MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 12:00PM 01/07/13

CAPTION:?Nauru President and three of his Cabinet Ministers being briefed by Roving Ambassador Litia Mawi on PIDF.

1.?PIDF ? A POSITIVE ROAD FOR THE PACIFIC -?Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the launch of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) will provide the impetus for inclusive and sustainable development architecture which can become a key pillar for the South-South cooperation in the region and beyond.

2.?NAURU UPDATED ON PIDF AND FIJI?S ROADMAP TO ELECTIONS -?Fiji?s roving ambassador and high commissioner to Pacific island countries (Polynesia/Micronesia) Ms Litia Mawi, last week during a courtesy call to the Republic of Nauru?s newly elected president Mr Baron Waqa, updated him on the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) inaugural meeting scheduled for?August 5-7?in Nadi.

3.?NEW X ? RAY MACHINES FOR NADI AIRPORT -?Four new X ? Ray machines have been brought from overseas to strengthen Fiji?s boarder security at the Nadi International Airport.

4.?GOVERNMENT ASSISTS IN RECOVERING ARREARS OF WAGES FOR RESORT STAFF IN SIGATOKA -?Government through the Ministry of Labour assisted in the recovery of one month?s wages for 62 workers of a prominent resort in Sigatoka. Total wages recovered amounted to a sum of $51,821.76.

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1.?PIDF ? A POSITIVE ROAD FOR THE PACIFIC

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the launch of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) will provide the impetus for inclusive and sustainable development architecture which can become a key pillar for the South-South cooperation in the region and beyond.

PIDF was borne out of the collective input of Pacific leaders that attended the Engaging with the Pacific meeting in Fiji last year to bring together governments, businesses and civil society organizations in the Pacific to secure the future of the region through Green Economy.

PM Bainimarama during his recent participation at the 19th Melanesian Spearhead Group Leaders Summit in New Caledonia, had issued an invite to all Pacific government leaders, private sectors, civil society organizations and development partners to this meeting.

?PIDF will champion the vision of a ?united, distinctive and sustainable Pacific society? that has spread throughout the Pacific conveyed by a team from Fiji?s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,? PM Bainimarama said.

PM Bainimarama said work towards hosting of the inaugural PIDF meeting in Nadi in August has already begun.

?The team has visited around the Pacific, meeting public sector, private sector and civil society leaders and we are pleased with their report and are confident that the groundwork has been laid for a successful inaugural meeting of the PIDF ? PM Bainimarama added.

PM Bainimarama ?highlighted ?the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, at the Rio+20 Earth Summit issued a declaration, ?The Future We Want? which encouraged countries to introduce green economy policies to tackle poverty without adding extra strain to food, water and energy supplies.

The theme of the inaugural PIDF meeting will be??Leadership, innovation and partnership for Green/Blue Pacific economies??and an experienced team of experts in Green Economy from the region and beyond have been approached to address the conference.

?We are excited by the interest that is being generated by this event which is creating its own challenges in terms of space and representation. We are confident however, that the mixture of programmes that is being prepared which includes ten ?plenary and parallel sessions, and a Green Economy Expo will surpass everyone?s expectations,? PM Bainimarama said.

PM Bainimarama added that through the support of all countries in the region, a new space for dialogue on sustainable development ?will be created.

?I?m confident that with all our support, we will be able to birth this new space for dialogue on sustainable development and bequeath to our future generations a new way of engagement that is truly participatory and representative,? PM Bainimarama said.

?I am also confident the Pacific Islands Development Forum can surely animate its vision of a ?united, distinctive, and sustainable Pacific society?.?

The PIDF inaugural meeting is scheduled for?August 5-7?in Nadi.

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2.?NAURU UPDATED ON PIDF AND FIJI?S ROADMAP TO ELECTIONS

Fiji?s roving ambassador and high commissioner to Pacific island countries (Polynesia/Micronesia) Ms Litia Mawi, last week during a courtesy call to the Republic of Nauru?s newly elected president Mr Baron Waqa, updated him on the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) inaugural meeting scheduled for?August 5-7?in Nadi.

Ms Mawi, who also briefed Nauru?s cabinet ministers and secretaries, highlighted the need for current mindsets to shift from a focus on vulnerability towards valid and reasonable models and alternative visions for the Pacific.

?Current mindsets need to shift from a a focus on vulnerability towards more valid and reasonable models and alternative visions for the Pacific, on approaches to development, governance, environmental sustainability, security and social cohesion that would ensure inclusiveness and self-sufficiency amongst all Pacific communities,? Ms Mawi said.

Ms Mawi added the PIDF inaugural meeting would be targeted at engaging Leaders from key sectors in implementing the concept of green economic policies in Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

Ms Mawi also updated the new government on Fiji?s hand in partnership being offered to PSIDS under the South-South Cooperation towards the pursuit of global development agendas such as the Millennium Development Goals and SIDS-specific priorities.

Nauru is among the six early adopters of this partnership having signed the MoU for development cooperation and recruited six volunteer teachers from Fiji in Jauary this year.

Ms Mawi also gave a brief update on ?the progress of Fiji?s roadmap to elections and parliamentary democracy in 2014, including the new constitution which will be ready shortly.

Fijians living in Nauru will also be updated on the same subject by Ms Mawi, including the Electronic Voter Registration which would soon be extended to them.

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3.?NEW X ? RAY MACHINES FOR NADI AIRPORT

Four new X ? Ray machines have been brought from overseas to strengthen Fiji?s boarder security at the Nadi International Airport.

Minister for Defence and Immigration, Mr Joketani Cokanasiga said the equipment which has been bought at a cost of $750, 000 will boost Fiji?s border controls at the country?s busiest airport.

?We currently have a few but they are old ones and the purchasing of four new X ? Ray machines will strengthen our security systems at our main gateway,? Mr Cokanasiga said.

?The purchasing of these equipments also signifies Government commitment towards ensuring that our officers have the best equipment and tools for the job to minimize any errors of trafficking.?

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will officially launch the new equipment on?July 3, which is being used around the world at prominent airports such as Hong Kong, Korea, the United States and Australia.

Mr Cokanasiga added that with a new system placed for immigration and customs officials earlier this year, plans are now set to upgrade Fiji?s equipment at its borders.

?We have more plans for strengthening our borders and recently we have upgraded our system with the immigration officers for fast processing for visitors. We have other plans in place to implement at our borders especially providing quality equipment for the use of Fiji?s safety from international threats such as smuggling,? Mr Cokanasiga said.

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4.?GOVERNMENT ASSISTS IN RECOVERING ARREARS OF WAGES FOR RESORT STAFF IN SIGATOKA

Government through the Ministry of Labour assisted in the recovery of one month?s wages for 62 workers of a prominent resort in Sigatoka.

Total wages recovered amounted to a sum of $51,821.76.

Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment, Mr Jone Usamate said the issue was lodged with the ministry?s Complaints and Resolution Team (CRT) earlier this year by resort workers.

?The case was then referred to the Ministry?s Sigatoka office for further investigation of the matter,? Mr Usamate said.

The Ministry advised and reminded resort workers and villagers to refrain from carrying out any illegal actions against the employer including illegal strike as the ministry would address their complaints through the provisions of the labour laws.

Mr Usamate said the investigation team met with resort workers for an open discussion to obtain the complaints, then met with the resort owner and management team to discuss the issue of non-payment of wages.

?My labour team explained the provisions of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007(ERP) and the Hotel & Catering Wages Regulations Order (WRO) and the time frame given for the payment of unpaid wages by the employer,? Mr Usamate said.

?The team also made a firm commitment to resolve the case and through discussions, the employer fully understood the provisions of the law and the consequence of failing to comply.?

Mr Usamate sincerely thanked the employers of the resort for their support and commitment in amicably settling the matter within the provisions of the law.

?Workers of the prominent resort were pleased with the achievement and were grateful by the intervention and approach taken by the Ministry in settling the case within four days,? Mr Usamate added.

Mr Usamate further commended the assertiveness and professional attitude displayed by the staff of the Sigatoka Labour office for effectively liaising with the employer to successfully resolve and conclude the matter.

?Our staff members displayed flexibility and commitment to the mission of the Ministry and effective communication skills to bring this matter to a successful conclusion. The work of the Ministry can only be carried out by the commitment of our officers,? he added.

?They have provided a wonderful example of what it means to be a servant of the public.?

The Ministry is currently liaising with the Nadroga and Navosa provincial council office, the Fiji National Provident Fund, Department of Immigration, and Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority to jointly visit the resort to conduct awareness and training for both the workers and the management.

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