Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
My fellow Fijians:
It is my task today as your Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to present to you the 2014 budget.
Next year will go down in our history as the year that Fiji first embraced genuine parliamentary democracy and set a new constitutional course towards a brighter future for every Fijian. It will mark the culmination of my Government’s efforts to put in place changes that will yield long-term benefits for Fiji and all Fijians.
We have a new Constitution to guide us, one that will allow Fiji to prosper as a united nation.
For the first time, Fijians have a Constitution that protects a wide range of civil, political and socio-economic rights.
For the first time, Fijians have a Constitution that demands accountability and transparency from Government officials, which builds strong institutions, and enshrines principles that are at the heart of all the world’s great liberal democracies.
For the first time, our nation has a Constitution that establishes a common and equal citizenry, without denying anyone’s individuality or culture.
The Constitution recognises and protects the indigenous peoples of Fiji and their unique customary practices, culture, tradition, language and communal ownership of land.
At the same time, it also protects the rights of all other Fijians, including the rights of tenants and lease holders.
The provision of rights, ladies and gentlemen, is not a zero sum game as was professed previously and is unfortunately preached by some even today. We all can enjoy equal rights and also at times specific rights, but without having to take them away from others.
In these seven years of my Government, we have worked methodically to try to resolve some of our long-standing problems with lasting solutions.
Some of these problems we inherited from our colonial past and we ignored them for far too long. Some of these problems were created by post-independence political leaders who cared more for short-term political gain than for the long-term benefit of the nation, or who simply lacked vision, acumen or the necessary concern for the Fijian people.
I am proud to say that we have not shied away from making decisions necessary to guarantee a bright future for our children and grandchildren. Not all these decisions were politically popular at the time, but they were important to modernise Fiji for the long term and to create a society in which there is more opportunity for everyone.
I am satisfied as I look back at what we have accomplished. Each year we have tackled new problems, and you and I can see the results.
We have made government services more readily available to more people than ever before. We have reformed social welfare to give more help to the neediest while creating opportunities for them. We have established partnerships with the private sector and are reforming state owned enterprises. We have revitalised the sugar industry, created a sustainable mahogany industry, and made our ports efficient. We have embarked on an ambitious program to correct the deplorable condition of our roads. We have begun reforming the civil service to make it more professional, accountable, and results-oriented. Continue reading »
The Honourable John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia
2013 Annual GWPF Lecture
London 5 November 2013
I thank Nigel Lawson and his colleagues for their invitation to be here to-night. When he asked me to deliver this lecture Lord Lawson said that I could talk about what I chose. I think that was not meant quite as literally as it might seem. I am sure he had in mind that I might share with you my views on the contemporary state of the debate on global warming, especially from an Australian perspective. That has special relevance; Australia has a new PM, and integral to his successful campaign was sustained opposition to a carbon tax.
Since 2006, it has become a popular pastime for every Tom, Dick, and Harry to malign the “bad old politicians” of Fiji, and this trend will no doubt become a frenzy as “new politicians” offer themselves.
Many who write thus to the media are perhaps too young or ignorant to know what the “old politicians” did or did not do, compared to the new politicians.
But one does not expect the same song from Sir James Ah Koy, himself an “old politician” who personally benefited from the political largesse of several “old politicians” and Prime Ministers of Fiji (and received a knighthood from PNG “old politicians”).
Of course, such a message about “bad old politicians” is useful propaganda for a government which strangely contains a couple of “old politicians” (like Bole and Kubuabola), yet still claims it is the “first” government to do anything worthwhile for Fiji.
Nevertheless, it is the solemn responsibility of the older generation to set the record straight about what the old politicians did or did not do, compared to what the new politicians are doing.
It is also useful for future voters to examine the political record of “old politicians” like Ah Koy, who was once a Minister of Finance in Rabuka’s Government, and who is offering himself up again as a “new” politician.
Ah Koy as “new politician”?
Some political historians might scratch their heads at how Ah Koy once entered Parliament as a Chinese “General” voter, then later managed to get elected as an indigenous “Fijian” MP for Kadavu, then rediscovered his Chinese roots to become Ambassador to China, and is now offering himself as a “born-again” new politician, ready to serve in Commodore Bainimarama’s Party-to-be.
Economic historians with nothing better to do, may scratch their heads as to how and why Ah Koy was appointed in the first place as Minister of Finance in Rabuka’s SVT Government, replacing a performing Mr Vunibobo.
But all economic historians (and future voters) must examine Ah Koy’s performance as Minister of Finance, and especially his disastrous decision to create the ATH telecommunication super monopoly, in order to sell Government’s shares to Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) at the inflated price of $253 million, thereby “coincidentally” covering the cost of the National Bank of Fiji (NBF) disaster. Continue reading »
The Fiji government ( Which means Attorney General and Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum ) is still waiting for One Hundred Sands Limited to give their response on what it is doing in relation to the proposed casino just outside Denarau Island.
The $290 million hotel, casino and convention centre was supposed to open this month however construction work is yet to start.
Attorney General and Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the US$100,000 thousand US dollars per month penalty is in force and the government is waiting for the explanation.
Attorney General and Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum did not confirm how much money had actually been received. (What a surprise)
The modern banking system manufacturers money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity, and born in sin. Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear. And, they ought to disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be slaves to the bankers, and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money, and control credit.
Sir Josia Stamp; former governor of the Bank of England
Clearly the EU cannot trust an administration that will breach basic contractual laws to steal money from their own Pensioners.
“The Deputy Director General of Europeaid Marcus Cornaro maintains that the 4 million Euros will be channeled through the Australia Pacific Technical College for the training of Fijians connected with the sugarcane industry. “
Questions have been raised on why the EU has decided to have this partnership with Australia.
Cornaro maintains that it is just about efficiencies in how the aid will be used.
“Commodore Bainimarama said the government believes that if the European Commission is genuine about development and assistance, it must reconsider its association with Australia Pacific Technical College and work with organizations such as the Fiji National University and the government to achieve the best results for all Fijians.”
Obviously Frank you do not count the existing FNPF Pensioners amongst the Fijians you refer to.
These profits were achieved by stealing by stealing pensions from the aged and writing decrees to deprive them of their basic civil right to appeal through a court of law to rectify the injustice committed by the government of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who whilst demanding that the world should treat him and his administration fairly, has not hesitated to support his Attorney General in writing decrees to breach pensioners contracts and put pensioners lives in jeopardy.
The Fiji National Provident Fund has recorded a net surplus of $293.4 million for the financial year ending June 30th 2013.
According to Chief Executive Officer Aisake Taito, this is an increase of $178 million from last year.
Taito said this was also a record year for FNPF contribution collection from 288,000 active members which is $342 million.
He added that investment income increased by $31 million for FNPF from $249 million while the total assets now stands at $4.2 billion.
Taito said the fund has also managed to credit a 5.5 percent interest to all members’ accounts.
In promulgating Fiji’s new and fourth Constitution earlier this September, the country’s leaders hailed it as “the Constitution Fiji needed to have in order to join the ranks of the world’s great democracies”, and described the event in triumphal terms ranging from “historic” to “revolutionary.”
The document is certainly progressive in some respects: it provides, for instance, an expansive bill of rights with particular emphasis on socio–economic and cultural rights; an equitable and non-racial electoral system in place of the communal based systems as well as oversight institutions to promote transparency, accountability and combat corruption. It also creates a common Fijian national identity, which for the first time makes all citizens ‘Fijians’ irrespective of their ethnic identity. The Constitution also transfers the powers of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) to appoint the President to Parliament. Unlike before, this makes any Fijian, regardless of ethnicity more likely to be appointed to this office. In general, the removal of this institution, which—because of its exclusively Taukei composition—tended to favor members of this indigenous community, creates hope for more equal opportunities to all especially with the recognition of ‘Fijian’ as a single national identity. But is this enough to earn such glowing description or is the government just indulging in unwarranted self-praise? Continue reading »