May 30, 2013

Fiji Parliament House to undergo revamp

07:03 Today (May 30, 2013)
Report by: Roland Koroi

Work is underway to redesign Parliament House at Veiuto in Nasese, Suva.

With plans to downsize the new Parliament, Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Lt Colonel, Pio Tikoduadua says, a task force has been set up to design a more suitable complex.

_"We have a taskforce that is looking at the holistic revamping and rebuilding of the capacity of our complex a committee is looking at it right now the infrastructure , the manor systems, the laws the secretariat its looking at the building."

Tikoduadua says, the cost of the revamp will be known once the new design is completed.

“They have submitted an initial report and I have asked them to go back and tarnish it up a little bit more and adds a few more comments to it.”

The new Parliament Complex will be ready in time for the first sitting of parliament after elections in 2014.

Vodafone launches social gaming

May 30, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom
Source: Vodafone Fiji

Vodafone, is proud to be the first network provider to bring mobile social gaming and entertainment “Funspot”, for our techno-savvy and socially active market.

This is the first time in the country that our customers will be able to enjoy a fully integrated social gaming with 9 made-for-mobile social games. 

The games represent some of the most popular categories in the social gaming world including: Fashionista, Football World, Mobile Chefs and Pets. The service had been launched at the Fiji Showcase 2013.

Vodafone Fiji’s chief marketing officer, Sanjeewa Perera said that “This is yet another achievement for us as for the first time the people in Fiji will be able to enjoy social gaming on their mobile phones. 

This will also bring socially active people across the nation to communicate via chats, share and comment on photos and videos”.

Funspot’s mobile social games can be accessed by any phone with a browser and data connectivity.  Mr. Perera said that “this genre of mobile social entertainment can be enjoyed by the majority of Fijians given Vodafone Fiji’s largest 3G network coverage”.

Given the lack of entertainment options in many parts of Fiji, Funspot mobile social gaming provides a platform for people to engage with their peers, make friends and get socially engaged in more fun ways.

Additionally, all subscribers signing up today will be getting one week of free subscription from the day of registration. You can sign up today at our Vodafone booth at the showcase. You can also use the link – and become part of the first social gaming service in Fiji. with Vodafone.

Putin meet on

May 30, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
The Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will be meeting President Vladimir Putin during his State Visit to Russia.
This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun yesterday by the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.

“It has now been confirmed from Russia that the Prime Minister will be meeting President Putin during his State Visit to Russia,” Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said.
The Prime Minister’s State Visit to Russia will be June 25-30.
A release from the Ministry of Information yesterday confirmed that at this stage, a detailed programme for the visit had yet to be finalised.

In an earlier interview with Non-Resident Ambassador accredited to Russia Isikeli Mataitoga, he confirmed that a delegation from the Tourism Industry would also accompany the Prime Minister.

According to Ambassador Mataitoga, the Prime Minister will be meeting with his Russian counterpart, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on June 27.
On June 28 he will be chief guest at a tourism convention.
The Prime Minister’s State Visit will also coincide with the Rugby World Cup 7s in June 28-30 in Moscow.
In January this year when the Russian Ambassador to Fiji, Vladimir Morozov paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, he gave his assurance that Russia “is ready to provide Fiji 7s team the best of our hospitality during the IRB 7s World Cup.”

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov in his meeting with the Prime Minister during his visit said that Russia was interested in working with the Pacific Islands in the areas of investment, minerals, energy, tourism, education and medicine.
Ambassador Mataitoga said a Government delegation would also be accompanying the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile during his visit to Fiji last January Russia’s Ambassador based in Australia had said that Russia aimed to develop relations with Fiji.
He said Russia’s primary intention was to intensify relations in a vast range of spheres including trade, energy, mining, transport, fisheries, education, health and tourism with Fiji and other Pacific islands.

PM’s office counters lies

May 30, 2013 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

A team from the Prime Minister’s Office, led by the Permanent Secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Pio Tikoduadua is visiting villages to counter the lies being spread by Government critics.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun at the Novotel Suva Lami Bay conference room yesterday, Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said these critics were targeting Tailevu-North and Wainibuka.

“They have been spreading lies to the iTaukei people about their security under the new constitution,” Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said.

He said pamphlets and false information about the iTaukei people had been distributed by critics with the sole objective of winning the peoples’ support in the 2014 General Elections.

Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said these critics had totally given a different interpretation on the iTaukei landownership enshrined in the new constitution.

“They’re saying that the landownership of the iTaukei people would be under threat when the new constitution comes into effect.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said they were talking of the entrenched legislations in the 1970 and 1997 constitutions however the political upheavals in 1997 and 2000 were all about the iTaukei people.

He said critics had been telling the people that under the Land Use Decree, government had the power to take native land on whatever terms it liked.

The Permanent Secretary said under the new constitution, the ownership of iTaukei land would be protected and he stressed that no one could take away the land ownership rights from the iTaukei people.

Lieutenant-Colonel Tikoduadua said some chiefs were with the critics but the people are with Government.

He has urged members of the public to be cautious on the information they received from groups going around.

“They’re just trying to get support for the upcoming elections.”

iTaukei scholarship to remain
The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office has confirmed that the ITaukei Affairs Board scholarship would remain.

He said the Prime Minister’s Office had received queries about the scholarship which the Government had decided would continue.

Bainimarama signs agreement

18:03 Wed May 29, 2013
Report by: Epeli Tukaiwasa

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama is scheduled to sign an agreement with the Chinese government for Fiji to export two containers of dalo to the country every month.

Agro Marketing Authority of Fiji Chief Executive Officer Alivereti Yaya says the agreement will see the first two containers shipped to China from next month.

There’s high demand for uro ni vonu, korosi and jabeni in the Chinese market.

Yaya says, farmers need to work very hard to meet the demand of this new market.

Fiji sent two containers of dalo to China in October last year.

Negotiations between govt and China Railway 1 still continuing

Publish date/time: 30/05/2013 [13:09]

Negotiations between government and China Railway 1 in relation to the Raiwai flats which is currently on hold are still continuing.

This is according to the Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua who said has that he has met with the representatives of the Chinese Embassy, China Railway and Public Rental Board.

Colonel Tikoduadua said they are trying to work out an amicable solution.

China Railway First Group in a statement said PRB had agreed that the cost of the flats was to be negotiated after the completion of the building designs and that PRB specifically allowed the structural design of the buildings to be of Chinese National Standards.

Colonel Tikoduadua said they are still looking into the whole issue.

We also asked if anyone from PRB will be taken to task.

Stay with us as we will have more on this story in the next hour.

Story by: Filipe Naikaso

Fiji seeks China’s help in completion of Raiwai flats

10:00 Today (May 30, 2013)
Report by: Elenoa Turagaiviu

Fiji has sought the assistance of the Chinese government in the completion of the construction of the Public Rental Board’s Raiwai flats.

Speaking at his meeting with the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing last night, Bainimarama said, in order for the project to be completed, the Fiji government anticipates the usual support of the Chinese government.

He says the construction of the $19 million low cost housing by China Railway Company Number 1, has been halted due to cost over runs to the tune of $20 million.

Bainimarama has urged the Chinese government to consider settling the balance or convert the total amount into a grant.

He says this would ensure the completion of the project and guarantee access to affordable housing for Fijians in the lower-income bracket.

The project was initially expected to be completed by the end of last year.

Shazzer & Grubby: What the Regime Insiders Really Think of the Daft Constifusion

Darling Grubby,

As you know I have been worried lately about the longevity of the Glorious Leader’s Rule and also the commitment of many of the regime insiders. Using hidden cameras and microphones I have managed to put together a video of what the current view is amongst the regime insiders. 

By the way did I tell you I had hidden cameras in the back of my 4x4. Don’t worry I have a reputation for going with younger Fijian men and I don’t want it ruined by releasing our sex tape.

Click on the nose of Mr Sincerity below and you will get a revealing look at what our friends really think about the Daft Constifusion. I tell you with friends like these Frankly Bananas does not need enemies. Even the President, NellieTheCow, says we should not be ruled by the unelected.

 Inline images 1

I am feeling really pleased with myself at the moment. I organized a vote buying exercise for the Glorious Leader, but we spent money that was not ours.  Pretty Cool Hey! Actually that is not so unusual as Bananas only spends other people’s money, the taxpayers. 

More than 380 veteran sugar cane farmers received the first ever pension payout in FIji's history. The pension is provided through the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association and paid through the Fair Trade initiative.

Got go, I need to get ready because my young driver is coming round to help me test the new hidden camera in my bedroom. 

Hugs and Kisses


This is to inform the public that this letter is a piece of fiction. However, some of the people and events mentioned are real.

Praise for speech on Fiji media freedom–PFF

MONDAY, MAY 27, 2013

Gagged on World Press Freedom Day: Dr Wadan Narsey

PFF, Rarotonga - The Pacific Freedom Forum is welcoming publication of a speech from a speaker stopped from presenting at the University of the South Pacific on World Press Freedom Day.

Dr Wadan Narsey published his speech through new Fiji magazine, Republika.

“We praise the bravery of the magazine publishers operating under a military regime with limited understanding of benefits stemming from open debate,” says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.

“We also support Dr Narsey in criticising a trend towards blaming journalists for policy and practice that comes from editors, publishers or outside of news media.”

Speaking from Port Moresby, Gabi said the WPFD, World Press Freedom Day gag shows “extraordinary oversensitivity” on the part of university authorities.

“Media freedom in Fiji is one thing, but a regional university such as USP must engage with authorities to ensure that wider impacts are avoided.”

PFF co-Chair Monica Miller, based in Pago Pago, said that WPFD 2013 would have been the ideal opportunity for university authorities to raise debate around freedoms of speech ahead of elections scheduled for next year.

“How is it that better preparations were not laid for this most fundamental of freedoms?”

Miller also praised suggestions from Dr Narsey for journalists to start maintaining records on censorship for future evaluation.

His comments are reproduced here:
“What journalists need to do ... is to keep a record of all the stories they write, the dates they submit to the editors, and the story that appears or does not appear. 
“Some day, media censorship will end and our society will return to practicing their human right to freedom of expression. 
“As part of our attempt to understand this period in Fiji’s sad history, there will also be studies  of the nature and frequency of media censorship during this time. 
“The records maintained by journalists and principled editors will be an invaluable part of the history from which our future generations can learn. 
“Journalism has as much a part to play in the history of our people as any other academic discipline such as history, politics or economics. 
“Journalism may be the most important given its centrality in informing public opinion, which is the cornerstone of any true democracy.”

See other PFF releases on Fiji.

Media ownership in Fiji constricting media freedom
Censorpedia | National Coalition Against Censorship (US)
Noted Fiji academic stopped from speaking to USP students

PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea  | +67573143929 |
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa | + 6842584197 |
PFF coordinator Jason Brown | Pasifika media | Vaitele, Samoa | +6857604412 |

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

Media ownership in Fiji constricting media freedom

Journalists in Suva interviewing Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr during his Forum Ministerial Contact Group meeting in Fiji. Photo: Ministry of Information
Journalists in Suva interviewing Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr during his Forum Ministerial Contact Group meeting in Fiji. Photo: Ministry of Information
Since 2009, the Fiji regime’s decrees, public stance and prosecutions of media owners, publishers and editors, have effectively prevented the media from being a “watch-dog” on government. Some media organisations are now largely propaganda arms for the regime.
[Read the first part of this article at this link for my take on the current performance of the media here]
But it is unfortunate that some critics are targeting journalists, who are minor cogs in the media machine.
The reality is that journalists are totally under the control of editors and publishers, who in turn are ultimately controlled by the media owners.
The real weakness in Fiji’s media industry currently is that Fiji’s media owners are not “dedicated independent media companies”, but corporate entities with much wider business interests which are far more valuable to the media owners than their profits from their media assets.
This is exacerbated by the reality that the media owners’ other investments are extremely vulnerable to discretionary government policies, which can cause greater financial harm than the media profits are worth.
There is therefore every financial incentive for Fiji’s media owners to ensure that their media organisations do not get on the wrong side of the regime by being independent and critical as a “watchdog” function requires.
To ensure a strong and independent media, Fiji’s media ownership must be divested to dedicated media operators, and not held by Fiji’s corporate giants.
THE PRINT MEDIA: The Fiji Times and the Fiji Sun
The two major print outlets are The Fiji Times and the Fiji Sun.
The latter is a blatant propaganda arm of the military regime, while the former now practices self-censorship.
The Fiji Times
The Fiji Times, once owned by the Murdoch empire, was recently acquired by the Motibhai Group of Companies, because of a regime decree requiring local ownership.
The regime has been penalising The Fiji Times by denying it advertising revenue amounting to more than a million dollars a year, all now diverted to the Fiji Sun.
A Fiji Times editor and publisher have been hauled into court and faced heavy penalties over what many would see as minor infringements.
Since 2009, its senior writers have been reluctant to take articles from me, or even reply to emails.
The leading director of Fiji Times Limited, multi-millionaire Motibhai Patel, was recently found guilty of corruption and jailed over a relatively minor matter involving a government corporation of which he was board chairman.
Motibhai Patel is currently in Australia for medical treatment and a bench warrant has been issued for him to return to Fiji to face additional charges of abuse of office arising out of the same chairmanship of the Government corporation, Post Fiji Limited.
Motibhai Patel also has a much larger financial interest in the form of duty-free outlets at Nadi Airport, leased from Airports Fiji Limited (AFL) which is under the direct control of the regime.
Once enjoying a complete monopoly, Motibhai recently began to face competition through the entry of another local company (Tappoo) which also happens to have large business deals with the Fiji National Provident Fund, the largest financial institution in Fiji and also under the direct control of the regime.
All airport leases were recently dissolved by decree (not challengeable in court) and reallocations of airport retail outlet space are pending.
Any further reduction of space for Motibhai Patel (which may occur purely with the commercial objective of increasing government revenue) has the potential to significantly reduce Motibhai’s profits by amounts which are far greater than the profits from The Fiji Times.
There is therefore every financial incentive for the current owners, publisher and editor of The Fiji Times to minimise newspaper content critical of the regime.
The Fiji Sun
The Fiji Sun is owned by the CJ Patel family, a large corporate player in the Fiji economy with major importing and franchising interests involving many international brands.
CJ Patel recently purchased the monopoly Rewa Dairy company, concurrently with the receipt of substantial discriminatory tariff assistance from the regime, thereby raising the price of milk and milk products.
CJ Patel’s financial controller (a Sri Lankan) serves the regime on a wide range of influential government boards (often as the chair), as for instance the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).
The FNPF, with the support of regime decrees, has rammed through massive reductions to existing pensions, with an already existing legal challenge being thrown out of court (although under the ill-fated Ghai draft constitution, such challenges would have been re-allowed).
The Fiji Sun owners have many financial incentives (including a monopoly on government advertising) to be totally supportive of the regime while censoring opposite views, as it has blatantly done for the last four years.
The Fiji Sun will not print most articles by me questioning regime policies while freely printing pro-regime articles, some of which have attacked me, without my being given the right of reply.
There are three television stations of which the larger two will be discussed here – Fiji Television Ltd, and the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, which started off as a radio station, recently also acquiring a television license.
Fiji Television Limited
The historically dominant Fiji Television was originally owned by Fijian provincial councils (Yasana Holdings) and other private shareholders including the local business mogul Hari Punja.
Punja has a wide variety of business interests in Fiji (and the wider Pacific), many vulnerable to discretionary government policies or tariffs and other measures, with potential costs far outweighing any profits from Fiji TV.
Once negatively perceived by the regime, Fiji TV faces the trauma of having its license currently renewed on a six-monthly basis, arguably a blatant policy of intimidation.
Its management and senior staff have felt intimidated by the regime and it now practices self-censorship on many programs which previously would have been called good “investigative journalism”.
Fiji TV management has told me that to protect their employees’ jobs, I was persona non-grata on many programmes which used to previously seek my contribution as an economist.
For instance, they will not run special programmes which previously performed the valuable task of publicising the results and policy implications of several Fiji Bureau of Statistics reports which I have authored over the last three years.
Fiji TV has now been purchased by Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL), a Fiji conglomerate also controlled by the regime.
FHL also has wide commercial interests which are far more valuable than profits from Fiji TV, and many of which also depend on government’s discretionary policy such as duty protection (for example cement).
Fijian Holdings Limited also will not want to jeopardise any of its substantial commercial interests in the Fiji economy, by taking the risk of annoying the Fiji government through any kind of genuine watchdog role.
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation
The FBC, which has trilingual radio stations (Fijian, Hindi, English), has recently ventured into television, and is totally under the control of the military regime.
The CEO is the brother of the regime’s Attorney-General, and was appointed after the regime sacked the previous CEO for no apparent reason.
In the absence of publicly available financial statements, it may be surmised that FBC only survives because of large subsidies from government advertising, ultimately paid for by tax-payers.
The FBC TV and radio stations are totally pro-regime and give very little prominence to opposition views.
Neither the FBC radio stations nor the FBC television station have over the last three years sought my views on any economic matter, which they used to do routinely before media censorship began in 2009.
All these media organisations have virtually stopped the kinds of critical analysis of the military regime or news items, they regularly and responsibly carried before the 2009 abrogation of the 1997 Constitution.
This is a problem not just for Fiji but internationally.
An excellent study by Michelle Foster, Calling the Shots: how media ownership affects the independence of the news media. A Report to the Center for International Media Assistance. November 27, 2012, covers similar issues, and is available here.
Following a study of four diverse countries (US, China, Serbia and Honduras), Foster concluded that, “Who owns the media and its infrastructure and who controls its sources of capital and revenue are crucial for any media system” with possibly “adverse consequences for the ability of citizens and communities to hold their governments accountable”.
Foster concluded that while governments’ control of media markets can bring about greater transparency and diversity (quoting directly):
“yet the entire system can also be designed to limit independent reporting:

  • Regulators can allocate the broadcast spectrum in ways that lack transparency.
  • Government agencies can use political criteria for issuing media licenses.
  • Cross-ownership restrictions can prevent independent voices from gaining traction.
  • Government agencies can direct advertising budgets as rewards and punishments.
  • State organs can transform public service media into ruling-party mouthpieces.
  • State news agencies can simultaneously access tax-free government funding while competing against independent media for advertising revenue.”
These findings are extremely relevant for the current state of affairs in the Fiji media industry.
In addition, Fiji editors and journalists also face all kinds of intimidation by the military regime, resulting in many resignations and even deportation from the country.
Fiji is in the throes of developing codes of ethics for non-existent parliamentarians, political parties and leaders.
The Fiji media situation cries out for the Media Authority of Fiji (Chairman Professor Subramani) to develop a code of ethics for media owners and publishers.
Yet, despite three years of controversy over media censorship, Professor Subramani is not to be seen or heard.
Subramani certainly has not come to the defence of the vulnerable journalists and editors who have been at the mercy of the regime, and who are being made scapegoats for the failings of the media owners.
Media ownership should be a central item on the agenda, with media owners restricted from other substantial business interests in the economy.
There are also other crucial policy matters which need to be clarified and guidelines established.
Another issue is whether government-owned media organisations should have an automatic monopoly over the delivery of public services which private media companies could also deliver.
There is a clear need for competitive bidding for the delivery of “not-for-profit” services to the public.
Professor Subramani shows no signs that he takes his responsibilities seriously.
In the frequent calls for the journalists to be more critical and proactive, it is completely forgotten that the media serves the public, which should also be held accountable.
If the media is good as a watchdog and is fair and objective, the major beneficiaries are the public whose interests are safeguarded, leading to an improvement in public interests all round.
If the media fails to be honest, fair and critical of government and other dominant players in the economy and society, then the result can be gross misuse of tax-payers funds, destruction of the environment, miscarriage of justice against vulnerable and weak citizens of society and a host of other social ills, such as excessive pre-occupation with social trivia such as entertainment and sports. These are indeed some of the sad results we are seeing in Fiji today.
So the sixty four thousand dollar question is: what are the public doing about their loss of human right to media freedom?
Do the Fiji public deserve what they get?
There is little point in blaming the poor journalists.
Journalists are in no position to insist that their stories be published as is.
Editors will change them, or even reject them totally.
What journalists need to do therefore is to keep a record of all the stories they write, the dates they submit to the editors, and the story that appears or does not appear.
Some day media censorship will end and our society will return to practicing their human right to freedom of expression.
As part of our attempt to understand this period in Fiji’s sad history, there will also be studies of the nature and frequency of media censorship during this time.
The records maintained by journalists and principled editors will be an invaluable part of the history from which our future generations can learn.
Journalism has as much a part to play in the history of our people as any other academic discipline such as history, politics or economics.
Journalism may be the most important given its centrality in informing public opinion, which is the cornerstone of any true democracy.
[This article was first prepared as Dr Narsey's speech as chief guest of the USP Journalism Students Association to celebrate UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. He was removed from the program under instruction from USP management].

May 24, 2013



 Fiji Prime Minister was in Lourdes alongside Jean-Pierre Artiganave (Pyrénéesinfo Lourdes Henry Soulet).
Fiji Prime Minister was in Lourdes alongside Jean-Pierre Artiganave (Pyrénéesinfo Lourdes Henry Soulet).
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, Jean-Pierre Artiganave Mayor Lourdes, and his principal deputies gave a friendly reception in the halls of City Hall in honor of Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, commonly known as Frank Bainimarama, Fiji 1 Minister . He was accompanied by a delegation from which were his wife Maria Makitaléna and one of his daughters on a private visit in our region and Lourdes.
It is through an interpreter that the exchanges were made. The reception attended by Jean-Baptiste Peyrat sub-prefect of the district, Stephanie Lacoste Beaucens Mayor and the Director General of Services François Roussel-Devaux, allowed Jean-Pierre Artiganave deliver this high personality medal Lourdes, and his wife and daughter, along with two beautiful bouquets of flowers. Jean-Pierre Garuet, deputy mayor sports, found in the delegation some worthy opponents he met during his distinguished career in the colors of the XV of France. The first minister signed the Golden Book of the city of Lourdes. A reception was an opportunity to share more than official friendly relations between elected Lourdais and Fijian delegation.
Frank Bainimarama is from the  village of  Kiuva  the Kaba Peninsula,  Province Tailevu .  He is the brother of Ratu Meli Bainimarama  and  Ratu Timoci Bainimarama , two senior officials. He is a graduate of Marist Brothers High School in Suva. He is married to  Maria Makitalena , with whom he has six children and several grandchildren. He is a sports enthusiast with a particular passion for rugby and athletics. He also served as chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union , and takes a keen interest in military history and current affairs.
The interim Prime Minister of Fiji has publicly stated his intention to resign from his position as commander in chief of the armed forces in order to stand for election in 2014.
In an interview with  Radio Fiji Two,  the author of the military coup in 2006, said he will leave his post as military commander to stand for election, but noted that all senior officers of the army shared his vision of Fiji Fiji where each would be treated on an equal footing. N Frank Bainimarama has not revealed whether he intended to create a political party before the elections.
Pyrénéesinfo Lourdes Henry Soulet.

Fiji records increase in investment registrations

13:38 Today (May 24, 2013)

Investment Fiji has recorded a hundred percent increase in the number of foreign investment projects registered in the country for the 1st quarter of the year compared to last year.

CEO Ravuni Uluilakeba this morning revealed that in the last three months, there were forty one registrations from overseas businesses.

The interests have a $351 million value – an increase of over 80 percent in 2012.

The 41 projects propose to create employment for 1, 461 people

Interests were registered in the services, manufacturing, wholesale, and tourism and agriculture sectors.

The interests were mainly from Australia, New Zealand, India, China and the US.

“You will see from these performances some of the key elements. We must thank the government in the support that they have given especially the incentives that came out in the 2013 budget announcement and when you look at policy, when you look at foreign direct investment it’s been very attractive and very welcoming, when they come into the country.”

Over 130 companies from overseas established their businesses in Fiji last year.

$300M in illegal funds circulating the country

Publish date/time: 24/05/2013 [08:05]

Over $300 million has been circulating in the country over the past three years generated from money laundering, tax evasion and funding illegal activities.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said they are investigating a number of cases.

Tikolevu believes with the introduction of the new ‘unexplained wealth’ provisions in the Proceeds of the Crime Amendment Decree of 2012 they will be able to deal with this issue.

He said they will now have additional powers to forfeit any undeclared income as unexplained wealth.

The Director of the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit Razim Buksh said the new unexplained wealth provisions enables the court to confiscate any property or benefit that is owned or controlled by a person that cannot be reasonably explained in relation to the lawful income of that person.

Buksh added Police now can shorten the investigation time of such cases.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Ioane Naivalurua said they have committed substantial resources in investigating complex financial crimes as they have specialized units like the Anti-Money Laundering Investigation Unit, the Cyber-Crime Unit and the Transnational Crime Unit.

Stoey by: Ronal Deo & Akuila Cama

Elections will be free and fair: PM

Fiji News
17:37 Thu May 23, 2013
Report by: Ritika Pratap

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has assured that 2014 September elections will be free and fair, and all parties need to play their part.

Speaking to Radio Tarana in New Zealand Bainimarama says he is in contest with other politicians and will win the battle if ordinary people in Fiji decide to back him.

However, he has stressed that he will not tolerate lies and provocation from other politicians.

“There will be no stirring up of racial hatred here – no more. No more exploiting of people’s fears to create unrest. And that includes telling them (I-taukei) that their lands will be stolen when it won’t be. Other than that I say go for it – say what you like (politicians) and let the Fijian people decide.”

Bainimarama earlier said he will announce his political party next year.

PM's take on trade unions

08:11 Today (May 24, 2013)

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says trade unionists are only concerned about their jobs and not that of ordinary Fijians.

His comments come amidst reports that some trade unions are supporting a campaign by Australian and New Zealand unions to consider how Fijian workers are treated before making a decision to holiday in Fiji.

Bainimarama says claims by unionists that they are protecting the Fijians are false as by urging tourists not to come to Fiji they are destroying the livelihoods of ordinary people.

These fat cats (Trade Unionists) are trying to sabotage the Fijian economy to damage ordinary people’s jobs – as my government is trying to create jobs and secure better pay and conditions for ordinary people. My government is actively working to improve the lives of all Fijians by putting in policies to attract investment in Fiji – to get people from other countries to holiday in Fiji – what really gets me is in those areas where we have introduced reforms and busted the powers of these Jokers, ordinary people are better off.

Bainimarama was speaking to Radio Tarana in New Zealand.

Australia still leads the highest number of tourist arrivals to Fiji.

(Google Translated) Lourdes. Fiji's first minister received at City Hall

Published on 18/05/2013 at 03:48
Jean-Pierre Artiganave, Voreqe Bainimarama, Mayor Stephanie Beaussens Lacoste and Jean-Baptiste Peyrat sous-préfet./Photo SC
Jean-Pierre Artiganave, Voreqe Bainimarama, Mayor Stephanie Beaussens Lacoste and Jean-Baptiste Peyrat sous-préfet./Photo SC
It was not yet an official visit, the mayor had put the dishes in large to receive the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Wednesday afternoon. "Lourdes is a small town, but important by those it receives. You are at home here, "said the mayor, before an audience of elected officials.
Quickly, a passion has been put forward: rugby. "We have a very prestigious club," wished to recall Jean-Pierre Artiganave before presenting its guests Jean-Pierre Garruet, "the only man who has met Lourdais honorable Fijian players." He then gave them the Medal of the city, and an album featuring the history of FCL XV. Soon, fans guests rugby asked Jean-Pierre Garruet to lend a book signing session.
Just before coming to Lourdes, it was lunch at Saint-Bertrand de Comminges, where they "were very well received." Before continuing his journey, the Fijian Prime Minister signed the guestbook of the Town Hall. A visit that will be remembered.

(Google Translated) Lourdes: Visit the first Minister Fiji

Updated Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:11 p.m.
Monday, May 20, 2013 10:02

Visit-the first minister-Fiji-150513Wednesday, May 15 at 17h, in the halls of City Hall, was received by Mayor Jean-Pierre Artiganave, many elected officials, the Sub-prefect of Argeles-Gazost and Mayor Stephanie Beaucens Lacoste (come one hour present before the Trail of Hautacam) 1 Minister Frank Bainimarama in Fiji private visit Lourdes.

Although this is not an official visit he was yet received with the respect due to his rank and protection was provided in another by officers from Lourdes commanded by Commander Francis Pouchan. (We were told that Frank Bainimarama would probably soon be the new President of Fiji)

Jean-Pierre Artiganave delivered a short speech of welcome: "Lourdes is a small town that has the reputation that we know him, but it is also important because of its personalities it receives. 1 Mr. Minister, you are at home here."

Frank Bainimarama came with his wife Maria Makitalena and one of his daughters. He confessed a passion for rugby. He even sat for a time in the Fiji Rugby Union. This is why Jean-Pierre Artiganave reminded him that Lourdes had "a prestigious club," before applying to the Assistant sports and big rugby Garruet Jean-Pierre, "the only Lourdais who has met the honorable players Fijians" . He then handed him the Medal of the city, and a book about, of course, the history of FCL XV. Soon, the first Minister and its sequel, all rugby fans have asked Jean-Pierre Garruet to lend a book signing session.

The first Minister of Fiji has also signed the guestbook of the City.

These ladies also received a medal and a bouquet of flowers, they are much interested in a frame containing a copy of a report of the minutes of the Commissioner Jacomet who had questioned Bernadette after the apparitions.

Then after the session souvenir photos, a reception was served with delicious pastries. Nothing like that to maintain the friendship between the peoples!

May 23, 2013

Aust yet to decide on election funding

May 23, 2013 01:12:38 PM 

The Australian government is yet to decide on its funding allocation to Fiji for the 2014 elections.

Australian Aid Minister Counselor Pacific John Davidson says they have not decided on any amount yet but they do remain committed to supporting credible steps towards the return to democracy and democratic elections. 

“For instance we provided nearly $4.8 million FJD towards the electronic voter registration process, the constitution development process and civic education in 2013,” Davidson said. 

“But given that the constitution is till being finalised and the electoral commission is yet to be established its quite hard for us to say exactly how we might support that process and what sort of figure could be given,” he said. 

“We would need to understand the nature of the new constitution and the nature of the process so until then we cannot determine any amount yet.” 

Meanwhile Davidson said this was the first time for the Australian government to provide Fiji with $105.5 million for aid. 

He also said this represents 18 per cent of increase overall in the program and a 15 per cent in bilateral component in the program which includes the aids provided directly to the people in Fiji. 

By Mereani Gonedua

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