1. FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONDOLENCE MESSAGE TO PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT – Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has sent condolences to the Government and the people of the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan.
2. FALLEN HEROES HONORED AROUND THE COUNTRY – The light drizzle this morning failed to dampen the spirits of war veterans and family members who turned up in numbers to commemorate Remembrance Day at the National War Memorial Site.
3. NADI REMEMBERS FALLEN SONS OF FIJI – Nadi Town today joined the rest of the country in honoring Fiji’s heroes who sacrificed their lives in the course of peacekeeping and war.
4. FIJI CHAIRS LAST UN CLIMATE CHANGE MEET AS G77 HEAD – Fiji is chairing its last session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as head of the Group of 77 and China, the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations.
5. SIGATOKA HONORS FALLEN SOLDIERS – “I always wear my Poppy to remember those who went before me and served their country with distinction, for those who went beyond the call of duty and who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all live our lives in freedom as we do today.”
6. PENSIONERS LAUD CONTRIBUTION TO FORMER FEMALE CIVIL SERVANTS – The Fiji Pensioners Association has applauded the 2014 National Budget provision for the sum of $2.5 million as back dated payment for women who worked in the civil service in the colonial era.
7. FIJI CORPORATE BODIES INVITED TO 2013 EMIRATES DUBAI SEVENS – Corporate companies in Fiji have been encouraged to take advantage of a proposed ‘Corporate Tents’ for Fiji at the 2013 Emirates Dubai Sevens later this month.
8. HOTELIERS BACK PLANS TO ESTABLISH FIRE STATION ALONG CORAL COAST – HOTELIERS along the Queens highway, particularly in Serua and Nadroga provinces have welcomed plans to establish a new fire station in Korolevu.
9. ENHANCING MINISTRY’S INSPECTORATE STAFF THROUGH MEDIATION TRAINING – The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment Hon Jone Usamate today opened the module in mediation training and accreditation for potential mediators for Labour Ministry officials at the Holiday Inn, Suva.
10. VETERINARY SERVICES RESUME AT SEAQAQA OFFICE – The Ministry of Agriculture has resumed its Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa in Vanua Levu.
11. CHINESE DELEGATION IMPRESSED WITH THE NATIONAL SEWING CENTRE – The work of the women at the National Sewing Centre in Toorak was commended by the members of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) delegation who visited the centre last week.
1 FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER SENDS CONDOLENCE MESSAGE TO PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has sent condolences to the Government and the people of the Republic of the Philippines in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan.
In his message to the President of Philippines, His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, the Prime Minister conveyed sympathy on behalf of the people and Government of Fiji.
“I write to express our sympathy and to convey the message of condolences from the people and Government of Republic of Fiji to the people and Government of the Republic of the Philippines, in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which caused massive damages and loss of life, in most parts of your great country, in the last few days”
“In doing so, we are united in our prayers for your speedy recovery and for great strength and peace to be bestowed upon the many families who have lost loved ones”, Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
“Excellency, please accept the assurances of our heartfelt considerations at this difficult time in your nation’s history.”
According to international media reports, more than 10000 people, the majority from the town of Tacloban, are feared dead after super typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last Friday.
2 FALLEN HEROES HONORED AROUND THE COUNTRY
The light drizzle this morning failed to dampen the spirits of war veterans and family members who turned up in numbers to commemorate Remembrance Day at the National War Memorial Site.
His Excellency the President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was joined by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, senior government officials, members of the disciplined forces and heads of diplomatic missions in observing a minute of silence to remember those that died or served in armed conflict.
The minute of silence was followed by the laying of 29 wreaths in a ceremony led by the head of state.
Minister for Defence, Joketani Cokanasiga reminded guests especially youths on the significance of Remembrance Day.
“The theme for the annual program “We will Remember Them”, reinforces a renewed call that we must never forget the sacrifices of our fallen comrades – the true sons of Fiji who gave their lives so that we may enjoy peace,” Minister Cokanasiga said.
“Young people need to be reminded constantly that freedom comes with responsibility and they must always guard that freedom,” Minister Cokanasiga said.
95 year old war veteran, Timoci Naitini said that today was an emotional day for him as he took time to remember his fellow comrades who gave their lives for the country.
“I am grateful that I am still able to witness and commemorate Remembrance Day and also meet with my fellow comrades who I fought with in the Solomon Islands campaign during World War II.
“Today’s occasion brings back memories and vivid experiences during our call of duty.”
Meanwhile Government’s allocation of $100,000 for the Remembrance Day will see celebrations taking place in maritime islands for ex-servicemen who are not able to come to the main centre of celebrations.
The Ministry of Defence permanent secretary, Osea Cawaru said that Fiji is indebted to honour the brave citizens of Fiji that continue to place their lives on the line in the hope of bringing peace to war torn parts of the world and sacrifice in answering our nation’s call to defend human rights and international peace.
(For photos from this event, please visit MINFO’s Facebook page.)
3 NADI REMEMBERS FALLEN SONS OF FIJI
Nadi Town today joined the rest of the country in honoring Fiji’s heroes who sacrificed their lives in the course of peacekeeping and war.
Attended by the Minister of Works, Transport and Public Utilities Timoci Lesi Natuva, the Heads of Departments of the various Government ministries and agencies, the Special Administrator Nadi and other dignitaries including retired soldiers, friends and families, Nadi town came to a standstill as the last post was heard.
Chief Guest and retired Major Kelepi Vakasavuwaqa paid tribute to those ex-servicemen and women who were killed or injured in times of conflict or in the line of duty.
“Today we assemble here in Koroivolu to commemorate and celebrate the lives of our comrades, husbands, fathers and grandfathers who have passed on,” he said.
“It is hoped that the significance of this day – Remembrance Day – would be made known to the public so that the people of Fiji are aware of the sacrifices given for the cause of freedom that we have today.”
In Suva, an early morning memorial was held at the Military Ceremony in Suva followed by a Remembrance Day march and honor parade at the Memorial Site on Battery Hill outside the Parliament Complex.
4 FIJI CHAIRS LAST UN CLIMATE CHANGE MEET AS G77 HEAD
Fiji is chairing its last session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as head of the Group of 77 and China, the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation permanent secretary Mr Amena Yauvoli, is currently chairing the Group at the annual Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Warsaw, Poland.
The Group has a membership of 133 countries and provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity within the UN system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.
In his opening remarks to the Group yesterday during its pre-session meeting, Mr Yauvoli said it had been a “distinguished privilege” and a “rare honour” for Fiji to chair the august Group in 2013, given that Fiji is the first Pacific Islands country to lead the Group.
“From the sessions held so far this year, under the UNFCCC process, we have been more than fortunate, that the Group of 77 and China has freely given to us it’s firm and clear instructions on matters requiring solidarity of the Group,” he said.
Mr Yauvoli reiterated that Fiji would continue to engage actively with the Group throughout the two weeks of negotiations, which officially starts on Monday, 11 November (Tuesday Fiji time).
Fiji’s delegation to the UNFCCC meeting is led by Dr Jiko Luveni, the Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, who will join the negotiations on the second and final week for the high level segment of the conference. Dr Luveni will lead the Group on Tuesday, 19 November, to a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki Moon.
Mr Yauvoli, is supported at the negotiations by Mr Sainivalati Navoti, Counsellor at the Fiji Mission to the UN in New York and other members of the delegation. The Fijian delegation to COP19 include Mr. Filipe Alifereti, Permanent Secretary for Rural & Maritime Development & National Disaster Management, senior government officials, and representatives of civil societies and other organisations.
5 SIGATOKA HONORS FALLEN SOLDIERS
“I always wear my Poppy to remember those who went before me and served their country with distinction, for those who went beyond the call of duty and who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can all live our lives in freedom as we do today.”
Those were the words of the Ministry of Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi who was the chief guest at the Remembrance Day at Talenavuruvuru, Lawaqa in Sigatoka today.
Lt. Col Vaniqi said Fiji is a country where peacekeeping is part of its DNA and every Fijian should be proud that the world looks at Fiji with respect and honour because of the heroism of its servicemen and women.
“I am proud that I am a Fijian and because of our soldiers, Fiji has earned the respect and recognition of the world,” he said.
“They were ordinary men and women who did extraordinary deeds and those were just ordinary everyday people, who volunteered, left home and went half way around the world to fight a war far away from our own shores so that tyranny would never make its way to our own shores.”
Lt. Col Vaniqi was joined by government officials, chiefs from the Nadroga/Navosa provinces, retired soldiers and friends and families.
“God bless all our veteran men and women alike who served their country selflessly, they did not fight for fame, money or honour but fought for peace, for the end of tyranny so that we could all have the freedom that we take so much for granted today,” Lt Col Vaniqi added.
6 PENSIONERS LAUD CONTRIBUTION TO FORMER FEMALE CIVIL SERVANTS
The Fiji Pensioners Association has applauded the 2014 National Budget provision for the sum of $2.5 million as back dated payment for women who worked in the civil service in the colonial era.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama at last week’s budget announcement highlighted that former female civil servants were greatly disadvantaged through gross discriminatory practices under the old British Government pension scheme.
“By some reasoning that is difficult to understand today, women working in Government who married while they were employed lost all retirement benefits accrued during the years they were single.
“This affected women only, not men. And although relatively few women remain who are affected by this injustice, it is an injustice that needs to be corrected,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
Fiji Pensioners Association president, Mr Hari Raj Naicker commended the decision by government to give back to these women.
Mr Naicker said that when the association began fighting out the case many years ago, the group consisted of 667 females but as time passed many died with a few who migrated overseas and now a handful are still in the country.
“The discriminatory policy of the Colonial government at that time where female civil servants on marriage were made temporary and as such they lost the benefits both for their travel and also on their pensions was unfortunate.
“I am grateful to the government of the day to finally agree that they would be compensated and that a formula will be worked out soon and these ladies should be happy that they will receive compensation,” Mr Naicker said.
7 FIJI CORPORATE BODIES INVITED TO 2013 EMIRATES DUBAI SEVENS
Corporate companies in Fiji have been encouraged to take advantage of a proposed ‘Corporate Tents’ for Fiji at the 2013 Emirates Dubai Sevens later this month.
Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Robin Nair recently met with the Dubai Sevens organizers, Promoseven Sports Marketing, and applauded the idea as it will be instrumental in promoting Fiji to various spectators at the three day tournament.
Ambassador Robin Nair said the concept of a Fijian Corporate Tent will also attract Fiji sevens fans to the Sevens Stadium to enjoy the rugby fiesta.
“This is a highly commendable concept which must be supported. It will further add more ammunition to Fiji’s well renowned cheering and chants and provide an opportunity for the sponsors’ banners and products to be displayed during the tournament,” Ambassador Nair said.
Ambassador Nair is urging local corporate companies to capitalize on the opportunity in providing financial support to secure the two corporate tents.
“Fiji has the upper advantage this time because the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Fiji Rugby Union and the UAE Rugby Federation will mean total support from the local Emiratis.
“Moreover, coach Ben Ryan will certainly want to make this tournament a memorable one, and that Fiji will definitely receive additional support from the many English fans, including our fellow Pacific Island nationals that live and work in the UAE,” Ambassador Nair added.
The first tent, which is being proposed at $FJ20000, will be situated next to the main ground whilst the second tent for $FJ10000 will be allocated next to ground number two.
Ambassador Nair, during a meeting with Promoseven Sports Marketing official, Donal Kilalea, also suggested the establishment of a cultural tent at future events.
He said that it would help promote the diverse cultures and traditions of participating teams, including the Emiratis as hosts.
The 2013 Emirates Dubai Sevens will be held from Thursday 28th – Saturday 30th November, 2013.
8 HOTELIERS BACK PLANS TO ESTABLISH FIRE STATION ALONG CORAL COAST
Hoteliers along the Queens highway, particularly in Serua and Nadroga provinces, have welcomed plans to establish a new fire station in Korolevu.
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Voreqe Bainimarama announced that Government had set aside $2.5million for the construction of new fire stations in Korovou and Korolevu.
Crusoe’s Retreat manager Brett Harold said it was “good news and they were all for it”.
“I personally think that we really needed one here along the coral coast and the announcement is good news not only for us as a resort but also for the local communities in the area.”
Naviti Resort general manager David Woodman, whose resort was partially destroyed by a fire recently, said putting up a fire station in an area which had been neglected for a long time was “excellent news”.
“This is just the right move and I can tell you that it is long overdue,” Mr Woodman said.
“Not so much for Naviti which was partially destroyed by fire but for other resorts, hotels and the villages as well.”
“We applaud the Government for its vision in setting up a fire station in Korolevu because there’s quite a large number of Fijians living along this stretch and it will be well received.”
9 ENHANCING MINISTRY’S INSPECTORATE STAFF THROUGH MEDIATION TRAINING
The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations & Employment Hon Jone Usamate today opened the module in mediation training and accreditation for potential mediators for Labour Ministry officials at the Holiday Inn, Suva.
In his opening address, the Minister highlighted that this is an important training for his ministry in managing conflicts and resolving disputes effectively through mediation.
The Minister conveyed his heartfelt gratitude and deep appreciation to Mr. George Lim and Mr. Tat Lim the representatives of the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) who availed themselves to provide professional training in developing the skills of his Officers.
“We are indeed fortunate that the training is facilitated by two of the best trainers from SMC and the high success rate of mediated cases settled by our Mediation Unit that stands at 81.4% is an indicative of the quality and high standard of training provided by SMC.”
The Chief Guest Honourable Justice Mr William Calachini in his speech highlighted that the Singapore Mediation Centre have a proven track record in terms of achieving mediated settlements of disputes including some multi-million dollar claims.
“Fiji is indeed fortunate that its future mediators are being trained and guided by two highly qualified and experienced mediators and trainers from the Singapore Mediation Centre,” said Calachini.
“Mediation is less expensive than litigation or arbitration as litigation can take years through the courts processes whereas mediation provides a timely way of settling a dispute,” added Calachini.
Having undergone the training himself in March, Mr Calachini said that mediation provides genuine and significant advantages of a settlement due to the role it plays in maintaining a peaceful and harmonious working relationship between the parties.
The training will end with an assessment and accreditation of potential mediators on Thursday, the 14th of November.
10 VETERINARY SERVICES RESUME AT SEAQAQA OFFICE
The Ministry of Agriculture has resumed its Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa in Vanua Levu.
The Veterinary Services in Seaqaqa started in early 2012 when a Livestock Officer was appointed to Seaqaqa Agriculture Station.
The Ministry’s principal agriculture officer Animal Health and Production, Napolioni Seru, said internal changes had limited the availability of services.
“Veterinary Services resumed from the mid of this year at Seaqaqa Agriculture Office on part time basis,” Mr Seru said.
Livestock Officer, Dharmen Prasad will be available at the Seaqaqa Extension office on Tuesdays and on Fridays.
“On the other three days of the week, he will be available at the Derekti Agriculture Office.”
Livestock farmers can contact Mr Prasad during the given time for drugs sales, vet cases and farm visits.
During emergency cases he can be contacted on 9224609.
11 CHINESE DELEGATION IMPRESSED WITH THE NATIONAL SEWING CENTRE
The work of the women at the National Sewing Centre in Toorak was commended by the members of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) delegation who visited the centre last week.
The Vice-president for ACWF Madam Zhao Donghua, said she was overwhelmed to see the creativity and tailoring skills of 26 women who are currently trained at the centre.
“In the past 2 years the All China Women’s Federation has donated 1700 sewing machines to the Ministry of Women and after visiting this Sewing Centre I clearly see how our sisters in Fiji are truly benefiting from the assistance. I am impressed to see single mothers acquire the professional tailoring skills to find employment through this centre.
“In the future the ACWF is to continue this partnership with our Fiji sisters and counterparts.
“The ACWF will strengthen collaboration as such as it not only economically benefits women it provides them with the opportunity to walk from welfare to workfare. Being financially independent raises their self-confidence and helps them make better choices in life. It is indeed very encouraging to see that this Centre has been built within the proximity of the disability centre where our disabled sisters get the opportunity to work with the able bodied women,” Madam Zhao said.
Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP) executive officer, Kush Prasad said the National Sewing Centre is a milestone achievement for Fiji in terms of promoting inclusivity for persons living with disabilities.
“This project has made it possible particularly for the women with disabilities to undergo an inclusive program not only targeting training skills that they receive in garment manufacture, but also the awareness we are creating in inclusive society where we find that students with disabilities are working together with abled-bodied people. This is the platform they are able to work together and if they are out in the open market employment they will know how to work with the able bodied persons,” Mrs Prasad said.
Mrs Prasad further explained that there are currently 26 trainees, consisting of five women with disabilities, 10 single mothers and 11 women from rural communities.
These women are expected to graduate from the centre at the end of this month and to date, the centre has trained more than 60 women, who are now either employed in the garment industry or have ventured into their own tailoring businesses.
The sewing centre is administered by the FNCDP and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.