Sunday, April 30, 2006
Fiji Sun Editorial Monday 01st May, 2006
History shapes the future Candidates contesting the General Election have one thing in common to be in power. To achieve that, certain political parties have focused their campaign on issues that will lead to a prosperous Fiji. These parties have come up with ways of achieving that by wooing foreign investors to invest here, providing employment, free education, better health services, higher wages, good roads, solving the land issue and the list goes on and on. Other political parties do not share that view and the focus of gaining victory is through racial issues. They champion the rights of the indigenous Fijians and fight for the amendment of the 1997 Constitution to secure the land and resources that belong to the indigenous Fijians.
As the general election comes up, every political party has begun to throw in their trump cards as they try to win more supporters. In a controversial statement caretaker Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase pointed out that a repeat of the May 19, 2000 political upheaval looms if an Indo- Fijian becomes the country's next PM.
Quickly, Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has rebuked the statement, indicating that it could instill fear on the people as they go to vote from next week. Although, we appreciate the great work done by Commodore Bainimarama and the army in resurrecting the country from 2000 political crisis, we've got to be realistic about Mr Qarase's statement.
Are the indigenous people of this country ready to accept an Indo-Fijian to become the next Prime Minister? The nation saw what happened in 1987 when Sitiveni Rabuka, who was third-highest ranking officer at that time, forcibly took over from his military superiors to execute an illegal takeover against the Indian dominated government led by Dr Timoci Bavadra. In 2000, it was the nationalist movement who managed to convince the elite Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit from the military institution to oust the Mahendra Chaudhry-led government.
What Mr Qarase said should not be viewed negatively altogether but instead be appreciated because it is positive contribution towards national stability.That country's stability is only possible if an indigenous Fijian becomes the next Prime Minister and that is a fact. Mr Qarase is simply giving no guarantee that the events of 2000 could be repeated if the country's leadership falls into the hands of a foreigner. In fact, he is issuing a warning that should be taken heed of. It has been proven historically and there is no sin in making such a stand.
Fiji Sun's editorial echoes the doubts, which may infact be a storm in a tea-cup. The issue of the P.M's race has been conveniently clouded the judgments of voters. If Fiji is ever to advance as a mature nation, then race must not be a factor. Sadly the moral erosion in these so called Christians, is becoming a sick joke to the whole nation.
Where the rubber meets the road, the rules of the 1997 constitution is the final datum. Not flimsy circular logic, which echo the unsubstantiated claims by the S.D.L party. The only realistic perspective, is the events of 1987 and 2000 are unlawful. To those who justify the cycle of coups as events promoting indigenous rights, are guilty of mis-information. For the Fiji Sun to paint P.M's comments as realistic and positively contributing towards the stability of the nation, is equivalent of portraying George Speight as Fiji's savior. Equivalent of twisting the rule of law to the agendas of the nameless Elite minority. Equivalent of revoking the Supreme law of the land and reinstating the Law of the Club. There are no gray areas.
Fiji Sun's editorial also infers that the abilities of Fiji Army and Fiji Police are not capable of confronting any demonstrations or calamaities reminiscent of post-2000 coup violence in Fiji.
There is no sin of making a stand. It is an unpardonable sin to insinuate violence, to peddle threats based on the racial quotient of the Prime Ministership of Fiji. The mandate of the Fiji voters will not be squandered against the aspirations of the select few.
These same dark forces have considered amending Fiji's constitution, they are the same elements of danger that support S.D.L Leader's vitriolic remarks. The results of the 2006 elections (provided if free and fair) will undoubtedly be the repeat of S.V.T's 1999 demise. Indicating that the electorate of Fiji, will not tolerate racial politics and the threats of ethno-nationalism. Obviously the bread and butter issues will be a threat to the political intentions, for those with agendas during the 2006 Election campaign.
Club Em Designs
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The entire infrastructure for water in Fiji, is bursting at the seams- undoubtedly at an opportunistic moment for the consumers/voters. Firstly it only makes the situation more conspicous as a political issue and tests the intentions of the candidates. On the ther hand, the water problem is more of an utter embarrasment for the standing S.D.L Government. Especially in the election campaign, the S.D.L has created a second front, on the NFP/FLP preference issue, which eventually turned tables on their own election agendas. Prompting the S.D.L to change tactics and adopt a guerilla campaign of racial mud-slinging, as demonstrated by Laisenia Qarase's recent comments; in reaction to the preferences.
The government agency responsible for water and quality is Public Works Department. It has grown to become a bureaucratic entity. No longer is the P.W.D able to sustain both the management of roads as well as the maintenance function. No longer can the organization manage water supplies and maintain the crucial conduits that pipes water to the taps of Fiji homes and businesses.
Obviously the official explanation resembles shades of incompetance, especially when they hide behind the up-stream expenditure of the water capacity. Yet glossing over the down stream pipes that have been perpetually ill-maintained.
Here is an exceprt from the project tender description for Suva-Nausori. Note that this civil construction project is for new capacity in the highest growing areas in Suva-Nasinu, due to urbanisation and natural growth. It does not maintain the existing pipe networks in Fiji which have deterioated. This is technically 6 sub-contracts rolled into a single expansion project.
PUBLIC WORKS TENDER BOARD SUVA-NAUSORI WATER SUPPLY & SEWERAGE PROJECT INVITATION FOR CONTRACTORS TO PREQUALIFY FOR WATER SUPPLY CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS
The Government of Fiji has applied for a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) towards the financing of Suva/Nausori Water Supply & Sewerage Project and it is intended that part of the proceeds of this loan will be utilised for the construction of the following water supply components:
" Contract WSC 19a/04 - DN500 Rising Main (2.1km) and 500kL
Balance Tank at Savura. "
Contract WSC 20a/04 - DN600 Gravity Main (8.1km) plus a DN450 Gravity Main (1.5km). "
Contract WSC 21a/04 - The Rewa River Raw Water Intake, Pumping Station, DN760 Rising Main (0.8km), 3ML Balance Tank and 760mm Gravity Main (5.5km). "
Contract WSC 22a/04 - 12ML Reservoir at Waila WTP. "
Contract WSC 23a/04 - Refurbishment of the Waila and Tamavua Water Treatment Plants including new sludge treatment facilities. "
Contract WSC 24a/04 -
Rehabilitation of the Main Storage Reservoir at Tamavua WTP. "
Contract WSC 25a/04 - Procurement of the DN760 mains (6.3km) for the Rewa raw water supply.
The Government of Fiji invites qualified and experienced Civil Engineering Contractors to prequalify to tender for the construction of the above components of the Suva/Nausori Water Supply & Sewerage Project. Interested Contractors must demonstrate their capability to undertake the above mentioned works and meet the criteria set out in the Prequalification Document for these contracts. The Prequalification Document for the above contracts may be purchased from: The Director of Water & Sewerage Public Works Department Level 1, Nasilivata House 87 Ratu Mara Road.
Please note that interested parties must purchase the Prequalification Document to be eligible to prequalify for the respective contracts. The purchase price (non-refundable) of the Prequalification Document is F$50.00.
Submissions addressing the prequalification criteria must be lodged with the Secretary of the Public Works Tenders Board and placed in the Tender Box located on Level 2, Nasilivata House 87 Ratu Mara Road Samabula, Suva Fiji. Deadline midday on 11 June 2004.
The Public Works Tender Board shall not be obliged to accept the lowest or any tender. Further information regarding the nature, scope, and prequalification
requirements for the above contracts may be obtained from the Suva/Nausori Water Supply Scheme Project Engineer, Steve Blaik, at the following contacts: Tel:
(+679) 338 4643 Fax: (+679) 338 3013 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the sqeaky wheel gets the most oil. It appears that the most damaged water main in Fiji, gets repaired first. However, if those breaks occur simulataneously in a more upscale neighborhood in Suva, like Domain and a lower class suburb like Vatuwaqa. Nine times out of ten, the pipelines in the upscale areas will be repaired first.
For too long the rural communities of Fiji have suffered from piece meal solutions to their problems. Mainwhile the recently promsed Cost of Living Adjustment for Public sector continues to take out a huge chunk of funds, more beneficial to solving the water problems. It is a damn shame for a nation who exports premium bottled water, yet is uncapable of meeting their social obligations.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Ethos is defined as the process of establishing credibility among the audience. Logos is the method of reasoning which a speaker applies in getting his point across. Pathos is the manner in which the speaker uses emotional appeal.
The application of these qualities is considered a highly rated skill in speech writing. As speech writing is synonymous politics. The skill has been actively applied in Fiji politics with varying results.
Fiji is full swing into the political campaign season. The party voting preference has been finalized, as candidates polish and tweak the manifestos to perfection. Fiji elections are incomplete without controversy. It is also the reason for overseas election observers, who are tasked in grading the entire election process with international voting standards.
Standing Prime Minister and S.D.L party leader, Laisenia Qarase salvo of back lashes from the competing political parties in Fiji. This is a following recent statements in the Fiji media, commenting on the future political scenario based on ethnic population projections.
Other parties like the United People Party is keeping their candidate’s media profile on a tight noose, to prevent candidates from wandering into the slippery slope of campaign mud-slinging.
U.P.P’s policy, is an example of Ethos.
The calls for provincial councils in Fiji, to become apolitical by the current chairman of Ba Provincial Holdings Chairman, who is also contesting the Lautoka City Open seat, is an example of Logos. The comments, is also a wonderful example of a political hypocrite, using the rationale of legal control. Since Ba Provincial Holdings is an entity of Ba Province, the Chairman is also a representative of the province, thus destroying his own credibility. This is an example of flawed Ethos.
More example of tarnished credibility is the case of S.D.L’s learned candidate, Dr Tupeni Baba. Once a staunch Labour politician who has abandoned the very party and ideology that he co-founded.
NFP has lost wisdom, says Dr Baba
The National Federation Party has been accused of being selfish when it gave its first preference to the Fiji Labour Party instead of the Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni
Lewenivanua. SDL candidate Dr Tupeni Baba said he was shocked to learn the NFP had refused to return to discuss the sharing of its preference with the SDL.“It
is an act of betrayal after we expressed out willingness to work with the NFP,” said Dr Baba. He said NFP officials did not share the same principles of the party’s founding fathers, who had done a lot for the country. He cited the establishment of the Fiji National Provident Fund as one of the fine examples of NFP’s initiative during its time in Parliament.
“The present members of the NFP lack wisdom,” said Dr Baba. He said Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry had offered some Senate seats to the NFP and that was why they did not return to complete their discussions with the SDL. He said the NFP had given all its important preferences to the National Alliance Party and the Fiji Labour Party. “All those political parties are trying to topple the ruling SDL government,” Dr Baba said, adding that all those open seats “are important to the SDL for it to win the election”.
NAP lashes out at Baba’s criticism
The National Alliance Party has described Doctor Tupeni Baba's criticism on the party as immature and irresponsible. Campaign director Joe Gucake said Doctor Baba’s comment that a vote for NAP was a vote for Fiji Labour Party’s Mahendra Chaudhry was uncalled for.“It is immature and irresponsible, especially coming from a former deputy prime minister and a strong advocate for multiracial issues when he stood for the Labour party,” he said. “Now he has chosen to go on another road and has changed his tune. This is uncalled for a man of his standing because he should be a good example for people that they support multiracialism.”
Mr Gucake said that it was unfair because that principle was under the support of the founding fathers of the country. “If there is anything that he should talk on, it should be on issues that will help Fiji’s economic growth and development.” And, he said, Dr Baba’s tactics were “cheap and unfair” to the voters. “He is just trying to put more salt in the wound and trying to justify the differences between him and Chaudhry. What he should do is campaign more,” said Mr Gucake. (Fiji Sun)
The following is an excerpt of S.D.L parlimentry leader, Laisenia Qarase's speech in launching their 2006 manifesto; which will be analysed according to the precepts of Ethos, Logos and Pathos. N.B. Color coding of the speech will identify the verbatim of appeals.
Hon Laisenia Qarase's speech at Launch of SDL 2006 Manifesto
Saturday, 18th March,
Ladies and Gentlemen, supporters and friends of the SDL,
Today, the SDL Party begins its crusade for re-election. Today, we give you our Manifesto for the future. We call the nation to rally with us under a new banner and a new battle cry – Beat Poverty! Raise Prosperity! Those words go to the heart of what we want to do, not only during the next five years, but for the next generation.
Give us your support and we will step up the war against poverty and create more wealth for the people of Fiji. We will redouble our efforts to make more jobs and career opportunities and improve incomes.
Our country has marched far from what happened in 2000. We have risen, regathered our strength and advanced. The world has seen what we have achieved; many international leaders and organisations have praised our recovery from disaster. Yes, much has been done, but there is much still to do.The SDL has numerous plans and ideas to take Fiji into the most exciting period of development in our history.
Give us your support, and together, we will make Fiji all it can be.We will make life better for all our citizens, especially those in need. We will beat poverty and raise prosperity! Getting a job, and employment, earning decent money - these
are the issues that concern people the most. That was confirmed the other day by
an opinion poll. We did not need a poll to tell us this. That is why the Manifesto launched here gives the highest importance to creation of employment, and to helping people out of the poverty that comes when you are out of work.
Please read our Manifesto, and you will see what we intend to do. It is a fact that many thousands of jobs have been made under the leadership of our Government. This has not happened by chance.It is a result of the efforts we put into rebuilding the economy and business confidence. It is this confidence that produces investment, and it is investment that creates jobs.
The Labour Party scared investors with its negative attitude. The SDL welcomed and encouraged them, and they responded as never before. Many new projects were started, particularly in tourism and construction, and in other parts of the
A record number of people now have regular employment. Wages and salaries have increased.But it is not enough. We are pushing for more and more investment to give us more and more jobs. We will make the economy stronger so that personal earnings continue to rise. To the unemployed I say: Stay with us.
The SDL can do this. It will do it for you and your families.
We have proved ourselves in rescuing Fiji and opening the way for a lot of people to join the workforce. Put your trust in us again and we will continue to boost the
investment that produces employment.
We will not rest until the poor and needy have higher living standards and no longer have to worry about putting food on the table. In the urban centres, squatters will be given new hope through increased funding for resettlement. We will spend at least $5 million a year to assist about 1000 families annually.
They will move into their own homes, served by proper roads, water and electricity. Our total programme of low-cost housing will target the financing of 3000 homes every year, in different parts of the country. The financial support we gave to the Housing Authority made it possible for the Authority to drop its borrowing rate. It is now the cheapest on the market. This creates significant savings for working people who want to borrow, to build or buy, their family homes. This is what we want, more people owning their own homes.
Minimum social welfare allowances for destitutes are to be doubled – from $30 to $60 a month. This will benefit over 16,000 people presently receiving the minimum payment. Twice in the last five years, we have increased the take-home pay of many workers by freeing them from income tax.
We will bring this benefit to more wage earners when we are returned to office. A
new SDL Government will improve workers’ compensation and give working women better conditions of employment. There are plans for better sick and bereavement pay for all workers.
We have schemes for new health insurance for the common people and will look at pensions for those presently without retirement benefits. We have made a start in assisting the elderly with cheaper bus fares. We intend to take this further and make travel on public transport for senior citizens completely free. War veterans and ex-servicemen used to be one of Fiji’s forgotten and unsung heroes. They are forgotten no more. Our Government increased their allowances by 25 percent. We plan to lift these further and add to their benefits by also arranging free public transport for them, and additional medical and housing assistance.
Peacekeepers serving overseas have received increased field allowances. We will consider further improvements to these. The SDL is very concerned about the welfare of our minority communities, particularly our Melanesian and Vasu-i-Taukei citizens.
We want to make sure that in a multi-racial community their interests are properly looked after and they share fully in development. We are, therefore, considering a special trust fund account, to be used especially for social and economic projects for the minority communities. All these things, and more, are central to our plans for helping people in their daily lives. They will add to the benefits and cost reductions we introduced in our first term of office.
These ranged from removal of Value Added Tax on basic consumer items, to scrapping of hospital charges, removal of all education tuition fees and external examination charges, and a drop in telephone costs. Can we do what we promise? Of course we can.
We kept a large number of the pledges in our first Manifesto. We will strive to deliver what is in the new Manifesto launched today. If I come back as Prime Minister, the Manifesto will be my constant guide. I will personally track our progress in putting it into effect, just as I did with the SDL’s first Manifesto. In the rural areas, where the poorest live, there will be big investments to lift incomes, employment and services.
We have started to make a difference for rural communities to make up for earlier years of neglect. It is the start of a quiet revolution. The task is enormous but the first steps have been taken.I also have a message today to the growing numbers of those who have worked hard to educate themselves, and are doing well professionally.
We will give you the stability you need to protect your earnings, your assets and
homes that have increased in value since the SDL has been in Government.
Stability and certainty are essential for our orderly development and progress.
The SDL has demonstrated that it can deliver stable government, with a consistent set of plans for growth now and in the future. This is not the time
for trying out political parties and coalitions thrown together just to gang up
on the SDL. Many of their candidates are yesterday’s people who failed in past elections. Let me tell you, yesterday’s people do not have the answers for tomorrow. They live in the past. We are about the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, and supporters, we share with you a belief that education is key to progress. Our spending on this is higher than that of any Government before us. We will concentrate harder on achieving a better and cheaper education for all children, regardless of race, religion, and culture.
The biggest support we gave to parents in education during our first term, was to extend the tuition fee assistance scheme right up to Form Seven. This means more than 220,000 children at primary and secondary schools now do not have to pay tuition fees. We also freed more than 70,000 students from paying annual external examination fees. Put us back into office and we will do more.
Education is never completely free in any country. There is always a cost. But the SDL is committed to doing as much as it can to help parents with the cost of educating their children.
We know, for instance, about the expense of school text books. We will look closely at whether we can ease this. Similarly, school bus fares are a big expense for poor people and working families.
We have given support for bus companies to help in holding down fares. A re-elected SDL will give close consideration to cutting school bus fares.When we asked for your support in 2001, we said one of our main aims was to assist each family have at least one child attain university or other higher education qualifications.
We are moving towards this goal. In the last five years we have financed more than 12,000 scholarships. Six thousand of these were for Fijian and Rotuman students. Six thousand were for students from our Indian and other minority communities. This form of assistance will continue when we come back to office.There will be on-going affirmative action for disadvantaged groups from each of our ethnic communities, as provided for in the Constitution. This special help includes scholarships and student loans, training, family assistance, help for small business and agricultural schemes, accommodation for the needy, and more.
Our opponents like to say that affirmative action is just for the Fijians. That is a straight out lie. It covers those in need whether they are Fijians, Indians, or people of other races. Programmes for the Fijians recognise that they are behind in
education, the professions, and business, and have, on average, the lowest levels of household incomes. It is important for stability and unity to make special efforts to bring the Fijians to equality with other groups.
We often read in the media that the Government discriminates against non-Fijians in affirmative action for education. That is nonsense. Although more funds are being invested, of necessity, in Fijian education, non-Fijian schools still receive,
by far, the largest part of Government’s financial assistance for education. The
Opposition parties are claiming that ordinary people do not get anything from
affirmative action. They are saying that to get votes.The truth is that poor and
low-income earners are the main receivers of this aid. It took the SDL Government to make this happen. Our new Government will conduct a complete review of all our affirmative action programmes in close consultation with the Fiji Human Rights Commission. We want to be absolutely sure that what we are doing is in full agreement with the Constitution. We also want to ensure no deserving or needy group is excluded from affirmative action assistance. It has always been our objective for all development and assistance schemes to extend to everyone, irrespective of race and gender.
We want development to benefit all citizens in every part of Fiji.
Ladies and gentlemen, the short version of our Manifesto distributed here, is packed with information about our intentions for a renewed period in Government. I cannot touch on everything. But please bear with me while I briefly mention two issues vital for Fiji’s prosperity.
The first is land. The SDL developed a very good plan for solving the land lease
issue. There was to be more rental income for the indigenous landowners, and
secure 50-year renewable leases for the farmer tenants. Our proposals were fully
supported by the Native Land Trust Board and the Great Council of Chiefs.
I tell you, in all sincerity, this was the best and fairest solution ever put forward
for a problem that has haunted us for a long time. It is a problem that has
turned thousands of farming families into urban squatters, living in shacks
without proper amenities. Their needs were rejected by the Fiji Labour Party,
and the United Peoples Party when they refused to support in Parliament the
SDL’s just and fair proposals. Without their backing, our proposals could not go
through.These two parties also ignored the plight of the poorest of the poor in
rural areas. We gave those people hope for a secure future on the land. That
hope was smashed by Labour and the United Peoples Party. In fact the Labour
Party has encouraged former tenants to leave their farms and reject the Government’s land resettlement assistance. Labour preferred to see them move to urban centres where they have been forced to live as squatters.
As if that was not enough, Labour and the United Peoples Party also condemned the landowners to continuation of rental incomes that are among the lowest in the world. Remember this when you go to the polls. Support the SDL, the party that had the will and the vision to do the right thing on land. What happened was a setback for the nation. But we are going to press forward with a fresh approach, one that fully safeguards the interests of indigenous landowners and the farmers, while encouraging economic development.
As soon as we have finalised details of our thinking, we will consult with the landowners, the Native Land Trust Board, the Great Council of Chiefs, farmers and the public at large.
The SDL Coalition is moving ahead with a project to save the sugar industry which provides a livelihood for many thousands of people. The industry has been in decline for many years and can no longer compete on the world market. It is only surviving at present because of Government support. Our plan, with the assistance of India, will make a new-look industry with higher milling and farming standards, improved incomes, and additional crops.
But the Fiji Labour Party, in yet another example of its negative attitudes, is refusing to co-operate in the reorganisation of the industry. What a sad thing that is from a party that receives support from cane farmers.
Ladies and gentlemen, the SDL is strong, united and confident. We have a very positive attitude to Fiji. We are a great country with talented people. Let us accomplish everything we are capable of, through the power of our talents, our energy, and our ambition.
At this critical time in our history, Fiji needs to stay firmly on course, in the safe and caring hands of a Government with a positive outlook, and a clear vision. This election is about many things. One of these is obviously votes. That is how democracy works. We must try, however, to look beyond the votes, to the vision the SDL offers of a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious Fiji.
We will continue to urge citizens to reach out to each other and overcome their differences. We will seek unity based on a mutual loyalty to a homeland where rights, freedoms, equality, and the rule of law are assured. I hope this election will pave the way for a multiracial Government. As I have said on many occasions, a workable multiracial Cabinet is one where political parties willingly come together through shared ideals, and a positive approach to nation building.
We ask you to place your trust in us once again, so that we can continue our journey together to a future of hope and happiness. Join with me; join with the SDL in beating poverty, and raising prosperity! Vote for the SDL’s dove of peace and inspiration.
May God bless you and your families, and may God bless Fiji.
Thank you very much. Vinaka vaka levu. Bahut dhanyawaad.
Club Em Designs
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
By and large, it is out of place for the C.E.O to even raise those concerns on the document and demonstrates the attempts to amend Fiji's 1997 constitution by the entrenched legal minds of the Attorney General's chambers, reinforced with hollowed reasons, laced with fear. Fiji Government has been plagued with ill advice which has resulted in the overuse of the treasury department, forcing them to increase in fees for Government services.
Another example of ill advice in Fiji, is the issue of Church and Politics which is creating a heated debate. Recently the head of the Indian Division of the church ( unfortunately in Fiji, religon is fractured along racial boundaries) made a moral stand against Methodist Church's Fijian top brass, for abusing the power of the pulpit, by siding with a political party. This is the tragedy of Fiji M.U.D.
The developments of preferences is another indicator of loyalties, which proved to be a huge factor in securing crucial boundaries that are statistically competitive. Allowing the safe passage for independent candidates, who have stronger connections to the voters, than notable candidates who have been out of touch and out of reach for their electorate. Among the victims of the 2000 coup, is another ailment that is seldomly discussed(due to non-funding and embarrasment) is P.T.S.D which Vakaivosavosa illuminates.
SDL second last on Chief's preference Tuesday April 18, 2006
Independent candidate Rewa chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau is not putting the ruling SDL party candidate last on his list of preferences for the Fiji election although the party rejected him. Instead Ro Filipe toldViti Fmm radio that he will put the Fijilaborr Party candidate Taniela Rabonu Senikuta last. All parties and independent candidates vying for the May 6-13 general elections are to confirm their list of preferences by mid-night. Ro Filipe is contesting the Rewa Fijian Provincial Communal seat. He has chosen to list Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua (SDL) party candidate, Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa Tuisawau, second to last on his list. "I support (indigenous) Fijian leadership so I will give them a higher preference," he said, referring to Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry. Ro Filipe's bid to be SDL candidate was rejected by the party management.
His determination to stand against Ro Teimumu, his aunty and paramount chief of the Burebasaga Confederacy, one of three divisions of the Fijian bureaucracy, was interpreted by some to be a split in the Rewan chiefly household. "I don't see any problem with our relationship," he said. "It's all about who the voter wants to represent them in Parliament and I think I can do that best." Ro Filipe said he would give his second preference to the other independent candidate contesting the seat, Viliame Raile. Fiji has adopted the Alternative Vote system where parties, independent candidates and voters get to list their choices in order of preferences.
The claim by New Zealand on seabed rights outside their 200 nautical mile EEZ, is the trend of so called Pacific big brother's (Aust, N.Z) whose sole interest has beenunraveledd. Particularly in the wake of the incursion by China into the region. According to New Zealand's own statistics the burden of importingfossill fuels is becoming unbearable. Prompting the initiative for 'broadening of horizons' on the seabed. Undoubtedly energy resources on the Pacific seabed is becoming a attractive proposal taking into account the Mid-East turmoils, which include Iran and the sabre rattling led by the U.S.
N.Z, Fiji in seabed boundary talks Wednesday April 19, 2006
New Zealand plans to negotiate seabed boundaries with Fiji and Tonga following an application to the United Nations to extend its seabed boundary on the continental shelf. This has been revealed to Bloomberg in a statement by NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters. In a submission to the UN, New Zealand is claiming 1.7 million square kilometers (656 square miles) of seabed outside the country's existing 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. "The submission will enable New Zealand to exercise its rights over the continental shelf with certainty, including its rights to valuable resources such as minerals and petroleum,'' Peters said.
The claim doesn't include fisheries. New Zealand agreed a continental shelf boundary with Australia in July 2004 and plans to negotiate boundaries with Fiji and Tonga, Peters said. Australia and New Zealand are separated by the Tasman Sea. The submission, which cost NZ$44 million ($28millionn) to prepare over 10 years, will be considered by the 21-member UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in New York, Peters said.
Club Em Designs
Saturday, April 15, 2006
The frequent promises by politicans, undoubtedly the product implementation of election promises during their first term. It also makes mockery of their integrity.
Censorship by state owned media enterprises unravels the real freedom of the Press in Fiji.
Fiji T.V policy on political advertising reminds the public of Radio Fiji's dismissal of popular talk show host.
P.M's recent comments on Fiji's population increase and the future political inclinations of the population, remains unsubstantiated at best.
It also reminds people of the S.D.L Government's decision not to conduct the census because of the non-availability of funds(which could be internationally funded, if there really was political will). Fiji has legislated the census to be conducted every ten years .
It is a reflection of failed responsibilities of a government, to enable the quantification and allocation of resources for future developments. Sadly, the absence of census data makes the election process more ambiguous and furthemore the non availability of data means that the S.D.L Government does not really care about the progress of Fiji citizens or the resources of the country.
Fiji's last census was done in 1996. However Fiji Department of Statistics have projected the population data of 1996 and interpolated that into a 2005 projection. The 2005 Fiji population projection can be found on this link. (N.B report is a PDF file).
The quick stats found on the homepage of the statistic Bureau is as follows. There is no indication of how the data below was calculated or what type of mathematical function was used. There is a discrepancy in racial population data that must be scrutinized.
POPULATION 31st Dec 2005 (prov est)
Recognizing the longer term realities and implications of current actions, the development challenge is to meet the needs of present generations and improve their quality of life without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (United Nations, 1994).
Excerpt from UNSECO analysis of Fiji 1996 census.
Implications for PlanningPopulation growth during the
period 1986-96 was reduced by the high migration rate. However, if migration trends were to reverse, this would result in a high growth rate because of the high rate of natural increase. To illustrate the point:
A population growth of 0.8% means that Fiji's population would double in 87 years time;
A rate of natural increase of 1.9% means that Fiji's population would double in only 36 years time. Government should develop policies aimed at filling the gaps created by the brain drain now, and that anticipated in the future. Examples are: more opportunities for training in professional, technical and managerial positions, keeping in mind past trends when awarding scholarships; expanded training programs in both public and private sectors in the professional and technical areas, and management at all levels to meet current and anticipated demands in the future;
More opportunities to be given to women to be appointed to managerial positions at all levels, in view of the high rate of emigration of male managers. Government should strengthen efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social development to reduce economic disparities between destination countries and Fiji. (P.47)
An excerpt from Fiji Times article unravels the voters discontent with lip-service of Fiji politics.
Stick to promises, leaders urged
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Political leaders have been asked to be serious when it comes to serving the people and fulfilling promises made to them. Sera Wati of Nanuku Street in Suva, who has been living there for the past 14 years said it was hard to cope up with expanses today and it was even sadder to see that political leaders are just good listeners. Sera, 41 lives with her husband, Aisea Kuruiuru, her mother, a relative and her five children. All her children are schooling and she explains that it was hard especially when they had to meet other family commitments like paying up the electricity and water bills.
Her husband works in the maintenance department at the University of the South Pacific earning $220 fortnightly. Sera is a housewife and looks after a small canteen which the family has started just recently. She manages to get some profit from it to meet all her children's daily requirements. Sera said it was not easy sending all her children to school but her husband who is the sole breadwinner in the family was trying his best to make ends meet. She said after all expenses were covered, the family was usually left with $35 at the end of every fortnight and this, they tried to save for future needs. They also do some fishing when the need arises so every one is well fed in the family. Sera said that no political party except the United Peoples Party bothered to pay them a visit. She said when election time approaches they become familiar with the faces of political leaders, otherwise there was no sign of them. She said promises made to them by the parties should be considered genuine and for them not to be only swayed by the leaders.
Club Em Designs
Thursday, April 13, 2006
In full swing of the 2006 election cycle, the minimization of bad news is crucial. However some news like corruption and nepotism will not be absent in the Fiji news cycle. Another detrimental factor for the standing politicians is the pathetic water service. This issue should force it's way to the forefront by enterprising politicians riding on the crest of bottled up frustrations.
The issue of voter objections to S.D.L line-up of candidates stinks of nepotism. The most alarming was the seeking of advice by Election Supervisor to the Attorney General, another S.D.L Minister. It is equivalent to the S.D.L examining itself.
Here's an excerpt from Stuff.com the website for Radio New Zealand International.
Objections against the SDL's campaign director, Jale Baba, were based on the grounds that his company has commercial contracts with the government and that he is facing bankruptcy proceedings initiated by the state-owned Fiji Development Bank.
Objections against the new SDL member, Dr Tupeni Baba, were based on his residency in New Zealand for the last few years. Radio Legend reports that the supervisor of elections, Semesa Karavaki, has confirmed that objections against the two have been dismissed after legal advice was sought from the solicitor general.
Fiji Army's Truth Campaign addresses the Ra provincial council. The only province in Fiji to think outside the box, in terms of development and attitude. Since Vatukoula and Yaqara are relatively close, the matter of Emperor Gold Mine and native royalties will come down the pike especially during an election year.
Emperor Gold Mines is closing down operations in Fiji after 70 years of milking of the profits of gold. It is has been documented that the tax concessions, given under the table to EGM is under scrutiny. Furthermore there has been a litany of abuse in Fiji by the Gold mining entity.
A comprehensive report on Emperor Gold Mine's taxation agreement with Fiji Government is an interesting read that unravels many questions relating to native wealth distribution and the assets of Fiji Government.
Online news article from United Press International confirms a fact that Fiji nationals make up the largest segment of the migrant soldiers in Her Majesty's armed forces. That makes them the majority of the minority soldiers.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Fiji Prime Minister is obviously trying to defend the use of Government vehicles during the political campaign. It is another example of abuse of office in Fiji Government. Another matter of concern is the miscarriage of justice for the allegations of office abuse . In one case which was been cleared by the Justice system, yet the accused has not been reinstated.
The other similar case is the C.E.O tried and found guilty of abuse yet, still enjoys the benefits. This particular case fits the definition of monotonous unsubstantiated denials. Also known as Fiji M.U.D.
PM has benefits: Qarase
Live April 12, 2006
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase Fiji's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase says a Prime Minister is entitled to the full use of an executive vehicle for both official and unofficial purposes. "I think this is one thing that the people don 't realize.
The position of Prime Minister goes with some entitlements and one of the entitlements is that the Prime Minister is entitled to the full use of an executive vehicle, 24 hours a day, for both official and unofficial purposes. "I was told from very reliable sources that previous Prime Ministers have always used Government vehicles when they travel to campaign meetings. I have never done that and I will not do that.
I will use private vehicles, or hired vehicles, which is what I am doing at the moment, "he said. An Information Ministry statement said Qarase made the comments as political parties claimed the PM and some Ministers used official vehicles to attend political meetings.
He added that he had issued a directive to his Cabinet Ministers not to use Government vehicles when they attend political gatherings or campaigns. "Yes I gave the directive in at least two Cabinet meetings and I believe they are following those instructions," he said.
However, Qarase also stated that he had never used Government vehicles for political campaigning as claimed by some political parties. "Yes I stated that I have never used Government vehicle for political campaigning, but I did use it for going to the SDL office which is just 200 metres from my house. That was about it and to no other political gatherings," he said. Qarase is contesting the Lau Fijian Communal seat in this years General Elections.
Transparent as mud
We all hear the words transparency and accountability over and over again in the coming weeks. In many cases, the speakers will have little or no notion of their true meaning, while many of those who do understand them have not the slightest intention of implementing them.
But they sound good at election time. There is not one candidate who will not pledge absolute transparency, just as there is a similar number who will dit. Politicians dislike scrutiny. They don't, for example, like you to know that the average backbench MP can earn up to $80,000 per annum in real terms, taking into account the tax-free nature of some of their income and allowances.
They don't publicize the fact that, while they rail against the need to fork out COLA payments to civil servants each year, they're happy to pocket the same pay increases themselves.
They steadfastly refuse to end the scam under which they skim millions in public funds each year in illegal travel expenses - although an investigation by the Auditor-General holds out some hope of relief for the long-suffering taxpayer.But it's no wonder they're queuing for tickets.They will all tell you their rights under the Constitution (yes, the same constitution that has betrayed the Fijian people etc), but few, if any, will tell you of their constitutional duty regarding transparency.
But the fact is that the 1997 Constitution mandates that the Government must pass a Freedom of Information Act. The fact also is that the SDL-led Government has for five years totally ignored that requirement and shows not a sign of changing its attitude if re-elected.
What a Freedom of Information Act would do would be to radically alter the Government's and the civil service's attitude to secrecy. Instead of all information being confidential unless released by a minister, all information would be public unless censored by a minister.
In this way, the public - not only the media - could find out what the government of the day is enacting in its name, how it proposes to spend its money and what files it maintains on individuals, groups and projects. Imagine, the public would be able to find out the true cost of overseas travel by ministers and their advisers. We could know how much of our money has been splurged on vote-buying; we could know the exact cost of all the farm and fishing equipment now being dispatched around the nation as aid; we could even know how many vehicles the PWD has acquired from successfultendersject tenderers and what was their fate when the projects were completed.
To its eternal credit, the Peoples Coalition Government did introduce a Freedom of Information Bill, which, while flawed, was at least a point of departure for discussion. But it, too, was 2000. Solty of 2000. So when your candidate tells you about his or her absolute commitment to transparency, it might be instructive to inquire about their absolute comittment
Most won't have heard of such a concept and many of those that have will start ducking and weaving as only politicians can.
Fiji Sun Editorial demands legislation of Freedom of Information. Calls for those laws will undoubtedly inject much need scrutiny into the operations of Fiji Government. Transparency really is the product of Politician's lip service and is the main reason why Fiji Public Service hasunbridleded with unbridalled corruption.
The provaheadof Ra, is way ahend of the rest of Fiji in terms of rural development, by using modern technology. The province is the first among equals, to launch a website. Another interesting program is their initiative to record cultural activities and traditions of both Fijian and Indian races.
It is pleasing to note this "I Can" attitude which has not been contaminbureaucracye normal bureacracy. Especially so in the decision to capture tradition, for archival purposes which still has escaped the attention of Fijian Affairs Board; who are more concerned about chiefdoms and aristocracy.
A tragedy of the commons which is reflected in the erosion of Fiji language in children raised in peri-urban corridors. Roughly 60% of Fijian household fit their category.
University of South Pacific incursion into the call-centre business model, sums the level of educationion in the educaton industry. This is perhaps a move to counter University of Fiji's plans for another Law school.
Here's a Provocative Letter to Fiji Times Editor.
I AM a US national. I love Fiji and I own a property in the North Islands. Every time I return to my property in Fiji I drive from the airport past village after village where poverty is obvious.
I spend my time looking out at the ocean thinking of all the small businesses I could bring or start in Fiji to employ people from these villages. Again and again, I come up against the same wall.
Current Fijian laws tell me I must have a Fijian investor to invest 30, 40, 50 per cent into a business with me. After all I am not Fijian and I am not going to invest millions of dollars into a factory. I don't want to run a resort. I look around. The poor in the villages have no money or even tools to invest. All they have is the desire to work. I cannot start a business with them.
I look around some more. The only Fijian investor possibilities for me are people who are already part of a wealthy, small, elite group of people, whom I would not want to be in business with, nor they with me.
And so I try to make my heavy heart think of other things as I drive past the poverty in the villages when on my way back to the airport to fly back to the US.
At the airport I read in the paper that investments in Fiji are way down, and that there will be no recovery for the people before 2008.
The pundits say thousands of people will lose jobs. I shake my head a wonder that the lawmakers of the country cannot see how they have helped create this situation. Did you know that the United States economy is fueled mostly by small businesses owned by individuals?
It's the small businesses that pay taxes. They do not receive corporate welfare. At the airport I pick up my Fijian mobile phone to call home and let them know I am flying out on time. I hold the phone in my hand and wonder how any government that cares about its people allows these obscene phone rates.
I wonder how Fiji expects these global corporations they are trying to entice to come to Fiji and expect them to do business and stay connected to the world of global enterprise when the phone service and internet rate fees are obscene, compared to around the globe.
I think about all of these things as I wait for my plane and wonder if
the people making the laws in Fiji could be forced to live in a village with no electricity, bad or little water, dirt roads, prohibitive communication costs for just one year and wonder if perhaps this might make them think about all of the people they are voted in to serve.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The abysmal road carnage on Fiji roads has created a sense of contempt among drivers. This is also a product of under enforced laws.
Fiji Meterelogical Centre Director raises the need for a local tidal warning system. This is technically feasible but not financially prioritized by Fiji Government.
Club Em Designs
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Chinese attempts to establish bi-lateral agreements with island nations of the South Pacific; is derived from their foreign policy of energy independence. The concept of check book diplomacy works, only for some ignorant leaders; already counting the dollars gleefully.
Pacific Ocean, the largest on the planet, also possess the natural resources fit for a waking economic giant. Chinese Premier fresh from signing a Uranium deal with Australia, stopped briefly in Fiji. Sending the local embassy into over-drive because the visit is also of historical concern. It commerates the senior-most Chinese leader, to ever stop-over at the remote Pacific outpost of Fiji.
The Aussie-Sino agreement packages a comprehensive understanding that, cements Australia with their One China policy and their plans of total Pacific domination. Will this also drive the U.S foreign policy makers attention back into the Pacific; after the disastrous foreign policy applications, in the Middle East.
This uncanny diplomatic development, prompted the lighting stopover of U.S Secretary State, Condaleeza Rice in Sydney. Illuminating the high stakes diplomatic courtship of Australia by the two superpowers ( US and China)both wary of each other's agendas.
Back to Fiji current affairs.
China's offer of a providing a hydro power station on Taveuni is encouraging for the wrong reasons. First the proposal will have to receive the blessings of the landowners wary of Government promises ( in light of the Monasavu Landowners). It can be expected that the Chinese Engineers and workers will be using the Chinese template of hydro technology in Fiji. Or is Fiji, a guinea pig for their infantile technology research?
Finally, the relatively isolated power station must figure out how to transmit the power(efficiently) to the main island of Viti Levu, where most of the demand for power is located.
These are the commercial usage areas, using 3 phase supplies to factories and other industrial applications.
It is un-economical to construct a power station for an island whose power consumption will not change anytime soon. It is also quite capital intensive, to transmit power from the much isolated island, to the urban demand centers. Electricity is commodity unlike Gasoline, Water where the product can be stored for late use. Electricity must be used, as soon as it is made. It cannot be stored for later use. If there's no demand, don't generate: the simple axiom of power generation.
Is China willing to spend big money, to design, construct and operate with industry standards; a viable power generation project on Taveuni?
On the Military/State Conflict. Two more senior officers in Fiji Army have been sidelined for their involvement with the recent Colonel Baledrokadroka; who vocally opposed the Army Commander and as rumor goes, attempted a mutiny.
The Army's Truth Campaign continues unabated in the rural villages in Fiji. Despite furious objections by the provincial councils namely: Kadavu, Natasiri, Serua and Macuata. The truth campaign only further underlines the fact that the final decision rests with the individual villages and defines the Provincial Council's limited jurisdiction.
The new 15 storey Carpenters building, to be constructed at the old Morris Hedstroms' near Nabukalou creek will definitely inject new blood into the area. However, safety concerns should not be glossed over. The project also proves that there is money and capital investors, in-country. It only requires political stability in Fiji to make those calculated risks - a commercial success.
Speaking of money the Financial Intelligence capabilities of island nations like Fiji are improving. Albeit gradually.
The major concerns for any state is the performance of the Public Service sector, that must become increasingly efficient. The problems for Fiji is exuberated by conflicting legislation claims
C.E.O for Ministry of Public Enterprises and Public Sector Reforms. The title of the ministry itself should be an indication of the problem's magnitude. It is amazing that the issue has not entered into the election campaign.
In-efficiency has not only plagued the Public Service and their agencies. It is a concern that major Police investigations seems to take the 'slow boat to China' for political agendas of those involved. Resembling an endless circle of 'who dunnit'. First the un-charged agricultural scam, and now the report has just been compiled on the abuse of major Government contracts by officials.
Fiji Water complex in Yaqara is under threat of closure, by disgruntled and dis-enfranchised landowners. The convenient labels of native concerns, used perpetually by Fiji Governments' as rhetoric, to dilute the human rights issue. Those issue are one and the same.
A thought provoking letter to Fiji Times Editor.
I REFER to the outburst in the media by the chairman of
the Assembly of Christian Churches, Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu calling on
the army commander to resign. He said the commander was going beyond the
extreme of his normal jurisdiction. Perhaps, Mr Waqairatu should tell the nation why the president of the Methodist Church is involved in the campaign of one of the SDL party's candidate for the Nasinu primary election?
And why a chief in the West and a senior official in the church have become SDL party candidates? And why a reverend in the Senate has been making negative
comments about the army? And why spiritual messages from the pulpit echo the
same sentiments against the army?
It is obvious there is an element of political influence in the top ranks of the church and the nation does not deserve people of God misleading the flock. The church must be seen to be neutral because at the end of the day when all fails, the multi-racial population of this country will have the two institutions to fall back
The army was seen to have achieved this role after 2000 and groups such
as the ACCF are expected to uphold the cause.
Mr Waqairatu went on to say that the role of the church was to see that peace was achieved in the nation.
People such as him must not mislead the church. The church will not achieve peace until kingdom come. Peace will only be achieved by the Almighty. It is the noble duty of the church to continue to spread the gospel of truth and justice, in fact complementing the very stance the army has been trying to embrace. Reverend Ame Tugaue defended his deputy on air, saying that his call on the commander to resign came from his capacity as ACCF chairman and not from his role as deputy secretary of the Methodist Church.
Was he implying that there is a split in the Methodist Church?How deceiving can that be? Anointed men of God must not be seen to be making silly comments and making a mockery about the church.Perhaps it is time the good reverend refrained from making unnecessary public comments and do what he does best.
The army has a constitutional role to play and it will jump out of its jurisdiction if peace and stability is to be achieved.The last thing the nation wants to experience is people of God using the church to push the political agenda put into them by
Club Em Designs
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Fiji P.M is continuing to play racial politics as their 'last straw' to gain mileage. Fortunately, the frustrations of voters is fueled by dual standards of law, unreliable basic services like water and electricity will definately swing the pendulum.
ON Friday, March 31, the evening bulletin of Fiji One National News showed taxi driver Rajendra Kumar venting his frustration because police officers were denying him justice.
Mr Kumar was allegedly robbed by some including the son of a parliamentarian but police could not arrest the offenders.
Could it be that one of the offender is the son of a prominent public official?
I would like to call on the Commissioner of Police to look into the matter. Such types of police officers should not continue as law enforcement officers because one of their job is to protect the public and bring criminals to justice.
Mr Kumar said police visited a suspect's house on the night in question and found one of the accused there and evidence linking the accused to the crime. Where are the records of the events which are usually logged daily at the station by officers?
Who were the officers involved in the case?
A month has gone and attempts to make the case disappear are going on in front of the voters. This is the kind of administration people of Fiji are governed by — officials who protect the rich and famous and turn a blind eye to the mistreated and oppressed.
The other day, two guys were sentenced to six and seven years for robbery with violence at the home of Graham Leung of the Fiji Law Society.
How is it that when you rob the home of Mr Leung there is no problem in putting offenders away but if you rob a taxi driver you might get away with it if you are connected to the rich and famous.
What dreadful injustice people of Fiji are exposed to. What do think readers?
It is pleasing to note that the socio-cultural abuse in native Fijian administration framework has been identified by a chief, as the root source of political power broking. A system that is denying villagers of their constitutional right, as a Fiji citizen. S.I.F.M poses the pragmatic question: "What to do with the archaic system?"
Vanua used to manipulate Fijians
Monday, April 03, 2006
The vanua and the chiefly system has been used many times to manipulate Fijians for political gain and this has confused them into not accepting democratic values, says Ro Filipe Tuisawau.
The independent general election candidate made the comments after a meeting at Nadoi Village in Rewa at the weekend. Ro Filipe said this confusion had only led to the demise of the Fijian people and transformed into other things like coups, upheavals and non-conformity to the rule of law. He said the traditional Fijian system and the democratic system are two different things but some use the chiefly system to gain political support.
"Politics is something different and this is based on individual choice whereas the chiefly system require the support of the whole vanua and it should not be used for politics," Ro Filipe said.
Ro Filipe's comments were also made after he was confirmed to stand against his aunt and the Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa in the Rewa Fijian communal seat in the general election.
He had accused his aunt of trying to use her influence as a chief to get political support for the election. Ro Teimumu had officially informed the chiefs of Rewa but was picked by the Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party's Rewa Fijian communal constituency council.
He said while the chiefly system is part of the Fijian socio-political structure, the people deserve better political representation in Parliament.
"The people should not be made to choose because of the chiefly title but because they believe the person they elect would serve them well and look after their interest," Ro Filipe said.
Club Em Designs