another...and still claim sovereignty??!!
Anonymous said…
what halfwit thought progress is having the military safeguarding rights in fiji?? Didn't the 'penny drop' when they starting beating people up just for talking and meeting, deporting people??
Anonymous said…
Hmm smells like hatred, reads like hatred and is in fact.....hatred!
Anonymous said…
can i see a hand out ??
rusi said…
Notice how the chinese were not asked and didn't offer to make a contribtuion to the funding of the constitutional consultation and assembly?? Wonder what their commitment is to reform in Fiji?? Pathetic... these people are new bestest friends?!!
Anonymous said…
lol...you keep asking for money though...how pathetic to bite the hands that feed you.Have some repsect for yourself. Get your own military to fund it.

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