1. FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER PRESENTS CONGRATULATORY NOTE TO MARSHALL ISLANDS – Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory message to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, His Excellency Christopher Jorebon Loek, on their 35th National Day anniversary.
2. PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST FIJI’S AGRICULTURE SECTOR – The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Inia Seruiratu this week had a meeting with Philippines Department of Agriculture secretary, Dr Proceso Alcala in Manila to discuss possible areas of cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and forests sectors.
3. SAVUSAVU COMMENDS LABOUR MINISTRY ROADSHOW – The Ministry of Labour’s northern roadshow has been commended by the public in Savusavu.
4. STRENGTHEN MONITORING OF SUBSIDISED LEASES – Government through the Committee on Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) programme is determined to contribute to economic growth through a greater focus on increasing production from the leases subsidised by Government, says CBUL chair Mr Filipe Alifereti.
5. NAITAUVOLI DECLARED VIOLENCE FREE – Naitauvoli village in the district of Nadaravakawalu, Naitasiri was this week declared as one of the nation’s recently declared “violence-free community”.
6. LABASA SANGAM PRIMARY ASSURED OF OLPC PROGRAM – Labasa Sangam Primary School has welcomed the assurance by the Ministry of Education that the school will be considered in the next phase of the One Laptop Per Child program.
1. FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER PRESENTS CONGRATULATORY NOTE TO MARSHALL ISLANDS
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has sent a congratulatory message to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, His Excellency Christopher Jorebon Loek, on their 35th National Day anniversary.
In his message, the Head of the Fijian Government highlighted the growing relations between the two nations.
“The Republic of the Marshall Islands and Fiji have over these past few years strengthened our bilateral relations through various development co-operation initiatives, increased labour mobility and most recently, the historic official visit by H.E. the President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau just a fortnight ago,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
“We pray that this relationship will continue to be enriched further through people to people relationship and our mutual efforts at building a united and resilient Pacific people.”
Marshall Islands gained independence in 1979.
2. PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST FIJI’S AGRICULTURE SECTOR
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Inia Seruiratu this week had a meeting with Philippines Department of Agriculture secretary, Dr Proceso Alcala in Manila to discuss possible areas of cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and forests sectors.
During the meeting, Minister Seruiratu briefed Dr Alcala of the priority areas of development in the agriculture, fisheries and forests sectors in Fiji.
Prior to the arrival of the Fijian Government delegation in the Philippines, Dr Alcala was advised through diplomatic channels that Fiji would like to explore possible cooperation projects in the following areas:
§ Re-development of the Fijian Coconut Industry;
§ Re-development of the Rice – in particular rice research leading higher production levels, small holder farming techniques and technologies;
§ Short term technical staff exchanges and post graduate training of Fijian staff of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Forests. This will include opportunities for Fijian students to attend University of the Philippines, Los Banos;
§ Cooperation in the field of Coconut production leading to commercialization of products for exports;
§ Detail discussion on livestock feed for small and medium size farmers in this sector, centered on how the Philippine Department of Agriculture would assist the Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji establish alternative feed production.
The meeting was attended by senior officials in the Philippine Department of Agriculture, including the undersecretary for livestock, Dr Jose C Reano, the undersecretary for policy & planning, Dr Segfredo Serrano, the administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority, Mr Euclides Forbes and director Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mr Benjamin Tabios Jr, who indicated for requests assistance to Fiji.
Secretary Dr Alcala advised Minister Seruiratu that the Philippines Department of Agriculture is willing and able to assist the Fijian Government in most of the areas discussed. He also requested Minister Seruiratu to submit to him the specific areas for initial assistance.
3. SAVUSAVU COMMENDS LABOUR MINISTRY ROADSHOW
The Ministry of Labour’s northern roadshow has been commended by the public in Savusavu.
The Minister for Labour Mr. Jone Usamate led a public consultations session last night in Savusavu and highlighted the importance of the public’s access to information related to labour laws and employment matters.
For Savusavu resident Mr Rafaele Vui, the decision to hold a roadshow in the Northern Division is a welcomed move.
“The Minister’s visit was also an eye opener for us as we also came to learn new things including other areas of services offered by the labour ministry,” adds Mr. Vuli.
Following the consultations, the Minister met with the people of Naidi including the Turaga Na Tui Namuana and briefed them on the new constitution and the role of the ministry.
The Labour team recorded grievances including those related to redundancies, workers compensation, unclaimed wages, unfair dismissal, terms and conditions of employment, OHS Issues and FNPF deductions.
The roadshow team will meet residents of Taveuni today (01/05).
4. STRENGTHEN MONITORING OF SUBSIDISED LEASES
Government through the Committee on Better Utilisation of Land (CBUL) programme is determined to contribute to economic growth through a greater focus on increasing production from the leases subsidised by Government says CBUL chair Mr Filipe Alifereti.
He made the comment on the basis that not all ALTA leases renewed under the CBUL initiative had been put to productive use.
“Records show that 71,929 hectares of land have been given out for cane leases while only 47,587 (66 per cent) hectares is under cane.
“The challenge is to ensure that the remaining 24,342 hectares is brought under cane production,” Mr Alifereti added.
Mr Alifereti further adds that the committee will be introducing strategies to strengthen its monitoring mechanism to ensure that leases renewed under CBUL initiative are productively utilized.
“We will be fine-tuning how we do things so that we can better manage these leases in line with Government’s expectation of raising productivity.
“We will be developing strategies to ensure that these leases are monitored on a regular basis and the Divisional Commissioners will be taking the lead role in this,” Mr Alifereti added.
In addition, the committee has also raised its concerns on speculators who hold onto the leases on the pretext of cultivation but with the “hidden agenda to developing the land with the ultimate intention of selling thereby making a quick buck in the process”.
Mr Alifereti further adds that the poor policing of leases renewed under the CBUL initiative have denied Government of the opportunity to generate revenue that could contribute to the nation’s economy.
5. NAITAUVOLI DECLARED VIOLENCE FREE
Naitauvoli village in the district of Nadaravakawalu, Naitasiri was this week declared as one of the nation’s recently declared “violence-free community”.
This follows an official ceremony officiated by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni to mark the completion of 11 months of awareness programs aimed at reducing gender discrimination and violence in Naitauvoli.
This was Dr Luveni’s second visit to the Naitauvoli village following her visit in May last year to officially launch the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign (ZTVFC) and meet with the gatekeepers committee that has been instrumental in the completion of the preparatory phases of this campaign.
“Through awareness programs, the communities have learnt to appreciate the role of women and emphasis is also placed on family development. Positive parenting, child protection, anger management, and legal framework safeguarding the rights of women are key elements of the awareness programs.
“The gatekeeping committee which comprises of the village leaders, women and youth representatives works together with Fiji Police to monitor the progress of this campaign. Assessments made in these communities reveal that there is reduction in the maltreatment of women especially within families. Confident women, free of abuse are resourceful, when a woman progresses so does her family and the community,” Dr Luveni said.
The village’s Soqosoqo Vakamarama president Mrs Mereula Naulumatua said that the program has impacted the women and given them more confidence to air any grievances.
“There are more than 200 women in this village who work hard to support their families and yet for a long time we have been struggling to be appreciated for our role, to ensure that our views are taken up to the village committee meetings.
“Before this campaign was introduced, women were prohibited from speaking at village meetings but now women fully participate in issues relating to village development. For the first time, our women’s group will be able to see their plans come to reality, we will have a poultry project and this would be possible through the funding provided by Ministry of Women. Starting this project would mean more income for our families, more time for our children, particularly now that these women spend hours to travel all the way to Suva to sell vegetables.
“There is reduction in verbal abuses, which the women used to experience in their families. Parents are now seen spending more time with their children, no parent is allowed to give corporal punishments as was practiced in the past,” Mrs Naulumatua said.
The turaga-ni-koro (village headman) for Naitauvoli, Mr Jonacani Tamanivalu said the campaign will ensure a brighter future for his people.
“We are grateful to the government for giving us this opportunity to build safer homes for our women and children. They are now aware about their rights and are well informed to make right decisions regarding their families. Through this campaign, there is a law in the village that anyone found mistreating women and children will be handed over to the police. There are frequent visits by the police and gatekeeper’s committee works together to ensure that Naitauvoli is violence free and crime free,” Mr Tamanivalu explained.
6. LABASA SANGAM PRIMARY ASSURED OF OLPC PROGRAM
Labasa Sangam Primary School has welcomed the assurance by the Ministry of Education that the school will be considered in the next phase of the One Laptop Per Child program.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal expressed his appreciation to the school management, and the staff for their initiative and enthusiasm in laying down the proper groundwork to facilitate the OLPC program.
“Professional training to upskill teachers for the OLPC program in the Northern Division is scheduled for August and this is to ensure that there is uniform and quality teaching in all our schools,” said Dr Lal.
The school was established by the Then India Sanmaryan Ikya Sangam in 1944 and now boasted a total roll of 520 students and 19 teachers.
The school’s manager Mr Kamlesh Reddy said the vision to have a computer lab was conceived in 2009.
“After a lot of hard work and preparation, we have now been able to have a computer lab with 10 laptops and 5 desktops donated by a former student Mr Reggy Mudhaliar who now resides in Sydney,” said Mr Reddy.
“Today the definition of literacy means that a person should not only be able to read and write but also be able to effectively use the computer. It is imperative that a child gets to use computers right from year 1. I commend the staff and management for the foresight and effort in getting our children here to be at par with the modern progress,” Dr Lal said.