#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2012-04-29

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Khaiyum unwittingly right ..... Fiji is not Burma

Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi taking the oath of allegiance to join Parliament. Pic AFP.

Burma (otherwise known as Myanmar) on way to a civilian government while Fiji is still waiting for elections

The Pacific Forum's Ministerial Action Group clearly hit a nerve this week when it tackled the role of military post 2014 elections and seats being reserved for them in any government formed.

The illegal attorney general and acting prime minister, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, went into defensive mode telling media Bob Carr's question was silly and the Australian Foreign Minister must have Fiji confused with Burma.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Can the regime truly put its best foot forward?

The illegal president may think he's a role model leading a walk to promote climate change but he and the regime will find it won't be such a walk in the park to get the region to soften its stance.

Epeli Nailatikau made a 30 kilometre walk through Suva this morning daring five government departments and five NGOs to 'take action to improve the enviroment' saying "I can take action, I will take action - will you?"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Prasad: Fiji has to change tack if it wants prosperity

Mauritius wealth
In a keynote address to the annual convention of the Fijian Teachers Association (FTA) at the Suva Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, Professor Biman Prasad (right) made some very relevant comparisons with the Mauritius about the loss of skills and the deprivation of Fiji's economy since the coups. In his speech on Creativity and Innovation in Education: Fiji's Future, Prasad argues for a new direction in schools, the removal of 55 as the retirement age and calls for the unification of the country's biggest unions - FICTU AND FTUC.

Brief History
Fiji’s independence in 1970 saw the ushering in of a new era. One filled with hope and glory. With the hope and glory accompanied developments which to some extent define the state of our education today. If we did a stock take of the first decade of our independence, we would feel very satisfied with the speed of developments in this country, including the development of infrastructure for health and education. 

Economically we were on a growth trajectory which would have delivered significant prosperity for all the people of this country. In fact in the first decade of independence we were better than some of the now well developed and prosperous upper-middle income economies. One such comparison is often made with Mauritius. 

Around 1986, Fiji was better or the same as Mauritius on a number of development indicators. Mauritius grew on average of more than 5% for more than 25 years. As a result, it has today some of the best indicators of development. For example, about 87 percent of Mauritians households own homes, there is free education to all from pre-school to the University, and free health services including heart surgery for every citizen. 

There are a number of explanations offered for this kind of success: good and consistent economic policies, political stability and no coups because there is no military in Mauritius, and robust Mauritian democracy that has allowed the flourishing of talents, entrepreneurship and creativity based on an identity of excellence. Mauritius is a multi-religious, multicultural and multi-lingual society so it has much in common with Fiji. 

Bainimarama's coup plunges his Indo-Fijian supporters into poverty

Many living in poverty in Fiji but Indo-Fijians worse off. (pic from recent floods)

Pic used by Fiji Live to illustrate story
The group Frank Bainimarama and his regime have boasted most about saving from previous so-called poor performing, racist governments are worse off economically, according to figures from Fiji's Bureau of Statistics.

The Bureau's Household Income and Expenditure Survey, says more Fiji citizens are living in poverty and that Indo-Fijians are the worst off.

According to a Fiji Live story, 72 per cent of those living in poverty were Indo-Fijians and 66 per cent iTaukei. The figures are from 2008 to 2009.

Forty-five per cent of the Indo-Fijian population living in poverty are said to live in rural areas while 21 per cent reside in town and city areas.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Economist: Fiji's floods could cost close to F$300 million

Devastating floods hit Fiji twice in a short time.

Economist Intelligence Unit
April 18 2012
Fiji Report

Outlook for 2012-13
Three years after the abrogation of the democratic constitution in 2009 by the then president, Josefa Iloilo, Fiji's military commander and prime minister, Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama, appears more determined than ever to hold on to power. He has pushed back the next election date by five years, to September 2014. International donors, led by Australia and New Zealand, will continue to exert economic and diplomatic pressure on the government until a poll is held, but the Economist Intelligence Unit believes that Commodore Bainimarama will be undeterred by foreign criticism. Severe flooding in parts of the country will mean that the rate of economic growth is likely to slow in 2012, despite higher gold production and the ongoing development of the tourism sector.
The political scene
The emergency powers in place since 2009 were lifted by Commodore Bainimarama in January 2012, ahead of the start of a consultation process on drafting a new constitution. The lifting of the Public Emergency Regulations was (PER) welcomed by the Australian and New Zealand governments as a first step towards greater political freedom. But new public order controls were decreed at the same time, which in effect enshrined elements of the PER into law.

McCully: regime will be held to its assertions of fair and open processes

Murray McCully and Bob Carr at today's stand up. 

The Ministerial Contact Group has wrapped up its visit with the chair, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, saying it was short but useful.

McCully says the regime has assured the group elections are on the way along with the public consultation process for a new constitution.

He says the acting prime minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and several officials have also assured them the process will be inclusive, fair and open. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Khaiyum miffed over 'rushed briefing'

 Khaiyum: Caught on the hop and not happy with today's meeting with Carr and McCully. pics MINFO

Not quite a tantrum but pretty close. 

Fiji's acting prime minister was clearly not happy today with the way his meeting went with the Pacific Forum's Ministerial Contact Group, led by Australia's Bob Carr and New Zealand's Murray McCully. 

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has accused the group of being too narrow in its approach saying it's not meeting a wide range of people. How so? He says of the 74 trade unions and other organisations the MCG could've met with, it chose 'those who are against the government'. 

"This afternoon they are meeting the trade unions and they are only meeting Pramod Rae, Rajeshwar Singh, Attar Singh and Felix Anthony. Felix Anthony we will turn around and say – well, he represents FTUC - but the point is there are many other organisations that do not actively participate in FTUC, so I don’t think it’s a very inclusive process on their part.” 

FICTU: MCG need to know nothing has changed in Fiji

Bob Carr addressing the media in Fiji upon arrival yesterday. Photo: Minfo

The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions says it will be hammering home that nothing has changed  apart from an announcement of supposed elections in 2014, when  it meets the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group today.

FICTU General Secretary Attar Singh (right) says the MCG need to know that a path to elections has been announced without any consultation with  political parties, trade unions and the NGOs.

He has welcomed the MCG's visit to see what he calls the real situation on the ground.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bainimarama in 'temple of doom' video


No sign locally of Fiji's self-appointed prime minister as the high powered Pacific Forum's Ministerial Contact Group touches down in Suva. 

In cyberspace, though, Frank Bainimarama has been caught for all time paying homage to host India and its gods during a visit to the famous Golden Temple.

In what appears to be a short video to promote his attendance at the International Sugar Organisation meeting in Delhi last week, Bainimarama is seen wearing an orange turban and kissing the ground as his fellow temple goers cheer him on.

Footage shows him making a play for Indian rupees for tourism but he lets the side down with a sneeze and looks more like a village idiot than a statesman. Bush editing? Yes. Bush manners? Definitely. 

Democracy group warns MCG not to lift sanctions against regime

The Fiji Democracy & Freedom Movement in Australia says it is concerned the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group who arrive in Fiji today will try to lift the travel and smart sanctions.
FDFM President Suliasi Daunitutu says such a move would be totally inappropriate "because many fundamental changes still need to be implemented in Fiji" and the junta has yet to prove its seriousness of holding free and transparent Constitutional Consultations and General Elections in 2014. 

"Our concern is this: ‘just how serious is this dialogue with Fiji’ because rumours abound regarding the possible lifting of smart sanctions and travel bans against officials of Fiji’s illegal Military Junta, which would be a grave mistake and serious miscalculation on the Contact Group’s part." 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beddoes welcomes MCG saying time for Fiji to engage

Hillary Clinton and Bob Carr might be seeing eye to eye on Fiji but not everyone is hailing the latest initiative by the regional 'superpowers'.

Mick Beddoes (right)
A Pacific Forum Ministerial Contact Group arrives tomorrow to see first hand the progress being made for the 2014 elections and constitutional reform.

Led by Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr and New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the group will meet with the regime and a select group, believed to include trade unions and opposition political leaders.