April 11, 2007

Value for money?

Oilelei ra makabuqu…Sorry for the absence – what with the Easter holidays and the Fiji Sevens win in Adelaide. But back to business, the nation awaits with bated breath for the announcement by the GCC on the appointment of the Vice President. While we pray that the grapevine “nomination” remain as rumours I hold on to hope everlasting that I will be disappointed. In the pit of my stomach I know I will be disappointed as the politicking of members vs non-members has begun.

But your old Bu Josi’s own ticker has been doing the roller-coaster in recent days. From the tragic tsunami in Gizo, to the snap cyclone here on our turf to the heart-attack-invoking 7s triumph in Adelaide – mate nai lavo at the Adelaide 7s! What a turn of events and emotions!

But despite these events it will take much, much more than that to turn old Bu Josi’s attention away from the happenings here.

Let’s focus today on the junta’s Mahendra Chaudhry and his efforts in managing our coffers. So he’s managed to turn the hearts of the government of India by helping out with our natural disasters. Now the Indian government has extended that help to better trade links and possibly judges and army training. Very peculiar indeed makabuna’s.

It is odd because the Indian government maintains it will not impose sanctions because of our long history. History is one thing but aid that develops our country is another and frankly the Indian government cannot even begin to compare to what Australia and New Zealand contribute to this country. It is also odd that India as a member of the Commonwealth is not toeing the party line.

The proposed injection via a loan from the Exim Bank of India towards the sugar industry reform last year, we must not forget has its ties to some brokering from the FLP-folk (who could forget the much publicised falling out between Chaudhry and Anand Singh over that matter?)

However makabuqu’s all is not so sweet within the sugar industry itself. As the invasion of FLP candidates comes to the fore and news of a $6.4m loan obtained by the Sugar Cane Growers Council chairman two weeks ago without board approval will see farmers with a noose to the tune of approximately $100K in loan repayments hanging around their necks. What a hefty sum like that is doing floating around the sector must surely be tied to the rejuvenation of the industry reform process that fell apart after 5/12.

Of interest is the revelation by a fellow blog-site highlighting how the FLP hopes to dupe the EU. Nice try ragone but don’t think that the EU is oblivious to all the underhand drama. We know that they have got their fingers firmly on the pulse of this nation.

That’s not all ragone. The Asian continents are falling over themselves to come to our rescue. We are told that last week Chinese officials were doing the rounds of closed-door meetings with certain members of this junta namely Chaudhry, Taito Waradi and Ratu Epeli Ganilau. And of course Taiwan, never wishing to be outdone, are doing their thing all over the Pacific .

If the junta is depending on the ADB to bail them out it might like to see who really holds power in this multilateral financial institution.

But back to Chaudhry. Let us turn to a very clandestine and almost sinister “Robin Hood” move promoted by the king-of-robbing-from-the-rich-to-“help”-the-poor. Yes that’s right ra makabuqu the suggested increase in departure tax due to come into effect from May. Now ragone, if our tourism arrival numbers are already sluggish a carrot like this may seem good for the country. But is it good for our visitors who can use their purchasing power (even if it is only $10 but doesn’t everybody want value for money these days?) at more attractive (and cheaper) destinations like Bali.

Therefore we slap on a $10 levy on visitors and outbound internal travellers which this illegal government with no accountability can run amok with? Hardly an attractive marketing tactic, is it ra makabuqu? Not even the best marketing efforts by na makabuqu Bill Gavoka can sell this sham. If the junta are timing this increase for the international tourism meet to be held at the plush Sheraton resort next month in which to make their margins, it does nothing about the core barrier to tourism - that of travel advisories from our core tourism clients which will not be lifted until elections take place soon. Unless of course we pin our hopes on an influx of starlets from Bollywood.

But heck with the Indian rupee needing to work harder (1 FJD = 26.1181 INR) to match the Fiji dollar, those kinds of visitors will be few and far between. Even then they will presumably only come to do concerts and trade shows which will be paid for by the people of Fiji down the line.

I pause for a moment here to make mention of His Excellency the President who is to approve this. Isa Ratu Iloilo e na yalo ni veidokai au kerea mo nanumi Viti and think deeply about what it is you are signing away. A thousand curses to those who choose to hood-wink you continuously in this manner.

Ok, a quick word about army training. So if India gives us this training and Frank eagerly applauds the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's firm stand on the UN continuing to use our men as peacekeepers while slamming Australia, New Zealand and the Commonwealth Secretariat in the same breathe AND the British Army has quiet pre-selection tests for potential recruits happening in the Western side, what does that tell us? I leave that to you to unravel because I’m still trying get my grey-haired head around it.

But most interesting are the recent divergent views of the Governor of the Reserve Bank Savenaca Narube and Chaudhry. Inflation is up and I did not need an economist to tell me that. I mean ra makabuqu, $10 doesn’t take an old lady like me very far every time I venture to buy kula or kerosene at the village sitoa.

Anyhow Chaudhry in true Mahend fashion continues to blame the previous government for all our economic woes yet as a recipient not too long ago of government expenditure (parliamentary “privileges”) he not once barked about getting more! More to the point though is that his solutions don’t seem convincing at all. Chaudhry proposes to tweak our legislation that improves internal money processes…isa lei…even in my twilight years I know there is not enough money floating around in the first place (apart from money from veiwekani overseas) in which to really move the economy. That kind of money only comes from foreign exchange via investment, exports and tourism. All of which are in trouble at the moment with no sign of “massaging” by the junta. So Mahend sa kua na lasu kerekere. Fiji is financially in the red and trust us, if/when we get a devaluation you can kiss your political career as a self-promoted money guru good-bye.

Let’s pause a while to focus on the CEO in the PM’s Office who gives life to the heads-up we alluded to earlier re: cyber crimes legislation. Parmesh Chand is also on the Dr Shaista Shameem band-wagon claiming that the Fiji Human Rights Commission independent report tells of unsafe ICT practices in government which has “privacy of information” implications. Well ra makabuqu mai keri you guys, you do what you have to do and we will do what we have to do. In the final analysis you are an illegal administration anyway so that should strike your claims out automatically. What’s most uncanny is that Parmesh refers to the final Canadian evaluation report BEFORE we the peoples were informed about it and we piece that together by comparing the dates of his media statement and the dates of the FHRC evaluation media statement…like my grandchildren say these days: “Duh! “

And by the way junta-folk we know about the newly appointed manager ITC named Salusalu who is an ex-navy boy of Franks recently returned from doing studies in Australia on IT hardware…good luck with tracking down bloggers with that “key” expertise. And even better wishes to you in your endeavour to actually enforce whatever legislation you are concocting. Did someone say GOPIO expertise??

But again back to Chaudhry. So he shows his eagerness in sinking his fangs into the Fiji Investment Corporation. Ok ragone so maybe there are questions about why a middle-man entity like that had to be formed in the first place but it does seem worrying that Chaudhry is intent on reviewing and reshaping it. Let’s hope we don’t see any Robin Hood tactics taking place there which do nothing for investor confidence. But let’s also remember that under the leadership of Parmesh as former CEO for public enterprise one of the state’s cash-cow of Post Fiji was supposed to come under the umbrella of FIC.

Oilei ra makabuqu, the “aahhh-aahhh man” Leweni joyously sings accapella the “you are confined to barracks” tune to Qarase. This junta just doesn't get it, do they? The more they flex publicly, the more the public evidence becomes stacked them in the SDL case. Even if the warnings are not public Qarase has to know what the verdict is and that becomes another affidavit. These poor sods are totally out of their depth here. Perhaps we should be asking whether we the people are getting value for money via Kiwi QC Gerald McCoy as we will inevitably have to somehow pay for this legal wrangling somewhere down the track.

We note the letter to editor in the Fiji Times penned by Akuila Yabaki yesterday. Kudos Rev for being consistent with that principled stand.

We also note Frank’s attempt at ‘playing the leader in his statement congratulating our boys for the Adelaide 7s Victory. Vosota makabuqu Frank, you do not have the mandate to speak on my behalf. We are all perfectly able to pass on our own congratulatory messages and we do that quite well via blogging!

Moce mada ra makabuqu. I am now all ranted out and I’m off to see how to stretch my $10 for more kula for my ibe! After that I will try out the Easter recipes from my sister Discombobulated Bubu …dou mai kana!


Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, India was the main country actively lobbying for harsh trade and other sanctions in the previous coups. I think India even placed a trade embargo on Fiji at one stage. Its interesting to observe that India is now singing a completely different tune as far as the current coup is concerned.

Anonymous said...

I saw something on Fiji Live today which makes me wonder whether any citizen of our beloved country can seek protection from our courts.
The comment made by Justice Gates that on the issue of Qarase's freedom, "it was a matter beyond court."
This needs some clarification because it was assumed that the courts always have the final say, or is there is now a higher authority beyond the reach of the law. Does this mean that Fiji is now officially a dictatorship?
Can you get opinions and comment on the implications of Justice Gate's ruling?

Qarase requires army clearance: Court
Wednesday April 11, 2007 (fijilive.com)

The lawyer for Fiji's deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase hopes to meet the army on Friday in an attempt to allow Qarase to travel freely.

Tevita Fa said he is waiting on the State Law Office to respond to his request lodged today.

Qarase wants to be present for his court case, where he and other senior members of his Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party are challenging the military overthrow of the SDL-led government four months ago.

However, the army maintains that Qarase remain on his home island on Mavana, Lau where he fled to after the December 5 coup.

The army says that it is for security reasons, without clarifying how Qarase will be a threat.

Earlier today, Fa asked the court to make a decision on the restriction imposed by the army on his client.

To this, Acting Chief Justice Anthony Gates responded that Qarase should attend the court proceedings.

However, on the issue of Qarase's freedom, Justice Gates said that IT IS A MATTER BEYOND THE COURT.

Following a private meeting between the judge and the lawyers, it was decided that Fa raise the matter with the army.

The court has adjourned the case to April 24 when the defendants are expected to respond to affidavits filed by the plaintiffs.

Anonymous said...

And now that the August GCC meeting is into Day Two, we have some really interesting developments what with the nomination of the President being rejected by the Kubuna and Burebasaga Confederacies. One would have thought that Kubuna would have seconded the nomination seeing that Rt Epeli is from there. But then again, the chiefs have spoken.

And for Epeli G to comment as he did last night ... I think he just overdid it a little bit and didn't realise that his little plans unfolded in front of all the telly folks. Why invoke his alleged powers in the Fijian Affairs Regs? Doesn't sound like fair play to me.

And to even comment that chiefs must move on and not dwell on the illegal administration currently running the country --- I say get a life and realise that an apple is an apple and not an orange.

Frank Vore said...

Good points Bubu keep it coming.

I read with interest Fiji’s Interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s disappointment that the Great Council of Chiefs has rejected the President’s choice for Vice President. His statement bemuses me that it is premature and irrational for the chiefs to base their decision on the premise that Ratu Epeli, as Interim Minister is part of an illegal regime. Of course it is the Judicial and Court process, which will determine the legality, or otherwise of the Interim Government. But his actions to date smacks of a blatant disregard of the very same legal process he is now touting. What happened to the principle when those accused of corruption have been found guilty by the military and kicked out of their jobs without any opportunity to rebut the allegation. At the very least the GCC has exercised its prerogative based on the principles of democracy and the interim government should accept that. It is also interesting to note Bainimarama’s comment that Ratu Epeli agreed to become a part of the Interim Government when approached by the President to help move the country forward after the December 5 coup. A honourable gesture indeed but the public knows that the invitation was from Bainimarama himself, the President merely came in to the picture to legitimise the appointments. Whether Rt Epeli is there for the good of the country or for his own benefits remains to be seen. Any clean up campaign is as good as the laws that govern such actions and in Fiji’s case there was none.

Anonymous said...

its about time to say goodbye to the sugar INDUSTRY! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Trues up man. Leweni, did you even go to PR school or was ass kissing to frank a good enough lesson.

Well your ahhhh-ahhhh-yeah speach on tv is embaressing, and also to leweni's wife(if he has one) please teach "it" about shaving and moisturizers. The kosa ni yagona look is so primitive

How unprofessional, major!!! Anyway, bubu, man, I wonder how chaudary is gonna do this one. Be very careful people, wake up. Having a foreign power invest so much into our country is never good-both in the short and long term

Anonymous said...

I wonder where were you guys after the 2000 coup? Or is it that the taste of your own medicine is so sour? The sugar industry is the sweat of our forefathers. They gave Fiji a backbone to stand up. Otherwise Fiji would have been another Solomon islands. Bainimarama is a true hero. Saving us from racist SDL government. God bless RFMF.

Anonymous said...

It is time we said goodbye to the GCC.

Anonymous said...

All those bloggers who studied under affirmative action, hands up. Yes, you, you, and you. You want somebody who promotes affirmative action I guess.