We say: Peter Lomas,  get your blinkers off– or go back to Journalism School for a refresher! Also we recommend 1 tablespoon of imodium daily for several months. 

Fiji Sun: Fiji First with Seniors Plan (GreyPower substitute title: “Fiji First with Pension Cuts- Plan to Kill Seniors off”)

Fiji yesterday became the first country in the Pacific to launch a policy to safeguard the elderly  (GP: safeguard the elderly from getting FNPF pensions)

The 4 year plan to foster development in the care and welfare of senior citizens was launched in Suva (GP: in case they live longer than anticipated by the FNPF and Government)

The Fiji National Policy on Ageing was launched by UNFPA subregional director Dirk Jena. (GP: This UN agency clearly does not know the first thing about breaches of the rights of elderly persons by FNPF and Government, particularly their right to be heard in a court of law without interference of the judiciary by the executive- someone should tell HE Ban Ki Moon about the UNFPA’s ignorance in the Pacific and support for human rights violations in Fiji)

Speaking at the launch Mr Jena said the policy “truly is a pioneering practical homegrown document”  

“It is a  forward looking framework of preventative measures”  Mr Jena said.   (GP: Mr Jena will enjoy his own healthy UN retirement plan when the time comes, so what does he care what happens to the elderly pensioners in Fiji- this comment is a good example of telescopic philanthropy of the UN senior executives) 

The 4 main visions of the policy include:

*  recognition of the contribution of older people to the social, cultural, economic and political sectors of society (GP: by making older people even more dependent on social security handouts after cutting their pensions to poverty-line levels; they will be ever so grateful to the Government for giving them $50 per week instead of $30.) 

*strengthened social assistance for older persons (GP: ie by making them ‘needy’- a fashionable term now in Fiji used by ‘do-gooders’ in government and one particular new government-supported NGO) 

*healthy living     (GP: with any luck- there will be no ‘living’ at all)

 *an enabling & supportive environment for the elderly (GP: sure, by cutting their pensions and placing the burden of enabling them and supporting them on their kids and relatives- usually on women of the house!) 

Minister for Social Welfare Dr Jiko Luveni said as per the policy, a committee would be set up.  The committee would be independent of government to see the successful implementation of the policy. (Another government-supported NGO tax dodge?) 

“This policy would not have been possible without the financial and technical support of UNFPA  (GP: greasing the UN again dear?) 

One of the key strategies adopted for the formulation of this policy is collaborative discussions and awareness carried out with NGO’s and civil based organisations”.(GP: another FNPF-type ‘consultation’?)  

The policy addressed the emerging needs of the older population aged 60 years and over, which currently makes up 8% of our population. (GP: this time next year the elderly demographics will be 0%; therefore these ‘new’ policies pretend to be affordable now, and what great PR!) 

Editorial  GP: Arise, SIR Peter (Lomas)! 

Care for the ageing and policies for their welfare is one area that is sadly lacking in national planning policy, maybe because of competing priorities for the government or other stakeholders…  (GP: you have never spoken a truer word, Sir Peter, but add- no priorities for the government, given recent FNPF events)

The important thing now is that we have a template from which to start. (GP: Where is it? Under the daily (smelly) rag called the Fiji Sun? Can’t spot it, sorry!)

The more important work starts now to develop a lasting document that will bering a solution to the plate of our ageing population  (GP: Do you mean the final solution, Sir Peter? And by the way, ‘aging’ is spelt without an ‘e’ – back you go to journalism school!)

It is time to give back something to those who have given their lives for their families and for their country (GP: Right, in huge doses of hemlock just like they gave Socrates, Sir Peter. You, on the other hand, should take something stronger for that serious ailment known as genuflection.) 

We owe it to them. (GP: Thanks a million Sir Peter for such good thoughts just before Christmas).