Thursday, June 29, 2006

Riding Shotgun.

U.N.D.P induction workshop for Fiji M.P's is a wonderful step in the right direction for the welfare of the nation. Arresting the down trend of human development is the objective that these Politicians must meet. Perhaps the electoral system would be in urgent need of repair also, especially inlight of discrepancies by the Fiji Election Office.

Chaudary and Vayeshnoi.

Speaking of Politicans, news of the chasm between certain members of Fiji Labour Party and their fire and brime stone leader Mahendra Chaudary, is another milestone in politics.
Perhaps a needed wake-up call for the party's icon and reminder that democracy begins at home base.

On the matter of the early release of Deputy Speaker, Coup convict and Chief for extra-mural activties, is a white wash of the fabric of justice, mirroring despotic interpretations of the law by the Machavellian Attorney General of Fiji, Qoroniasi Bale. Ironically the same individual who was involved in the drafting of the legal documents for the rebel government. The prime reason for the early release in now being challenged by the Fiji High Court, underlining the weakness in legal justifications created by the same Messr Bale-the architect of the controversial R.T.U Bill.

Mick Beddoes, Laisenia Qarase recently.

Justice that is confirmed to be un-evenly swayed towards the influential in Fiji's society.

Where are the towers of conscious in corridors of the legal fraternity?
Where are the so called guardians of the people- Fiji Law Society, The Ombudsman, Non-Governmental Organizations?

Capital crimes should not be permitted for parole. Especially when the main investigation for the coup planners and financiers are still yet to be presented in court.
Sitiveni Rabuka.
The powers of the Prison Commisioner must also be fast tracked for review if any sense of justice and natural law is expected to be prevail in Fiji. Another parallel case involving 1987 coup leader for instigating mutiny in the post 2000 coup period, should be converged into a Parliamentary Enquiry.

Fiji's Telecom Parent company A.T.H Chairman has indicated their willingness to de-regulate Fiji's industry. Surprisingly, the chairman now acknowledges the benefits of diversifying the industry players.
On the historical front, an unexpected discovery of a U.S fighter plane from the World War 2 era in the remote highland of Fiji, may bring closure to a certain family in America.

On the matter of the Affirmative Action report by Fiji Human Rights Commission: S.i.F.M feels that this is an example of selective gatekeeping by the Fiji Times, on matters in the public domain that embarrases certain circles. Fiji P.M, L. Qarase was quick to assasinate the report's author instead of reviewing the contents.

It is quite reprehensive of the Prime Ministership to provide lip-service on multi-racialism and then turn around and elevate their legal standing above the supreme law of the land; the 1997 constitution. Accordingly the Affirmative Action program, as determined by the report, violates the first principles of government- that is the law.

To sort out this dispute it is expected that this particular case will go to court, judging from earlier episodes of constitutional ignorance displayed by the Attorney General. As a lawyer, the A-G should understand that ignorance is never a viable legal defense.

It is also laugable that, the same excuse of democracy which the P.M's office hides behind(especially on the matter of Army Commander's democratic role); is also the same law the government must abide by and has come back to haunt the P.M.

No office, no person is above the law- not even you Mister Prime Minister.
Fiji Times Editor's reputation has fallen short of the grace of responsible journalism, departing from their usual unbiased commentary to become another tower of silence in Fiji Society. By avoiding contenscious matters, the absence of any comprehensive investigative columns or articles (on the investigation of 2000 coup)in their publication sums up the their track record or perhaps the hidden agenda of the present Fiji Times editor Messr Samisoni Kakaivalu to echo the sentiments of S.D.L's billegerence.

Human rights

WILL the director of the Fiji Human Rights Com-mission tell the taxpayers of Fiji why she took six years and let two general elections pass before declaring that the Government's affirmative action program is unconstitutional?

For example, the commission said this week that $20million was given as a loan to Fijian Holdings Limited via the Fijian Affairs Board on an interest-free basis which was subsequently converted into an outright grant in the blueprint (FT 22/6).

All this happened six years ago. Unlike the complex National Bank of Fiji saga, the Agriculture scam and the coup investigations, the transfer of $20 million in taxpayers' funds to Fijian Holdings was a clear and uncomplicated matter.

Why did the Fiji Human Rights Commission sleep on it for six years?

Who needed the $20million more, the homeless destitutes who consider themselves lucky if they receive $2 a day from the Government or Fijian Holdings which boasts of huge profits for its shareholders every year?

Kanti Patel

Bias report

THE Fiji Human Rights Commission found something that is very delicate to the economic survival of the indigenous people of this country.

It said the affirmative action program is unconstitutional and it was sad and hard to understand.

It cites the Fijian Holdings Limited loan as an example and that alone makes me suspect that the writer of the report is not fit to be a member of the investigation team.

He was biased and reporting from a smoke screen environment.

Whoever edited the report was pre-determined to note publicly that the affirmative action program is unconstitutional and is only for Fijians.

However, if we are to screen the Constitution Amendment Act of 1997 concerning the issue raised here, the report can only be right if there is data to support that the program was used to oppose Chapter 4 (Bill Of Rights) of the Constitution.

Social justice states that the affirmative action program must have: a goal; intended beneficiaries (either an individual or a group) to be assisted to achieve the goal; performance indicator for assessment of the success of the program, and; a criteria for the selection of beneficiaries if the benefactor is a group.

The Constitution also says in the same chapter that the Social Justice Act is to provide access for the disadvantaged to participate in commerce at all levels.

In view of the constitutional provision, I find it hard to believe that the affirmative action program is unconstitutional and only for Fijians. The problem however could be the complainants for not being able to set goals for their intended beneficiaries.

Fijian Holdings has proven itself, according to the Constitution. The beneficiaries cover all indigenous age groups as required by the Constitution and I thought picking on Fijian Holdings as an example was racist. The loan mentioned to be converted to a grant can only be done with the approval of Parliament, which the complainant the Labour party was and still is a member of.

To mention that Indians are the poorest household in rural areas is racist as well. The point here is for the complainant to provide goals, criteria, and scenarios for the disadvantaged so that they can qualify for the provisions in the Social Justice Act.

Samuela Uluikadavu

In response to K. Patel's letter and and Samuela Uluikadavu's one of similar tone, this is an email S.i.F.M received deliberating on the matter, which the Editor of Fiji Times did not feel appropriate to publish. Although the editor did choose to publish other letters denouncing the Fiji Human Rights Commission, it felt other opposing views on the subject would not be entertained. Fair and balanced.

Fiji Times
Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir,
Samuela's Uluikadavu's letter to the Editor(F/T June 25th 2006) and Kanti Patel's letter (F/T June 30th) castigating the Fiji Human Rights Commission report on the Affirmative Action programs was entertaining for the wrong reasons.

At a glance, the main thrust of [their] letter[s] is way off the mark in factual information; I would certainly archive [their] pithy comments under the fiction column and perhaps political satire.

Mr Uluikadavu's accuracy, reminds me of an old proverb: "From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step".

Affirmative Action Program is not essential to the survival of indigenous commerce.
It is the catalyst to a dependency attitude reinforced with a sense of entitlement. The qualities which encapsulates Fijian Holding's business model.

Ironically the same Fijian Holdings whose boardroom was documented in the Fiji media, as the venue for the 2000 Coup planning. Another old proverb should remind Fiji as a nation, of the repercussions of such behaviors: "Set a beggar on a horse and he'll ride to the Devil".

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Honey-Mooners.

Google Earth's perspective of the much publicized Wakaya Island resort in Fiji.

Lomaiviti group of islands.

Vale-O. The penthouse suite for this resort. Perched on the peak with 360 degree panoramic views. Perfect location for honeymooners.

Nicole Kidman's marriage to Country Singer Keith Urban is making headlines across the globe. First was their celebrity studded wedding in Sydney and now the newly weds are enjoying
their honeymoon
in the exclusive Wakaya Island resort.

Paradise on earth for celebrities, who want to maintain their privacy and indulge in beach parties in relative isolation. Freedom from the prying eyes of the "Paparazi". But certainly not isolated from high powered and high priced spy satellites. One can safely assume that the N.S.A is peering through those viewfinders.

West to East view of the island resort.

Beach Front Rooms perched on the cliff. Literally, a stones throw from the sea.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Skid Marks in State Responsibities.

Fiji Sun Editorial

Tuesday 20th June, 2006

Water is not a luxury

It's time for a formal - and public - inquiry into the state of the nation's watersupply. The repeated interruptions are just too much for people to bear and the last straw was the sending home yesterday of nearly 1000 students from one of the nation's leading boarding schools for girls.
Of course it's true that successive governments have ignored the need to invest in water infrastructure, no doubt thinking that water would always flow from the taps. The condition of the water supply is not the fault of the present Government.

Nevertheless, it must face up to the responsibility of making the best of the situation. This is not happening.Stories of Public Works Department water trucks delivering to favoured areas and even of drivers seeking financial and other favours are far too common to be easily brushed aside. And the hiring of water trucks has been less than transparent. There is now serious doubt in the public mind that the Public Works Department is capable of or even willing to make fair and transparent allocations of water at times of restricted supply.

Only an open and honest inquiry will remove that and other doubts. The people who pay for this service - or, too often, the lack of it - are entitled to know what is being done to restore a reliable supply of clean and potable water. That is not to say that nothing is being done - but consumers could be a lot more confident if they were aware of what was happening.

Unannounced water cuts are what anger people more than anything. And they are all too commonplace. Another major source of public frustration is the attitude of the PWD. When a dose of truth would defuse much of the anger, people are fed a diet of excuses, false promises and old fashioned civil service obfuscation. It has to end. Water is not a luxury. It is a requirement for the survival of a fairly treated society.

Privatisation, as has been widely mooted, would take the problem off the Government's hands but that cannot be done overnight and in the meantime, the public wants to know when -or if - it can expect a reliable supply of clean water It also has a perfect right to know what its employees - in particular the PWD - intend to do about the water crisis in the meantime.

The long waits for the water trucks would be at least slightly more bearable if those waiting knew when the crisis was likely to end and what was being done to address their plight until that hoped for day arrives. A public inquiry would at least clear the air.

An independent study analysing the water quality from Fiji's domestic supply disputes the contention from officials that cholorine levels are according to international standards.

Study finds chlorine levels at low end of spectrum.
Fiji Times Thursday, June 22, 2006

WATER supplied to consumer taps did not carry enough chlorine, recent tests carried out by a tertiary institution laboratory reveal.

The survey found that the amount of chlorine contained in water taken from taps supplied by the Public Works Department fell on the lowest side of World Health Organisation standards.

It said the WHO required a minimum of 2-milligrams of chlorine per litre of water to make it safe for consumption. But the survey said the amount of chlorine contained in water tested from consumer taps suggested only 0.2 to 0.3mg/litre was in the system.

"The water tested was not in the main supply of PWD's reservoir but the running water from the taps in homes. And from what was tested, the water collected from the pipe in a cup only contained 0.2 to 0.3mg/litre of chlorine and this is not enough," the source said.

"The PWD may have 100 per cent of chlorine in their own source from the reservoir but what we are concerned about is what comes out of the tap and according to WHO, it has to be 2.0mg/litre and not 0.2 to 0.3mg/litre.

"This could be the cause of diarrhoea because it does not meet the standard of the WHO and is not healthy enough for consumer consumption."

But Principal Engineer Water Samuela Tubui said the WHO standard was not 2.
"We know that the WHO standard is about 0.1 and PWD has more than that in the reservoirs," Mr Tubui said.

"We are way above the 0.1 and have been practicing that over the past decades since the PWD came into existence". Mr Tubui said the supply and treatment of water at reservoirs was not a problem.

"Everything is alright and the PWD has always kept to the international standard of WHO in terms of amount of chlorine added in water," he said.

According to a 2003 WHO report, the guideline value for chlorine was 5mg/litre, which was present in most disinfected drinking-water at concentrations of 0.2 to 1mg/litre. It said it was normal practice to supply water with a chlorine residual of a few tenths of a milligram per litre to act as a preservative during distribution.

Public Health director Central Doctor Timaima Tuiketei brushed aside claims chlorine levels were under par.She said the Ministry of Health carried out its own tests with the science laboratory of the University of the South Pacific, which found chlorine levels met WHO standards.

"We have our own lab and so does the PWD and we have carried out tests over the past months since the diarrhoea cases were highlighted and the results have been satisfactory," Dr Tuiketei said.

"The results proved that water supplied by PWD contained enough chlorine and was of international standard. We have not received any tests, which stated that there was not enough chlorine in water. It has been so far all right," Dr Tuiketei said.

Since W.H.O standards on water quality was brought into the discussion, here are the W.H.O's own whopping 66 page publication on Chemical Additives. (PDF format)

U.S Environmental Protection Agency has their own comprehensive standards determining a whole range of other contaminants. Astounding considering their budget and resources that can be brought online if the need arises.

This independent report has outraged the New Taskforce formed by Ministry of Health and Public Works Department who are obviously trying so hard to bury the story, with more a factual "everything-is-normal" routine.

A worn routine that will not satisfy frustrated families who go without water for another day. Now residents have to worry about the purity of the contents; whilst settling for second best, knowing full well that a more premium level of water is being exported from the local shores.

SiFM wonders if Fiji Water is sensitive enough with that problem right on their door steps. Problems experienced by their own employees, who live in the areas that routinely face water cuts.

Can we expect some degree of social concern from the biggest exporter of natural resources that, benefit only a tiny handful of elites in Fiji and abroad?
Where does the general public's concern for a reliable water supply end and where does the concern for the investors begin?

Fiji has such meagre resources for public service simply because the development obligations determined years ago have fallen to disrepute. Sqaundered by the frivilous wants which drastically outweigh the basic needs of the nation.

On the matter of Special Assistants for Ministers:
The trend to have private secretaries for Fiji Government Ministers, underlines the exuberance that rears its ugly head every time a new Government is formed.
The Prime Minister's C.E.O Messr Jioji Kotobalavu was the original private secretary from Ratu Mara's days and has since overstayed his tenure in the Prime Minister's office.

Ironically Messr Kotobalavu is one among the many C.E.O's who refused to posted elsewhere by stonewallingthe P.S.C's reform initiative; to rotate C.E.Os routinely to prevent the stagnantcy settling into the office operations and facilitates new ideas to the table. Messr Kotobalavu's case underlines the danger for such a proposal.

Here is the post of C.E.O Kotobalavu's letter to the Fiji Times editor defending the practice of employing Special Assistants.

Special assistants

It is most disappointing that your newspaper has sensationalised Cabinet's decision to allow Ministers to have special assistants without genuinely trying to appreciate the considerations behind the decision.

Firstly, there is no additional cost to the Public Service because existing vacancies or existing staff in the Public Service will be used to provide for this assistance to Ministers.

Secondly, it is a practice that is normally done in all countries. Ministers are provided with special assistants in the form of private secretaries to attend to their needs.

Precisely, the needs to be served by the special assistants largely arise from the many people who visit Ministers every day to ask for various kind of assistance.

If a Minister were to spend all his time in a working day receiving these individuals or groups, the Minister would have no time to attend to his ministerial responsibilities.

It has therefore been felt for a long time that we should do what other Governments have done and that is to equip Ministers with special assistants to attend to members of the public, and also to facilitate the Minister's various commitments and

There is nothing unusual in the decision that Cabinet has taken. Cabinet has been careful to ensure that whilst Ministers are to be assisted in this form, the cost is to covered within the existing Public Service budget.

I should also clarify that a Minister's constituency allowance is to help a Minister as a Member of Parliament during constituency visits in responding to requests from members of the community.

J. Kotobalavu
Chief Executive Officer
Office of the Prime Minister

The state's responsibility of conducting a national census was revoked by the S.D.L party. The same irresponsibility that will penalize the state in the longer term projections. How can a state know what the population is; when simple ground rules of the Government are routinely ignored.
An indication of familiarity losing its centre of gravity, while dancing on the precipice of contempt.

Scams in Fiji is becoming more of a trend nowdays. Considering these Fiji Sun reports on the matter. Disturbing development for Fiji Police who are more used to old purse snatching then white collar crimes. Case in point, the N.B.F scandal, 2000 coup financing etc.

Club Em Designs

Angle on Fiji.

Google Earth's depiction of Fiji's reknown locations.

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Miles of Isles- Isles of Smiles.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Drats and Double Drats.

Native Lands Trust Board General Manager's comments on Fiji Governement's decision to issue two more licenses for operating a cell phone network in Fiji, requires more than a grain a salt to remove the gross distaste.

Kalivati Bakani the head on the land agency monopoly, undoubtedly wants the same situation prevalent in Fiji's cell phone industry. Messr Bakani obviously misses the point that, by creating competition in the industry benefits the consumers of Fiji tremedously.

It is also concerning the fact that that Bakani is openly challenging the directives of the Fiji Government using his position as head of the archaic N.L.T.B; to lobby policies for a different organization called Pacific Connex- a joint venture between N.L.T.B and a foreign media company.

Messr Bakani then, unfairly uses the Fijian landowner as a bargaining chip in the whole negotiation phase; in fact most Fijian landowners would not be appraised with the entire discussion.

Bakani further claims that, with only 2 licenses the consumers of Fiji will benefit more, as opposed to having 3 cell phone companies. Clearly an opinion from a non-expert and is nothing more than a poor attempt to convince frustrated subscribers of Vodaphone.

Messr Bakani emabarrasses himself by comparing the cell phone licenses of Australia and New Zealand(3-2 licenses for their population size). Maybe SiFM readers would like to compare the land, water situation of Fiji with the same Pacific neighbors and attempt to draw the same conclusion.

N.L.T.B General Manager Bakani, also mentioned that it was not feasible to have 3 licenses. Perhaps Bakani is echoing the sentiments of Pacific Connex, who are more concerned of their inability to run a profitable enterprise in the new arena of reform then, the right of the Fiji citizen to have access to basic and reliable telecommunication system.

It would be interesting to see how Bakani reacts to the idea of N.L.T.B having a compeititor- perhaps a rude awakening for the un-reformed, top-heavy and inefficient organization that the current General Manager leads.

Digicel the new licensee and major sponsor for Fiji Rugby Union became more of threat to Bakani's en-trenced mentality of maintaining the commercial status quo.

It is apparently clear that corruption laced organization: Native Lands Trust Board conveniently uses the concerns of landowners for their own mileage and demonstrates that Management have painted themselves into the corner, by neglecting their core business model.

NLTB has a track record of dubious business practices, including the allegations of colluding to defraud the Fiji Government during their procurement of a database software and hardware; which did not follow proper channels.

FIJI: Immigration Director Heading to Court
Thursday: October 7, 2004
Suspended Director of Immigration Joseph Browne has been found guilty of nine public service offences, Public Service Commission chief executive Anare Jale said yesterday.
He said Mr Browne defied the Public Service Rules and Regulations when he travelled to Australia and China without proper authorisation.
Jale said Ballu Khan's computer firm Pacific Connex Limited allegedly paid for Mr Browne's two trips to Australia to obtain computer software for the Native Land Trust Board.
Board general manager Kalivati Bakani said he knew nothing of Mr Browne's trip to Australia to get software for the Board. "We would never use him to purchase anything for us. This is news to me," he said.
While Mr Browne was under investigation for the two trips, Jale said he went to China to attend an immigration meeting, breaching another public service rule which forbids civil servants from travelling abroad while they're under investigation.
He said Browne had been charged with 12 counts of breaching public service rules and regulations and was suspended pending an inquiry.
He was later cleared of three of the charges.
Jale said Mr Browne had been given until November 4 to mitigate.
Browne was the former secretary of Fiji President Mara, displaced by the May 2000 coup and was a major witness in recent trial which saw severaL members of the current government jailed for their involvement in the coup.
Yesterday, Mr Browne confirmed that he did travel twice to Australia but that the trips were not paid for by Pacific Connex.
He said the trips were paid for by the owners of SAP to attend an exhibition in Brisbane and to later acquire the software for the Immigration department.
He said under the new Act, his department's computer system was obliged to be compatible with those of NLTB, NLC, FIRCA and the Registrar General's Office. NLTB uses the SAP system introduced by Khan.
Browne said he was disappointed with the Commission because after explaining the situation to them, they still disciplined him. He vowed to take the matter to court.
Mr Jale said Mr Browne had the right to appeal to the PSC or to take the matter to court. When asked what kind of penalties Mr Browne could face, he said it could range from demotion to dismissal. – FijiTimes/PINA Nius

Club Em Designs

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Viti Levu and Bua.
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Fiji Parliament Complex.
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Google's Earth view of Fiji.

View of South West Pacific.

In response to Babasiga's comments on captioning images. Maybe I will try and superimpose the Vanua Levu coastline with Geelongs.

On another note, here's an Academic paper on Land Information Systems application in rural Fiji. A resounding wake up call for the powers that be to ensure all the landowners in Fiji, have full access to such software to ensure that, the official land boundaries are factual correct especially in the ownership of land titles.

Fiji's Land Department and Native Lands Trust Board obviously have different perceptions on who should have access to the L.I.S software. Fiji Lands Department's former LIS specialist (Mele T. Rakai) believes in a applying caution to that respect, in a paper called "Implications of Incorporating Customary Land Tenure Data into Land Information Systems".
Here's an excerpt from M. Rakai's paper:
Another concern with incorporating attributes of customary tenure into an LIS, is that it could be a potential source of conflict and dissension. Conflicting opinions that have existed since the imposition of a standard land tenure system into the country early this century, would undoubtedly resurface, once inquiries for data capture commenced.

For instance people today still have varying opinions of their origins, their land rights, their chiefly entitlements, and so on, even to the extent of privately disputing, within their own communities, the written evidence in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB), and the Tukutuku Raraba. (The VKB is the official Register of Fijians, while the Tukutuku Raraba records the historical origins of each tribal group, and how they came to settle into a particular area in Fiji).

[...]Finally another possible social cost of incorporating customary land tenure into an LIS could be the reduced dependency of Fijian society on the elders of the society for information on land matters. Traditionally the elders have always held a specific, even indispensable role to play, in matters concerning land.

Those sentiments are undoutedly profound and true. Albeit in lands that have a dispute in ownership like the controversial native land cum freehold Yaqara and Mago Island.

The main concern is that the basic facts have not been even accessible and further undermines the basic role of Native Land Commission inconjuction with the records with the Native Fijian registry.

If only a select few are able to use those records, most of whom do not have ownerships claims; apprehensively defeats the purpose of collating Land Information. If disputes are present, it is incumbent on all the stakeholders to establish the truth. The basic datum of truth cannot be achieved if information is perpetually kept under lock and key. Precisely the reason why the digital divide is artificially induced in Fiji.

The same reason why alternative projects like this NGO led one, was erronously perceived as a threat by some entrenched institutions who govern land issues in Fiji. As a result, the grassroots population have been denied tools that could provide social mobility.

Ovalau map
Elders Double Check
Multi-Disciplinary approach
Multi-Generational appeal

The full report(PDF format)on the Ovalau LIS project is here. In a certain manner, this Ovalau project actively erodes the view of Mele Rakai, who basically issued caveats on using LIS applications with the traditional family units in Fiji. By inviting all participants as the Ovalau project did; creates a sense of purpose that inhibits any malicous intent by the use of transparency and exceptional project management.

Here's a report on Locally Managed Marine Areas activities in Fiji. (PDF format)
Another article evaluates the environment degredation caused by urbanization, on native fishing grounds in Fiji's peri-rural areas.

God's view of the Suva Peninsula.

Club Em Designs

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Can the Government cabinet safely navigate the waters of multi-party politics and steer the nation of Fiji into the bay of prosperity?
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oops, there it is.

Fiji P.M comments on FLP Minister Vayeshnoi(Nadroga Indian Communual) to tow the line of Government is misleading at best. Indeed the multi-party cabinet which Laisenia Qarase heads; will not be subjected to policies that undermines the truth.

To portray all dissenters as anti-Government only reflects the entrenched mentality in Prime Minister's office, especially in analysing opposing views.

PM Qarase to discipline Cabinet minister Vayeshnoi
Thursday, June 15, 2006

PRIME Minister Laisenia Qarase is likely to discipline Cabinet Minister Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi for comments against the Government he made in Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Vayeshnoi told Parliament that the Government should withdraw all its affirmative actions programs, enact a Code of Conduct Bill, consult the Fiji Labour Party on all controversial Bills and implement the goals and policies outlined in the Labour and SDL manifestoes.

Mr Qarase said yesterday he had not read the whole transcript of Mr Vayeshnoi's speech but would certainly take some action.

"I will deal with the problem inside Cabinet," Mr Qarase said. According to Cabinet Procedures, Mr Vayeshnoi could be reprimanded or sacked but this is dependent on the seriousness of the issue.

Cabinet ministers would be sacked or asked to resign by the PM or forced to resign their positions if they publicly speak out against Cabinet approved policies.

Mr Vayeshnoi said they represented the views of the FLP in Cabinet and would follow the guidelines set by the party in carrying out our duties and ministerial assignments.

He also demanded that the Government removed all vestiges of racial discrimination from the Government's Affirmative Action programs.

"All such programs must comply with the relevant provisions of the Constitution and be fair to the needy in each and every community," Mr Vayeshnoi said.

Fiji Labour Party Whip Perumal Mupnar distanced the party from Mr Vayeshnoi's sentiments saying it would have been the minister's own personal views.

"I can't understand why he said it,'' Mr Mupnar said.

"Maybe it's his own personal views and I cannot comment on that.

"But I can say that the Fiji Labour Party is behind the multi-party Cabinet and we look forward to something good coming out of it."

Some Cabinet ministers and SDL MPs were disappointed with Mr Vayeshnoi's speech.

Why not have the P.M and his overpaid C.E.O write the speeches of their Ministers, as well as oratating them. To ensure the Government talking points are exactly the same.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

C.E.O Rebellion in Fiji.

Public Service Commission C.E.O- Anare Jale inspecting the assets of Fiji Government's executive housing.

Fiji Public Service Commission the nation's largest employer reneged on their commitement to internal reform, by scrapping the plans
to rotate the C.E.O from their present ministries and posted to a new ministry.

CEO Reshuffle
Source: Fiji Times Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ten of the Governments 23 chief executives will be shifted to other ministries in a move that has angered many of them.

Yesterday Public Service Commission chairman Stuart Huggett said the reshuffle would go ahead despite the objections of the CEOs concerned.

PSC was handed a petition filed by some of the 10 chief executives that are to be transferred from their ministries and departments.

We are going ahead with the reshuffle and the PSC has met them all individually and told them where we would like them to go, in terms of their new ministry, he said.

We also pointed out that under their contract they had a number of options which they could do as CEOs.

Mr Huggett said PSC was now renegotiating with the chief executives concerned over their work in new ministries.

We are not concentrating on the salary but more on their work in the new ministry, he said.

He said there was no concern over how the CEOs would perform in ministries for which they had not initially applied.

Their different qualifications might help better their performance and good management.

He said it was a matter of them having a variety of different experiences as CEOs which could be used in their new ministries.

They are first and foremost managers and with the different experiences and background, this will help in their new ministries, Mr Huggett said.

He said PSC was relieved that no new ministerial portfolios were created by the Government, although certain ministries have been divided.

So even with the increase in the number of ministers, this does not mean that the number of CEOs will increase, Mr Huggett said.

The CEOs will work for the ministries that are currently available.

Mr Huggett said PSC had not worked out the total cost of reshuffle but knew that it would not cost them much to carry out the exercise.

One of the highest paid Government CEOs Jioji Kotobalavu said he was shocked at the extent of the reshuffle of chief executives given the fact that new ministers were arriving.

Mr Kotobalavu said the CEOs were never consulted about the changes and even though its PSCs prerogative to reshuffle them, it was a matter of courtesy to inform them.

I am shocked at the extent of the movement of the CEOs as its important to have these CEOs to be present when their new ministers come in for them to brief them. The timing was bad because they are the ones who know the current state of their ministries and their funds so they could have ensured this to happen, Mr Kotobalavu said.

He said the handing over to the newly appointed ministers would now be done by CEOs who were also new and would not know anything about the new ministries they were in charge of.

Those moving to new positions are Agriculture CEO Luke Ratuvuki to the Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry, Justice CEO Sakiusa Rabuka to the Ministry of Environment and Fijian Affairs CEO Ratu Meli Bainimarama to the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests.

Local Government CEO Cama Tuiloma will move to the new Ministry of Public Utilities & Infrastructure, while Multi Ethnic CEO Apisalome Tudreu will take over Fijian Affairs.

Tourism CEO Napolioni Masirewa moves to the Multi Ethnic portfolio. The new Tourism CEO is Vuetasau Buatoka.

Public Works Department CEO Anasa Vocea takes over from Mr Tuiloa at the Local Government & Urban Development Ministry while Youth Ministrys Poasa Ravea takes over from Mr Rabuka at Justice. Former Lands Ministrys CEO Niumaia Tabunakawai takes over from Mr Ratuvuki at the Ministry of Agriculture.

The CEOs who would assume their old portfolios include Mr Kotobalavu at the PMs Office, Emi Rabukawaqa at Information Ministry, Taito Waqa at the Labour Ministry, Paula Uluinaceva at the Finance Ministry, Pramod Chand at the Public Enterprises Ministry, Doctor Lepani Waqatakirewa at the Health Ministry, Emele Duituturaga at the Womens Ministry, Anare Jale at the Public Service Commission, Isireli Koyamaibole at Commerce Ministry, Lesi Korovavala at Home Affairs, Isikeli Mataitoga at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Alumita Taganesia at Education Ministry.

The move was stone walled by 4 C.E.O who threatened legal action against the P.S.C; highlighting the resistance to change by the very individuals who are supposed to be the agents of change. Unfortunately these Executives demand the salaries according to international standards of renumeration. Yet, totally forget the responsibilities, work ethics that accompany the position. These glorified Office Manager's are basically C.E.O's in title, but absent in their nature.

The six CEO's opposing their transfer are Anasa Vocea, Sakiusa Rabuka, Apisalome Tudreu, Poasa Ravea, Niumaia Tabukanawai and Ratu Meli Bainimarama. Obviously the respected Ministries performance in 2005-2006 was mediocre at best, perhaps a good indication of their calibre. Most of the incumbents were carryovers from their former positions as Permanent Secretaries, which later was revamped and re-advertised as a Chief Executive Position by the same P.S.C.

Undoubtedly the mess of the C.E.O postion, was derived from the errors of P.S.C, this sentiment was echoed by the Union representative who technically does not represent C.E.O's- because the office of C.E.O is considered Management/Excutive positions, which are not supposed to be unionised in the first place.

CEO's dictate terms to PSC
Source: Fiji Times Friday, May 26, 2006

GOVERNMENT chief executive officers have told the Public Service Commission to pay them out for the rest of their five-year contracts and re-advertise the posts.

The CEOs have two-and-a-half- years left on their contracts.

Fiji Public Service Association said nine of the affected CEOs signed a petition yesterday, delivered to PSC chairman Stuart Huggett and Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Association general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said the CEOs quoted provisions in their individual contracts that prevented PSC from reshuffling them.

He said PSC was unilaterally trying to re-write their contract of employment without giving them a chance of representation.

"As a result, the CEOs have given an ultimatum to the chairman of the commission to consider four options," Mr Singh said.

The options were that PSC pay all CEOs the balance of their contract in full, re-advertise all affected CEO posts after paying them off, that there be no movement of CEOs until new contracts were finalised in writing, and that any new contracts be for five years to cover the proposals by PSC.

Mr Singh said the CEOs were resisting the transfers because their current ministers were not briefed on the change.

Mr Huggett denied he had not received a petition from the CEOs and could not believe the demands when asked to comment.

"It's not unreasonable for them to be moved like that. I can't believe that they are saying that. It's totally ridiculous," Mr Huggett said.

He said the CEOs were reshuffled to make way for the new multi-party Cabinet and the reshuffle of ministries by the Prime Minister.

Mr Huggett said he had informed the CEOs about the reshuffle before it was done.

He said if any of the CEOs had any problems with their contracts and the reshuffle, the PSC was ready to listen to them.

Mr Singh said the dilemma faced by the PSC now was due to its own incompetence two years ago when it decided to contract permanent secretaries.

"We have made several calls and wrote to the Commission not to rush into recruiting CEOs on the contracts and that FPSA wanted to be involved in the change over in the terms and conditions of service from the Master Collective Agreement to a fixed term employment contract," Mr Singh said.

"We hope the Commission has learnt its lesson and that they will in future heed our advice as one of the significant stakeholders in the civil service."

Mr Singh said every time the CEOs demanded additional perks, the PSC would give in to their demands but now the PSC's favourite CEOs had opposed a reshuffle.

Ironically the C.E.O rebellion is icing on the cake from the Fiji Army's persepctive after their demands to remove Home Affairs C.E.O, Lesi Korovalavala was denied by the Public Service Commission.
What goes around, comes around...A lesson that PSC still has not learnt.

Club Em Designs

Monday, June 05, 2006

Getting down to Business.

The issue of Fiji water supply has set off an internal bickering in the newly elected Government of Fiji. This is not the time for finger pointing by the new Minister of Utilities Rob Irwin (General).

Irwins claim

I refer to your article (FT 4/6) where the Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure, Robin Irwin, blames Mr Chaudhry for our water woes and would like to ask him if there was an amendment to the Constitution when Mr Chaudhry changed the water reform process?

If not, then why has it been so difficult to address these issuessince it is Mr Laisenia Qarase who has been in power for the last six years and not Mr Chaudhry.

Mr Chaudhry was only in power for a year and before that the SVT for 11 years.

So according to Mr Irwins logic, Mr Chaudhry's one year is to blame for all our water woes in the 17 years of Fijian rule since our world famous 1987 coup.
I would advise Mr Irwin to refrain from taking part in the blame game, that is a Fijian speciality.

We cannot be beatenat it. Please restrict yourself to working hard to attracting new investments into the country and getting the infrastructure right so no one will have any basis of making the kind of comments you are now making after you have vacated your office.

Modest in victory and respectful to those defeated is a virtue we can all do well with. Finally any attempt by Mr Irwin to ingratiate himself to Fijians by trampling all-over Mr Chaudhry, who did remarkably well in the one year he held the reins, compared to those who had 11 before him and six afterwards will be construed by Fijiansas a sign of weakness on his part.

And believe me, he wouldnt want that.

Mareko Vuli

Water waste

Well our new Infrastructure Minister says that hes going to concentrate on water thats great!

In Savusavu, where he now lives, he is well acquainted (aqua pardon the pun) with water via the hot springs, but perhaps once hes settled in could he examine the bubbling brook that I keep rambling on about, on the footpath from Tuisowaqa Road to Mead Road.

It flows even when Namadi has no water and Id place a bet that it is chlorinated and, at 11 million litres in the last couple of years, he could perhaps ascertain how much money has gone down the drain?

But please Mr Minister (good title for a movie), when if you decide to pay a visit to this spring place come in a G registered car, for PWD transport proliferates in private vehicles (not hire plates) being utilised on government business another scam?

Alastair Ward

A sad reflection on his character and perhaps rude awakening on the enormity of the job in fixing the water problem in Fiji; a predictable effect of non-maintainence of demand side pipe network.

The water problem in Fiji is escalating by affecting business enterprises. Many have thought that the elections would change the situation overnight. That is the hard pill to swallow in a merging democracy like Fiji; where water is exported world wide; yet the domestic market is struggling with another day of hell.

Now the position of Parliamentry speaker has been finalized, perhaps some concrete solutions can be fast tracked to rectify the litany of woes currently facing the nation of Fiji.
The issue of state funding of local elections is a new idea worth considering. A pressing concern for the new Prime Minister, who has now an inflated cabinent of 34. An astronomical figure, considering the size of the country of Fiji and the trade imbalance, which the Reserve Bank of Fiji or the Government has failed to produce any short term plans, to solve the drastic deficit.

Vakaivosavosa has an interesting take on the " New Zealand Defense White Paper" plan to downsize the Fiji Military. An convenient assault by the ANZAC nations to scuttle Fiji Army's reputation and demand in global peace keeping. Undoubtedly a growing industry in todays' geo-politics.

Education Ministry of Fiji has now issued a stern cell phone use policy- No use that is in all classrooms in Fiji. The only time that rule is ignored, when the cell phone is used to convey the news of Fiji Rugby Team's exploits on the field.

Fiji's victory in the IRB 7s circuit infuses a new kind of unity, that no other politician or chief in Fiji could ever ecclipse.

Since Vodaphone Fiji has unravelled their product: Black Berry- SiFM belives it is prudent for the Ministry of Education to issue a Black Berry policy too.

SiFM leaves the readers with another provocative letter from Fiji Times "Letters to the Editor".

The Gibber

Filomena Koroilaweduas The real hypocrite (FT 03/06) cannot go unanswered. Though I live in a foreign country as thousands of Fijians do, I am one of those who contributes to the millions of dollars to my Fiji through remittance and to some degree these hard earned dollars end up in the Methodist Church coffers.

Therefore, Ms Koroilawedua, in her own words, should think twice before embarking on a tedious gibberish trip and being the hypocrites leech.

My argument, which obviously Ms Koroilawedua failed to comprehend perhaps because of her lack of grey matter, was against those prelates and their nonsensical tirades on the politics of the nation.

Dont they have anything better to do instead of their daily contributions in the media?

Rather than telling the people who to vote for and the Government of the day how to run the country these prelates should be spreading the Good News.

Instead of marching through the towns and cities against gays, movies (God is the sole judge) and demanding a place in the censorship board they should be marching to the prisons, hospitals, mental asylums, slums, and visiting our poor street kids, counselling them and giving hope to the flock.

Why arent the other Christian denominations giving daily speeches in the media and parading up and down the streets with placards? Because they are tending to their flock like true shepherds silently doing Gods Will.

God Bless those true shepherds and my Fiji!

Sisilia Johnson
New South Wales

Club Em Designs