Thursday, September 18, 2014

Possible list of Fiji election winners

from w
This was published in the Fiji Sun.

Your likely Members of Parliament
This list could change if there is a dramatic change in the final results.
FijiFirst – 33 seats. Voreqe Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Parveen Kumar, Dr Mahendra Reddy, Ruveni Nadalo, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Viam Pillay, Brij Lal, Pio Tikoduadua, Sanjit Patel, Joeli Cawaki, Timoci Natuva, Osea Naiqamu, Balmindar Singh, Dr Jiko Luveni, Vijay Nath, Lorna Eden, Inia Seruiratu, Dr Neil Sharma, Netani Rika, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Samuela Vunivalu, Alvick Maharaj, Jioje Konrote, Ashneel Sudhakar, Faiyaz Koya, Iliesa Delana, Laisenia Tuitubou, Veena Bhatnagar, Alex O’Connor, Viliame Naupoto, Jilila Kumar, Jone Usamate.
SODELPA – 14 seats. Ro Teimumu Kepa, Vane Seruvakula, Niko Nawaikula, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Mosese Bulitavo, Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua, Viliame Gavoka, Semesa Karavaki, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki, Anare Vadei, Mere Samisoni, Ratu Jone Kubuabola.
NFP – 3 seats. Dr Biman Prasad, Tupou Draunidalo and Prem Singh.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Provisional election results

The provisional results for the Fiji election showed an outstanding result for Fiji First, then Sodelpha, then Federation Party (which I liked) and poor old Labour really struggled. Others had minimal results. So it looks like the people have spoken and we have to accept that. Sodelpha I think made the mistake of concentrating too much on cultural issues and not bread and butter issues. Of course - where's the money - that is the question for the winners - how to achieve those promises.

FijiFirst           60.17%          233094
SODELPA      26.71%          103463
NFP                 5.66%           21910
PDP                 3.53%           13684
FLP                  2.39%            9256

Vote for carrots or culture

from w

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sharon Ann Light

from w
It's the blackout period before the Fiji election so no small talk - ha ha - about elections.  However I was looking up tagimaucia and found a painting by Sharon Ann Light, a Suva artist, and oh my, she is prolific and there are hundreds of her paintings on-line.  Lovely and colourful and focussing on people, fish, plants, flowers of Fiji  No politics there!  Look her name up on the web and you'll see lots of her paintings.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A soldier says

September 13  by Varanisese Nasilasila NADI

It was an experience that Lance Corporal Joeli Naivola will not easily forget after being recently released by the Jabhat al-Nusra Front in Syria on Friday morning.
Speaking to the Fiji Sun from Syria, Lance Corporal Naivola described the bond of friendship they had developed with their captors during their two weeks of captivity. He said: “It was very emotional for us to say goodbye; the group (captors) had even cried and thanked us for our friendship,” he said. Lance Corporal Naivola said they were grateful to God for keeping them safe.“For 14 days straight we were just praying and fasting for the captors to change their minds and release us. At first there was very tight surveillance for the first few days, then they came to us and started talking and as days went we started to build our relationship,” he said.

Lance Corporal Naivola said the captors had removed all their weapons and they were just left with their clothes they were wearing for two weeks straight.“We surrendered everything except our clothes; but we kept our faith in God that we would be released. At first they strictly guarded our area but later on they just left us there, trusting us that nothing would happen. We were well fed and no harm was done to us,” Lance Corporal Naivola said.
Meanwhile back in Fiji his family was overwhelmed when they received the good news. Wife Leba Naivola said the children were very happy to speak to their dad early yesterday morning as they left for school.“Their dad called and they all spoke to him, they were really happy to hear that their Dad was okay and that meant a lot to them,” she said.

Friday, September 12, 2014

An explanation about the Fijian soldiers

from w
An interesting explanation is given in this piece from one of the blogs, but it is unsigned so I don't know who wrote it.  It talks about an oath to protect the Fijian soldiers.

Sunday to be a day of thanksgiving

from the Methodist Church in Fiji facebook page::

MEDIA RELEASE: Methodist Church to hold Thanksgiving and Peace Sundays

As the people of Fiji continue to rejoice at the safe release of the 45 Fijian soldiers serving with UNDOF in the Golan Heights who we released early this morning Fiji time, the Methodist Church is calling on all its churches to use this Sunday as a day of thanksgiving to God for the safe release of the Golan 45. 

“The whole nation has been praying and hoping for the safe release of our captured peacekeepers,” said Rev. Tevita Banivanua, Methodist Church General Secretary and President-elect.

“We have been praying for their safety, the peace of mind of their families, for the negotiators, for their captors, for the United Nations and for their colleagues in Golan, other peacekeepers around the world and for their brothers and sisters in the RFMF. Now that they have been released, it is important we who have been seeking divine intervention, give thanks to God.”

We are calling on all divisions and circuits in the Methodist Church to dedicate this Sunday as a Thanksgiving Sunday and for worship services and Sunday-School programmes to include special hymns and prayers of thanksgiving for the release of the Golan 45.”

Meanwhile with International Day of Peace (21 September, 2014) falling on a Sunday this year, the Church is also asking its members to use this time to reflect on and pray for peace.

“As elections will have been completed and as we wait for the formation of a democratically elected government, this is a God-given opportunity for Methodists and the entire nation to commit ourselves to being a peaceful people,” said Rev. Banivanua.

“As we continue to think of our peacekeepers who serve around the world in the areas of difficulty, we are called to be peacemakers and peacebuilders in our communities and our nation. “

Reflections and sermons on the theme of “Living the Peace of the Kingdom” based on Matthew 5:9 and Micah 4:3-5 are encouraged.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fijian soldiers in the Golan Heights freed

from w
News sources say that the Fijian soldiers captured in the Golan Heights have been freed. This will bring huge relief to the people of Fiji, praying for their safety. Perhaps it will swing the election results one way also?  For a video of the release and freedom, go to a video posted on facebook.

UN: Syrian Rebels Free 45 Fijian Peacekeepers
BEIRUT — Sep 11, 2014, 11:00 AM ET
By RYAN LUCAS and EDITH LEDERER Associated Press
Al-Qaida-linked Syrian rebels on Thursday released all 45 Fijian peacekeepers they had held captive for two weeks, the United Nations said, bringing an end to a crisis that had pulled the U.N. monitoring force into the chaos of Syria's civil war.
Fighters from the Nusra Front captured the Fijian troops late last month in the Golan Heights, where a 1,200-strong U.N. force patrols the disputed buffer zone between Syria and Israel. The area along the frontier has been engulfed in heavy clashes since then between the rebels and the Syrian military.
The Fijians were taken hostage the same day that nearly 80 Filipino peacekeepers were surrounded and trapped by Syrian opposition fighters. The crisis raised questions about the future of the U.N. Golan mission as participating nations threatened to pull their troops out because of the escalating violence.
Two weeks to the day after the Fijians were abducted, U.N. Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said Thursday that they had been freed. He said they were released at the Quneitra crossing point in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights.
The U.N. said in a separate statement that all 45 peacekeepers "are in good condition" and will be taken for a quick medical assessment.
Israel's Channel Two news reported that the freed Fijians were given food and medical attention after crossing into Israeli-controlled territory.
An unidentified member of the group expressed relief to have left Syria.
"We're all very happy to be safe and alive," he told the Israeli channel.
The Fijian troops were captured on Aug. 28, one day after rebels seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing from President Bashar Assad's troops.
The same day the Fijians were taken captive, two groups of Filipino peacekeepers were trapped at separate U.N. encampments, surrounded by rebel fighters who demanded they surrender. They refused, and both groups of Philippine troops eventually escaped — one busting out with the help of Irish colleagues, and the other by slipping away under the cover of darkness.
The U.N. mission in the Golan Heights was established in 1974, a year after the Arab-Israeli war. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, and Syria has demanded the return of the land in past peace talks.
For nearly four decades, the U.N. monitors helped enforce a stable truce between Israel and Syria, but the Golan Heights has increasingly become a battlefield in Syria's civil war.
The mission currently has troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines. A number of countries have withdrawn their peacekeepers due to the fighting between rebels and Syrian troops along the frontier.
The Fijians' release comes just hours after the Nusra Front posted a video online in which the captive peacekeepers can be seen sitting cross-legged in the background as two men with long beards deliver short speeches in Arabic. Near the end of the video, one of the Fijian soldiers addresses the camera in English. He says the date is Sept. 9 and it's a "very happy day."
"We've been informed that we will be released soon, and we are all very happy to be going home," he says, adding that all the soldiers are alive and well.
"I would like to assure you that we have not been harmed in any way," he says, adding that they have been treated well by the Nusra Front, given that the group has limited resources.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Problem with postal voting

from w
I wonder how many overseas Fiji people who registered to vote in the election now find that it's too late because their postal vote papers didn't arrive early enough.  What a waste of money and effort it was when the eligible Fiji persons had registered a couple of months ago to now find they are too late. And of course the Fijians living in Tonga - about 250 of them were forgotten altogether.

Some Overseas Fijians Receive Voter Registration Form Too LateComplaints they will be left out of elections arise

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Sept. 5, 2014) – A number of registered voters overseas are seeking answers from the Fijian Elections Office as to why they were sent their postal voter application forms late.A number of affected Fijians that spoke to FijiLive said some received their application forms on the due date of August 27 whilst some others received theirs after, ruling them out as a result to vote in this year's election.
A voter from the United States says the move by the FEO was "scandalous" and questions the logic of having overseas registration drives only to rule interested Fijians out by the delay.

According to a statement dated August 26, the Fijian Election office said the forms were sent out a week earlier. A couple in the United States said their papers were sent to them on August 19 and they received it after the deadline date.

Vasiti Ritova, a Fijian journalist now living in the United States said it was an "obvious scandal to take away our basic citizenry right to vote for our preferred candidates." "It borders on criminality and ought to be taken up with the international observers on the ground.

Did they just waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax dollars in sending election office workers overseas to register Fijian citizens and not do a quick follow-up when they get back to the office? "The system they have put together for this historic event in our nation has totally failed us.

It has punished us - imagine the father in rural Ra who had to pay $50 to hire a carrier van for his fellow voters to rush to the polling station because they changed the polling date! Their system has totally failed us!" Ritova said.

Another Fijian caregiver Akesa Tirimaidoka said most Fijians who were registered were unaware they needed to apply again for postal voting despite being registered in one of the overseas EVR drives.
"Most of us were unaware that we needed to re-apply either in writing or by the internet, what needed to be understood was that most of us caregivers do not have access to the internet when we’re at work since we’re on duty 24/7. It was one thing trying to go and register, for me personally, I went four times then I managed to get registered because of the distance that we needed to travel to finally register and the wrong information that was coming to us on where the EVR team would be based, now after all those running around, we don’t get to vote," Tirimaidoka said.

For those that got their application sent back to Fiji before the due date, they said they have been keeping a constant check on their mail boxes waiting for their ballot papers to arrive and keeping their fingers crossed that it arrives on time.

Meanwhile Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem told FijiLive yesterday that the decree required everyone that needed to do postal voting to apply.

"Also the benefit of that is that they get their exact current address because some of them have registered in 2013 they might have changed their address and that is why the decree requires that," Saneem said.
"In any event, if it is automatic and where a person overseas may have died and we still send a ballot paper and someone else could have marked it and send it back so the protection is the declaration which is there and also required by the decree." He said to his understanding postal application papers were sent overseas on August 10 and unless overseas voters checked their mail boxes late, they would not have missed out.

Saneem also confirmed voters who did not submit their postal voting applications on time would not be eligible to vote.