WAF, the water authority which makes up water bills out of thin air, say they are following through on the promise to give away a whole lot of free water but they are asking us “to be honest” in our registration by notifying them if our “household income exceeds $30,000 at any time during the three-year period”. They say “This is to allow other families in need to benefit from the program”. What do they mean “to allow other families in need to benefit from the program”? Do they mean that there are only so many families who will receive free water and if people who earn more than the income allowed, others who should get the allowance will miss out? The whole scheme sounds unworkable because it seems to rely on honesty about income, and the amount of water provided free depends on the number of people in the house. Are they going to check the numbers in each household or assume there’s only five? Who’s going to check all the facts and how many people in the house. Are they going to check all the facts and how many people will be doing all the checking. WAF have hit people with outrageous bills in the past and then Bainimarama promised that all the bills could be reviewed. It’s all a mess and one big joke.
Khaiyum’s lies about Fiji TV are the hot subject at the moment but what about his lies about air services to the Solomons. George Faktaufon revealed last week that the resumption of flights between the Solomons and Fiji didn’t mean the problem had been solved. Faktaufon said the agreement remains “weighted heavily in balance of Fiji” even though the Solomons has compromised to allow flights to resume. This is the truth that Khaiyum doesn’t want to hear reported. He calls it ‘biased’ to report that the airline services are “weighted heavily in favour of Fiji Airways”. Fiji has now resigned from ASPA, as if that can change the truth. Khaiyum is determined to play the bully with the Solomon Islands, just as he does with anyone in Fiji who dares to contradict him.
Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya has put out a statement announcing a drop in the price of fuel. He claims this is “Fijian consumers are able to immediately benefit from the reduction” in the international price of oil. He claims “this was enabled by the flexible price determination mechanism put in place by the Government, which allows for review of prices at the end of each quarter or sooner if the price change surpasses the trigger levels”. Really? What a lot of blah blah! A six cents a litre drop! The price of fuel has dropped faster in Australia. In Fiji, as with everything else in Government decisions, any change in the price of fuel has to get the tick off from Khaiyum before it can happen.
Disasters are part of life in the paths of cyclones (not to forget droughts and floods). To make sure help arrives when needed, Australia has handed over Fifty thousand Australian dollars to the Fiji Red Cross, so it can be used straight away when a disaster strikes.
On day one of health consultations in the West, Assistant Health Minister Veena Bhatnagar found what the public thinks of the state of our health services. They stink! Health Ministry’s Media Officer Sunhil Chandra admitted many people turned up to air their grievances and views on the health care services being provided to them at Sigatoka. The public are sick of seeing photos of Government minsters standing in front of equipment paid for by foreign donors with Bainimarama pushing himself into the picture to claim credit. When things go wrong he’s nowhere to be found and, of course, he wouldn’t dream of using any health services from the systems the rest of us have to out up with.
Fijilive January 12, 2015: Improve Health Care: Public
Inoke Kubuabola was forced to fly all the way to the Solomon Islands via Brisbane to meet his counter-part, while the Solomon Island minister responsible for air services was forced to fly all the way to Fiji (again via Australia) in order to get the fair treatment the Solomons had been asking for. Some might call this the mountain coming to Mohammed. We’d call it dealing with neighbours Khaiyum style. He gets to show everyone who’s the boss. Kubuabola’s nose is rubbed in the dirt and the Solomon Islands are reminded of the need to kowtow to Fiji. The FijiLive report makes no mention of what the substance of the dispute was, but that probably doesn’t matter to Khaiyum. What matters to him is that he looks like top dog and everybody else – his colleague, Kubuabola, and the Solomon Islands delegation – look like they have to do Khaiyum’s bidding. Air Services were stopped in July last year after the Solomon Islands Government protested lack of equal treatment for their airlines and it will be 11 months before they resume. The Solomons may now have the fair treatment they demanded as a condition of letting Fiji Airways back into the Solomons, but the price Khaiyum demanded was that he looks like the big bwana and they look like the beggars forced to come to his door begging for scraps.
Fijian Holding Limited (FHL) chairman Iowane Naiveli has shown what a pathetic puppet he is of the Government with his ‘clarification’ that the pair at Fiji TV were not sacked but their contracts were terminated in accordance with the provision in their contract to sack them without naming any reason. Does he think this fools anyone? Does Khaiyum, who’s probably behind Naiveli’s being forced to grovel and back Khaiyum’s laughable lies, think this fools anyone? Khaiyum’s hand is visible here and it’s all been exposed on Fiji Leaks.
Inoke Kubuabola’s visit to the Solomon Islands is being hailed (by himself) as a great success, but there’s no mention of air services. Isn’t that why he went there? Isn’t that still the biggest issue in relations Solomons? And it would be interesting to know if Kubuabola had to fly to the Solomons via Australia?
The suspension of a senior civil servant apparently without warning or involvement of the Public Service Commission is nothing new for the Bainimarama Government but we now have a constitution which requires the Government to follow proper processes. Education Minister Mahendra Reddy is carrying on as if he is still operating with the Immunity clause in place. It stopped when the Parliament first met. He will have to account for all his actions. Civil servants have rights that Minister Reddy needs to remember and there is now a Parliament where he will have to answer questions. He won’t be able to say what he said to the Fiji Times – “I don’t want to know anything”. The aggrieved civil servant, Mrs Basundra Kumar, has called on the Prime Minister to intervene. In the past we could be sure that he would have backed anything one of his ministers did, but he knows immunity has run out and people again have rights that have to be respected. Welcome to 2015.
The case of Feroz Kamahl Buksh in Vancouver charged with a bungled robbery after his visa card failed in a mini mart. He pulled a plastic gun but broke down and started crying about his money problems. He fled with the bag full of loot breaking, spilling contents as he ran. Finally he is found hiding behind boxes in a closet inside a home in which he’d been staying. A sad end for someone who arrived in Canada from Fiji as a 12 year old. Let’s hope he can find a friend among the many former fellow-Fijians now living in the area.