MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:00PM 16/04/13

CAPTION: Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves and his Fiji counterpart Ambassador Peter Thomson at the formalization ceremony

1. SAINT VINCENT AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines formalized diplomatic relations with the Republic of Fiji at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on April 15, 2013.

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2. SOCIAL WELFARE ADOPTS POVERTY APPROACH – Rupeni Fatiaki says the new Poverty Benefit Scheme programme in Fiji is now changed from a category to poverty approach. The Department of Social Welfare director was speaking to listeners on FBC?s Fiji Gold talkback show organized by the Ministry of Information yesterday.


3. PSC APPOINTS OFFICE ACCOMMODATION DIRECTOR – The Public Service Commission chairman, Josefa Serulagilagi has announced the appointment of Sanjeshwar Ram as the new PSC Office Accommodation director.

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4. CIVIL SERVICE MEDAL AWARD – The Civil Service Medals award, normally accorded to those who have served faithfully and diligently in the public service, will be reactivated.

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5. POLICE WARN PARENTS ON STUDENTS IN CITY DURING SCHOOL HOURS – The Police Commanding Officer in the Central Division, Tevita Waqabaca has warned parents to ensure their children reach school and do not divert to other areas in the city.

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1. SAINT VINCENT AND FIJI ESTABLISH DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines formalized diplomatic relations with the Republic of Fiji at a ceremony at the Fiji Mission to the United Nations in New York on April 15, 2013.

The Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, AmbassadorCamillo Gonsalves and his Fiji counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, signed a joint communiqu? establishing diplomatic relations between the two island nations.

The communiqu? expresses the desire of Fiji and St Vincent to establish their diplomatic relations in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, guided by the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and international law, particularly on equality among States, respect for national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and respect for international treaties.

The communiqu? calls for the promotion and strengthening of bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.

Following the formalisation ceremony, Ambassadors Gonsalves and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries, including work arising from their joint membership of the Group of 77 and China, the Alliance of Small Island States, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

Ambassador Thomson took the opportunity to brief Ambassador Gonsalves on Fiji?s steady progress towards the achievement of sustainable democracy through parliamentary elections to be held in 2014.

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2. SOCIAL WELFARE ADOPTS POVERTY APPROACH

Rupeni Fatiaki says the new Poverty Benefit Scheme programme in Fiji is now changed from a category to poverty approach.

The Department of Social Welfare director was speaking to listeners on FBC?s Fiji Gold talkback show organized by the Ministry of Information yesterday.

?In this new program we are looking at assisting the poorest of the poor. This means that home visitation is compulsory when our people do the assessment,? Mr Fatiaki said.

?We are using the recommendation of the World Bank and the Household Expenditure Survey which was done in 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009. We took out the variables from these reports and based our questionnaires on them.?

After doing reviews and reports on the old programme they realized there were gaps.

?Out of the reviews and the reports, we discovered that the Family Assistance Scheme, which was offered before, was category targeted. This meant that you would come into the system if you fall into these categories; elderly (65 yrs and over) and disabled. So if you are under these three categories then you are eligible for the assistance,? Mr Fatiaki said.

?We discovered that through the reports there were poor people in the communities who do not fall into the categories and they were not able to come into the system.?

Mr Fatiaki gave an example of a gap that was found in the old system which failed to cover other poor people.

?For example, if someone is involved in sugarcane farming as a labourer to the farmer, he lives with his family in a tin shed with no household items and possessions,? Mr Fatiaki said.

?They are living in poverty and the only work is in six months when it is the harvest season. They cannot come into the system because though they are poor, they do not fall into the three categories.

?They are able bodied people so the system does not allow them to come in though they are living in destitution.?

Social Welfare poverty assistance is in line with Pillar 8 of Government?s Charter, that is, reducing poverty to a negligible level by 2015.

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3. PSC APPOINTS OFFICE ACCOMMODATION DIRECTOR

The Public Service Commission chairman, Josefa Serulagilagi has announced the appointment of Sanjeshwar Ram as the new PSC Office Accommodation director.

Mr Serulagilagi said the officer was chosen based on merit and years of experience.

Mr Ram began his career in the civil service in 1993 where he was appointed as clerical officer for the Inland Revenue Department. He was then transferred to PSC in 2005 as Administration Officer and later promoted to Senior Administration Officer.

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In 2009, he was promoted to Principal Administration Officer with the Ethics & Disciplinary Unit at PSC.

Mr Ram holds a Master of Commerce in Management and Public Administration, a post graduate Diploma in Management & Public Administration and a Degree in management.

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4. CIVIL SERVICE MEDAL AWARD

The Civil Service Medals award, normally accorded to those who have served faithfully and diligently in the public service, will be reactivated.

Public Service Commission chairman, Josefa Serulagilagi said the Civil Service Medal award derived from the Honours and Awards Act 1995 has been reactivated following consultations with and concurrence of the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Chapter 17 of the Act states that ?any nominations for the Civil Service Medal shall be placed before the President by the minister responsible for the public service?.

Mr Serulagilagi said a committee of permanent secretaries, chaired by the PSC permanent secretary, was being formed to develop the criteria and promote the award of the Civil Service Medals within the public service.

?The names of those nominated for the medals will be approved by the Prime Minister before they are sent to the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau,? Mr Serulagilagi said.

The presentation of ?medals will coincide with the Public Service Excellence Awards night after the investiture of the same by the President to the respective recipients.

The Civil Service Medal according to the Act may be awarded to any member of the Fiji Public Service for distinguished devotion to duty and outstanding achievement. A holder of the Fiji Civil Service Medal shall be entitled to the use of post-nominal initials ?CSM? on all appropriate occasions.

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5. POLICE WARN PARENTS ON STUDENTS IN CITY DURING SCHOOL HOURS

The Police Commanding Officer in the Central Division, Tevita Waqabaca has warned parents to ensure their children reach school and do not divert to other areas in the city.

Mr Waqabaca was speaking on FBC?s Radio Fiji One this morning on a talkback show organised by the Ministry of Information.

?We are concerned with the increase in incidents of students roaming the city and crowding internet cafes during school hours,? Mr Waqabaca said.

Most of these students change their uniforms after reaching Suva City.

Whenever they come across students in such areas of the city, Mr Waqabaca said Police would have to contact their parents or the school office directly.

?I urge parents to make sure their children are going straight to school instead of diverting to other unnecessary areas,? Mr Waqabaca said.

The increase in incidences of abuse of students in the Central Division should be a lesson to parents to know the whereabouts of their children.

?Parents should have family time at home and talk to their children and warn them of the temptations that are around us in this day and age,? Mr Waqabaca said.

?This will make the work of police easier. There was a case where a Form Three student was abused in a Suva motel after being lured for money and drinks by adults who are supposed to be role models.?

People should make use of the Police Hotline if they find students in the wrong places during school hours.

Mr Waqabaca said police in the Central Division had been meeting with communities in Vatuwaqa, Toorak and Flagstaff to advise them on these issues regarding students.

SOURCE: MINFO