FIJI NEWS SUMMARY 16/04/15 5:00PM

1. GHANA HIGH COMMISSIONER PRESENTS CREDENTIALS – The Republic of Ghana?s new non-resident High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Mercy Debrah-Karikari, presented her credentials to His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

2. MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT AS FIJI LAUNCHES FIRST CHILD HELPLINE IN THE PACIFIC – As part of its commitment to protect and promote the rights of children, the Minister for Women Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon Rosy Akbar launched the ?National Child Helpline? program; a first for the Pacific region.

3. PRESIDENT WELCOMES NEW SWEDISH ENVOY TO FIJI – His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today received the Letter of Credence from the new non-resident ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Fiji, His Excellency P?r Ahlberger.

4. LABASA MILL PROGRESSING WELL, READY FOR CANE SEASON – The Labasa sugar mill is progressing well with maintenance works expected to be completed by the end of this month before the beginning of the cane season later in June.

5. Rural roads review to maintain consistency – Government will soon undertake a review of all rural roads to ensure consistency in the maintenance of roads.


1 GHANA HIGH COMMISSIONER PRESENTS CREDENTIALS

The Republic of Ghana?s new non-resident High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency Mercy Debrah-Karikari, presented her credentials to His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

The new High Commissioner, accompanied by her delegation, was officially welcomed to the country by the Head of State when she presented him her ?Letter of Credence? at Government House this morning.

Prior to her current appointment, High Commissioner Debrah-Karikari worked as the Director Administration and Human Resources Bureau in Ghana?s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Ms Debrah-Karikari, who has spent her career in the Foreign Service, has served as Ghana?s deputy head of mission in Berlin, Germany and as deputy permanent representative of Ghana to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The high commissioner is based in Canberra, Australia.

2 MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT AS FIJI LAUNCHES FIRST CHILD HELPLINE IN THE PACIFIC

As part of its commitment to protect and promote the rights of children, the Minister for Women Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon Rosy Akbar launched the ?National Child Helpline? program; a first for the Pacific region.

This latest development demonstrates the commitment by the Government and major stakeholders to address child abuse by making a free telephone line available to those who may want to report child abuse. The project, being the first of its kind in the Pacific, aims to provide a voice to children and young people who are in need of support, care and protection. This initiative is part of the Fijian Government?s Child Protection Plan and will allow children to access this free helpline service by dialing 1325.

Government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation pursued this venture in partnership with Medical Services Pacific (MSP) and the three major telecommunications companies – Digicel, Vodafone and Telecom Fiji Limited who are involved in supplying the dedicated line.

The Minister Hon. Rosy Akbar highlighted the helpline was up and running and acknowledged the support of the telecommunications company in this project.

?The Child Helpline will assist our children to cope with negative effects of social media. It will provide an access point for all children in Fiji to seek counselling, advice, referrals to services and report abuse,? Minister Akbar said. ?This helpline will be entirely confidential and the callers will be able to speak to trained professional counsellors.?

The MSP chief executive officer, Jennifer Poole said this launch shows the world that Fiji takes child protection seriously and people who see children at risk now have immediate access through the helpline.

3 PRESIDENT WELCOMES NEW SWEDISH ENVOY TO FIJI

His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau today received the Letter of Credence from the new non-resident ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to Fiji, His Excellency P?r Ahlberger.

The new envoy met with the Fijian head of State at Government House this morning where he presented his credentials.

Ambassador Ahlberger holds a degree in International Relations (IR) and Economics from the University of Stockholm and in IR from the Johns Hopkins University.

He has previously served as Sweden?s Ambassador to Singapore and Brunei as well as deputy head of mission at the embassy in Beijing, China.

Mr Ahlberger is based in Australia and is also accredited to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu Kiribati, Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu.

4 LABASA MILL PROGRESSING WELL, READY FOR CANE SEASON

The Labasa sugar mill is progressing well with maintenance works expected to be completed by the end of this month before the beginning of the cane season later in June.

Fiji Sugar Corporation general manager Northern division Christopher Karia said the Labasa mill has never been under the microscope before regarding maintenance failure and they intend to keep it this way.

?From the last two years the farmers are becoming more confident now of the mill. It has become reliable and more efficient and we will continue with the trend,? Mr Karia said.

Mr Karia said the number of assistance also provided by Government has boosted the industry a lot with the farmers also benefiting.

?We are continuing to do our best especially in focusing in all the necessary details of the mill,? he said.

He highlighted that they were also looking at bigger projects in order to keep improving and maintaining the best results for sugar production in the country.

Mr Karia has called on all sugarcane farmers to make use of Government?s assistance and they look forward to a productive season.

5 Rural roads review to maintain consistency

Government will soon undertake a review of all rural roads to ensure consistency in the maintenance of roads.

This is to ensure that better access is provided to communities living in the most rural of places such as the highlands and also the maritime islands across in the country.

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Pio Tikoduadua made the announcement during his tour of the Navosa highlands this week.

?It is a major review that we will undertake because in the past, rural roads have been made to a standard for 4 – wheel vehicles and it is not specifically specified what types of vehicles,? he said.

?What we will do is to ensure that all roads leading to communities are (Rural Service License (RSL) standard and not 4 ? wheel standard which use to happen in the past and 4 – wheel standard roads will be farm roads not roads that lead to a village or community.?

RSL standard would mean all roads leading to villages and communities would be raised so that people are able to access them on mini ? vans, 3 tonne or even 4 tonne carriers.

Hon. Tikoduadua visited a few major roads in the highlands of Navosa and noted the appalling state of roads in some parts along Draubuta, Nakoro, Korovou Namatewale and other village roads.

Fiji Roads Authority representative and MWH Area Manager Braeden Lobb said work on the roads would begin next month.

?We will send a grader and a few other machines up here from May as the dry season starts to be able to bring it up to a standard where it the road can hold for RSL vehicles,? Mr Lobb said.