1. PRIME MINISTER COMMENDS MICRO BUSINESS OPERATORS – Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has commended the Veivueti Co-Operative Limited for their commitment to establishing their own taxi base services.
2. G77 CHAIR CALLS FOR STRENGTHENING OF ECOSOC – Speaking in Fiji’s capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Ambassador Peter Thomson called for strengthening of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations in New York today.
3. MARATHON RUN TO RAISE FUNDS FOR NABORO KINDERGARTEN – The need for a kindergarten in the Naboro Corrections Facility has prompted the Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) officers to raise funds through a marathon run, which was launched today.
4. NAITATA JOINS ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAM – Women living in Naitata settlement in Navua have commended Government’s initiative to promote women rights in their community.
5. QUICK DISPUTE RESOLUTION TARGETED THROUGH MEDIATION – The Mediation Unit of the Ministry of Labour has been commended for achieving outstanding results in the quick resolution of disputes between employers and employees.
6. FIJI HOSTS CRGA MEET IN SUVA – Significant items on the agenda for this year’s 43rd meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrators (CRGA) include the appointment of a new Director-General in 2014, the South Pacific Community’s new corporate strategic plan and the 2014 budget.
1 PRIME MINISTER COMMENDS MICRO BUSINESS OPERATORS
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has commended the Veivueti Co-Operative Limited for their commitment to establishing their own taxi base services.
Launching the Veivueti Co-Operative Limited new taxi base, the Prime Minister said that the drivers can be satisfied and proud of their initiative which should be a model for those wanting to start their own business.
“You haven’t waited for government or someone else to suggest an idea or come up with a plan,” PM Bainimarama said. “You’ve done it yourselves.”
Veivueti Taxis Chairman, Lepani Matea in thanking the Prime Minister for launching their new taxi base said that the co-operative included drivers who worked hard to achieve their dream of having a fully fledged taxi company.
“We have invited the head of government today to show him the culmination of our hard work and sheer determination,” Mr Matea said.
60 year old Taxi driver, Parama Nand said that he joined the co-operative in 2011 after facing problems from a local taxi base that he was driving for.
“Before I used to face a lot of problems with the other drivers so I decided to join Veivueti after the chairman offered to assist me,” Mr Nand said.
“I don’t have any regrets since then and I enjoy driving here and being a member of this co-operative, all the drivers treat me like their own brother.”
The new taxi base features an office, a drivers’ lounge and a wide screen for tracking the GPS system that will soon be installed in the Nausori based cars.
Established in March 2011 with 11 cars, the co-operative to date has 48 taxis and 1 mini bus.
2 G77 CHAIR CALLS FOR STRENGTHENING OF ECOSOC
Speaking in Fiji’s capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Ambassador Peter Thomson called for strengthening of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations in New York today.
Ambassador Thomson said the Group believes the ECOSOC should play a pivotal role at the United Nations, especially in relation to the accelerated completion of the MDGs and the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Ambassador Thomson called for ECOSOC to transform itself into “an issues-oriented, knowledge-based, stakeholder-friendly, intergovernmental body”. He emphasised that the inter-related challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development are at the heart of ECOSOC’s mandate.
He was addressing the UN’s General Assembly, gathered today to debate the annual report of ECOSOC. He spoke directly after the presentation of the ECOSOC’s report by the Council’s President, and said the Group recognised the dynamic leadership of the President, H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio of Colombia.
Ambassador Thomson acknowledged the various high-level meetings that President Osorio had convened in 2013. He referred to the special high-level ECOSOC meetings with the Bretton Woods Institution, the WTO and UNCTAD, and the special meeting on external debt sustainability that had been attended by Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, in order to deliver the concerns and recommendation of the Group of 77 and China.
Ambassador Thomson called upon ECOSOC to strengthen its relations with other intergovernmental bodies, especially the newly established High-Level Political Forum. He said such strengthening would bring greater coherence to the work of ECOSOC and its many subsidiary bodies, thereby allowing it to effectively follow-up on agreed development goals and meaningfully respond to emerging global challenges.
3 MARATHON RUN TO RAISE FUNDS FOR NABORO KINDERGARTEN
The need for a kindergarten in the Naboro Corrections Facility has prompted the Fiji Corrections Service (FCS) officers to raise funds through a marathon run, which was launched today.
The launch in Lautoka saw 25 FCS officers participating in the five-day long marathon run.
In sending off the official team of runners, Lautoka Chamber of Commerce vice president, Richard Lucas said the initiative by the FCS was very encouraging as it focused well on the future of the officers’ families, especially the education of their children.
“I wish you all the best for this marathon fundraising event and hope that you will be able to raise enough funds to establish your own kindergarten and ensure that your children will have the proper education that they deserve,” Mr Lucas said.
The marathon runners would also promote the Yellow Ribbon Project during this initiative as they travel through various towns around the country.
“At the same time, you will also be raising awareness on the Yellow Ribbon Project and how we need to give ex-offenders a second chance in life,” FCS deputy commissioner, Peniasi Kunatuba added.
The official marathon team will make their way through Lautoka, Nadi and Sigatoka before arriving at the Naboro Corrections Facility on Saturday (16th November) morning.
Meanwhile, business houses such Carpenters Motors have also showed their support towards the FCS Naboro Marathon run.
New Vehicles Sales team leader for Carpenters Motors, Miki Varea said they were glad to be part of a worthy cause in raising funds for the establishment of a much needed kindergarten at the Naboro Corrections Facility.
“Our sponsorship is more than $1,000 through a rental mini-van which will assist the officers in transportation throughout the marathon event from Lautoka to Naboro,” Mr Varea explained.
National netball representative, Vaiti Waqatabu is also part of the marathon.
4 NAITATA JOINS ANTI-VIOLENCE
Women living in Naitata settlement in Navua have commended Government’s initiative to promote women rights in their community.
These sentiments were aired when the community members met with the Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni after she officially included them to the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign.
Naitata settlement is now the second community in the Serua Province to be part of the campaign which is aimed at promoting the rights of women and children at all levels. To date a total of 66 communities have joined this campaign including Naitata, Makosoi and Lepanoni settlements from the province of Serua.
In her official address, Minister Luveni said that the elimination of violence is an important thematic area outlined in government’s Women’s Plan of Action of Action (2010 to 2019).
“There has been an increase in reports of domestic violence and this campaign banks on the community support to eliminate violence against women and children. Through an integrated approach the Ministry works with Police and the Non-Government Organisations to provide 8 to 10 months of awareness programs, giving communities access to information on addressing issues of violence.
“One of the key determinants of violence is poverty and financial challenges faced by the families. The government’s move to prioritise education through the 2014 budget will also ease the burden of families and ensure that every child have access to proper education. This campaign also enables women’s groups to venture into income generating projects, being financially independent provides women with better choices for their lives,” Dr Luveni said.
Laxmi Women’s Group president Mrs Muneshwari Chand said it was the first time for the Naitata women to confidently discuss within their community the challenges they face.
“The campaign has been an eye opener for the people of Naitata that violence is a serious crime and it should not be accepted in any situation. Through the awareness program the women are well informed about the reporting procedures and domestic violence restraining order”, Mrs Chand said.
Mr Rajesh Chand, a community leader said the campaign has challenged the men to change their behavior and attitude towards the women and children in Naitata.
“Respecting women and children is now embraced as one of the supreme practice of our village committee and it challenges men to become good role models for their children. We are truly indebted to the government for giving us this opportunity to work together as a community to improve the lives of our families, the Naitata people are proud of this initiative,” Mr Chand added.
Serua Police assistant superintendent Mr Eroni Ratavola said that the campaign complements ‘Duavata Model” policing to reduce crime and domestic violence.
“The Serua province has recorded an increase in reports of domestic violence and through this campaign, the communities are informed that any form of violence against women and children is a serious crime and it should be reported. The Police also have the opportunity to provide awareness programs on drug offences, child abuse and sexual offences,” he said.
The 10 major phases of this campaign are: Initial planning process, identification of stakeholders, stakeholders meeting, the establishment of a gatekeepers committee, community consultation, official commitment, stakeholders and community training on gender based violence, economic and social empowerment program and finally the declaration of the community as a violence free community.
5 QUICK DISPUTE RESOLUTION TARGETED THROUGH MEDIATION
The Mediation Unit of the Ministry of Labour has been commended for achieving outstanding results in the quick resolution of disputes between employers and employees.
Fiji Court of Appeal president, Justice William Calanchini made these comments at the third module mediation and accreditation training by the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) for inspectorate staff of the Labour Ministry in Suva this week.
Since establishment in 2008, the Mediation Unit has successfully resolved an average of 81.47 per cent of cases annually which reflects most favorably when compared with the international standard of 75 per cent measured against the SMC.
Justice Calanchini said mediation allows for a swift resolution enabling parties to get on with their lives.
“Mediation provides the parties with the possibility of a resolution that they have mutually agreed to rather than a solution imposed by a third party decision maker,” Justice Calanchini said.
He highlighted that Fiji is indeed fortunate to have its future mediators being trained and guided by two highly qualified and experienced mediators and trainers from the SMC.
As a former permanent arbitrator and Employment Relations Tribunal chief, Justice Calanchini said that the Mediation Unit within the Ministry of Labour was established under the ERP 2007 and it is the primary problem solving mechanism under the legislation.
“Because of its effectiveness, its simplicity and efficiency, its promptness and the lack of expense, there has been an ever increasing number of workers choosing to refer their grievances to the Mediation Unit rather than referring the dispute to their union for adjudication before the Employment Relations Tribunal.”
Justice Calanchini added that the advantages of mediation are well known to those who practice it.
“Mediation is invariably less expensive than litigation or arbitration. Litigation can take years to wind its way through the courts and the appellate processes.
“Mediation provides a timely way of settling a dispute. The dispute does not linger over the lives of litigants causing anxiety and worry,” Justice Calanchini pointed out.
He further added that that one of the genuine and significant advantages of a mediated settlement is the role it played in maintaining a peaceful and harmonious working relationship between the parties.
Meanwhile, Justice Calanchini urged the 24 trainees to take full advantage of the training and congratulated the Labour Ministry for being at the forefront of the mediation movement in Fiji.
6 FIJI HOSTS CRGA MEET IN SUVA
Significant items on the agenda for this year’s 43rd meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrators (CRGA) include the appointment of a new Director-General in 2014, the South Pacific Community’s new corporate strategic plan and the 2014 budget.
This year’s CRGA is hosted by the Government of Fiji at the Vale Ni Bose complex in Nasese, Suva. SPC is an international organisation that works in the areas of social and economic development with its 22 Pacific Island Countries. Every two years, a committee of the whole of Conference meets to decide on SPC’s work programme and governance issues.
Fiji’s Roving Ambassador and High Commissioner to Pacific Island Countries (Polynesia/Micronesia), Litia Mawi said for Fiji the 2013 budget was well utilised.
“Fiji chaired the CRGA in Nouméa in 2011 and offered to host this year’s meeting. SPC’s sense of inclusivity is a boost to other island countries on achieving the theme of this meeting which is sustainable development,” Mawi said.
She said the meeting is a validation that Fiji is back in the fold of the Pacific countries and with the 8th Conference of the Pacific Community commencing on 18th -19th of November will assist in the outcome of the CRGA meeting.
“SPC as a regional body must look at the interest of the Pacific people and align to the global agenda which begins with the UN department of economic and social affair and alliance of small island states and SEEDS including the Mauritius strategy and Barbados strategy. SPC must learn to align to it because we are going to be thinking globally and acting locally.”
The out-going Director-General for SPC, Dr Jimmie Rodgers at the opening of CRGA meeting said that SPC cannot continue to rely on its members and traditional donor partners to increase their support to finance priority programmes.
“SPC needs to explore other modalities of financing to ensure priority programmes for island members are funded and delivered. We also need to look at human resources, corporate strategic plan 2013-2017 and the financing plan to support its implementation,” Dr Rodgers said.