Aug 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:11 PM, Jun 12, 2017


Student Death

ABSOLUTE silence in Fiji’s media over the death of a PNG student at a local boarding school. The senior student at the Roman Catholic Saint John’s College died of a pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding in the lungs) which could have been caused by one of many illnesses including dengue fever. Parents and former students rushed to the aid of the school to repatriate the body of the student and provide financial support for his family. Yet there was nary a word on the incident in the local papers or on radio and television. Even the Education Ministry and police were surprisingly quiet. Perhaps it was a matter of protecting Fiji’s business of educating regional students at its schools. 

School hiccups

SO Fiji’s Education Ministry still can’t get its act together when it comes to arranging national assessment for school children. The Literacy and Numeracy Assessment planned for the second term was moved suddenly, leaving many parents and students unaware, Righteous indignation spewed forth on social media as irate parents vented their frustration on teachers and ministry officials. The assessment had initially replaced annual examinations which determined the suitability of candidates for the next level of schooling. But in Fiji – where no student who fails can be deprived of forward movement – the education system has numerous quirks. Sudden movement of dates for exams and analysis is just one of them. read more buy your personal copy at


Not good enough

SO, even the deputy head of a regional agency is not good enough for the Australian aid facility which will administer assistance to programmes in the education, health and development sectors in a number of regional countries. News is that the woman – highly respected and qualified – was one of the reasons an Australian company won the bid to administer the disbursement of aid. But when that news reached Australia’s Suva offices there were immediate efforts to sabotage the appointment. Now the news is that the best candidate is out of the running and the high commission staff are promoting themselves to vacant positions in the facility. Which, of course, calls into question the entire selection and tender process.

Money matters

STILL on the Australians, remember the staffer in Whispers last month from their Suva post who disappeared with visa payments for a prominent boys’ school? The matter came to light after the principal complained to authorities. Apparently the woman was escorted in handcuffs from the building after it was established that she had indeed taken money and promised to arrange travel documentation for the boys. The incident points to the fact that people in Fiji still think they can circumvent the visa process system using the people they know. When will this end? read more buy your personal copy at


No bull here

AT least one person has fallen foul of the PNG-Fiji impasse on the bully beef trade. Fiji’s Biosecurity Authority boss, Xavier Khan, resigned suddenly from his position shortly after an announcement that a ban on PNG corned beef had been lifted. For more than a year the two Melanesian neighbours have been at loggerheads over the tinned goods. Khan had led the blockade against PNG - apparently at the behest of his political masters - until it became too hot in the proverbial kitchen. As is usual in Fiji, the lackey eventually paid the price for doing the master’s bidding. 

Switching sides

ON a similar note, watch for two former colonels in Fiji’s military government to switch political sides this month. Both men lost their jobs after years of hastening to the call of the republic’s military strongman. And both lost their jobs over differences of opinion with the Number Two in the same government. After a particularly heated Cabinet meeting, one of the colonels demanded his military boss make a stand - him or his master’s voice. The master went with the voice and the loyal officer lost his job. Now he’s about to make a political comeback and word is the knives are out. read more buy your personal copy at


Ego clash

FOR how long will Fiji stay away from the region’s biggest tourism event in the manner of the school yard bully? The whole region will gather for the SPTE 2017 in Sydney later this year but much of the Fijian delegation is under pressure to stay at home. That’s because Fijian tourism bosses want the region to attend the Fiji event planned for the resort island of Denarau. But the SPTE – which coincides with Australia’s Tourism Expo – attracts a large number of European and American industry buyers who may not travel as far as Fiji. That means it’s better for them to meet the buyers in Australia as they have in the past two years at events in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast. Yet Fiji continues to bang away at a single event rather than a regional fest.

Randy priest

A CATHOLIC priest in Samoa has left the village in the wake of an alleged sex scandal there where he was caught sleeping with a Year 13 student. The incident was confirmed by the village who said residents were in a state of shock. The community leader said a more senior church leader immediately removed the priest from Vailoa before the matter could be discussed by the Village Council. So what is the main office in Apia doing about the incident? read more buy your personal copy at


Tietjens faces the heat

THE sevens coach everyone loves to hate - Sir Gordon Tietjens - has come under fire in Samoa after less than four months in the job. After dismal performances on the HSBC World Sevens Series beginning late last year, the knives are already out and more are being sharpened. The Samoan rugby public, it appears, is as unforgiving as their Pacific cousins in Fiji. All every Samoan fan wants is a win. Is Tietjens a spent force? Has he run out of tricks? Is his coaching cupboard bare?That’s what the Samoans want to know. Letters to the editor in the Samoan newspapers have gone as far as to suggest that selection should be restricted to big players - as big and as fast as their Fijian counterparts. What next? A new coach?

Ghost town

WITH much fanfare some 10 years ago a Malaysian company was feted and welcomed to build a metropolis near Fiji’s second international airport, Nausori. Waila City was one of the first big deals signed by the interim government. Today the development site is littered with rusting earth-moving equipment and there has been no progress on excavation or subdivision of lots for the last three years. It’s unclear whether work will eventually resume. read more buy your personal copy at

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