Historic moment for Fiji & the region - Bainimarama signs Fiji’s “Instrument of Ratification” for the Paris Agreement. The Instrument of Ratification reaffirms Fiji’s commitment to combatting the root causes of climate change and is being transmitted to New York ahead of the high level signing ceremony to be held by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, on April 22, 2016
COWARD: Meghji's EIA consultant reports women objectors to Police and Commissioner Western - the women had stood up to him and pointed out that he was not following Terms of Reference and the Proper Procedures!
What's with Meghji's EIA consultant Sairusi Rokcikavira informing four women at his second attempt at an EIA Public consultation meeting, this after his failed first attempt a week and a half ago, that they (he/the Meghjis) had reported some of four women present at the meeting to the Police and Commissioner Western.
Looks like he couldn't take the heat with the women standing up to him and pointing out his disregard for proper process in convening the first meeting without complying with sections of the Terms of Reference, and their reference to his Government connection as a consultant before the women and others proceeded to walk out leaving him to continue his first "meeting" with just 2 members of the public.
Was this a warning of some kind telling the women for all to hear that "we know who your group are and have reported you to the the Police and Commissioner Western"
What a coward!
NFP leader Biman Prasad: "Government’s decision to change the annual financial year to August 1-July 31 instead of the long-standing tradition of a financial year being January 1- December 31, is deceptive and illogical"
The reasons for the change as announced by the Attorney General and Minister for Finance vindicates the Opposition and NFP when the Opposition’s Spokesperson on Finance described the 2016 Budget on 16th November 2015 as a “A Deceptive Budget of a Confused Government”.
A little over four months later Government, in an effort to camouflage the unsustainability of the Budget, has outlined reasons that defy logic in an effort to convince the people of the need to change the financial year. On 10th March he spoke of re-aligning the Budget, which was and is the logical thing to do. Three weeks later, he has changed his tune.
The most nonsensical reasons are that FRCA (Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority) received late payment of taxes on 31st December around 4.30pm and that in December most officers are on holiday or in holiday mode! This is insulting the honesty, efficiency and hard work of our public servants, especially those tasked with the responsibility of implementing fiscal policies outlined in every annual national budget.
If the financial year ends on July 31 and FRCA once again receives a substantial amount in tax revenue late on that day, does this mean that the financial year will once again be changed? Or for that matter another natural disaster or severe cyclone hits Fiji, will there be another change to Government’s Financial Year?
The fact is that the current financial year has been the standard since our Independent history for the last 45 years. We have had more than our fair share of natural disasters. But financial years were not changed.
Instead we had Mini Budgets or virement of funds from different budgetary Heads as approved by Parliament. Or in most severe cases parliamentary approval was sought to raise loans to meet the costs of unbudgeted expenditure.
When the NFP moved amendments to increase the Disaster Mitigation Fund allocation in the 2016 Budget from $1 million to $10 million and to increase the grant for cane replanting programme from $5 million to $10 million, Government and the Finance Minister rejected these amendments saying when the need arose, funds could be sourced through virement from Head 50, which is Miscellaneous. We have been once again vindicated.
The NFP believes in the absence of a good budget process, which should include making public quarterly and six-monthly financial statements assessing our financial performance for every sector, there is no need to change the financial year, which is basically like changing horses in mid-stream. It will only mask the reality – the unsustainability of a deceptive budget and under-performing sectors.
The best option that we have been advocating is for Government to introduce a Mini Budget to re-prioritize expenditure towards rehabilitation. A starting point is to slash the inflated budgets of our military and peacekeeping and instead demand the United Nations to repay all outstanding amounts to fund this; reduce the budget of Fiji Roads Authority which is currently over $600 million, slash the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation public service broadcast grant of over $11 million; as well as re-direct marketing and hosting expenses of $9 million allocated for the international golf tournament, over $6 million for a one-off Super Rugby match and $18 million to Fiji Airways to promote its Singapore route.
These are measures that we will support in Parliament that must be done through a Mini Budget, definitely not changing the financial year.
Shadow Finance Minister
Financial year to begin from 1st August to following July - Aiyaz Khaiyum
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.Fiji will now begin its financial year from the 1st of August this year until the following July.
While speaking at a press conference the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have held meetings with the World Bank regarding this issue.
He also says most of the companies pay their taxes in December, and with this new financial year the taxes paid in December will still be recorded for 2016.
He says small economies like Fiji are running a very tight budget where our stated deficits can get out of balance.
Sayed-Khaiyum adds another reason for changing our financial year is because most of the people go on holiday mode in December and early January and our economy may suffer from this issue.
He also says that if our financial year starts from January, we are smacked in the middle of the cyclone season. Source: Fijivillage News
"And to be fair to my friends at the RBF, we all know who the real thief is, don’t we, the one annually receiving a nice fat cheque from the RBF"
The Reserve Bank of Fiji is one of the most efficient statutory bodies in Fiji, doing its work quietly, circulating money, the lifeblood of the economy, and transparently turning out its statistics in a timely manner, with no hint of dishonesty among its employees.
You would not think that it would “steal” money from the public.
But it does, in a petty way (this article) and in a big way (another article).
To be really accurate and fair, in both, it is merely an accessory to a crime, not the real thief.
The petty crime
Not too long ago, one of the senior managers of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, an economist by training, “reassured” the Fiji public that they could bring their old Fiji coins to the RBF Head building in Suva, and receive new coins in return.
There were no public comments from anyone, although sensible market vendors stopped accepting the old currency for their piles of beans or baigan, to the irritation of many shoppers holding the old coins.
How fair and sensible was the RBF announcement, which drew no comments from the Commerce Commission or the Consumer Council of Fiji?
Why should the holder of old Fiji currency pay for the cost of transport and waste his or her valuable time to get back the same face value of the currency?
If I publicly threatened and extorted 50 cents from you, I would be promptly and rightly prosecuted, fined some moderate amount, and if the magistrate wanted to make an example of me, I would be jailed for a few months, to discourage others from committing the same crime.
But apparently, Reserve Banks can “steal” a portion of your wealth in clear public view, with no public comment whatsoever, no policeman prosecuting them, as they have done previously also with old Fiji notes.
Even more ridiculous was a recent case of the Central Bank of Samoa, refusing to redeem in Samoa, old Samoan bank notes.
What is money?
The senior bank manager who made the announcement is an economics graduate who ought to understand the fundamentals origins of “money” and the sacred “contract” it embodies.
There are many fascinating historical origins of money the world over- as salt, cowries, tobacco, pieces of iron, copper, silver, gold, and in the Pacific, shells, stone wheels, and whales’ teeth (tabua).
Historians and anthropologists argue that these monies were used not as a means of exchange, but as tribute or offerings to rulers, priests and anyone to whom people had social obligations such as during births, marriages, funerals, and even to atone for crimes committed thereby discouraging “payback crimes” (as in PNG).
For economics textbooks, however, money is explained as a mechanism to facilitate exchange in the economy, as a universally accepted means of payment, for goods or services, replacing the inefficient barter in primitive times.
Today, modern money is “fiat” money guaranteed by the state, the government, the central bank or reserve bank.
Behind every unit of money, note or coin or electronic record, is a sacred contract, which the RBF should think about.
Every single unit of money represents real goods or services already produced to the face value of that money, and the holder of that money is entitled to receive exactly the same value in return.
That money (note or coin) issued by the RBF must, by law, be universally accepted in payment for exactly that face value, not a cent less.
To then tell the holder of that old currency, say in Savusavu, that you cannot use it any more in Savusavu, but you must now take that old currency to the RBF office in Suva, and obtain exactly the same amount in new currency, is ridiculous.
The RBF is forcing the holder of the old currency, to lose the original value, by the cost of transport, and the value of his time wasted in exchanging the new currency.
Some holders will reluctantly do so if they have large amounts of old currency, and just put up with the costs.
But many simply could not be bothered and the old coins and notes, lie in their possession unused and unusable, having totally lost value, with their holders, in effect, swindled by decree, out of whatever value they gave originally, for that money.
But the RBF is not being prosecuted by any DPP or policeman, and the Central Police Station is just across the road from the RBF building.
No magistrate is fining them or sending them to jail for this daylight robbery.
Where you may ask, is the otherwise ever present and ever pugnacious Consumer Council of Fiji or the Commerce Commission CEO (rather reticent now their Executive Chairman has moved on to greener pastures)?
But another Central Bank in the Pacific really takes the cake.
Robbery by Central Bank of Samoa
Not too long ago, a Confucius Institute group from USP in Fiji went to Samoa, and some sensibly (or so they thought) bought Samoan currency notes from one of the expatriate banks in Fiji.
But they had “not banked” (ha ha) on shops in Samoa not accepting the old Samoan notes: old was not gold.
Then to their amazement, even the commercial banks in Samoa would not accept the old Samoan currency notes.
And then to their utter shock and disbelief, even the Central Bank of Samoa in Apia, refused to redeem the old Samoan notes.
I suspect that had the holders of that old Samoan currency burnt one of the notes in the presence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa, they would have been charged, fined and jailed, under some obscure Samoan law, for “defacing and destroying Samoan Government property” which they now did not want to admit ownership of.
The Fiji group was cynically told to take the old notes back to whoever had sold them in Fiji.
Which they meekly and mildly did, being peaceful law-abiding citizens, although they might easily have berated this bank for giving them the old Samoan notes in the first place.
You can bet your bottom dollar (not Samoan obviously) that the giant multinational Australian bank in Fiji would have had no trouble getting their Samoan currency redeemed by the Central Bank of Samoa (albeit with more expense along the way).
Where is the RBF common sense?
Common sense suggests that the RBF should not set any time limits to the acceptance of any currency they issue.
All traders must be required to accept all Fiji currency, which most would eventually deposit with the banks, who could, in the normal course of their business, eventually exchange them at the RBF for new currency.
Why did the RBF ever allow commercial banks to refuse to accept old coins and notes?
Commercial banks in Fiji make massive profits from the hundreds of millions of savings deposits which annually lose a large part of their value to inflation.
Was it too much for them to provide this basic service to the holders of old currency, not as a favor, but a legal liability?
Some might ask me, why make such a big thing out of a few coins or notes, worth a few dollars?
Steal a dollar today, a million tomorrow
I suggest that if the RBF ignores basic principles over a few dollars, it will also ignore them for a few million dollars.
The bigger crime, involving an open annual robbery of tens of millions, where the victim never complains to the police, is the subject of the next article.
And to be fair to my friends at the RBF, we all know who the real thief is, don’t we, the one annually receiving a nice fat cheque from the RBF.
The next article explains why lots of robberies, amounting to millions, are taking place, with nobody being charged.
LET OFF THE HOOK: ILO closes the Article 26 complaint against Fiji, so there will be no Commission of Inquiry. Was it Much Ado About Nothing?
There will be no Commission of Inquiry against Fiji after the International Labour Organisation Governing Body decided to close the Article 26 complaint filed against Fiji.
The decision was made at the 326th Session on Thursday.
The Fijian Government Delegation to the Governing Body was led by Acting Permanent Secretary for Employment Salaseini Daunabuna and complemented by the Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Deputy Permanent Representative Namita Khatri, and First Secretary Ajendra Pratap.
Also in attendance were the representative of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Nesbitt Hazelman and Fiji Trades Union Congress national secretary Felix Anthony.
The Fijian Government Delegation informed the Governing Body about the success of the ILO Tripartite Mission in January and the subsequent signing of the single Joint Implementation Report between the Fijian Government, the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation and the Fiji Trades Union Congress.
The important achievements and concessions contained in the single Joint Implementation Report were also highlighted to the Governing Body and the passage in which this was swiftly transcended into law.
The delegation stated that there will now be pursuit of pertinent projects with ILO such as Decent Work for All, Disabilities in Workplace, Gender Parity and Increasing Employment Opportunities for Youths.
The Governing Body was also informed that for too long the Fijian Government’s energies have focused on the Article 26 Complaint to the detriment of other constructive programmes offered by ILO and relevant to labour reforms in Fiji.
The closure of the Article 26 Complaint means that Fiji will also embark on rebuilding labour relations and harnessing sustainable labour practices through social dialogue with the social partners and ILO.
This will become real and apparent now with the closure of the Article 26 Complaint against Fiji and the sentiments echoed by the ILO and member States is that the closing of the Article 26 Complaint makes Fiji an example of the true essence of tripartism and how it can be achieved.
THE LONG ARM OF JUSTICE: Bosnian leader Radovan Karadžić jailed for 40 YEARS for genocide, crimes against humanity, murder, terror!
Fijileaks: Fiji's Karadžićs have remained on the run because of the likes of former NFP leader JAI RAM REDDY. He has NOT raised HIS VOICE against Injustice and Gross Human Rights Violations and Violence since he abandoned Fiji to become International Court of Justice JUDGE! Parliament and handsome parliamentary salary and allowances is the greed for many in Fiji, including political and human rights activists - street protest is not in their book! All they want is to sit in Parliament and make empty noises while filling up their bank accounts or hiding millions in overseas bank accounts! "Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct." - Thomas Jefferson
"International justice is still a new idea. So far, it is a long way from perfect. But it is still better than nothing at all"
The conviction of Radovan Karadžić at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia may be the court’s most prominent achievement in its 23-year history. Karadžić, who evaded capture for more than a decade after the war ended, has been found criminally responsible on a long list of charges that included the 44-month siege of Sarajevo, in which at least 5,000 men, women and children died, and the 1995 genocide at Srebrenica, where 8,000 men and boys were taken from a supposedly safe zone and gunned down.
The testimony of survivors has been heard. Mothers have learned where their sons are buried, fathers have some closure for the killing of their child by a sniper’s bullet. At least some of the crimes of a European civil war, watched by western powers in handwringing inaction, have been fleshed out and their perpetrators punished. Karadžić, who is now 70, was sentenced to 40 years. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. For its supporters, the court has served its purpose: the age of impunity is over.
That at least is the case of the promoters of the idea of a global tribunal that stands in impartial judgment over those charged with crimes against humanity. From the tribunal seeking retribution for the crimes of the Balkans, and its sister tribunal trying the perpetrators of Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, came the international criminal court. It laid the foundations for an architecture of international criminal justice. By ending impunity it would both bring some justice to survivors and families of victims, and deter future crimes. The most cursory look around the bleak landscape of the 21st century, from Sudan to Syria, shows how far such an effort has still to go. The ICC has been bitterly criticised for indicting only African dictators. The failure to sign up to the UN resolution establishing the court by the US, Russia, China and many of the major regional powers of the Islamic world, makes it hard to deny the appearance of the justice of the powerful against the weak.
Events in the prosecution of Balkan war crimes have added to the criticism that the ICC’s conduct is shaped by the interests of the main sponsor of the original Balkan tribunal, the US. Most of the convicted are Serbs, few are Croats and fewer still Bosnian Muslims. That may have contributed to the lack of a sense of ownership of the court that even its most articulate backers, such as the lawyer Philippe Sands, acknowledge. It has also played into a narrative of martyrdom: on the eve of Karadžić’s conviction, his successor as president of Republika Srpska named a new school dormitory after him. The hope that the element of closure from the conviction of the guilty would also make reconciliation easier has not been realised. In a region where memories of historic grievances date from the 13th century, it was an ambition too far for any court.
Perhaps the most devastating criticism of these early experiments in international justice is the charge that first the former Yugoslavia tribunal and then the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda were, in inspiration, exercises in salving the conscience of a world that had failed to intervene, an attempt to expunge the guilt of inaction. Now that the complexities of action are painfully familiar, that may seem a lesser weakness. Bringing people to justice at the end of a messy war was always going to be a messy business. But it is still worth doing. Source: Editorial, The Guardian, London
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Argentina: Obama visits 'Dirty War' memorial on coup anniversary; The US was "too slow to stand up for human rights" in Argentina, he said
President Barack Obama has visited a memorial for the victims of Argentina's military dictatorship, on the final day of his visit to the country.
He promised to release more secret military and intelligence files from the era, revealing the US government's role in the 1976 coup.
The US was "too slow to stand up for human rights" in Argentina, he said.
Some 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the six years of military government.
Thousands of other people were illegally detained and tortured in what became known as the "Dirty War".
President Obama said US foreign policy had changed since to always take into account transparency and human rights.
He expressed hope that his gesture to release secret files of the 1970s would help mend relations between the two countries.
"There`s been controversy about the policies of the United States early in those dark days, and the United States when it reflects on what happened here has to examine its own policies as well, its own past," he said.
"Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don't live up to the ideals that we stand for.
"When we've been slow to stand up for human rights, and that was the case here."
Later, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets the Buenos Aires to mark the 40th anniversary of the coup.
More than 4,000 secret files from the American government were released in 2002.
But on Wednesday, after a meeting with President Mauricio Macri, Mr Obama announced that for the first time the US had agreed to declassify military and intelligence files from the era. Source: BBC world, 24 March 2016
FLYING HIGH: New Zealand votes to keep the British Union flag in historic referendum; 57 percent voted to keep its current flag against 43 percent; Fiji's twin dictators will ignore result and impose their own flag on Fiji!
2.1 million votes cast from New Zealand's 3.2 million registered voters
The New Zealand flag vote was a wasteful vanity project by John Key
By Jenna Hatch, New Zealand
As a teacher, my young pupils didn't care about British colonial images and reported feeling attached to their flag. Even they saw through this pointless political exercise. As a teacher working in New Zealand, I watched with fascination as the debate over the change to the nation’s flag, and the resulting referendum, played out. Now we know the result: the silver fern has been rejected, and the Union Jack remains.
Despite being British, I didn’t have any strong feelings about the outcome – if the citizens of New Zealand chose to dispense with the symbol of colonialism, then so be it. What surprised me was just how strongly the children I teach felt about it, and how attached they were to their cultural history.
In a survey conducted by students in my class, polling 120 11 to 13-year-olds, 71 per cent wanted to keep the old flag and only 29 per cent wanted the new silver fern flag. When asked about their motivations, they said the old New Zealand flag represented their past. It was the flag that their ancestors fought under in the world wars, and the flag they have used to represent their place in the world.
They also said they saw the flag change as a vanity project by the Prime Minister, John Key, wanting to make his mark before he gets kicked out of office. And I agree.
This vote was ill-timed and out of touch with national feeling. Before Key started talking about it, there was little genuine call for a new national flag. In fact, the nation had only last year marked the 100th anniversary of Anzac day, remembering the contribution of New Zealand in World War One. That event, a veritable feast of flag-waving, prompted no such questions.
Yet, once the flag debate began, an important matter arose: one of the key arguments for changing the flag was that the old one failed to represent Maori culture - integral to modern New Zealand, and a critical part of its citizens’ shared history. But how did the new designs represent the Maori people? Students pointed out that swapping the Union Jack for the silver fern would not help in that endeavor at all. No wonder residents were so apathetic about it.
My students, and most people of New Zealand, simply don’t care about the Union Jack. The only reason some supported a change was to differentiate the nation from Australia. The Australian flag was, it is claimed, copied from New Zealand: both depict the UK flag and the Southern Cross.
What Kiwis rarely understand is that, by aligning themselves with Australia so symbolically, overseas they are not seen as different. No doubt Key was aware of that when he wanted to create a new identity for himself and his nation internationally. But, without support at home, that’s not reason enough to waste time, money and political energy on such a pointless exercise. My young students were right: this was nothing more than an expensive vanity project. The Independent, 24 March 2016
KILLED OFF: The final nail in the coffin for Fiji TV. First, Khaiyum forced the sale of Fiji TV assets in PNG, then he forced the sale of Sky Pacific; and now he has forced the disassociation of Sky Pacific and Fiji TV
We are pleased to announce that from Friday 1st April Digicel will take over the operations of Sky Pacific. We are excited about this milestone and we would therefore inform you about some important changes.
The start of this is the introduction of two new channels in April - TVWAN and TVWAN Sports. The inclusion of TVWAN Sports means that viewers will now be able to enjoy even more high quality sports events 24 hours a day. The other channel, TVWAN will have a range of regional and international news, some popular TV soap operas and drama serials and plenty of other great programs. This channel will also include lifestyle and business stories from the Pacific.
For the many rugby fans across Fiji and the Pacific, the entire 2016 Super Rugby tournament and the Rugby Championship will be screened live on the Super Channel. For the ever- popular World Rugby 7s Series, all games from the Hong Kong 7s, Singapore 7s, London 7s and Paris 7s will also be screened live on the Super Channel.
Another important change relates to the broadcast of Fiji One on Sky Pacific. In order to comply with Section 42a of the Media Industry Development Decree 2010, Digicel is required to remove all local content from the Sky programming when we take over operations. Regrettably, this means Fiji One and the Pacific Channel will be removed from the Sky Pacific service from April 1, 2016.
Digicel would like to advise that all existing payment channels remain the same and in addition all Digicel stores will now accept Sky Pacific payments from 1st April.
We plan to update you again over the coming weeks about several more exciting changes that we are sure will be very popular for customers of Sky Pacific.
CEO, Digicel Fiji
Sky Pacific Customer Care
Main Line: (+679) 330 7510
THE FALL GUY: DHL courier driver who forced old couple to VOTE for Fiji First (Theft) Party fronts court while the REAL criminals who broke every electoral rule (even stealing party name) are now running Government!
From Fijileaks archive, 4 September 2014
Jai Ram and Satya Wati, both 80, are living in fear after they claimed they were forced to vote for a candidate.
AN elderly couple was allegedly misled yesterday by a courier company employee into voting for someone whom they did not want to vote for.
It was the first incident of alleged irregularities reported as pre-polling began in the country yesterday in the countdown to September 17.
Jai Ram and his wife Satya Wati, both 80 years old of Horton St in Suva, said their daughter-in-law had applied for postal ballot on their behalf.
“A Fijian of Indian descent employee of the courier company came home this morning (yesterday) with the postal ballot papers and opened the envelopes,” said Ms Wati.
“He asked me who I will vote for. I told him that I’ll vote for the person who can bring peace to the country.
“He said only one person can bring peace and he gave me that candidate’s name.
“That man then ticked that candidate’s number and told me it was OK.
“He then took the ballot paper away. I didn’t want to vote for that person.
“I had wanted to discuss with my family members in the evening and then vote for the person that I was thinking of voting for,” she said.
Mr Ram said the courier company employee showed him a candidate’s number and told him to tick on it, saying he was the best candidate.
“I circled the number and I realised later that it was not the person I had wanted to vote for. I wanted to vote for the Fiji Labour Party.
“The man should have left the ballot papers behind but he took them.
“He insisted that he had to take them away,” said Mr Ram.
Chief Operations Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu confirmed receiving a report on the matter.
“We will have to get the other side of the story too from the courier company employee and an investigation will confirm what happened,” he said.
ACP Tudravu said the matter would be referred by the police to Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigations, saying it was the first such case reported yesterday.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said his office was aware of the matter and FICAC was looking into it now. Source: Fiji Times, 4 September 2014
279: In flagrant breach of Aiyaz Khaiyum's Electoral Decree but then he is standing in the queue waiting to vote for FIJI FIRST PARTY: