MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 4:00PM 05/07/13

 

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1.?PERFORM IN HONESTY AND INTEGRITY-?Newly sworn-in commissioners of oath and justices of peace have been urged to perform their duties with utmost honesty, sincerity and integrity because they play a ???vital role in the justice system.

 

2.??PSC CONTINUES SCHOLARSHIP AWARENESS-The Public Service commission is again encouraging students around the country to utilise their state sponsored-opportunities available to further their education.

 

3.?RETIREMENT PLANNING EXPO-The Public Service Commission is encouraging interested people and stakeholders to attend the Retirement Planning Exposition planned for?tomorrow?(Saturday, July 6) at the Tebara Complex in Nakasi, outside Suva.

 

4.??COURT REPAIRS TO IMPROVE SERVICES-The public can look forward to a better coordinated judicial services with the completion of maintenance works at various courts around the country.

 

5.?FIJI PLEASED WITH PROGRESS OF PACIFIC CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDTABLE??-?The Fijian Government ?which is chairing this year?s Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, is pleased with the progress of discussions over the past three days.

6. DYNAMIC TRAINING FOR? MAKOLEI YOUTHS -?A group of thirty youths from Makolei in Bua completed a weeklong dynamic training conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

 

7.SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHERS DISCIPLINE?-?The Ministry of Education will continue to work on enforcing discipline among teachers and school heads says Minister Filipe Bole.

 

8.?FIJI STREAMLINES LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON DISABILITY -?The Fijian Government, in its quest to promote the rights and interests of persons living with disabilities has undertaken to streamline relevant laws which will prioritise the needs of persons living with disabilities.

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9.?ROADSHOW PROVES A SUCCESSFUL VENTURE??- Recent successes of the Government Roadshow held in Sigatoka, has been seen by Ministry of Social Welfare as an avenue to raise awareness on the social welfare and women programs available to the public.

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1.?PERFORM IN HONESTY AND INTEGRITY

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Newly sworn-in commissioners of oath and justices of peace have been urged to perform their duties with utmost honesty, sincerity and integrity because they play a vital role in the justice system.

 

This morning seventeen (17) new commissioners of oath and (11) eleven justices of peace were sworn-in at the Suva High Court by Chief Justice, Anthony Gates.

 

Justice Gates reminded the officers that they have been appointed to serve the public and not to make profit.

 

?You come forward in order to serve the public. This is not a business venture. You are not out to make a sideline profit. Be careful not to wrap up other office facilities or services for which you may rightly charge, with your services as a JP or a Commissioner,? Justice Gates said.

 

?You must make yourself available and not have staff or family members chasing applicants away. Your willingness to assist, to be available, will soon be noted, and again complaints will come in if you are grumpy and unhelpful.?

 

Justice Gates highlighted the need for the Commissioners and JPS to maintain records of the works they carry out.

 

?From time to time, this record may be called for and inspected. I understand it will not be long before you will be issued with standard uniform stamps for use with your documentation. Commissioners, as already with JPs, will have photographic ID cards,? Justice Gates added.

 

The Commissioners, like the JPs, would also be issued with a General Guidelines Booklet to refer to when necessary. These booklets would also remind them of the high standard of conduct expected of them.

 

?It is like being a member of a famous regiment with many battle honours to its name, and with a reputation for steadfastness and noble deeds,? stressed Justice Gates.

 

There are altogether 307 JPs around the country now.

 

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2.??PSC CONTINUES SCHOLARSHIP AWARENESS

 

The Public Service commission is again encouraging students around the country to utilise their state sponsored-opportunities available to further their education.

 

Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said every effort is being made to ensure that students throughout Fiji and Rotuma are made aware of the various forms of assistances including Scholarships.

 

?In the next couple of months, there will be a number of PSC administered scholarships advertised for next year to which students at form 7 level, Foundation and continuing students in the advertised program are advised to apply for,? Mr Chand said.

 

?Since it is based on merit, students are also encouraged to study hard this year and to gain marks above the cut off level in order to qualify for the Overseas and Local Scholarships to be able to study for a degree.?

 

For the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS) and the Student Loan Scheme (SLS), Mr Chand said the commission will assess students on other aspects in addition to marks to be eligible to apply.

 

The Scholarships and Training Team at PSC have been participating at School Careers Expo at various divisions around Fiji.

 

On 14 June, the team were invited by the Ministry of Education to participate at the Ra High School Careers Expo to disseminate information about the Scholarships to forms 5, 6 & 7 students in the local area and to the public at large.

 

Altogether there were a total of 352 students from Nakauvadra High, Penang High, Rakiraki Public High, Navesau Adventist High, Vatukaloko Secondary and Ra High School who visited the PSC booth to enquire and be informed about the PSC Scholarships.

 

At the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Careers Expo on June 7, the following schools were present, Adi Cakobau School, Kalabu Secondary School, Cathedral Secondary School, Nabua Secondary School, Assembly of God Secondary School, Gospel High School, LDS Primary and LDS College.

 

Furthermore, the PSC Scholarships Team also participated at the Poverty Reduction Awareness held at Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka from June 19-21.

 

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3.?RETIREMENT PLANNING EXPO

 

The Public Service Commission is encouraging interested people and stakeholders to attend the Retirement Planning Exposition planned for?tomorrow?(Saturday, July 6) at the Tebara Complex in Nakasi, outside Suva.

 

Public service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said the day is being organised in partnership with Westpac and relevant public and private sector stakeholders.

 

?This Expo is an opportunity for individuals to meet with relevant organizations who can then help them in planning for their retirement,? he said.

 

?This is also an opportunity for those who are retired or are about to retire to come and seek professional advice on opportunities available to further utilise their skills as well as financial literacy on savings and investment.?

 

Mr Chand said that organizations from the Public Service and those from the private sector will be present to provide information and to assist people to remain active after retirement.

 

Invited organisations include the National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprises, Life Insurance Corporation India, Tower Insurance, Fijian Holdings, Unit Trust of Fiji, Fiji Council of Social Services, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Reserve Bank, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour?s National Employment Centre, Fiji Customs and Revenue Authority and Suva City Council.

 

?We also call upon those who have retired and are between the ages of 55 years ? 70 years. You can come and see the opportunities provided under the Fiji Volunteer Service Scheme,? Mr Chand said.

 

 

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4.??COURT REPAIRS TO IMPROVE SERVICES

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The public can look forward to a better coordinated judicial services with the completion of maintenance works at various courts around the country.

 

Chief Justice Mr Anthony Gates said repair works are currently being undertaken throughout the Government Buildings with other projects lined up depending on available funds.

 

?There were (in 1977) three Magistrates in Suva. Today there are eight. The ceiling of the court has been reduced in height to allow for a Master?s court [High Court No.8] and a Tax Court [High Court No.7] to be created on 2nd?floor,? Justice Gates said.

 

?Many works are ongoing throughout Government Buildings, and much further work remains, such as two appeal courts, a new Law Library, a new holding cell block and a cr?che to name a few.?

 

The repair works will see the addition of a third courtroom at the Nadi Magistrates Court.

 

?A new site for the Ba Magistrates Court away from flood prone areas, a new court for Vunidawa and refurbishments at Nabouwalu,? Justice Gates said.

 

Justice Gates also indicated plans for restoration of the Government Buildings clock and its tower.

 

?The clock was built and assembled by the Cumbria Clock Company in 1939. The company is still in existence and will assist with the restoration works. Once again the inhabitants of Suva will be able to set their clocks and order their days in obedience to its chimes,? Justice Gates highlighted.

 

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5.FIJI PLEASED WITH PROGRESS OF PACIFIC CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDTABLE

The Fijian Government ?which is chairing this year?s Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, is pleased with the progress of discussions over the past three days.

The meeting started on Wednesday 3 July at the Sheraton Fiji Resort in Nadi, Fiji.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Political and Treaties Division director, Esala Nayasi said the meeting has progressed well as far as the Government of Fiji is concerned.

?It has been a good platform for the exchange of views and experiences and there is a lot that countries in the region can learn from one another. Sharing information throughout the region is always difficult, so these types of platforms can really assist us,? Mr Nayasi said.

?It is informal in nature, so it allows for interactive discussions and it is open to development partners and all relevant stakeholders. It?s an opportunity to put politics aside and talk climate change and how we can advance policies and strategies in our individual countries in order to better serve our communities.

?For us, there are a lot of lessons and good practices that we can learn from the experiences in other countries.?

A highlight of yesterday?s sessions was a review of the integrated approach being taken in Choiseul, Solomon Islands, under the Choiseul Integrated Climate Change Programme. The project aims to link activities across sectors, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, education and meteorology, at the provincial and community levels.

?This is something Fiji is investigating further, the integrated approach at the provincial level. We would like to have a closer look at the concept in Solomon Islands and see how this model fits with what we are trying to achieve in Fiji,? Mr Nayasi said.

Various departments and levels of government in Pacific Island countries and territories are responding to climate change across multiple sectors, with assistance from intergovernmental agencies including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and support from donors and development partners, such as the European Union, The Deutsche Gesellschaft f?r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

?A lot of line ministries are involved in climate change. It?s a cross-sectoral issue,? Mr Nayasi said.

?Coordination is the main issue for countries ? this is what has been shared over the last few days. Coordination between different agencies, between different line divisions, coordination of climate change finances, coordination of activities ? this is the problem that countries are facing. It has to be addressed because when there is no coordination, there is duplication.?

Mr Nayasi said he is now looking forward to seeing progress on integrating the climate change and disaster risk management agendas during the Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable which begins on?Monday 8 July?at the Sofitel Resort and Spa in Nadi, Fiji.

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6.DYNAMIC TRAINING FOR? MAKOLEI YOUTHS

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A group of thirty youths from Makolei in Bua completed a weeklong dynamic training conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

 

The training promotes government agenda of integrated approach where government ministries come together to support each other.

 

It is also the second training organised by the ministry?s northern division office and was closed by permanent secretary, Mr Joseva Sania this morning.

 

Addressing the 30 participants, Mr Sania expressed how the Ministry of Youth has been working hard to reach out to the youth in the remote areas of Fiji.

 

? Training is brought to you because we want to have an informed youth population who can contribute effectively to their community,? said Mr Sania.

 

According to Mr Sania, it is a great challenge to work on youth who are school leavers because there is a bridging work to be done between school life and community life.

 

?We have been hearing about the empowerment training youths in the country have been receiving and we are thankful for to receive this Dynamic Training,? said Makolie Youth President, Kusitino Naita.

 

Stakeholders that participated in the training included the Ministry of Women and Social Welfare, Agriculture, Police, Cooperative and Health.

 

Youth of Makolei also received farming tools and equipment from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

 

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7.SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHERS DISCIPLINE

 

The Ministry of Education will continue to work on enforcing discipline among teachers and school heads says Minister Filipe Bole.

 

?If teachers are committed to their work as teachers, then school improvement should come naturally. In that regard, any teacher who, during school hours, is seen out in the towns and cities or not attending to classes whilst at school, will be disciplined,? he said.

 

?This is part of the ministry?s efforts towards improving school performance and making sure that students excel and make it in their education.?

 

Mr Bole said parents invest with great hope in the education of their children.

 

?It will be sinful of teachers and school heads if they do not reciprocate this commitment and realize the hopes and aspirations of parents and students,? Mr Bole said.

 

?The Education Ministry is doing all it can to assist the parents in the financial burden of education and the onus is now on teachers and school heads to perform their duties with due diligence.?

 

Mr Bole said they expected nothing less than the teachers? best in the classroom and must dedicate their time and energy towards their teaching.

 

?Teachers who do not show commitment and dedication to the profession will be pulled up and disciplined and this is a sign that they are not fit to teach or be entrusted with the hopes and dreams of parents and children of Fiji,? he said

 

?Finally, the Ministry hopes that this message will be a wake-up call for all teachers to realise the importance of being a school teacher and the work that is required and expected in teaching.?

 

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8.FIJI STREAMLINES LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON DISABILITY

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The Fijian Government, in its quest to promote the rights and interests of persons living with disabilities has undertaken to streamline relevant laws which will prioritise the needs of persons living with disabilities.

 

Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said the completion of the review of the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP Act 1994) and the drafting of Disability Decree 2013 is a milestone achievement for Fiji.? Last week, the two important legal documents were handed over to Dr Luveni.

 

?The completion of review of FNCDP Act and draft Decree on Disability will be a boost in terms of providing an inclusive and enabling environment for the persons living with disability. It will give persons with disability more powers to exercise their rights to live dignified and productive lives,? she said.

 

?This legislative framework captures on the needs and aspirations of the persons living with disabilities and it also empowers the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons to conduct proper monitoring and evaluation process to mainstream disability into Fiji?s development processes. The Ministry acknowledges the contributions of Madam Nazhat Shameem for her providing her consultancy expertise, including all the stakeholders for their contributions in developing this legal framework.?

 

Fiji National Council for Disabled People executive director, Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said the FNCDP Act of 1994 was only administrative and urgently needed a review.

 

?The FNCDP Act 1994 is an administrative legislation where it maps out the establishment of FNCDP but it doesn?t really have much powers to carry out special provisions in addressing the needs of the persons with disability,? Dr Yanuyanutawa said.

 

?In June 2010, Fiji signed the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and had agreed in principle to review the existing legislations and at the same time to come up with the new disability legislation for the nation.? The draft Disability Decree looks at critical issues which are directed to the needs of persons with disability and most of the articles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability is incorporated into the draft decree.?

 

He said these two legal documents will be vetted by the Office of the Solicitor General and also presented to Cabinet.

 

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9.ROADSHOW PROVES A SUCCESSFUL VENTURE

Recent successes of the Government Roadshow held in Sigatoka, has been seen by Ministry of Social Welfare as an avenue to raise awareness on the social welfare and women programs available to the public.

Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said the roadshow provided an opportunity for the ministry to disseminate information on its programs and also gauge on the needs of the public.

?The roadshow has enabled the social welfare and women officers in the western division to provide information on the ministry?s deliverables, helped them to understand on the process and procedures when applying for the programs. This initiative has also allowed the staff to strengthen their network with the public, particularly in getting more women groups to register with the Department of Women,? he said.

?It has given an opportunity for the school children, youths and public at large to also learn about the elimination of violence against women and children programs. They have also been given information on the Ministry?s Women Plan of Action, understand about the International conventions on women like CEADW (Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Violence Against Women), Convention on the Rights of the Child.?

Dr Koroivueta said roadshow is one of the best means to disseminate information to the people at grassroots level. During the show, the Ministry has recorded more than 200 people who had visited the Ministry?s booth and were given the information on the women, social welfare and poverty alleviation programs.

The three days roadshow which was held at the Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka from 19th?to 21st?June 2013, included various display of government services and officials readily providing information to the public.

 

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