Caption: Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Viliame Naupoto presenting the Certificate of participation to Silivia Diqanuya. Photo: MINFO.
1. NURSING STATION WILL BOOST BUA HEALTH SERVICES
The new Bua nursing station will raise the level of health and medical services in the district of Bua.
Staff nurse Lusia Vakataukale made the comments after the nursing station was officially opened by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Monday.
Built by Army Engineers through government’s Public Sector Investment Project (PSIP) allocation, the new nursing station will service a population of 13,000 in the district of Bua.
“I must commend Government for shifting the Bua nursing station to this new location in Bua Village, and especially for building a brand new station which is much better than the old station,” Ms Vakatale said.
The staff nurse is happy with the new station and looks forward to provide service to people from the villages and settlements in the Bua district with much enthusiasm.
“This nursing station will be servicing the district of Bua from Monday to Thursday from 8am to 4.30 pm.
On Friday it will be open from 8am to 4pm. In the weekends I will be tending to serious cases only,” Ms Vakatale said.
The new nursing station will boost health services in the district of Bua.
The station also has a better nurses quarters.
Ms Vakatale said the old nursing quarters had only one bedroom and the kitchen and bathroom were all in the same unit.
The new nurse’s quarters has two bedrooms; it has a separate living room, and separate kitchen and bathroom.
The Bua nursing station sits on a one acre of freehold land, that was kindly donated by a Fijian family who had been farming in the area since 1975.
Mrs Anita Devi Singh and her family donated the land after years of witnessing the hardship faced by people in the area.
“For more than 30 years my family have been witnessing the struggle people face in travelling to the old nursing station and to make things worse most times the nursing station is closed,” Mrs Singh said
“These people cannot afford to travel all the way to Nabouwalu when they cannot be served by the old nursing station. So we decided to donate this piece of land to make medical services in the area more convenient to the people.
“God has given everything to my family so I should give something back to the people because I feel sorry to see them suffer for years travelling long distances to the old nursing station.”
Mrs Singh said she was thankful to the Prime Minister and the Government for their financial assistance without which the new nursing station could not be built.
2. BUA FAMILY PRAISES GOVERNMENT’S REHAB EFFORTS
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama officially handed a new house to a family in Bua on Monday as part of government’s rehabilitation assistance after Tropical Cyclone Evan.
Laisenia Ravumaidama, 26, of Navakasiga in the province of Bua received a brand new house after his old abode was completely destroyed by the cyclone last year.
“I am thankful to the Government of the day for this housing assistance. I really did not expect to be assisted with a brand new house,” Mr Ravumaidama said.
His house was the first to be rebuilt among the 11 in his village that will receive housing assistance.
“The army officers came to inspect the damage caused by Cyclone Evan to houses in our village. They took all the details and I was surprised at the capacity of assistance received,” Mr Ravumaidama said.
He added the assistance had lifted his family’s standard of living.
“I used to live in a corrugated roof house with walls made of bamboo but unfortunately it was completely destroyed ,” Mr Ravumaidama said.
“My wife is so happy that we now have a bigger and better house then before and we must commend the Prime Minister for this generosity in helping victims of Cyclone Evan in our village.”
Mr Ravumaidama said army officers brought building materials and a village carpenter was paid by Government to construct the new house.
“The approximate cost of materials for building my house was $12,000 and three thousand dollars was for labour,” he said.
Commissioner Northern Lieutenant Colonel Ilai Moceica said the concept of using village carpenters was to make use of their carpentry skills.
“It is a form of capacity building to involve villagers themselves taking part in the rehabilitation process,” Lt Col Moceica said.
“The type of house built through the cyclone rehab is the standard rural housing model costing no more than $15,000 per house.
“In the district of Navakasiga alone a total of 33 houses altogether will be built in the villages of Lovonidalo, Naiviqiri and Nasau.”
3. DISABLED ELDERLY GIVEN HOPE FOR BETTER LIFE
Empowering persons with disabilities to live respected and dignified lives is a core priority of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
In line with this vision the ministry has assisted 68-year-old Elia Nasomisomi of Kiuva Village in Tailevu with much needed tools to ease the difficulties he faces. Both his legs were paralysed for the past three years.
In 2010, Mr Nasomisomi’s life as a fisherman came to an end when he was diagnosed with leg paralysis, leaving him with wooden walking sticks as the only means to stand up on his two feet.
Mr Nasomisomi had little to hope for, with his wife being the only one to look after him. His prayers were answered when he had an opportunity to meet the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni during one of her ministerial visits to Kiuva Village last year.
In his conversations with Dr Luveni, he revealed his challenges as being a person with disabilities, he had requested for a forearm metal crutches to help him walk.
In response to this request, ministry officials visited Mr Nasomisomi early this month to help him with this request.
“I would like to acknowledge the assistance from the ministry in particular the Madam Minister, Dr Luveni for helping me with the new crutches through which I can now walk without any difficulties,”Mr Nasomisomi .
“These tools are my life for without them I can’t even stand up on my feet. It has given me hope, I can go out to the farm to fetch food and also walk an extra mile.
“People with disabilities are usually unrecognized and because they can’t move around they are just left all alone by themselves locked in their own homes. Now I can walk around and try to do household chores, even visit my friends and relatives.”
Mr Nasomisomi has also been assisted with the government’s social welfare monthly allowances of $60 and $30 food voucher.
“This is the assistance I have been praying for and I am thankful to the Government for addressing my needs. I also have a bus fare ID card and I can travel freely on public transport. The Government has done so much to help persons with disability, to help us seek a better life,” Mr Nasomisomi added.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation works together with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) to promote an inclusive and equitable environment for persons with disabilities.
4. iTAUKEI INSTITUTIONS MOVE AHEAD WITH CLIMATE CHANGE
Appointed officers of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and the iTaukei Affairs Board met on Thursday (7/3/13) to formalise membership of the Joint Climate Change and Environment Forum.
The forum will oversee the mainstreaming of climate change and environmental policies for iTaukei communities in liaison with other ministries. The forum will determine the implementation role for joint measures related to climate change and other environmental issues.
“This joint forum has a crucial role,” said the deputy chief executive officer and forum chairman Col Apakuki Kurusiga. “We have been anticipating it for several years now, but determining our priorities, determining the right focus and the securing of financial donors were rather tedious undertakings,” he said.
Now that the joint forum has finally got its stamp of approval by the iTaukei Affairs Board which met in January which was chaired by the Minister for iTaukei Affairs and Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, the seven-member joint forum is anxious to roll out its plans.
The ministry and the board are thoroughly aware of the magnitude of their role during this time of global environmental turmoil and climate changes, and it will not be an easy task, according to Col Kurusiga.
“We are mindful of the grass root communities whom we serve,” Col Kurusiga said. One of the role of the joint forum will be to develop national relocation and revitalization programmes focused on food security for vulnerable iTaukei communities affected by climate change.
Col Kurusiga said before carrying out climate change mediation programmes, the forum was mandated via the terms of reference to ensure the interests and concerns of the iTaukei were represented.
He said the joint forum would also take inventory of all climate change and environment sustainability programmes carried out by other groups in the provinces and determine awareness and training programmes within the iTaukei communities.
The joint forum is responsible to the permanent secretary Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, who in turn will provide advice to the iTaukei Yaubula Committee (Resource Owners Committee) on ongoing issues related to climate change and the environment.
The joint forum will meet bi-monthly.
5. FIJI CELEBRATES MSG SILVERY JUBILEE
Fiji will celebrate Melanesia Week from March 18 to 22. That is next week.
The celebrations will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Melanesian Spearhead Group since its establishment in 1988.
The theme for the anniversary celebration is “25 years of Melanesian Solidarity and Growth” which also denotes the initials of MSG.
The official launch of the anniversary celebration was in Port Vila, Vanuatu in January and this will be followed by national celebrations in respective MSG capitals.
The culmination of the silver jubilee celebrations will be held in June 2013 to coincide with the 19th MSG Leaders Summit in Noumea, Caledonia.
To mark this significant event, Grand Chief Michael Somare a pioneer and founder of the MSG will be the chief guest at a three – day event to be convened at the University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus.
The planned activities will include cultural performances by USP students, public lectures, debates, Melanesia art & craft exhibition, traditional sport, documentaries on Melanesia and a fashion parade to showcase Melanesia fabric and style.
The second phase of the celebrations will be held over two days from March 21 and 22 March at the Police Academy in Nasova and will feature displays of Fiji made products, food stalls and live displays by the Fiji Police Band.
Citizens of Fiji and the general public are requested to join in these celebrations, support MSG achievements and Fiji‘s leadership of the MSG’s by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as chairman.
6. CHINESE VICE – MINISTER ARRIVES TONIGHT
Vice – Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Mr Liu Jieyi will arrive in the country tonight for a two – day visit.
The arrival of Mr Liu adds to the list of high level official visits to enhance the already strong relations between Fiji and China.
During his visit here, Mr Liu is scheduled to meet with the Attorney General and Minister for Trade and Tourism Aiyaz Sayed – Khaiyum, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and the Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand.
The visit is to enhance mutual trust, deepen bilateral co-operation, broaden exchanges, seek common development and promoting the long-term stable development of friendly relations and cooperation between China and Fiji.
Fiji and China forged diplomatic ties in 1975, becoming the first Pacific Island country to do so.
“In recent years, China and Fiji have witnessed stable development of bilateral ties, and the two countries see new opportunities to further promote their relationship,” said Mr Liu.
“China and Fiji have been maintaining high-level exchanges and contacts and expanding fields of cooperation.”
The trade volume between China and Fiji stood at US$45.27million in 2005, up by 16.9 per cent from the previous year.
There is also great potential for the two countries to cooperate in areas such as agriculture, fishery and forestry.
The visit by Mr Liu is on the invitation of Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
7. PUBLIC SERVANTS WARNED TO FOLLOW ROAD RULES
Drivers of Government vehicles have been reminded through a Circular issued by the Public Service Commission to observe and follow road and driving rules at all times.
The Public Service will not condone behavior and actions of those employees who disregard such rules.
Permanent Secretary for Public Service Commission, Mr Parmesh Chand said the Land Transport Photographic Detection Devices regulation 2013 is now in effect.
Mr Chand said whilst there are exemptions provided for vehicles such as those used by Fire Brigade, Ambulance, Fiji Police Force, the President and Cabinet Ministers, the Public Service by and large needs to observe and diligently follow the road users Code of Conduct and Rules.
“Government will not be responsible for any acts contravening the law and therefore leniency will not be an option if offences are captured by the Photographic Detection Devices,” he said.
He said government ministries will need to send the names of their respective drivers to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The repercussions of not providing the names of drivers will make it difficult for the annual registration and passing of Government vehicles as traffic offences will be noted in the registration records at LTA.
Mr Chand added that while Government is exempted from fees in some instances, it is not being exempted from penalties.
8. TURNING CHALLENGES INTO OPPORTUNITIES
Government’s approach to poverty alleviation through empowering the underprivileged has witnessed challenges being turned into opportunities.
One such program that achieves this vision is called the Graduation Program. It empowers single mothers under social welfare assistance to be trained and geared into income generating activities.
Mrs Baullutra Rao Kasaitar of Varadoli, Ba is a single mother who has been assisted by the Department of Social Welfare last year to start a cafeteria in Ba.
With tears of joy, Mrs Kasaitar shared her story on how this government assistance has transformed her life from being a casual house girl to venture into catering business.
“I worked as a house girl for three years and was able to earn $30 per week, I was also dependent on monthly social welfare allowance to support my life,” she said.
“When my husband died I had nowhere to go and this was when social welfare assisted me to support my son’s education. Though I struggled to support my child, I had faith that one day I would have a business of my own. Little did I know that in the midst of all my challenges, my dream was just about to come true.”
According to Mrs Kasaitar in 2010 she had the opportunity to attend a business training that was arranged by the social welfare office in Ba. Her cafeteria is located near Ba Town Council building.
“I attended the Start your Own Business training, it was there that I got the confidence to fulfil my dream,” Mrs Kasaitar said.
“Following this training, I received financial assistance from social welfare to buy food items and start my cafeteria. I am able to earn about $80 to $100 per week and this income helps me to support my household expenses, meet the educational needs of my son and continue to invest into my business.”
Mrs Kasaitar thanked the department for changing her life and fulfilling her long awaited dream.
“I am grateful to the ministry for helping me with this business, I am confident that I can expand my business, I have regular customers from the nearby hospital, civil servants and town council staff and I also do catering for private functions,” house girl cum business woman said.
“I have also hired one lady to help me run this business and I pay her wages. This project has enabled me to become independent and hope for a brighter future.”
The Department of for Social Welfare director Rupeni Fatiaki said Mrs Kasaitar was one of the many single mothers’ who had been economically empowered to live independent lives.
“The department works together with (NCSMED) National Center for Small & Micro Enterprises Development to train and assist the able-bodied social welfare recipients to venture into income generating programs and break free from dependency syndrome,” Mr Fatiaki said.
“The ministry continues to monitor the projects to ensure its sustainability and similar opportunities will be provided to other single mothers assisted under the Ministry’s Care and Protection Program.”
Under the Welfare Graduation Program once recipients are able to sustain their business and support their livelihood they are weaned off from social welfare assistance.
The 2013 budgetary allocation for the Welfare Graduation Program is $500,000.
9. RESEARCHERS DISCUSS IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Researches from around the region met today to discuss ways on tackling climate change and improve research skills to determine the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the Pacific Europe Network for Science and Technology (PACE NET) stakeholders’ conference the Minister for Local Government and Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua said Pacific Island states were vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Natural hazards such as cyclones and floods are occurring at quite a frequent rate in the region, an example is the recent Tropical Cyclone Evan and major floods we faced last year,” the minister said.
Colonel Saumatua highlighted that due to the impacts of climate change problems began to emerge such as communicable diseases, inundation of sea water into fresh water supply and poor sanitation.
The PACE NET project is aimed to strengthen regional and international co-operation in science and technology research for development in the Pacific region.
The European Union and the University of the South Pacific will be supporting this initiative through the implementation of policies to control climate change issues.
Meanwhile, EU’s Ambassador to the Fiji, Andrew Jacobs encouraged researchers from the region to develop better policies because climate change is becoming a serious issue in the Pacific.
“These forums will allow researchers to deliberate on climate change issues and implement future actions on how to deal with climate change,” Mr Jacobs said.
Mr Jacobs commended Government for its continuous support towards addressing climate change at national and local government levels.
10. LAUTOKA JOINS HANDS WITH FICAC
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) will soon embark on a community-based approach and will train staff of municipal councils around the country on ways to tackle corrupt practises.
This was revealed by the Minister for Local Government and Urban Development Colonel Samuela Saumatua.
Lautoka will be the first municipal council to have its staff undergo this training.
In return the council will assist FICAC in its operations.
Col Saumatua said this was the kind of partnerships Government was encouraging to root out corruption from our municipal council and its staff.
“We have had a lot of complaints on corruption against municipal council staff but these developments we certainly will see more transparency from our municipal councils,” he said.
Col Saumatua said other municipal councils would also do the same and the partnership with FICAC would certainly assist the council and its ratepayers in the future.
11. MAKE GOOD USE YOUR YOUTH DAYS: NAUPOTO
Minister for Youth and Sports Commander Viliame Naupoto delivered some advice to youths of Serua province, when he closed a week-long workshop.
Commander Naupoto said it was important that young people made good use of their youth days.
The workshop, which was held in Nabukelevu Village in the interior of the province, saw more than 30 participants who represented youth groups from within the province.
” Youth is a time full of energy and creativity and I’m encouraging you to put it to good use for you won’t have your youth days forever,” Commander Naupoto said.
“It is also the best time to use that existing energy to assist your elders and give your best of which you are capable of.”
The minister shared his personal experiences and challenges to motivate the youth to keep on learning and be purposeful in life.
“We have different calling in life and you can still be successful despite your academic status,” the minister advised.
“Youths today should stop wasting time trying to bother about others but to learn more about oneself.”
Individual youths received certificates of participation and groups were also given farming tools by the ministry to help them in their farm projects.
Workshop co-ordinator, Devina Devi said the support given by elders was superb because some of them also sat in for the sessions.
The ‘Seeds of Success’ workshop is a Ministry of Youth self–discovery programme for youth that is organised by the various Divisional Offices.
12. SFCCO WEBSITE REVAMPED
Public will now have greater information accessibility following the re-launch of the revamped Strategic Framework for Change Coordinating Office (SFCCO) website.
Deputy Secretary for SFCCO, Mr Edward Tunidau urged those with internet access to fully optimize on the information available on the website.
“The objective is to utilize other mediums of awareness on Government’s intentions and activities especially during this Political Development phase,” Mr Tunidau said.
The website – www.sfcco.gov.fj- contains a range of information about the office, including unit updates from Public Relations & Media; Corporate/Charter and the Monitoring and Evaluation. The website is also intended to provide progressive updates on the renovation of the Parliamentary complex as we head towards 2014.
The website was launched yesterday by one of the longest serving Government Wage Earners Mr Kemueli Qio at SFCCO of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“We, at the Office of the Prime Minister, will continue to deliver the desired results and give recognition to the efforts of staff as it demonstrates our commitment and ownership of working together as a team”, said Mr Tunidau.
The SFCCO website went off-line in October last year to allow the Public Relations & Media Division to work on the technical upgrades of the site.
A prominent feature on the website is the ‘Contact Portal’ which allows members of the public to share their comments, issues or referrals to SFCCO.