- PRIME MINISTER TO OPEN GLOBAL MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON SUGAR – The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, will open the 13th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Ministerial meeting in Sigatoka on Monday.
- PEACEKEEPING BODY PRAISES FIJI’S COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL DUTIES – Fiji’s peacekeeping activities in volatile regions around the world continue to receive commendation.
- FIJI UN MISSION CELEBRATES FIJI DAY – To celebrate the 43rd year of Fiji’s independence, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson hosted a luncheon for seventy Ambassadors in New York, today.
- UNITY AMONGST FIJIANS A MUST FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FIJI – The old capital of Fiji yesterday observed Fiji Day with more than 3000 people crowding the streets of Levuka to march and join the celebrations organised at Nasau Park in Ovalau.
- Home receives donation from Government – Twenty-three children, who are living at Treasure Homes in Saunaka, Nadi, were surprised when they were visited by the Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Samuela Namosimalua today.
- MINISTER CALLS FOR MORE RECOGNITION OF SENIOR CITIZENS’ CONTRIBUTION – “We must promote active ageing such as ongoing education, better quality of health and an independent life as well as economic security”, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
- GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH FIRST REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH UNIT – In the pursuit to promote healthy reproductive development among youth and women in Fiji, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has embarked on a project that will see the establishment of a new “Reproductive Health Services Unit” next year.
- FIJI TO CELEBRATE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY – Fiji will celebrate “World Mental Health Day” this Saturday as part of its commitment towards providing all the necessary resources and facilities for mental health in the country.
- Government brings Fiji Day celebrations closer to children with special needs – The inclusion and appreciation of all Fijian citizens with special needs is an area that the government continues to address to ensure the all rights are protected.
- MINISTRY DONATES TO FIJI SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND – Forty-six students of the Fiji School for the Blind were jubilant as they celebrated Fiji Day in style with staff of the Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji.
1 PRIME MINISTER TO OPEN GLOBAL MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON SUGAR
The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, will open the 13th African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Sugar Ministerial meeting in Sigatoka on Monday.
The meeting will be attended by ministers and senior officials from the ACP group of countries, who are keen to maintain their preferential access to the European Union and an extension of the EU’s present quota system.
On the European side, the talks will be led by the most senior EU official to visit Fiji for seven years – its Deputy Director General, Development Cooperation, Marcus Cornaro.
Mr Cornaro will be giving the keynote address at the conference after it is opened on Monday by the Prime Minister, who also holds the sugar portfolio.
Next Thursday, both Mr Cornaro and Commodore Bainimarama will be at the opening of the Sugar Research Institute in Lautoka, which is introducing new technology for the Fijian industry and new strains of cane.
(A copy of the program will be sent shortly with the media alert)
2 PEACEKEEPING BODY PRAISES FIJI’S COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL DUTIES
Fiji’s peacekeeping activities in volatile regions around the world continue to receive commendation.
This week the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Deputy Director General Mr K. Scott Gudgeon praised the work undertaken by Fiji’s young men and women. Mr Gudgeon in particular made reference to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel serving in Sinai.
“Fijian soldiers have consistently managed these often difficult circumstances coolly and professionally”, Mr Gudgeon said.
He also commended Lt. Col. Motufaga, the Fiji battalion’s Commanding Officer for his “outstanding leadership and willingness and ability to make timely adjustments in these unprecedented circumstances”.
Through mutual cooperation Fijian soldiers are successfully leading Civilian Observer Units (COU) through various zones in Sinai which allows these units to carry our vital tasks in peacekeeping areas. A key role carried out by Fiji’s troops include providing assistance such as medical assistance at refugee sites in these areas.
The Deputy Director General expressed his gratitude saying ‘I value the dedicated professionalism of the Fijian Contingent and the willingness of the Fijian Government to accept these additional responsibilities to maintain the MFO mission.
3 FIJI UN MISSION CELEBRATES FIJI DAY
To celebrate the 43rd year of Fiji’s independence, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson hosted a luncheon for seventy Ambassadors in New York, today.
2013 has been a significant year for the Fiji Mission in New York as it marks the first time a Pacific Island country has taken on the Chairmanship of the Group or 77, the largest intergovernmental group in the United Nations. With Kiribati joining the Group of 77 this year, its membership has grown to 133 developing countries.
Fiji Day follows on the heels of the High-Level week at the end of September when the UN’s 68th session got underway. The Fijian Prime Minster, Commodore Josaia V. Bainimarama along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, took on multiple national engagements in New York during the High-Level week.
Highlights so far for Fiji’s Chairmanship have been its leadership leading up to and during the Special Event to follow up efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the inaugural meeting of the High Level Political Forum. These were very significant events for UN Member states as they deliberate on setting the global post-2015 Development Agenda. In both events, Prime Minister Bainimarama was the lead speaker, as the Chair for the Group of 77 and China, signifying the critical importance of the Group’s part in preparing for the post-2015 Development Agenda.
As part of Fiji’s National Statement to the General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Bainimarama conveyed Fiji’s readiness and unwavering commitment to UN peacekeeping duties. He also conveyed the message that Fiji remains steadfast on course with the Roadmap for Democracy with parliamentary elections to be held before the end of September 2014. He presented a copy of Fiji’s new constitution to the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, and assured the Secretary General that next year’s elections will be both credible and transparent.
4 UNITY AMONGST FIJIANS A MUST FOR DEVELOPMENT OF FIJI
The old capital of Fiji yesterday observed Fiji Day with more than 3000 people crowding the streets of Levuka to march and join the celebrations organised at Nasau Park in Ovalau.
The celebrations were led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation highlighting the theme, “Recognizing Senior Citizens as the Pillar of Our Heritage.” There were 500 school students who took part in the march, even those joining from Suva displayed exhibitions and oratories to mark Fiji’s 43rd Independence Day celebrations.
The Ministry had also made arrangements to get senior citizens from rural and remote villages to join the celebrations.
The Minister Dr Jiko Luveni was the chief guest for the celebrations and while addressing a huge crowd gathered at Nasau Park yesterday, her key message focused on unity amongst Fijians.
“This year’s Fiji Day theme, “Moving together in unity to ensure a prosperous Fiji,” is an appropriate call to all the Fijians; it is a strong reminder that without unity, we cannot achieve a prosperous Fiji.
“Last month, His Excellency the President assented to the new Constitution of Fiji, a supreme law that recognizes every Fijian as equal. We cannot ask for a better time than to celebrate our independence on the back of the newly released constitution,” Dr Luveni said.
The Minister said that Fiji’s new Constitution reinforces Government’s commitment towards creating equal opportunities for every Fijian.
“For the first time, the rights of all races who call Fiji their home are recognised. For the first time economic, social and human rights are recognised and written in our supreme law and access to education, economic opportunities and access to housing are few of the many examples of what is protected and granted to us Fijians as a right. It is a Constitution that embodies the true aspirations of a nation that was granted the freedom to govern its own affairs in 1970.
“For years many were unjustly benefiting from various opportunities the government was providing, whilst many deserving Fijians struggled to get by. Many corrupted the system and many saw the opportunities for their own gain. But now through various reforms and new approaches, we are redefining what it means to provide opportunities to Fijians, no matter who you are or whatever your background,” Dr Luveni reiterated.
5 Home receives donation from Government
Twenty-three children, who are living at Treasure Homes in Saunaka, Nadi, were surprised when they were visited by the Permanent Secretary for Local Government, Samuela Namosimalua today.
The visit is part of Government’s Fiji Day celebration to give priority to the unfortunate children living in such homes.
Mr Namosimalua who recently took up the post spent time with the children at the home, most of who were toddlers.
“These are very special children and I know there are quite a lot of them that have gone on to hold very senior posts in Government, civil service organizations, Non – government organisation and even in the private sector,” he said.
“I must thank those that have been giving their time to help raise these children and you (care givers) will be blessed abundantly.”
The home has 23 children and was given a donation on behalf of the government to assist in their care.
The home has a motto which reads “Aim for a better Future”.
One of the women, Miriama, who spends time with the children, said it was heartening to see senior government officials visiting homes and raising the hopes of children, as tears ran down her cheeks said.
“I only thank God that there are people in Government who hold high posts but come down to pay these kids a visit,” Miriama said.
6 MINISTER CALLS FOR MORE RECOGNITION OF SENIOR CITIZENS’ CONTRIBUTION
“We must promote active ageing such as ongoing education, better quality of health and an independent life as well as economic security”, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
Dr Luveni made these comments while speaking on the theme, “Recognising Senior Citizens as the Pillar of Our Heritage” to mark the Fiji Day celebrations organised at Nasau Park in Levuka yesterday. The event was led by the Ministry and saw the participation of around 3000 people including senior citizens, school children, women’s organisations had gathered to witness the celebration of Fiji’s 43rd Independence Day in Ovalau, Levuka.
Minister Luveni said the celebrations have been organised with the vision to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of senior citizens towards the development of Fiji.
“Modernization has altered the social landscape in Fiji. The traditional family support system that is synonymous with Fijians has also been affected. In the process, we tend to neglect our elders and the senior citizens of our nation”.
“In aligning our acknowledgement of our senior citizens to National Fiji Day theme, “Moving together in unity to ensure prosperous Fiji,” we all need to appreciate and take pride in the contributions of our elders in building Fiji to what we now enjoy today,” Dr Luveni said.
She said that Fiji like rest of the world is becoming an aging society and appropriate measures must be put in place to promote productive ageing.
“Our 2007 statistics recorded 5,000 people aged over 80 and it is projected that by 2050, there will be 28,500 people aged over 80 years. This alerts us that we are aging rapidly. Fiji, like the rest of the world, is becoming an aging society. Today, parents are providing care for grandparents. As times goes on there will be an increasing number of grandparents providing care for great grandparents. We must be prepared for this shift and be ready to embrace it,” Minister Luveni said.
The Minister reiterated about the current programs and services for social protection for older persons in Fiji.
“These include the Bus Fare Concession, the Food Voucher Programme and the recent Social Pension Scheme for older persons 70 years and above, who have never received any superannuation scheme.
“The Bill of Rights in Fiji’s recently assented 2013 Constitution has for the first time in the history of our beloved nation, in response to the strong wishes of our people has provided for a wide range of socio-economic rights. These rights include rights to education, access to health care, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes,” Dr Luveni added.
Speaking on behalf of the old people’s group in Levuka, Reverend Samisoni Naivalu thanked the government for organising a celebration dedicated to the senior citizens of Fiji.
“We often see that elderly are neglected by their families and they voices are not being heard. But now through continued awareness and advocacy by the government, there will be a change in mindset, encouraging people to respect and honor the senior citizens. We are grateful to this government for recognising the contributions of senior citizens through celebrations as such and also assisting us through social welfare programs. The Minister’s presence here today is a reflection of government’s commitment to build an inclusive society for the senior citizens,” Reverend Naivalu said.
7 GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH FIRST REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH UNIT
In the pursuit to promote healthy reproductive development among youth and women in Fiji, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has embarked on a project that will see the establishment of a new “Reproductive Health Services Unit” next year.
The Minister Dr Jiko Luveni said this will be possible through the Ministry’s partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She said the project has emanated from Fiji’s representation at the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC)” held in Bangkok, in September this year.
“The good news is that UNFPA has approved a project proposal that my Ministry has submitted requesting for assistance to establish a Reproductive Health Services Unit within the Ministry’s services for next year. We will capitalize on women’s networks particularly the women resource centres around the country will be used as a platform to create awareness and disseminate information dedicated on population development projects.
“The Ministry will work together with Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Health to reach out to women and youths in providing them with reproductive health services. Through awareness we hope to address issues like teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS,” she said.
Dr Luveni said the ministry has already advertised the post for a project officer who would be responsible for project planning, implementation scope and resourcing for the new Unit.
“Through this Unit, the Ministry will facilitate awareness and training for women and youths to empower them with information and knowledge to effectively communicate and address issues relating to reproductive health development.
“In this process we have plans to train 300 young people as agents in their communities to provide information on reproductive health and contraceptive services, making it easy for women and youths in rural communities to access these services. We would like young people in Fiji to be more informed so they can make responsible decisions regarding their reproductive health and well-being,” Dr Luveni reiterated.
8 FIJI TO CELEBRATE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY
Fiji will celebrate “World Mental Health Day” this Saturday as part of its commitment towards providing all the necessary resources and facilities for mental health in the country.
The Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said that his ministry will continue to commit to providing resources or facilities for mental health patients.
He met this week with various non-government organisations to look at ways of improving the current approach to mental health. These organisations include the Youth Champs for Mental Health, Psychiatric Survivors Association and Lifeline Fiji who all “campaign for mental health issues and mental wellness”.
The Minister pointed out that key developments in mental health include:
-formulation and implementation of mental health decree 2010
-Mainstreaming or decentralization of services from Saint Giles Hospital
-Post Graduate Diploma for doctors in areas of mental health while new programs for nurses in mental health will be introduced next year
-Re-opening of Adolescent Mental Health clinic at CWM
-Purchase of ECT machine
-Major renovation of Saint Giles Hospital at a cost of $250,000
-Regional Mental Health training institute development strategies with international donor agencies
-Segregation of forensic, acutely ill and mentally/physically challenged patients
World Health Organization has predicted that Mental Health will be the leading cause of NCD in the world in 2025. Ministry of Health has diverted a lot of resources and money in areas of Mental Health and is seeking assistance of NGO’s and faith based organizations to assist Ministry in working towards improving mental health care in Fiji.
9 Government brings Fiji Day celebrations closer to children with special needs
The inclusion and appreciation of all Fijian citizens with special needs is an area that the government continues to address to ensure the all rights are protected.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Forest permanent secretary Mr Inoke Wainiqolo, today paid a visit to the Suva Special School, in Salato Rd, Namadi Heights and shared this with the students.
He presented a gift on behalf of the government to the school.
“It is a show of government commitment that despite the challenges, we are committed to visit your school and that you are very much part of this national event, as well as to bring the Fiji Day celebrations closer to you,” Mr Wainiqolo said.
Suva Special School assistant principal Naren Prasad applauded government’s commitment and initiative for visiting the school.
“The gift that the government brought today is mostly from the wish list that we had given and those are the teaching aids for the students.
“It will certainly assist our teachers in teaching and also maximize the students learning and achievements.
10 MINISTRY DONATES TO FIJI SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND
Forty-six students of the Fiji School for the Blind were jubilant as they celebrated Fiji Day in style with staff of the Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji.
The school received a donation of books and teaching materials from the Ministry to assist them in their education.
Four cartons of books in Braille from the library services, DVD footage of Fiji’s Independence from the film and television unit and news journals and a 21 inch TV screen were donated to the school to ease the learning environment.
School executive director, Barbara Faruk said the timely donation will be useful to the students in enhancing their learning capacity.
“We will make use of the Braille books and Fiji’s Independence footage as it has a rich history which the students can utilise. Although the students cannot see they have a strong hearing sense. We observe Fiji Day every year and invite government departments to take time out and meet the students,” Mrs Faruk said.
Mrs Faruk said the school also has a hostel for those students who reside outside Suva.
“Some students have integrated back to mainstream schools when they leave class eight. We have two students in Australia completing higher studies while one is in Morocco under PSC scholarship and one under AUSAID scholarship. We have a fundraise to assist in the daily expenses of the school and receive grant from Ministry of Education and Social Welfare for special projects.”
The privately run school started in 1977 and caters for the blind and visibly impaired students.
A total of seven teachers and one Braille teacher are teaching at the school.