1. RURAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS, A GOVERNMENT PRIORITY – The Divisional Commissioner Eastern, Netani Rika has assured that all pending government development projects in the 10 islands of Lau would soon be completed.
2. MORE FIJIAN VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE IN THE REGION – Work is currently underway to send a group of Fijian teachers to Tuvalu under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS).
3. TEI TEI TAVEUNI COMMENDS AGRICULTURE MINISTRY – The Tei Tei Taveuni group of farmers has thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for securing the premises for its new office.
1. RURAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS, A GOVERNMENT PRIORITY
The Divisional Commissioner Eastern, Netani Rika has assured that all pending government development projects in the 10 islands of Lau would soon be completed.
Mr Rika, who recently returned from his two week tour to the Lau province, said that reports of all projects visited were being compiled by his office.
“We are compiling reports of all projects visited on these islands and stakeholders are asked to prioritise what should be done at the earliest,” Mr Rika said.
He said that some of these islands which had been earmarked for assistance will now be given priority.
“We will prioritise the projects that need to be worked on urgently and the ones that can be done in the later quarters of the year,” he added
Mr Rika also said priority will be given to remote islands that relied solely on rain water.
“For such remote islands with water problems the first immediate measure is to supply them with more water tanks first and continue with other projects like water exploration and bore hole drilling.”
Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) communications officer, Maika Nagalu, who was also part of the recent Lau tour, said they will work on all pending applications received from Lau.
WAF projects in Lau included the enlargement of water source at Muamua in Vanua Balavau and Lomaji in Cicia, replacement of the diesel generator powered bore hole at Nukuni in Ono-i-Lau as well as solar replacement of water tanks for Cikobia.
2. MORE FIJIAN VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE IN THE REGION
Work is currently underway to send a group of Fijian teachers to Tuvalu under the Fiji Volunteer Scheme (FVS).
Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said currently there are Fijian teachers serving in Marshall Islands, Nauru and Vanuatu.
Eleven teachers left our shores for Vanuatu four days ago to serve for a term of two years.
Mr Chand said the Fiji Volunteer Scheme was growing from strength to strength since its beginning in March, 2012.
“Marshall Islands and Nauru were the first two countries of assignment for our volunteers. There were twelve teachers in Marshall Islands and they decided to recruit six more at their own cost so there are totally 18 Fijian teachers in Marshall Islands; 12 under the FVS and six under their own funding arrangement,” Mr Chand said.
“There are six teachers in Nauru. They went last year and recently 11 teachers left for Vanuatu. Currently, we are also working on about nine teachers who will be going to Tuvalu.”
Mr Chand stressed that volunteerism is not only about retired teachers or retired personnel.
“It is also about other fields covering areas such as climate change, environment, health, sanitation and the other important areas being that of disaster management, where we have good systems and capacities.
“We would be happy to look at the deployment of expertise in that area should countries seek our help,” Mr Chand added.
With a budgetary allocation of $1million this year, it is hoped that the scheme would be broadened to cover young professionals as well as other experienced personnel.
“We are very happy that Prime Minister gave us a 2.5 fold increase in the 2014 budget from $400,000 last year to $1million this year. That will help us to broaden the scheme in terms of personnel. At the moment, only retired teachers have taken up the appointment but there is a lot more opportunities under the scheme to cover other areas as well,” Mr Chand said.
PSC will also seek assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to arrange for Fijian volunteers to serve in other regional countries.
“This scheme is for the region and for domestic deployment as well. We have as much as 20 active volunteers assigned locally in education, health, climate change and in disability area with the hosts and PSC paying for the cost on 50-50 basis. Overall, we have had more than 60 assignments locally since FVS started in early 2012,” Mr Chand said.
The FVS, administered by the Public Service Commission (PSC), is an initiative of the State to reform the management of employment creation services in Fiji.
3. TEI TEI TAVEUNI COMMENDS AGRICULTURE MINISTRY
The Tei Tei Taveuni group of farmers has thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for securing the premises for its new office.
The Tei Tei Taveuni Resource Centre to be opened by the Minister of Agriculture at the end of the month will have internet facilities where farmers can meet and exchange ideas.
Minister for Agriculture, Inia Seruiratu said that government was pleased to be of assistance to the group.
“Initially the assistance from Government was the provision of a space at Mua Research Station. Now we have given them the old Government Supplies office to establish their resource centre,” Mr Seruiratu said.
The group chairman, Alan Petersen said they were grateful to the ministry for assistance in securing a new site for the resource centre.
“We are very grateful to the Minister who was instrumental in securing the premises for this centre,” Mr Petersen said.
Mr Seruiratu added that Taveuni was also part of the next Look North Policy Plan by Government.