April 23, 2010

Panic! Alarm! Woe Are We! Poverty in Fiji Up by 45%

If you read the news yesterday and were duly shocked by the alarming poverty rate, your reaction is probably just what the illegal and treasonous military regime were hoping for.

Think about it.

All along the regime and their supporters have been lying through their teeth painting a picture that all is dandy on the economic front (which btw was recently roundly rebuffed by ADB, resulting in a red-faced about-turn by the Central Bank chief who conveniently blamed the elements), and suddenly they hold a workshop and publicly release UNCENSORED figures claiming that almost half of the populace live on less than USD$1/day?

[Memo to the International Community: Many Pacific Islanders live quite happily on less than USD$1/day and are far healthier and much happier than their rural and western kin. That's because they eat from the land and sea, they're off the grid so they don't have to worry about bills and they know they can rely on relatives who live by the monetary economy to pitch in when they can. It is also the reason that many Pacific Islanders continue to make treks back to their motherland, re-enjoy the island life and forget about their western reliance on all things dollar related.]

Already this announcement has made Australian news.

The Fiji Council of Social Services now claims the poverty rate is more like 60%

So why is the regime conceding to statements that during their illegal tenure, poverty has skyrocketted upwards from a 32% that was determined in 2007. And again, this is Uncensored.

Here's our theory. It's all part of the "panic! alarm! woe are we!" reaction that they hope to accompany our IMF loan application.

According to the IMF press statement upon the end of the recent mission to Fiji:
"The IMF looks forward to the possibility of making further progress toward these ends in the coming months that would ensure external stability and help catalyze donor support for Fiji’s reform efforts.”
So by saying that 45% or 60% of Fiji's populace lives on less than USD$1/day that could perhaps CATALYZE donor governments into releasing their dosh to fund our reforms.

We seem to recall that not too long ago the World Bank had released a statement confirming Fiji's economic turn-around.

So why the conflicting signals and statements?

It's a ploy y'all!

And with all the hype about "land reforms" this will undoubtedly be a key "conditionality" of the granting of a loan from the IMF.

We can thereby expect the hype linking poverty alleviation to land reforms to be spun about "reforming land tenures WILL alleviate poverty" -- or words to that effect.

Note Bainimarama's words:
“Issues pertaining to the ailing sugar industry can only be addressed in a meaningful way if more land is available for productive use on long and secure tenure basis".

So 99 year native leases are not "long and secure" enough? 

Already there have been UNCENSORED media reports of cane farmers working their guts out so that their next generation get out of farming. This is one of the reasons why the University of Fiji set up shop in the Western division, to make higher education more accessible (and affordable) for kids from the cane farming community primarily.

The fact of the matter is that international banks such as the IMF (and the Forum Secretariat for the record - check out "Land Management and Conflict Minimisation Guiding Principles" on page 18) are promoting ideals where traditionally owned land needs to give way to more market-driven principles. 

The only way in which to follow a truly commercial endeavour utilising communally owned land is when you can use it as collateral to support  your business. However for native owned land which is communally owned (ie it does not and can not be owned by an INDIVIDUAL), this is virtually impossible.

So what needs to happen? You reform land laws and erode control from the traditional community and promote individualism. 

For Fijians it will be a long hard battle, but as is already evident when they regime wants something they're not going to wait. Evidently they have no qualms about overstepping the Native Lands Trust Board and acting outside the Native Land laws.

To understand more, read the book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins, and watch the youtube interview of Perkins on Al Jazeera:

April 22, 2010

A Pink Slip Warning to the Military Regime et al

This image has been respectfully pinched & tweaked from kickthemallout.com

Another Coup Supporter to join Military Regime


It is hardly surprising that this lady, who seemed to be doing more for her military regime appointment than her day-job, is now publicly coming out of the closet to help keep the media in check.

And as of right now FBC appears to be the only media house that had this scoop.

Lewensky's heading over to Lands to push the regime's Land Reform agenda through.
Thursday, April 22, 2010

A new Permanent Secretary for Fiji’s Ministry of Information will soon be announced according to government sources.

It is expected that former Connect Fiji CEO, Sharon Smith-Johns will replace Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni who is now the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Lands.

Smith is currently the chair for the Fiji Audio Visual Commission.

This morning Smith told FBC News she will only be able to comment once the appointment has been made official by government.

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

Tourism Lobby: Gay People Are Welcome in Fiji

If you questioned before our frequent allegations levelled against the Tourism Lobby especially where they openly dictate and/or support polices to/of this military regime, this latest news should clear all doubts.

Once again, the Tourism Lobby have unilaterally decided OVER the majority of citizens that Gay People Are Welcome in Fiji.

Once again, we assert that we have no quarrel with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) individuals as we see them as human beings first and foremost.

Our beef is with the Tourism Lobby who continue to think that ONLY what their sector decrees matters much more over what We the Majority of the populace want.

Seeing as the Tourism Lobby is so keen to open their arms to LGBT money from abroad, it begs the question of what Tourism Fiji have done to advance the respect for LGBTs in Fiji?

It smells like total hypocrisy and greed to us.
Fiji has open policy on gay tourists
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tourism Fiji says it doesn’t have any problem with Fiji being described as a ‘gay-friendly’ destination.

Fiji was described as such by a US travel agent in a San Diego Gay and Lesbian News website.

Sylvie Eidson who has been to Fiji three times, writes on the website that she’s been thrilled to find how open and gay-friendly Fiji continues to be.

Tourism Fiji Chairman Patrick Wong says Fiji is open to anyone who wants to come to our shores.

“Fiji is probably the friendliest place in the world and we have an open policy. And we invite those who are interested to come to Fiji. They need to share with us our culture, tradition and heritage – that is what tourism is all about.”

Wong adds that the gay sector is a discerning market.

“The gay segment of the market is the high-end of the market. Really at the end of the day tourism doesn’t discriminate anybody. Tourism bridges the gap between people.”

April 09, 2010

Taxpayers to pay up to 50% more for butter and milk from tomorrow

Thanks for nothing Rewa Dairy.

Josefa Serulagilagi's extended familial "ties" to Bainimarama lobbying has successfully gotten them a 40-50% price hike for butter and milk with effect from tomorrow.

We can just imagine the consumer hoarding that's going go down at supermarkets tonight.

What's more today's news that the flawed military regime approach to food stamps show's that those living in poverty clearly welcomed free access to these dairy products. 

We guess that trend will be short-lived.

Time to put your purchasing power to work folks.

Who will stand by the Fiji Times?

The death of media freedom is more or less a foregone conclusion, and the illegal & treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum despite whinging about the "hysterical frenzy" surrounding his illegal media muzzling controls, wants it in place by the end of the month if all goes according to plan.

We however would surmise that the major focus of this flawed "law" is the specific and explicit targetting of the Fiji Times.

All those involved in the 2006 coup have an axe to grind with the Times and they have unfortunately and conveniently bundled it up as pay-back allegations of "slanted views" against the Murdoch owned entity.  Check out for yourself their long-standing tussles with the Fiji Times: Neumi Leweni, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Shaiystaer Shameem, Jim Anthony, Pita Driti and of course the chief coupster Bainimarama.

Granted the Fiji Times may have, from time to time, been factually incorrect -- this transgression is one that all media outlets succumb to from time to time. And let's not forget that there exists to this day a process in which to make one's media grievances known and toothless or otherwise, it was an independent process that allowed the media to be self-regulated.

But who will stand by Fiji Times in the face of a heinous crime that is about to be illegalized by decree?

The question we pose is not about favouring one media outlet over the other, but is a challenge to you, the people, to defend what appears to be the ever eroding bastions of a free Fijian society.

The assault on media freedom is also an assault on your access to factual information about how your taxpaying dollars is being used. Limits to media freedom also limit your right to voice concerns about the running of the country.

Essentially that means that you merely cough up taxes pay-day after pay-day and let the military regime run amuck with your money regardless of the fact that you can't get sugar, butter, running water, proper roads etc.

Today it is the Fiji Times. 

Tomorrow it could well be Fiji TV or (as per the convenient rallying calls of "ethno-nationalism" that Khaiyum appears to be championing these days), the hotel industry.

That's right.

If, for the sake of consistency, one were to impose the same foreign ownership criteria [refer to draft Media Decree under Part 7 (sections 35-36)], on the tourism industry we could probably kiss the tourism industry good-bye.

According to local laws there are visa restrictions on skilled expats. To take the example of the tourism industry, expat hotel executives can only be hired if the hotel can prove that there is no local expertise available. 

To validate that local expertise is unavailable as well as confirm the hotel's commitment to building local knowledge, the hotel advertises locally and submits a training regimen that the expat will implement to ensure localisation of skills and knowledge.

Of course the roles are never filled locally and the Immigration Department is flooded with fake ads and training programmes that they have no expertise in cross-checking the effectiveness of.

So. The point of that example is to suggest that if consistency is applied across the board and we say good-bye to the Fiji Times, we inherently also agree to a precedent that can be replicated across the private sector. No holds barred.

The military regime's control is no longer limited to public service entities as long as they simply roll out illegal decrees that remain untransparent and unchallenged by We the People.

Fiji Media reactions to Media Decree "consultations"

Despite the growing regional and international condemnation of Shaista Shameem's brainchild, brought to life by former Labour Party man Dr Jim Anthony and now finally bought to fruition by Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, Fiji TV's news piece of "open and frank" reactions by local media personnel can be taken as either very positive or censored.

Check out Aiyaz's kid brother, Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum who conveniently heads the publicly funded national broadcast station, attempting to give credibility to the sham process at the 2:02 mark.

The death of media freedom in Fiji can be attributed to the following illegal and treasonous usurpers: Dr Shaista Shameem, Dr Jim Anthony, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and turncoats within the media industry itself.

Leweni Defends PINA

The proof, as they say, is always in the pudding.

In what many Fiji media folk may wrongly believe as an attempt to clip Fiji's domination in the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), another internal row erupts and also brought to the fore is the fact that Fiji's media censorship may be contributing to PINA's supposed ineffeciencies.

What brings this whole sorry saga to roost is the vehement defence of PINA by none other then the illegal and treasonous Lt Col Neumi Leweni.

April 08, 2010

Media Controls laid down by Military Junta

As we predicted, the farcical media decree consultations and "consultations" (read: one way directive from illegal and treasonous Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum) for Suva based media houses happened yesterday.

Download and read the draft decree here.

Intelligentsiya has as far back as January 2009 warned of the military junta's strategy for  media muzzling.

Already condemnation from the International Federation of Journalists and a former Fiji journalist has hit the airwaves.

April 01, 2010

Easter Greetings

FASANOC's Vidhya Lakhan can't understand English

We're wondering why it is so difficult for FASANOC's Vidya Lakhan to understand that COMMONWEALTH rules also bind COMMONWEALTH sports participation regardless of our membership.

As a sports administrator he should only be appreciative of the importance of rules and sticking to them.
Court upholds Fiji Commonwealth Games ban
Posted at 05:40 on 01 April, 2010 UTC

The Court of Arbitration for Sports has dismissed the appeal against Fiji’s ban from the Commonwealth Games.

Fiji was banned after being suspended from the Commonwealth for failing to hold elections.

The country’s National Olympic Committee had argued that politics and sport are separate, and that Fiji had a good case for appealing the decision.

It's president, Vidya Lakhan, says he has only been told that the appeal has been turned down, not the reasons why.

“We can’t seem to understand how the decision could have gone against us because the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution says if your country is in the Commonwealth, then your athletes can take part. That was the basis of our appeal, to CAS. We’re very much interested in finding out the grounds on which our appeal has been dismissed.”

Vidya Lakhan.

Dixon Seeto welcomes additional carriers to Fiji

Dixon Seeto of Tourism Fiji expresses their welcoming of additional carriers to Fiji highlighting that they want "capacity and frequency".

The Fiji Labour Party however has questioned whether capacity  and frequency is actually translating to more tourism dollars.

Meanwhile Air Pacific get their house in order with the appointment of new Boss, Dave Pflieger.

We wonder if Tourism Fiji has thought about the domestic capacity of the nation to cater for the additional visitors that they so badly desire. 

Already a planned water cut for Nadi tonight may not augur well for newly arrived Jetstar tourists.

Undoubtedly other basic infrastructural amenities such as electricity (especially if it is going to be privatized), roads, medical services etc will also be relied on more heavily.

Here's hoping that at the very least, the Monasavu dam  won't disappoint consumers and tourists alike.

Rewa Dairy threatens military regime again

Now that the monopolistic and publicly funded Rewa Dairy Cooperative Ltd is in dire economic straits, they resort to arm-twisting tactics with threats to close shop if they don't get their way.

In fact they've pulled this tired stunt  before.

Moreover they don't even blink when they demand a 60-80 percent increase to their prices, which the Prices and Incomes Board (PIB) is still to deliver a verdict on. By whinging directly to Bainimarama , Serulagilagi has not won himself any favours with the PIB and has made the issue political.

Their product availability and related speculation is already affecting supply domestically.

However hidden underneath their belly-aching drivel is the revelation that Rewa Dairy is in the red by FJD$3mill .

Josefa Serulagilagi the current board chair is no stranger to Rewa Dairy and has been involved at the board level for-almost-ever.

Curiously because his name is almost synonymous with Rewa Dairy, it appears that mismanagement happened on his watch, amidst a myriad of other still largely unresolved issues: technical, land lease related, farm management related , and even profit related.

Even the Fiji Labour Party has, as far back as 2004, realized that the entity was getting too soft, too comfortable and lazy because it was protected.

It's time to put Rewa Dairy out to pasture and let them reorganise, trim their fat so that they can fairly earn consumer dollars instead of depending on taxpayer bail-outs -- that is if the military regime is really genuine about consumer rights.

More prisoners try and make a break for it

The yellow ribbon programme doesn't look like it's that much of a drawcard for inmates anymore, with 2 more prisoners' suffering a failed attempt at making a break for it.

The long Easter weekend could be a factor.

7000 abortion requests: 2006 Report

Under a rather rather innocuous (and presumably censored) heading in Monday's Fiji Times, the abortion issue once again rears it's head.

This time the issue stems from a 2006 study by Fiji's College of General Practitioners who discussed the results of the study and the illegal Crimes Decree. 

According to the meeting of GP's "some members also felt that the decree was restrictive in cases of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies."

Moreover the President Dr Ram Raju takes a view that abortion is "far more liberal in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada and other countries".

Raju said some GPs thought Fiji could be as liberal because of the huge demand for terminations.

Here's some advice for private practitioner Raju and his  abortion-hungry cohorts: legislation on this issue is solely dependent on the majority wishes of the populace and not a minority view of 7,000 requests for abortions nor opportunistic pro-choice pressure from Women's Groups.
7000 ask to end gestation
Monday, March 29, 2010

A 2006 study has revealed the general practitioners handle close to 7000 requests every year for termination of pregnancies.

Fiji College of General Practitioners president Dr Ram Raju said the research was published in journal The Fiji General Practitioner.

FCGP members yesterday held a mini seminar to discuss the Crimes Decree which came into effect last month.

The decree does not allow general practitioners to use any drug for abortion.

It states it is not illegal for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion as a result of incest. The abortion of foetus conceived through rape is also not illegal under the decree.

Dr Raju said the decree also stated abortions could only be carried out by a hospital-based consultant or in a hospital setting.

"That means abortion can be carried out in a hospital setting provided two doctors have examined and thoroughly looked at the indications," he said.

According to Dr Raju, GPs did not have the setting to do abortion as stated under the decree.

"I think the decree still allows a general practitioner to be highly responsible and work within the laws," he said.

Dr Raju said there were always a substantial number of consultation, requests for termination and counselling for family planning the general practitioners continue to provide on unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.

He said the new decree may prevent the above services being provided.

Dr Raju said the college was asking the members to ensure that proper documentation was done and that counselling was very important.

He said some members also felt that the decree was restrictive in cases of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

"It is far more liberal in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada and other countries," he said.

Dr Raju said some GPs thought Fiji could be as liberal because of the huge demand for terminations.

"We feel it's mainly due to failed contraception," he said.

Fiji TV and Fiji Times to participate in draft Media Decree consultations

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum intent on flouting international trade rules

The illegal and treasonous Attorney General and Tourism Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum reveals another shoddily thought out plan by the military regime to retain more tourist dollars.

In an attempt to curry favour with Ba landowners,  Khaiyum launches a grand plan to "Buy Fiji Made" which was probably derived from his mate Sada Reddy's Central Bank monetary policy of June 2009.

Only problem is that it's called protectionism and thereby flouts the norms of free trade. Not even the US is immune.

International world leaders have already vowed to holding protectionist pressures in check and Fiji can ill afford to be hauled up to the WTO to defend itself in an international trade dispute.

Erroneous police report raises ire of Biausevu Village

Illegal and treasonous Police Chief Esala Teleni and his chief cheerleader spokesman, Atunaisa Sokoimuri are under the spotlight for releasing an erroneous police report.

Village headman of Biausevu village in Nadroga, Ratu Siriaki Matabogi raised his concerns about media reports based on police reports that identify his village as the location of a recent drug bust.

Matabogi refutes those claims and asserts that the actual scene of the drug bust is in fact a fair distance away from Biausevu village. Ratu Siriaki in turn fears for the reputation of his village because of their reliance on daily tourism activities.

The village headman has requested that the police correct their erroneous report and Sokoimuri has responded to this news promising to clarify and correct their report accordingly.

Watch Fiji TV's news piece about Biausevu village below.

As if that wasn't enough, we can again credit the Police Force for publicising alarmist statements on the 8 year old girl who was recently indecently assaulted and allegedly raped.

Sokoimuri's statement said that the victim had a "brink of death" diagnosis and perhaps contributed to the Ministry of Health unnecessarily firefighting falsely rampant rumours.

From the police website:
Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokoimuri said all schools have the responsibility in ensuring the safety of their students during school hours especially for primary schools.

“These measures should have been in place because it should be the norm, this incident could have been avoided if someone was around school.”

“It is said that such an incident has to happen for schools to realize how vulnerable their students can be if not supervised.”

“But let it be a warning to all out there who cannot control their sexual urges that you will face the wrath of the law under the new Crimes Decree 2009 if found guilty of rape.

The victim was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time as the alleged perpetrator now in Police custody lay in wait in the toilet with the intent to commit the crime.

And if that was not enough, the perpetrator proceeded to beat the helpless young girl to the brink of death. She is on life support now at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit with major injuries to her head.

Whether this was done to silence her or further satisfy an inner social ill or psychotic need remains to be answered. But the question remains how can we prevent something like this from ever happening again?

Pacific Islands News Association website blocked

We've had our eyes on the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) for a while because of their flakey approach to Bainimarama's military regime.

Yesterday Radio New Zealand reported that the PINA website was blocked and that they were changing their Internet Service Provider.

In a fantastic ass-save about-turn, PINA's Manager Matai Akoula takes to Radio Australia's air waves to quickly deflect blame from the military regime while also managing to sell the regime's perspective that Bainimarama's draconian Singaporean influenced Media Decree is a much better option compared to a Chinese influenced one.

Listen here:

Fiji Sun's attempted April Fool's Day prank

Happy April Fool's Day folks!
Expert to investigate case of disappearing animals in Namosi

An overseas expert will visit Fiji to conduct research into several incidents involving the disappearance of cattle and other animals from land adjacent to a deep section of the Navua River in Namosi Province.

A number of cattle, pigs and poultry have vanished without a trace after going down to the bank of Fiji’s third largest river to drink.

The location is near the village of Seganidua, about 15-kilometres inland.

The village headman, Mr Yacasega, confirmed the incidents and claimed he had himself recently seen a bull being dragged under the water by a monster of some kind. A fierce struggle followed and within a minute or so the bull had gone.

He added that it was difficult to clearly see the creature in question as it was well after sunset and visibility was poor.

Local wildlife authority, Dr Vuniwai Nimanumanu, said there could be a number of possibilities, at least two of which pointed to invasive species not native to Fiji.

He stated that as the area is close to where Anaconda II was produced several years ago, a snake used in the filming may have escaped from the film set into the jungle and grown to a large size. Another possibility is a large Green Iguana, of the introduced species that is currently being eliminated in Cakaudrove.

An unlikely possibility is a crocodile which might have travelled to Fiji from the Solomon Islands on ocean debris, as has been recorded to have happened several times in the 1800s. (In fact, one of these crocodiles was reported to have claimed nine lives, according to R A Derrick in his book, The Fiji Islands.)

A further possible perpetrator could be a rogue Bronze Pointer shark, a species known to regularly move up into freshwater from the sea and to inhabit deep pools on several of Fiji’s major rivers. Sharks have been reported at locations in the Rewa River, over 50 km from the sea.

Dr Nimanumanu stressed just how critical it is to keep invasive animal species out of Fiji as these threatened our indigenous animals and birds, which are found no where else in the world.

World authority on invasive species, Dr Lirpa Loof, of McDonald’s University in Scotland, will arrive in Fiji today to commence investigations into the mystery disappearances. His report is being anticipated with much interest and expectation.