- MINISTER CHALLENGES PORT OFFICERS – There is a need for closer cooperation and harmonization on port State control issues throughout the region to curb transnational crimes.
- SEARCH FOR PERMANENT SECRETARIES UNDERWAY – The Public Service Commission is on track to have Permanent Secretaries recruited by the end of the year.
- MINISTER AKBAR VISITS WOMEN?S CORRECTIONS CENTRE – The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar today visited the inmates at the Women?s Corrections Centre in Korovou, Suva.
- REGIONAL CONSERVATION FORUM UNDERWAY IN SUVA – The Fijian Government is committed to protecting 30 per cent of our coastal and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- 178 SECONDARY SCHOOL IN NATIONWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE – More than 170 secondary schools around Fiji will be taking part in the Nationwide Voter Registration Exercise for students organized by the Fijian Elections Office.
- MINISTER CHALLENGES PORT OFFICERS
There is a need for closer cooperation and harmonization on port State control issues throughout the region to curb transnational crimes.
These were the comments by the Minister for Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Parveen Kumar while opening the 23rd Seminar for Port State Control Officers in the Asia ? Pacific Region this morning in Nadi.
?The Asia ? Pacific region is a major route for trade between countries but it also faces similar challenges due to the limited resources, thus there is a need for closer cooperation among the countries of the region,? Minister Kumar said.
?This week ? long workshop will provide the platform for our countries to share knowledge and experiences, and more importantly construct common objectives to achieve port State control measures.?
The Seminar has been organised by the Tokyo MOU, the International Maritime Organisation and the Fijian Government and has been attended by over 13 countries from the Asia ? Pacific region including China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia, Tonga, Vietnam, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Philippines, Marshall Islands, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea among others.
Minister Kumar added that the seminar is an opportunity for smaller Pacific States to work closely with major regional hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong in improving the standards of the Ports.
?With the advancement of new modern technologies, this kind of international gathering is an ideal opportunity to seek best practices to address our challenges so that our countries are able to effectively discharge their international obligations such as port state control in the region,? Hon. Kumar added.
?We a collectively population of over 10 million, the Asia ? Pacific region can only be stronger when we work together in a more unified way.?
Acting chief executive officer of the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) John Tunidau says the forum would benefit not only Fiji but other Pacific Small Island Developing States.
- SEARCH FOR PERMANENT SECRETARIES UNDERWAY
The Public Service Commission is on track to have Permanent Secretaries recruited by the end of the year.
Chairman for the Public Service Commission, Mr Vishnu Mohan, said that following the decision to outsource the recruitment process,? Expressions of Interest were advertised in New Zealand, Australia and through the Fiji Missions overseas as well as in the local newspapers.
?We have received a good response and are confident of? finalizing the appointment of a Human Resources consultancy firm within this month. Permanent Secretary positions are the most senior level executive positions in the Civil Service.?? Under Section 127(3) of the Constitution, the Permanent Secretary of a Ministry is responsible to the Minister concerned for the efficient, effective and economical management of the Ministry at any department under the Ministry.?
Mr Mohan said it is imperative that Permanent Secretaries be recruited through transparent, independent and robust processes of advertising, short listing, interviewing and vetting.
?We have mapped out a clear strategy and pathway in this regard to have the best qualified and most suitable candidates in the twenty one (21) Permanent Secretary positions by the end of the year.?
The Public Service Commission in their first meeting last month, made the decision to extend the contracts of the current Permanent Secretaries till the end of this year to allow time for the recruitment process to take place.
?The Commission will meet soon to consider and make a decision on the appointment of a suitable Firm or Company as a first step in getting the recruitment process underway.?
- MINISTER AKBAR VISITS WOMEN?S CORRECTIONS CENTRE
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar today visited the inmates at the Women?s Corrections Centre in Korovou, Suva.
The visit was an opportunity for the Minister to discuss achievements and plans of the Women?s Corrections Centre with the Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, Lieutenant?Colonel?Ifereimi Vasu
Discussions during the visit also enabled the Minister for Women and her team to look at new areas of collaboration with Fiji Corrections Services.
While taking a tour around the facilities, Minister Akbar also met with some of the female inmates. Minister Akbar reiterated that through its partnership with Fiji Corrections Services, the Ministry aims to positively change the lives of women inmates. ?
?This visit here has been very informative, we had the opportunity to visit the rehabilitation projects that are conducted for female inmates.? I would like to acknowledge the work carried out by the Fiji Corrections Services, particularly in terms of implementing the rehabilitation programs.
?The Ministry is also working towards changing mind-sets and one of its key deliverables is the empowerment of women. We assist women by equipping them with skills and tools to become self-reliant.? We believe that women contribute to society as much as men do and by working together we can create a much bigger impact in the lives of these women.
?By working together we can positively change the lives of the inmates and their families. Through the presentation this morning, we saw that 47 percent of inmates belong to the youth category while 3 percent are females. The Fiji Corrections Services has an important role in ensuring that these inmates are assisted through various rehabilitation and livelihood programs. The Ministry aims to provide support in this area,? Minister Akbar said. ?
Director Rehabilitation Superintendent Ms Salote Panapasa highlighted some of the programs that are currently carried out at the Women?s Corrections Centre.
?Currently, there are 54 female inmates and one new remand centre is currently planned for west. Three major roles of the correctional services include ensuring the safety and security of inmates and also the safety of the general public.
?The needs of the inmates such as (health, food and shelter) have to be provided and the key role is changing the mindset of the inmates through the Rehabilitation framework,? Ms Panapasa said.
She also highlighted the three phases of the Rehabilitation program which includes:
- Disciplinary development (takes 2 to 3 months)
- Personality enhancement (6 to 12 months)
- Vocational Training skills (in areas of Trade and academic)
- Community Development Programmes
Minister Akbar also visited the vocational training facilities through which the female inmates secure self-employment opportunities. These include: baking and pastry, tailoring and weaving, hairdressing, catering and computing classes. After acquiring these skills, some of the inmates have found employment and are reunited with their families.
?Through Poverty Alleviation Programs, the inmates are also assisted through income generating programs. We also do home visits to get the right information, find the root causes of crime and resolves the differences,? Ms Panapasa said.
- REGIONAL CONSERVATION FORUM UNDERWAY IN SUVA
The Fijian Government is committed to protecting 30 per cent of our coastal and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing, Environment, Infrastructure and Transport Hon. Lorna Eden highlighted this at the opening of the three-day Oceania Regional Conservation Forum in Suva today.
Hon. Eden said Fiji has taken a lead role in the protection of locally-managed marine areas and implemented the National Biodiversity and Action Plan, which are indicative of the country?s pledge to meeting local and international commitment to the Convention on Biodiversity.
?We are however, still vulnerable to threats of invasive species within our fragile ecosystem, poaching of our endemic species like the crested and banded iguana and most recently to the increasing threats posed that create intense weather system as a result of climate change,? Hon. Eden said.
Highlighting the forum theme ?Resilience in a Climate Challenged Planet?, Ms Eden said in the face of climate change, disasters and other social and environment issues, improving people?s lives and alleviating poverty was a priority.
?I hope that by the end of this forum, there will be a clear direction for our Oceania countries on how to deliver a new implementation plan for 2017-2020.
?We are often side tracked and political agendas change but our will and our focus can be steadfast if we are passionate about the work we undertake whether it is in species, invasives, fisheries, agriculture, forestry or community development,? Hon. Eden said.
Hon. Eden urged participants at the forum to ?value nature and all the complex systems that provide for the many essential services for our needs – the provision of freshwater, fresh air, regulating of our climate and provision of timber for shelter, to name a few?.
The Oceania Regional Conservation Forum is being hosted by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Oceania and 58 IUCN Oceania members and selected representatives from the IUCN Commissions will be discussing issues on biodiversity conservation, climate change, food security, green growth and other significant issues where collected efforts are mobilised to effect change for the next three days.
The forum is a very important part of IUCN?s preparation for the World Conservation Congress that will be held in Hawaii next year and the subsequent four-year programme.
- 178 SECONDARY SCHOOL IN NATIONWIDE VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE
More than 170 secondary schools around Fiji will be taking part in the Nationwide Voter Registration Exercise for students organized by the Fijian Elections Office.
While launching the Nationwide Voter Registration today at the All Saints Secondary School in Labasa, Deputy Supervisor of Elections Michael Clancy said the objective is to target children who are already 18 and will turn 18 years of age.
?This is currently taking place in the Central and Western Division also, for four weeks until August the 7th and our team will begin the registration in the maritime areas on the 15th,? Mr Clancy said.
?The aim is to register students who are 18 years and above and even though the next elections is a few years away, it is important that we continue to update our voter registration list.?
He said they were aware that schools are currently having exams at this time of the year hence the Elections Office ensures that they do not disrupt classes.
?We are thankful to the Ministry of Education for their support as through this process the students also get a voter registration card and this will be useful for them as they can also use this as valid ID card,? Mr Clancy said.
He said it is important that an 18 year old gets involved in the process and they have a say in the future leaders of their country.
Meanwhile 250 students at the All Saints Secondary reacted positively and were keen to learn and discuss the purpose of voter registration and the electoral process.
Mr Clancy said they were able to understand their rights and responsibility to take part in the elections.
?Registration and voting in Fiji is not compulsory but we are emphasizing the importance for all Fijians to have a say in the democratic process,? Mr Clancy said.