Friday, February 29, 2008

Davies doubts poll possible

FREDERICA ELBOURNE
Thursday, February 28, 2008 - www.fijitimes.com

Glen Davis, the United States principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, talks to the media at a press conference at the US Embassy in Suva yesterday.+ Enlarge this image

Glen Davis, the United States principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, talks to the media at a press conference at the US Embassy in Suva yesterday.

A US official left the country yesterday doubting a March 2009 general election can take place and unclear about how the People's Charter will fit in.

Glen Davies, the US principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, said the US Government maintained Fiji must return to democratic elections.

Until then, he said, aid to the RFMF would remain suspended.

"What's important is getting back a government people can have faith in, where they can have a say, be informed," he said at a press conference yesterday.

"That's job number one for any person who's calling the shots in Fiji."

Referring to the People's Charter, Mr Davies said there was no sense in setting preconditions for the next general election.

"I understand some of the basis on which the People's Charter process was founded some very real issues," he said.

"But who is best suited to work out those issues?

"Is it a top-down approach or a government that reflects the will of the people?

"That is one outsider's view that you can take or leave but that is the view of the United States.

"What's important is getting back to a democratically-elected government in Fiji."

Mr Davies met with interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, deposed PM Laisenia Qarase and interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on his day-long visit yesterday.

He said the US Government was willing to help with preparations for the general election.


No replacement for Beddoes: Samy

Thursday, February 28, 2008

MICK Beddoes will not be replaced on the National Council for Building a Better Fiji.

Charter secretariat director John Samy confirmed this yesterday.

"There won't be any replacement for him until he decides to come back," he said.

Activist Suliana Siwatibau also resigned from one of the taskforces of the council.

Mr Samy said other members of the taskforce could take over her work.

Mrs Siwatibau was part of the working group that looked after the institutional and public sector reform.

She resigned last week, while Mr Beddoes resigned on Tuesday.

They both felt the actions of the interim Government opposed the principles of good governance the proposed People's Charter hoped to achieve.

"They want the Charter to tell all new governments how to manage Fiji in the future but they are unable to operate within the boundaries of good governance, transparency and accountability," Mr Beddoes said. He added he would consider rejoining the council if interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry resigned from Cabinet and an independent inquiry was set up to look into the allegations of tax irregularities against him.

The Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party said the resignations showed these two people believed in the principle of good governance.

"It is a matter of principles and what they believe in," SDL director Peceli Kinivuwai said of Mrs Siwatibau and Mr Beddoes. "We are glad that they believe in good governance and we hope that all the other members of the NCBBF will resign as well."

National Federation Party president Parmod Rae said they were not surprised.

"I thought Mr Beddoes should have known better, he jumped into the Charter and is coming out again, he just embarrassed himself.

But I think good governance and this proposed Charter are a contradiction."

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