1. FIJI SIGNS TOBACCO PROTOCOL – Fiji became the 22nd signatory of the Protocol on the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products at a signing ceremony at the United Nations today.
2. MINISTER CALLS ON CADETS TO MAINTAIN LEADERSHIP QUALITIES – Students of the Queen Victoria School were reminded that the training they endured during cadet training should prepare them well to become future leaders of tomorrow.
3. HEALTH MINISTRY TAKES LEAD ROLE IN PROMOTING HEALTHY DIET – The health ministry has taken a lead role by encouraging all staff to maintain a healthy diet and to strictly monitor all food and refreshments consumed at the workplace.
4. WELFARE RECIPIENTS TAP INTO BUSINESS VENTURES – Government’s strategy to provide welfare assistance with the purpose of empowering recipients is “bearing fruit” for certain individuals.
5. AGENCIES AND COUNTRIES MUST WORK TOGETHER – Strategic partnerships, a strong political will and commitment are the key tenets of realizing the vision of integrating climate change and disaster risk management.
6. CHINA DELEGATION TO VISIT FIJI ON TRAINING NEEDS – Academics from the People’s Republic of China will arrive in Fiji this month to identify priority training needs for Fiji’s public service.
7. NEW HOMES FOR VUNIDOGOLOA RESIDENTS – The residents of Vunidogoloa Village in Koroalau are being provided homes after being relocated to a new site due to the effects of constant flooding.
8. MORE YOUNG PEOPLE GRADUATE FROM NYTC – Trainees from the National Youth Training Centre [ NYTC] in Sigatoka graduated today after completing their respective courses.
1 FIJI SIGNS TOBACCO PROTOCOL
Fiji became the 22nd signatory of the Protocol on the Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products at a signing ceremony at the United Nations today.
Acting on full powers authorised by the Government of the Republic of Fiji, the Protocol was signed by Ambassador Peter Thomson, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
The Protocol was adopted during the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November 2012. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is an international legal instrument that circumscribes the global spread of tobacco products and their use. Fiji was the first developing country to sign and ratify the convention in 2003.
The Protocol requires that a tracking and tracing regime be introduced to assist in the monitoring of supply chains. It requires manufacturers, importers, retailers and growers of tobacco to keep proper records.
In signing the Protocol today, Ambassador Thomson noted that tobacco products currently kill about four million people in the world every year, and that half of these deaths happen to people in productive middle age. He said international efforts to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products would assist the global push to save lives that would otherwise be lost through tobacco consumption.
2 MINISTER CALLS ON CADETS TO MAINTAIN LEADERSHIP QUALITIES
Students of the Queen Victoria School were reminded that the training they endured during cadet training should prepare them well to become future leaders of tomorrow.
The Minister for Primary Industries Lieutenant Inia Seruiratu highlighted this at the Queen Victoria School pass-out parade held in Suva today.
“To the Cadets, the rigorous training that you’ve had to endure was not only about today, it was more about your future and the future of our country. It was about preparing you to become leaders of tomorrow,” Minister Seruiratu said.
The Minister said that as government aspires to build a “Better Fiji for All”, he expressed his optimism that students will become aspiring leaders of tomorrowand continue to strive, to seek, to find but not to yield to anything less than the characteristics, the qualities that make a good leader.
Meanwhile, Head boy and Baton commander Mesulame Dolokoto acknowledged the support of the students and for their perseverance during the few weeks of training.
“I want to thank the Almighty without his guidance we were not able to have successful outing today and we believe that cadetship we will become good leaders for the future.
Other award featured, Best Company in Drill was presented to Tovata House, Best Company in Barracks was presented to Rewa House, Best cadet parade was awarded to Joeli Logavatu and Best overall company was presented to Verata House.
3 HEALTH MINISTRY TAKES LEAD ROLE IN PROMOTING HEALTHY DIET
The health ministry has taken a lead role by encouraging all staff to maintain a healthy diet and to strictly monitor all food and refreshments consumed at the workplace.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said that this is in line with the Ministry’s effort to combat Non- Communicable Diseases which accounts for 80 percent of all deaths in Fiji.
“Food and refreshments which has low calories, fat and sugar content should be encouraged at Ministries facilities to overcome premature NCD deaths and its complications”, Dr. Sharma said.
“From now onwards National Advisors and Managers will keep a close watch on diet intake at the Ministry of Health and this should be a platform for other Ministries and Corporate entities to follow. We should practice what we preach and it’s high time that all these issues are looked into”, Minister Sharma added.
Meanwhile, the second Steps survey by World Health Organization in 2011 reveals that one out of every 3 Fijians have been diagnosed with diabetics. Previously it was one out of five.
The Ministry is also calling on relevant stakeholders, NGO’s, faith based organisations and individuals to work with the Ministry so that premature deaths from NCD’s are avoided.
4 WELFARE RECIPIENTS TAP INTO BUSINESS VENTURES
Government’s strategy to provide welfare assistance with the purpose of empowering recipients is “bearing fruit” for certain individuals.
For 72 year old Aborosio Marika Naleba of Waivola Settlement in Tailevu, Government’s welfare assistance has allowed him to venture for the first time into poultry business.
Empowering those under social welfare assistance to venture into workfare is one of the key strategies of the government which is aimed at alleviating poverty and promote independent living. This is primarily achieved through the government’s Welfare Graduation Programme which is administered by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation.
The objective of the Welfare Graduation Programme as reiterated by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama during the 2013 budget address is to provide income generating and employment opportunities for the social welfare recipients.
“Fiji cannot support a culture of dependency. We must commit ourselves to the idea that poverty is a temporary state and as a society, we must uphold the value of work and self-sufficiency. When people move from welfare to work, they regain their self-esteem and confidence. Some participants in this programme have already set up their own businesses or are finding permanent employment. With an allocation of $500,000, the “Welfare Graduation Programme” focuses on moving the social welfare recipients from welfare to workfare,” PM Bainimarama said.
Apart from poultry Mr Naleba is now using manure from his poultry farm and started farming water melon, pineapple and root crops for micro commercial purposes.
“I would like to thank the government of the day for this amazing opportunity that has enabled me to improve the livelihood of my family, with the income earned I am able to even support the educational needs of my grandchildren as well. In particular I would like to thank our leader PM Bainimarama for initiating economic opportunities for less privileged people like me to build a good future by starting our own business.
“I would also like to thank the social welfare office in Nausori for their frequent visit to help me with my business. With this poultry project I am able to earn triple the amount of money which I used to receive as monthly welfare allowance. Now I am confidently living a much better life, use my time wisely and support my family without having to depend on anyone else. I like this project very much, even at this age I can work and provide for my family,” Mr Naleba added.
Through the Welfare Graduation Programme, the Ministry works together with National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprises Development (NCSMED), to assist the social welfare recipients to venture into economic projects.
The recipients are not only provided with the training, they are also assisted financially to start their income generating projects which is closely monitored by the Ministry. Last year the Ministry supported around 32 livelihood projects with 39 sewing programs which are progressing well
5 AGENCIES AND COUNTRIES MUST WORK TOGETHER
Strategic partnerships, a strong political will and commitment are the key tenets of realizing the vision of integrating climate change and disaster risk management.
As he closed the Joint Meeting of the 2013 Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr Inia Seruiratu expressed a need for ownership to ensure integration.
He said as for Fiji, he was a firm advocate of mainstreaming climate change and disaster risks to development planning.
Explaining the presence of the four divisional commissioners from Fiji at the meeting, Mr Seruiratu said Fiji was committed to institutionalise the Post Disaster Needs Assessment methodology.
“We need to understand the issues first before we can effectively respond and this can be done by customising the best practices the world over and in the Pacific to suit our local context,” he told the participants in Nadi this week.
Mr Seruiratu emphasised the importance of all the regional and international agencies and all the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICT) working together because of the commonalities in the approach to adapt and mitigate between aspects of climate change and disaster risk management.
“Therefore, these complementarities must be well discussed at community, national and regional levels so that a practical, gender sensitive and pragmatic approach is agreed upon by all key stakeholders to avoid duplication and that efficiencies can be generated through our joint efforts,” he said.
However, he said that the PICT’s must be given space to determine their own priorities and develop policies to address their specific needs.
He said the financial and technological resources required by PICTS should not be used as a ‘means to an end’ but rather as a conduit for improving sustainable livelihoods.
“We should be mindful that there must be a very clear demarcation of priorities that need regional solutions against those that are country-specific,” Mr Seruiratu said.
The four day meeting came to an end as the other important regional meeting, preparatory meeting for the Pacific Islands Development States (PSIDS) conference, where climate change is also a burning issue, continues for another day tomorrow.
6 CHINA DELEGATION TO VISIT FIJI ON TRAINING NEEDS
Academics from the People’s Republic of China will arrive in Fiji this month to identify priority training needs for Fiji’s public service.
Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said that the three member delegation from the China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP) in Shanghai will be in the country from July 16 and will meet with Senior Government officials
He said the visit will identify the priority training needs in the Public Service in preparation for the two weeks training course for Senior Officials at Deputy Secretary level from Fiji that will be held in China.
“The training will focus on the design, implementation and evaluation as well as monitoring of capital and investment related projects. In line with Government’s vision for a better Fiji, it is imperative that public servants in particular those at senior level are trained with a can do attitude to be able to go the extra mile in service delivery,” Mr Chand said.
He expressed gratitude to the People’s Republic of China on behalf of the Government of Fiji for the cooperation and assistance to building the capacity and knowledge of public servants in Fiji.
The academics from CELAP are Mr. He Lisheng, Professor, Director-General, Department of Academics, CELAP, Mr. Liu Genfa, Associate professor, Deputy Director-General, Department of International Exchange and Program Development, CELAP and Ms. Yu Ji, Associate professor, Department of Academics, CELAP.
7 NEW HOMES FOR VUNIDOGOLOA RESIDENTS
The residents of Vunidogoloa Village in Koroalau are being provided homes after being relocated to a new site due to the effects of constant flooding.
The Minister for Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Mr Jone Usamate said that in the village’s new site, 30 homes are being built by Government through assistance “of manpower from the Ministry of Labour”.
“This is a joint venture with the Commissioner Northern’s Office, the Ministry of Provincial Development and the villagers. So far, two houses have been built by the Commissioner Northern’s office and 8 completed by the Ministry under its ‘Cash for Work Plus’ Program and the remaining 24 will be completed in the next phases before the end of this year,” he said.
The Village Chief, Mr Simione Botu expressed his appreciation towards the government for initiating this project.
“Every day we fear the worst since the water keeps raising to our doorsteps. It was also very hard during bad weather and road conditions were difficult to walk or travel through, taxis, buses were not able to get through to the village due to bad road conditions. We used to take sick people through ‘bamboo raft’ in the river which is a short-cut to get to the nearest health centre since the road is far and no transportation,” Mr Botu.
An emotional Mr Atama Sanabusa, the oldest man in the village also expressed his appreciation towards the Bainimarama Government.
“I am the oldest man in the village and to be here to witness our new homes being built brings me so much joy, only God knows. I thank the Government in helping us build our new homes. This has now ended our long suffering from getting smashed with waves when the sea level rises and also during cyclones.
I just want this tragic event to only end with us while I am still alive that we move to the new homes and our children and the coming generation not to go through the suffering we have gone through. We want our children to have a happy and enjoyable Life,” Mr Sanabusa said.
Mr Usamate said in this second phase the 12 volunteers completed the construction of 4 houses in 15 days, which was a great accomplishment.
“The Ministry complimented the original model of ‘Cash for Work’ and re-engineered it to include the utilisation of the registered qualified National Employment Centre unemployed persons as a volunteer to the rehabilitation program in the National Disaster Program. After careful deliberation by the Ministry’s management, it has now termed the program as Cash for Work Plus program because it includes the utilisation of the manpower of the NEC Clients,” Mr Usamate said.
“I am glad that we were able to accomplish this significant task by using the attachees from the NEC, giving them an opportunity to develop their skills to secure permanent employment in the future” he emphasised.
Mr Jone Veisamasama, a volunteer who assisted in completing the plumbing work for the new houses appreciated the opportunity they were provided.
“It is good because the government thinks about the unemployed and have given us opportunity,” said Mr Jone Veisamasama.
“If only we give our life for the good of other than we can build a better Fiji,” this was the sentiment of Mr Uraia Tawake, another volunteer involved in the carpentry work of the houses.
Mr Usamate affirmed that the target for his Ministry this year is to implement the ‘Cash for Work Plus Program’ in the Northern and Western Division with a target of 50 households per division to be assisted through the Cash for Work Plus program.
“I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the relevant authorities and volunteers engaged in this worthy course in adopting “good Samaritan” principle through ‘Cash for Work Plus’ Program in helping build a better Fiji for the people of Vunidogoloa,” Mr Usamate added.
8 MORE YOUNG PEOPLE GRADUATE FROM NYTC
Trainees from the National Youth Training Centre [ NYTC] in Sigatoka graduated today after completing their respective courses.
The graduation ceremony which was held at NYTC was officiated by the Minister for Youth and Sports Commander Viliame Naupoto.
The graduation ceremony honoured those who completed the 2013 Agriculture Batch1 Programme and also those 2012 Agriculture Programme Batch 2, Carpentry Trainees and Multi –Skills Programme.
Graduates of 2012 had to receive their certificates this year as their graduation was cancelled when it was scheduled on the week Cyclone Evans hit the nation late last year.
The Minister in addressing the ceremony advised the graduates to never stop learning for continuous growth for a person means continuous learning.
“Good character is the best partner for academic life. It’s useless to be academically qualified and your character is not of good standing,” stressed the Minister.
Mr Naupoto further said that two things that he heard learnt during this one and half year as Minister for Youth and Sports are that youth are full of creativity and energy and that energy would continue to flow out to be channeled.
“It is the duty of elders to help these young people channel their energy in a positive way,” added Mr Naupoto.
Special Awards: Sainivalati Koli Ligani – Best Carpentry Trainee of the Year, Eparama Nainoka – Most Progressive Carpentry Trainnee of the Year, Viliame Rawaileba – Highest Scorer in Trade Theory,Demesi Saukuru – Highest Score in Trade Practical, Aisake Vulawalu Tagicakibau – Best Conduct while the Highest Mark in Carpenter General Class III was shared between Viliame Rawaileba and Demesi Saukuru.
The Agriculture Training 2013 Batch 2 Intake Programme will commence next week.