On September 6th the Development Policy Centre hosted the 2012 PacificUpdate at the ANU. The program consisted of panel discussions on PNG and Timor-Leste; Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa; and Solomon Islands and Fiji. This is what Professor Biman Prasad of the University of the South Pacific presented.
On 14 May 2012 it was 25 years since Fiji’s first coup in 1987. Those years have been turbulent both economically and politically. In the 1970s the economy was driven by sugar and tourism, and some crop sectors like rice, copra and dairy. On the whole Fiji pursued an inward looking import substitution strategy for growth, and the use of government subsidies to support rice and sugar industries was considered appropriate. Much infrastructure investment was also undertaken, which led to high levels of investment and economic growth.
This virtuous circle of positive developments was disrupted by the coup. However, this disruption also generated a change in the emphasis of the economic policy. There was clear move away from sugar, and indeed the agricultural sector as a whole, to the development of tourism and manufacturing. Large scale tax incentives were provided, such as long term tax holidays for new hotel developments and the development of natural resources like mineral water and the gold mining industry, as well as for the clothing and textile industries.
These incentives had significant economic and social effects. The garment industry became a substantial provider of low wage employment to women who could not find work in the informal urban sector. The shift in emphasis from the rural agricultural sector to an urban manufacturing and tourism sector also accelerated migration to cities.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
|Controversy: Balaggan affidavit.|
Mahendra Chaudhry presented the Fiji Labour Party submission to the Constitution Commission dismissing the constitution process as “fundamentally flawed and lacked credibility, integrity and legitimacy as sanctioned by Decrees 57 & 58”.
Chaudhry reiterated the party's support for a return to constitutional rule via the Fiji Court of Appeal decision of 2009, saying: “We implore members of the Commission to carefully consider transitional arrangement to democratic rule and make adequate provision in the draft constitution for the same, including the appointment of a caretaker government to take charge of the process of returning Fiji to constitutionals rule via free, fair and credible elections.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
|No rule of law: Arachchi said to have documents on regime dealings.|
She may well cause more controversy for the regime after triggering an unprecedented number of judicial staffers to writer letters of complaint about her.
Word has it the Sri Lankan magistrate has compiled a list of documents and recorded conversations with the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, where he was directing her to charge lawyers on complaints not supported by facts.
Arachchi also has documents and memos by Khaiyum to show he authorised the hire of cars only from Central Rentals, a company his family has an interest in.
Arachchi, whose contract was terminated on Saturday, reportedly also has details of different pay scales for different judicial officers - records which show a huge disparity in what locals are being paid and what the Sri Lankans imports are getting.
In the case of magistrates, local magistrates are paid a whopping $38,000 less than their Sri Lankan colleagues. For judges, the difference is $33,000.
Monday, September 10, 2012
|Ganga Wakishta Arachchi with regime coterie in 2010.|
One of the regime's star imports from Sri Lanka has had her contract terminated and is leaving the country in disgrace.
|Going AWOL with a government vehicle|
Ganga Wakishta Arachchi was apparently told on Saturday there is no longer any work for her in Fiji and she is believed to be flying out today.
Arachchi's unpopularity and abuse of office has been well-documented with Coupfourpointfive last month revealing 43 letters of complaints had been made about her and that she had been accused of calling i-taukei staffers 'monkeys'.
The Intelligentsiya blog also revealed last year that she was behind the sudden departure of three Sri Lankan magistrates and had used a government vehicle to take her family to Levuka for 'court inspection', but was effectively skiving off the job.
In our story last month, (43 complaints made against Fiji chief registrar Saturday, August 11), insiders revealed she had been suspended by the Public Service Commission over racist comments against i-Taukei staff members at the Court complex at government buildings in Suva.