CAPTION: Minister Local Government and Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua receives the outcomes from Susana Evening after the week long National Faith based Environment Stewardship Summit.
1 GOVT GRANTS LICENCES TO MAHOGANY BUYERS – The granting of licences to buyers of grades three to five mahogany will create more jobs for Fiji’s rural population including women.
2. PRIME MINSTER APPLAUDS GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS ON ATTAINING TOP HONOURS – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent his congratulations to the thirteen (13) Government scholarship recipients graduating with top honours from the University of the South Pacific.
3. PARTNERSHIP THE WAY FORWARD – Religious leaders from around the country, who gathered at the national faith based environment stewardship summit in Sigatoka, have agreed to work with Government to better address the impacts of climate change.
4. WAQABACA ENLIGHTENS EU COMMISSION – Permanent secretary Filimone Waqabaca headed a team from the Ministry of Finance in Suva to the European Union – Pacific consultations on the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
5. NATIONAL CAMPAIGNS TO BETTER ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE – Co-ordination of national campaigns will be an area to demonstrate global commitment on how we can protect our environment from pollution.
6. TEACHERS REMINDED OF GENERAL ORDERS – Teachers of Queen Victoria School were reminded of the general orders during their professional development session at the school on Wednesday .
7. NEW EQUIPMENT WILL ENHANCE WEATHER WATCH – Government has assured the Nadi Meteorological Office (weather office) of its intentions to upgrade equipment and technology to enhance the work being done by the office.
8. TEACHERS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE – Primary and secondary schools teachers will be assessed on their method and presentation to respective classes they teach.
9. PROJECT BOOSTS DAWASAMU SECONDARY – Dawasamu Secondary School in Tailevu has been boosted with the construction of two new staff quarters and a classroom block. This assistance was from the office of the Prime Minister.
10. DONATION BRINGS JOY AND RELIEF – In recognising the economic challenges faced by women’s groups in Naitasiri province the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has presented these rural women with tools to complement their day to day living.
1 GOVT GRANTS LICENCES TO MAHOGANY BUYERS
The granting of licences to buyers of grades three to five mahogany will create more jobs for Fiji’s rural population including women.
While granting licences to eight buyers of mahogany, the Prime Minister and Fiji Mahogany Industry Council chairman Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Government wanted to ensure that companies licensed to sell mahogany were committed to help Government develop a quality Fijian brand that would fetch a higher price on the international market.
“No longer can unscrupulous buyers sell Fijian mahogany mixed with illegally harvested mahogany from other parts of the world,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
“We also want to make sure companies that are licensed to sell our mahogany are committed to adding value to the product. And that these value-adding activities take place in Fiji.”
The head of government also said the granting of licences today marked one of the final steps in the first phase of government’s reform of the mahogany industry.
“My Government introduced two decrees (Mahogany Development Decree and Mahogany Industry Decree) to bring about this reform. They introduced international best practices in management and operations, a rational licensing scheme and a vision for the Fiji brand,” PM Bainimarama said.
“The Mahogany Development Mahogany Decree instils transparency and efficiency in Fiji Hardwood Corporation Limited’s management of this resource. It formed the Mahogany Industry Council, and redefined the roles of FHCL and the Fiji Mahogany Trust.”
Touchwood Investments Limited, managing director, Ugesh Narayan said he was pleased to be granted a licence to purchase grade three to five mahogany.
“The licence will allow us to have a consistent supply and a guaranteed supply of mahogany enabling us to market that same volume of products to our customers knowing that resources are there,” Mr Narayan said.
The Fiji Mahogany Industry Council has to date lodged registration of the Fiji Pure Mahogany Brand in more than 19 countries.
The eight companies that were awarded licences today are A1 Access Technology, Bua Mahogany Limited, Dayals Sawmillers Ltd, Green Lumber Solutions Ltd, Nukurua Mahogany Trust Holdings Company Limited, Pacific Western Timbers, Touchwood Investments and Wood Moulders (Fiji) Limited.
2. PRIME MINSTER APPLAUDS GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS ON ATTAINING TOP HONOURS
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has sent his congratulations to the thirteen (13) Government scholarship recipients graduating with top honours from the University of the South Pacific.
The Prime Minister applauded these students’ hard work and said that they stood as positive role models for their peers and future scholarship recipients.
He said that Government scholarships were not only an investment in an individual, but in the country.
“It is my hope that these students will continue to strive for excellence in their future careers, as it is my equal hope that they will strive to use their education to contribute to their communities and to their country.”
The Prime Minister added that his Government was committed to building a better, smarter and more modern Fiji through increasing access to education – at all levels.
“This is why we are committed to our scholarship programs. We are currently looking at revamping the current loan and scholarship schemes so that any Fijian who wants a tertiary education can get one. So no Fijian student who gains university entrance will be prevented from taking up their place because they can’t afford it,” he said.
The 13 graduates sponsored by the Public Service Commission’s Local and Multi Ethnic Affairs Scholarships were awarded with gold medals in a special ceremony hosted by USP on Wednesday evening 02/03.
The gold medalist students include Afrada Atika Shah, Shailin Swaran Gonelevu, Madhuka Krishan Singh, Chethna Ben, Aveneel Avikash Prasad, Nishchal Shivam Rai, Komal Shandil, Shelvin Chand, Vijay Kumar, Kushaal Kirtesh Raj, Tejal Khatri, Anjani Mala and Judith Beverly Foong Sui Giblin.
3. PARTNERSHIP THE WAY FORWARD
Religious leaders from around the country, who gathered at the national faith based environment stewardship summit in Sigatoka, have agreed to work with Government to better address the impacts of climate change.
Minister for Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua commended the concerted efforts displayed by the leaders in paving the way forward.
“Whatever plans you make for the care of the environment we hope will be simple and workable to allow for tangible, concrete and visible evidence of it on the ground,” Colonel Saumatua said.
The leaders drafted outcome results from the week-long summit. They were presented to the secretariat for adaptation plans and ways to mitigate the ravages of climate change.
Colonel Saumatua said through these results the future generations would only recognize its uniqueness by the evidence we showed in the actual implementation of these results.
One of the submissions made by participants is the important contribution of faith-based organizations’ to influence the behavioural and attitudinal change for greater good calls for sustainable relationship building and commitment.
“You as leaders of faith-based organizations have within your calling much influence that can be used for the betterment of our people,” he said.
Colonel Saumatua reassured the various religious organizations that the ministry through the Department of Environment was ready to assist any group in the formulation and implementation of initiatives for any congregation.
Sanatan Dharam representative Ravi Singh commended Government for its efforts in organizing such summits for various religious organisations.
“This was an eye opener for many of us as and a good platform to learn on how we can impart this information in our congregational messages during services,” Mr Singh said.
Mr Singh is optimistic that more engagements of this sort will include community members to allow them to understand the devastation of climate change and how they can keep the environment clean.
4. WAQABACA ENLIGHTENS EU COMMISSION
Permanent secretary Filimone Waqabaca headed a team from the Ministry of Finance in Suva to the European Union – Pacific consultations on the programming of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
This is because of the phasing out of the 10th EDF, which was from 2008 – 2013 with a budget of €22.7 billion.
This represents about 30 per cent of EU spending on development co-operation aid, with the remainder coming directly from the EU budget.
The EDF Programme is the financial arm of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and 78 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
The meeting is an opportunity for officials from the European Commission headed by the Commissioner for Development, Adris Piebalgs and a high powered government delegation of the Pacific ACP Countries to discuss the proposed 11th EDF programming which is to be from 2014 to 2020.
The meeting was attended by ministers from Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu and EUs national authorizing officers and deputy national authorizing officers from the respective governments.
A main feature of the meeting was the bilateral sessions between the EU team and respective government representatives of the region whereby discussions were undertaken behind closed doors of potential EU assistance for a country’s National Indicative Programme for the upcoming EDF 11.
During Fiji’s bilateral session, the Mr Waqabaca updated the EU team on our economic performance, progressive developments of the 2014 elections, the continuation of the EUs assistance to the sugar industry through the accompanying measures for the sugar protocol programme and potential sectors linked to the sugar industry that will also need assistance.
Other issues discussed during the session include assistance in the areas of climate change and renewable energy.
The EUs commissioner for development, in his response acknowledged the positive economic and development progress in Fiji. He reiterated that the EU was willing to provide support for preparations towards elections and provide an observer team during the elections.
5. NATIONAL CAMPAIGNS TO BETTER ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
Co-ordination of national campaigns will be an area to demonstrate global commitment on how we can protect our environment from pollution.
This was a collective submission made by participants at the national faith based environment stewardship summit held in Sigatoka.
Department of Environment director Jope Davetanivalu said these outcomes would show the sign of committed responsibility to better environment stewardship.
“We can work alone in addressing these issues on the protection of environment, however we need your assistance and partnership to mitigate climate change at national level,” Mr Davetanivalu said.
“This summit will also be building platform for interfaith to work with Government in the networking and the co-ordination of national campaigns.”
Minister for Local Government Samuela Saumatua said the finalization of the outcome statement which was presented this morning would be followed up in a meeting to endorse an action plan.
Arya Samaj delegate Satish Kumar said we needed more co-ordination in this area to be able to work collectively.
“Climate change is no longer an issue we can hide away and we need to work together so our future generation will be able to live in a healthy environment free from sea-level rise and flash flooding,” Mr Kumar said.
The summit ended today with the national aim of spreading word to the people that climate change can be controlled through partnership from the various agencies.
6. TEACHERS REMINDED OF GENERAL ORDERS
Teachers of Queen Victoria School were reminded of the general orders during their professional development session at the school on Wednesday .
They were told that they are teachers 24/7 and not just from 8am to 4pm. Their actions and conduct should be guided by the Public Service Commission’s code of conduct because they are civil servants.
The commission’s Corporate Service Section principal administration officer, Eroni Loganimoce did not mince his words when he told teachers, “you’re a teacher 24 hours a day so your behavior, words and dress code should exhibit your status as a teacher”.
“A breach of the Public Service code of conduct can have serious consequences on your profession because there is zero tolerance for breaches”.
The Minister for Education, Filipe Bole has been emphasizing to ministry staff and teachers to always be conscious of their role, because students will look up to them as role models.
Terms and conditions, the filling of Annual Performance Assessment (APA) forms and the principle of honesty were emphasized to 35 QVS teachers.
Skills of basic counselling were displayed to teachers as they were given some hypothetical cases to deliberate upon and contemplate solutions for them.
Lotus Garment sponsored the catering for the professional development at QVS.
7. NEW EQUIPMENT WILL ENHANCE WEATHER WATCH
Government has assured the Nadi Meteorological Office (weather office) of its intentions to upgrade equipment and technology to enhance the work being done by the office.
Minister for Works, Transportation and Public Utilities Commander Timoci Lesi Natuva made the announcement during the World Meteorological Day celebrations at the Nadi weather office today.
Celebrations were attended by weather experts, business houses, aviation industry heads and students from schools in the Western Division.
Commander Natuva said the investment by Government would further boost the work by the office which also served the pacific region.
“Government in the next few years will invest heavily in upgrading and improving technological equipment to assist the office with fundamental good network of weather and climate observing systems,” he said.
“This is a result of the varying user demands and requirements through the years, which have dictated these changes and the continuous upgrade of the Fiji Meteorological Services information and computing technology
infrastructure, but in compliance to international standards.”
With the theme: “Watching the weather to protect life and property”, Natuva believes the theme captures the importance of World Weather Watch – a foundation programme of the World Meteorological Organisation since its
inception 50 years ago.
“This theme is relevant to Fiji’s context, punctuated by an increasing frequency of extreme weather and climate events such as tropical cyclone, droughts and floods,” Minister Natuva said.
He also urged Fijians to take heed of warnings and alert messages provided by the Nadi Weather Office.
“We in Fiji have an important role to play in ensuring we contribute positively in mitigating towards the theme of this year’s celebration,” the minister said.
Minister Natuva also toured the weather office talking to staff and getting first hand information of the challenges faced by weather experts in Nadi.
School students and members of the public were also given an inside view of the weather office where their questions were answered and queries clarified.
Meteorological Services director Alipate Waqaicelua welcomed the announcement by the minister saying it would greatly benefit their work.
8. TEACHERS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Primary and secondary schools teachers will be assessed on their method and presentation to respective classes they teach.
This is one way of ensuring that underperforming schools are monitored, assisted and teachers’ performances are assessed as well.
“Education officers who go out to visit schools should not only check the physical infrastructure but check on its teachers because they teach in the classrooms,” the Minister of Education Filipe Bole told his senior staff in their meeting.
“This will assist us identify the causes of underperformance in schools and at the same time assess our teachers on the job.
“Those teachers whose performances are found to have deteriorated after being given three chances to improve may have to give up their teaching career.”
Teachers are therefore cautioned that whatever they write in their workbooks are the exact things they teach the class for that day. Head teachers and principals are reminded to closely monitor their teachers.
The assessment of teachers will be done randomly therefore any teacher can be assessed at any time.
“No stones should be left unturned as we strive to get all our students who sit external examination to pass with quality marks,” the minister said.
There are three more school weeks before the end of term one.
9. PROJECT BOOSTS DAWASAMU SECONDARY
Dawasamu Secondary School in Tailevu has been boosted with the construction of two new staff quarters and a classroom block. This assistance was from the office of the Prime Minister.
A memorandum of understanding was signed at the Prime Minister’s office yesterday for the start of this project.
The deputy secretary at the Prime Ministers office, Naipote Katonitabua said Government was committed towards improving access to quality education for rural schools.
“The Government is embarking on fulfilling Pillar 9 of the charter which is to make Fiji a knowledge-based society. We therefore will need the co-operation and support of all stakeholders to deliver quality education for the good future of our children and for the benefit of the nation,” added Mr Katonitabua.
The Ministry of Education’s Asset and Monitoring Unit director Saimoni Waibuta expressed his appreciation to the Prime Ministers office for the timely assistance.
“Dawasamu Secondary School is one of the EDA (Educationally Disadvantaged Area) school identified by the ministry and this assistance by the Prime Ministers office through the Small Grant Scheme project is greatly acknowledged,” Mr Waibuta said.
School manager Moceituba Qaranaivalu expressed his appreciation towards the Government for the support rendered and said that this would greatly benefit students from the 16 villages within the Dawasamu District.
“Teachers will now be accommodated in good quarters, which I believe will contribute to their quality delivery in the classroom,” Mr Qaranaivalu said.
The cost of the project is $172,327.80 with the school funding $50,100.00 and the government contributing $122,227.80. The project will be completed within the next five months.
10. DONATION BRINGS JOY AND RELIEF
In recognising the economic challenges faced by women’s groups in Naitasiri province the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation has presented these rural women with tools to complement their day to day living.
The women’s groups from Waisa, Naterumai, Navuto, Delaiwaimale, Vatukorosia, Waisasavu gathered at Waisa Village yesterday to meet the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
The villagers had the opportunity to discuss their development plans with Dr Luveni and also get first hand information about the ministry programmes for women empowerment and social welfare. The groups from the six villages were presented with two sewing machines each.
While speaking on behalf of the women’s groups Waisa Village turaga ni koro Emoni Sukanamalo said the donations would greatly complement the role of women as caretakers of their families.
“There are about 60 women in this village who are the backbone of their families,” Mr Sukanamalo said
“They struggle daily, they do farming and fishing to ensure there is enough food for their families and they wake up as early as 2am to travel all the way to Suva to sell their produce. These women don’t have permanent employment they all depend on small scale farming.
“We are grateful to the minister for providing us these sewing machines today, it will help the women to make school uniforms for the children and also start their tailoring business.
“Money earned from sewing, will assist the groups start a poultry project to further boost their source iof income,” Mr Sukanamalo added.
Following the visit at Waisa Village, Dr Luveni’s determination to assist many more women’s group in Naitasiri led her to Nabukaluka Village. The women groups from Nabukaluka, Lomai and Nauluvatu were presented with six sewing machines.
In her welcoming address, Marama Na Tui Waimaro Adi Pateresia Rovonokula said that minister’s visit had inspired the community to recognise the role of women into economic development and poverty alleviation.
“We have got 800 people in this village and my role as the chief is to assist my people in improving their lives. I am grateful to the Government for this assistance and the donation is a blessing for us,” Adi Pateresia said.
“The unemployed youths and young girls will have the opportunity to learn sewing and contribute towards village development.
“The minister’s speech has challenged the men and women to work together for a better future. It has even raised awareness on the need to protect our women and children and create violence free communities.”