The justification has been that some trade union officials have not been fully transparent and accountable to the union members, whose fees paid for their allegedly high salaries.
But why is the Bainimarama Government not democratising the most important “legally enforced union”, the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF)?
In contrast to unions with a few hundred or thousand members at the most, FNPF has more than 200,000 members, with accumulated funds amounting to more than the assets of all the banks combined.
With not a single one of whose board members are elected by the members, this is the most important institution that should be democratised, next to Parliament.
Given that it is unlikely to happen through parliament, there has to be a movement for democratising FNPF (MFDF) outside of parliament.
and true democracy
In the run-up to the September 2014 elections, the Bainimarama Government often announced voters were about to enjoy the “most democratic” elections ever, for the government of their choice, rigorously supervised by the Fijian Elections Office.
Indeed, the more discerning citizen has already seen the real “power of democracy” at work under the Bainimarama Government, which two years before the elections, realised they had better serve the voters, if they wanted to return as government.
The Fiji Bureau of Statistics data on Gross Domestic Product, employment and incomes all indicate the economy largely stagnated from the 2006 coup until 2011. Continue reading
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
28 February, 2015
Allow me to respond to your front page article “Aussies Snubbed? ” of 28 February 2015 and specifically to references to me on Page 3.
It is my firm belief that newspapers not only serve to inform the public but also act as a “Reference” for historical research.
It, therefore, is incumbent on me to set the facts straight rather than let lie what, to me, is becoming slewed and agenda-driven reporting.
Fact One: During my tenure with the Australian High Commission, I held the position of Public Affairs Officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). That, for those like the article’s author who may not be able to fathom the difference, is quite separate to the position of “Communications Specialist” which was how the author of the article described me.
Fact Two: Ms Merewalesi Nailatikau was not my successor. She was Senior Communications Manager for the then AusAID and continued in that capacity when the two Australian departments merged into a single entity. Let me assure the author concerned that Ms Nailatikau is an intelligent and professionally trained individual with the relevant accompanying tertiary qualifications. To insinuate that her personal life might influence her professional status is, if I may offer an opinion, both demeaning of a very intelligent young woman and degrading to professional women and women in general.
Fact Three: I did not “retire” as your author suggests. I opted to take a redundancy package for personal reasons one of which was to re-enter mainstream media reporting in an attempt to bring back some respect and credibility to the profession. In that regard that is the only “agenda” some might wish to accuse me of.
Fact Four: Opinions I expressed (and continue to express) on social media have been both “negative’, and where relevant “positive”, of the Bainimarama Government. Those postings, while employed by the High Commission, were duly prefaced with constant reminders that I was commenting in my capacity as a citizen of Fiji and not as an employee of the Australian Government. Might I say that I am grateful to my former employer for being able to distinguish between my job description and duty statement and my right, as a Fiji citizen, to free speech. It is abundantly clear that some media personnel are obsessed with the childish notion that anyone who offers an opinion that may be critical of the Bainimarama Government is “anti-Bainimarama Government” and even “anti-Fiji”. I make no apologies for pointing out government shortcomings and I am of the opinion that professional journalists, by the very “nature” of their work, are expected to do likewise.
By way of further explanation, my postings on social media questioned the implications and functionality of the Media Industry Development Decree and the Television (Cross Carriage of Designated Events) Decree. Should your author be brave enough to distance himself from what I perceive to be an agenda-driven comfort zone he might admit that both Decrees are now being questioned with suggestions they may be amended or “fine-tuned” to better meet the “realities” of the media profession. And should he have a memory lapse, it’s worth mentioning that the whole of Fiji was, a couple of months back, made painfully aware of the shortcoming in the Media (Cross Carriage) Decree.