CAPTION: Acting PM Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum inspects the guard of honour. Photo: MINFO.
1.106 NEW CORRECTIONS OFFICERS RECRUITED – The 106 new recruits who passed out as corrections officers at the Fiji Corrections Services (FCS) Academy in Naboro today were urged to carry out their duties professionally.
2.EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION – The Minister of Education Filipe Bole says Government is committed to providing education for all, and the plan is to also provide free education. As chief guest at the Fiji National University graduation today, his message was vibrant as he assured those in attendance at the graduation of government’s commitment.
3.POLICE TO ENSURE A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR ELECTIONS – The Fiji Police Force will provide a conducive environment for government’s efforts, policies and initiatives in the lead up to the 2014 General Election.
Those were the sentiments of the Assistant Commissioner of Police and Chief Operations Officer, Rusiate Tudravu at the Fiji Police first quarter parade today.
4.HEALTH MINISTER HIGHLIGHTS SIGNIFICANCE OF STATS – Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma has highlighted the importance of a platform with meaningful “statistics” and through “civil registration” of life events – i.e. births, age structure, population movements (in and out of country), the evolving patterns of morbidity in the life span and eventual causes of mortality.
5.TRAINING OF CONCILIATORS – The Public Service Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Labour will train civil servants on methods and procedures to follow to be able to address disputes accordingly.
6.PUBLIC SERVICE STRIVES TO IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY – Public Service Commission permanent secretary, Mr Parmesh Chand says the Service Excellence Awards (SEA) training for civil servants will ensure service delivery reaches greater heights.
7.PLANS IN PROGRESS TO SOLAR ELECTRIFY KADAVU – Plans for the solar electrification of villages in Kadavu are well in progress, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
8.FITNESS CHALLENGE PROMOTS WELLNESS IN COMMUNITIES – The “30 days fitness challenge” Protext Health Month was launched this morning with the aim of improving every Fijian’s health and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ministry of Health permanent secretary Doctor Eloni Tora said this type of initiative was encouraging because for Fiji a major cause of premature deaths was non-communicable diseases.
9.LITERACY CAMP BEGINS MONDAY AT KOROQAQA – The Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services will conduct a Literacy Camp at Koroqaqa Primary School, Baulevu in Naitasiri province from April 22 to 26. The camp will be attended by 215 students from Koroqaqa primary and neighbouring schools.
10.SURVEYORS MARK NUKU DISTRICT BOUNDARIES – iTaukei Affairs staff led by deputy secretary Loata Vakacegu this week visited surveyors engaged in the demarcation of mataqali land at Nuku district in the interior of Serua Province. The aim of the visit was to see for themselves the conditions surveyors faced each day as they cross rivers and journey through the rough terrain of the Serua jungle.
11.SURVEYS ESSENTIAL TO COMPLETE GROWTH – Publications and research such as the 2013 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific are crucial in order to beat the adverse global economic environment, and achieve durable, sustainable and complete growth.
12.FIJI DELEGATION ATTENDS 10th MINISTERIAL MEETING OF ACP NATIONAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORISING OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF DEVELOPMENT FINANCE COOPERATION – The meeting for the ACP National and Regional Authorizing Office was held in Brussels on April 17 and 18. It was preceded by the preparatory meeting of senior officials from April 15 and 16.
13.FIJI SPORTS COUNCIL & SPORTS FEDERATIONS MARKET DAY – The Fiji Sports Council will host its 3rd Sports Federations Market Day this Saturday at the council car park. This initiative is to help each sports federation, clubs and associations raise funds for their own sporting organisations.
1. 106 NEW CORRECTIONS OFFICERS RECRUITED
The 106 new recruits who passed out as corrections officers at the Fiji Corrections Services (FCS) Academy in Naboro today were urged to carry out their duties professionally.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told recruits it was a special occasion for the Corrections Services Department because it signified the level of professionalism brought into its system.
“Many times, the prisons system is not given the prominence that it should get. It is always seen as the last stage in the criminal justice system,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“But as has been in the past few years, in particular under the Bainimarama Government, we have given a lot of impetus, resources, emphasis and indeed a lot of prominence through the media and through policy framework to highlight the important work the Fiji Corrections Service provides .
“Not just in rehabilitating prisoners but also as an overall arm in the criminal justice system.”
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new officers, who would be posted to various corrections centres in the country, would play a critical role in ensuring the level of professionalism was maintained and indeed improved.
“Today is not just an achievement for the recruits only but for their families, friends and the communities they come from,” the A-G said.
“These men and women will not only play a critical role in the prisons system but in the overall functioning of our wonderful country.”
The Attorney-General said in light of Fiji’s preparations for the restoration of democracy, the prisons system would play a crucial role in modernising the country.
“We are today passing out through a very important stage where we will soon adopt a new constitution,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“There are numerous rights and obligations that we will all have and the prisons system will also play a critical role in modernising Fiji.
“The criminal justice system is not just about locking people but also turning them into better citizens once they get released.”
The Overall Award for the best all-rounder recruit went to Waisale Kuruisaravi while the award for best recruit in physical training went to National 7s rep Joji Ragamate.
The award for best recruit in first-aid was given to Ratuwata Salabogi, the award for best recruit in practical duties went to Alvin Vikash Nand of Labasa while Suliana Gusuivalu was presented with the award for the best recruit in drill.
Today’s passing out parade was the first of three for this year’s basic recruit course.
2. EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION
The Minister of Education Filipe Bole says Government is committed to providing education for all, and the plan is to also provide free education.
As chief Guest at the Fiji National University graduation today his message was vibrant as he assured those in attendance at the graduation of government’s commitment.
“If you have been following the public consultation on the draft constitution you would have heard that the draft constitution contains an extensive range of socio – economic rights for all Fijians. Included in these rights is the right to education, where every person has the right to early childhood education, primary, secondary and further education,” Mr Bole said.
“Furthermore, these levels of education are planned to progressively become free and available to all, as a constitutional requirement.
“I certainly believe the revamp in the draft constitution is something we should be appreciative of, especially when it plans to give everyone equal access to education.”
The minister also thanked the families of students graduating for the financial support they have rendered.
“I congratulate the families and supporters of our graduates, for all the resources they have put into your education,” Minister Bole said.
In a survey conducted by the Fiji National University some 70 per cent of FNU students come from families with incomes of less than $15,000 per annum.
FNU has been used to channel much of the student funding into areas unique to FNU and for which FNU has good facilities and programmes.
There has been a provision of various scholarships such as the 50 special agriculture awards, $5million budgeted for specialized trade skills of certified plumbers, electricians, deckhands, carpenters, mechanics engineering, tourism and creative arts fields, $1m is set for the school of maritime studies and finally a grant of $1.8m is for the sustainable livelihood project.
Minister Bole reminded graduands to be committed to Fiji.
“We trust that you will reward our effort with a commitment to Fiji, to seek careers and opportunities in the areas for which you are trained and give us the benefit of the education with which we have provided you,” Mr Bole said.
“Building our nation is the best way to make sure of your future prosperity and security.”
3. POLICE TO ENSURE A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR ELECTIONS
The Fiji Police Force will provide a conducive environment for government’s efforts, policies and initiatives in the lead up to the 2014 General Election.
Those were the sentiments of the Assistant Commissioner of Police and Chief Operations Officer, Rusiate Tudravu at the Fiji Police first quarter parade today.
“The intention of the Commissioner of Police as we all know is to provide the conducive environment for the government of the day in all its efforts, all its policies, all its initiatives in gearing us towards the 2014 elections,” ACP Tudravu told police officers from various units.
“The police have been called upon to provide that environment for the Government of the day – focus on that.”
Highlighting the Fiji Police Force’s focus for the 2nd quarter, ACP Tudravu said that police officers must concentrate on the criminal front including law enforcement.
“As police officers, you must know the law before you enforce the law you must know the law first,” ACP Tudravu said.
“The landscape of the security environment that we are in dictates us to know the law.”
ACP Tudravu also added that there were plans to have an Integrated Fugitive Apprehension Unit which will be responsible for apprehending persons pending arrest.
4. HEALTH MINISTER HIGHLIGHTS SIGNIFICANCE OF STATS
Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma has highlighted the importance of a platform with meaningful “statistics” and through “civil registration” of life events – i.e. births, age structure, population movements (in and out of country), the evolving patterns of morbidity in the life span and eventual causes of mortality.
Dr Sharma raised the sentiments during a global summit on civil registration and vital statistics in Bangkok, Thailand
The minister, who also chaired one of the sessions, told his counterparts that evidence-based policy and subsequent programme development results in transparency and accountability whilst resource limitations were addressed and issues, especially in Healthcare Delivery prioritized.
“Fiscal, human resources, service delivery, training needs rationalized on evidence and a firm platform for financial management results. This approach goes well with global, UN, international and regional donor agencies for necessary support and assistance,” Dr Sharma said.
More than 95 per cent of Fijian children are born in health care settings and first phase civil registration is undertaken in the hospital prior to discharge. The balance is to be completed when a “name” is chosen for the children, ideally in six (6) weeks.
“Our rural and maritime nature sometimes challenges our people to register till the child enters school when birth certificates are vital,” the minister said.
“This needs to be addressed through innovative people centered approaches with the evolving disease patterns with enhanced vaccination, reduced morbidity and mortality of neonates, infants and children we need improved data because the Pacific as a region faces a major disaster in Non Communicable Diseases.
“Adolescent obesity cascades into florid illness with premature morbidity and mortality of young adults with great loss of national productivity.”
He further added that many countries in the Pacific and elsewhere faced the challenge of breaking out of a vicious circle where a weak CRVS system generated poor quality data which didn’t get used because of its poor quality, and where there is no incentive to improve the system because there is no demand for the data it generates.
Fiji is breaking out of that vicious circle by investing in capacity development to get better quality data and outreach to the public to improve its completeness. These are long-term processes and require sustained political support.
Dr Sharma said Fiji’s CRVS data clearly called for alarm with regard to the mortality due to diabetes.
“The impacts of preventive and curative interventions can now be monitored on a monthly basis. Life-saving investments can now be justified with reliable data,” he said.
5. TRAINING OF CONCILIATORS
The Public Service Commission in partnership with the Ministry of Labour will train civil servants on methods and procedures to follow to be able to address disputes accordingly.
PSC permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said the policy on conciliation was introduced last year to provide an alternative mechanism for resolving disputes or grievances and reconstructing of relationships within the public service.
Mr Chand called on ministries and departments to nominate new participants in addition to those who were trained for the first time last year in Suva.
“Ministries must also nominate new participants from their Western and Northern Divisions to attend this workshop to encourage the divisional ownership of the whole conciliation process,” he said.
“The target group for the selection of nominees will have to be from senior administrative office level and equivalent or above to ensure experience and exposure is the strength for those who will preside as conciliators.”
The two-day workshop will be held in Labasa from May 2 to 3, Lautoka May 16 and17 then in Suva on May 22 to 23.
Mr Chand said ministries and departments were encouraged to make full use of these workshops to facilitate the effective and efficient management of human resources within the public service.
6. PUBLIC SERVICE STRIVES TO IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY
Public Service Commission permanent secretary, Mr Parmesh Chand says the Service Excellence Awards (SEA) training for civil servants will ensure service delivery reaches greater heights.
During the closing of the 2013 SEA workshop, which has been underway for the past three weeks at Devos on the park, Mr Chand stressed the importance of commitment to promote and drive the adoption of improved techniques and processes for better levels of service delivery and the attainment of required efficiencies.
“The seven categories in the framework if complied with results, for sure organization would have addressed both internal and external factors from leadership, customers, processes, capturing the use of information and results,” Mr Chand said.
“Reforms couldn’t happen in the service unless they benchmark the process products and services to other reputable organizations that are willing to share their best practices.
“The adoption of the SEA framework can uplift the status of agencies by having; measurable improvement gains across agencies, increased productivity, profitability, competitiveness and customer loyalty and service delivery, more active staff engagement and involvement, improved efficiency and more strategic leadership.”
Tackling challenges faced by civil servants has to be addressed evaluating the real benefits of the programme.
“Thus, SEA framework needs commitment and ensuring that all in the public sector share the common vision of working towards excellence in the service,” Mr Chand said.
Consultant Paul Steel facilitated the three-week workshop.
7. PLANS IN PROGRESS TO SOLAR ELECTRIFY KADAVU
Plans for the solar electrification of villages in Kadavu are well in progress, says the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
During the official opening of the new Women’s Resource Centre at Vunisea in Kadavu yesterday Dr Luveni revealed the equipment for solar electrification projects had arrived into the country.
“These equipment have been sent from the Barefoot College in India. Next week a training will be held in Suva for the 10 solar engineers and the solar grandmothers from Kadavu will be part of this training,” Dr Luveni said.
Reapi Waitalea, 57, from Baidamudamu Village and 52-year-old Meriama Moceiwasa from Naioti Village are two of the solar engineers in Kadavu who have undergone six months extensive training in solar electrification from the Barefoot College.
“We are looking forward to solar electrify our villages that has been living in darkness for the last 40 years or so, particularly the villages in remote locations that has no electricity,” Mrs Moceiwasa said.
“It will take us about four weeks to set up the solar workshops and we have already formed a group in the village that will assist us with the installation of the solar electrification.
“There are about 30 households in each of the two villages and each household will have three solar lanterns each. We are grateful that the equipment is here so we will now be able to assemble the tools to solar electrifying our villages.”
8. FITNESS CHALLENGE PROMOTS WELLNESS IN COMMUNITIES
The “30 days fitness challenge” Protext Health Month was launched this morning with the aim of improving every Fijian’s health and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ministry of Health permanent secretary Doctor Eloni Tora said this type of initiative was encouraging because for Fiji a major cause of premature deaths was non-communicable diseases.
“Compared to other diseases, non-communicable diseases are the most difficult and most expensive to diagnose and treat including surgical procedures,” Dr Tora said.
“When you include other NCD’s like cancers and all trauma, more than 70 per cent of all deaths in Fiji are due to NCDs.”
Dr Tora said industries could build trust by walking the talk and supporting proven successful public health intervention.
“Let’s move to wellness, which is a life-course approach and is the key to the prevention and control of NCD,” the permanent secretary said.
Colgate Palmolive Limited marketing manager Sumasasu Molia-Pauriasi said since NCD was impacting our country this was one way to address wellness concepts in our communities.
“This challenge is in alignment with achieving the Ministry of Health’s objective to harvest the wellness within you,” Mrs Molia-Pauriasi.
The group challenge is on weight loss and professional assistance with weigh ins and counselling on nutrition and ideal physical activity.
Interested groups will have to register between April 22 to 30 and the challenge will begin on May 31.
Organisers and health officials are optimistic that through these initiatives people will be able to keep fit and healthy.
9. LITERACY CAMP BEGINS MONDAY AT KOROQAQA
The Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services will conduct a Literacy Camp at Koroqaqa Primary School, Baulevu in Naitasiri province from April 22 to 26.
The camp will be attended by 215 students from Koroqaqa primary and neighbouring schools.
Department of Library Services director Merewalesi Vueti said the first Literacy Camp was an initiative of Library Services of Fiji in 2011 and has become popular ever since.
“We received a request from Koroqaqa for us to conduct this on the last week of this term. This programme was initially for holiday programmes to engage students into skill based activities and information so they were well equipped to understand the concept of researching,” Ms Vueti said.
Variety of activities are lined up for students during the five-day event at Koroqaqa Primary School.
“The activities include clustering students according to their reading ability. We will have classroom set for storytelling, movies, literacy games, and importantly we’ve incorporated art and craft so all students excel academically,” Ms Vueti said.
“There will be sessions teaching students on how to approach the library while doing their research, which is relevant to the new approach taken by the Ministry of Education’s resource based learning.
“We will have a library session for information literacy skills where students will be taught on a specific subject they will go through with the staff on how to conduct search and for them to understand the subject that they’ve been given and where they have to source that information and evaluate the sources,” Ms Vueti said.
Apart from library activities there will be a display conducted by National Archive and Film and Television Unit.
“For the ministry we will be having the National Archive personnel display their photographic footage and the Film and Television Unit will be show old film documentaries,” she said.
Ms Vueti said in the evenings there would be talanoa sessions for the adults.
“The talanoa session is included in our programme because this literacy camp is also an outreach for the ministry. We have extended our invitation to the Commissioner Central so that we can have an integration of all government departments,” the director said.
Library Services will also have its holiday programme in Savusavu and Wailevu East which will be conducted by library staff in Savusavu.
10. SURVEYORS MARK NUKU DISTRICT BOUNDARIES
iTaukei Affairs staff led by deputy secretary Loata Vakacegu this week visited surveyors engaged in the demarcation of mataqali land at Nuku district in the interior of Serua Province.
The aim of the visit was to see for themselves the conditions surveyors faced each day as they cross rivers and journey through the rough terrain of the Serua jungle.
Assistant Roko Tui Serua Ratu Ravuama Nakaiwalu said iTaukei Affairs staff brought food items for the 11 land surveyors camping at Borolea in the district of Nuku.
Demarcation of mataqali land and village boundaries is the responsibility of the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission.
The registration, surveying and demarcation of mataqali lands is also a core function of the commission.
Surveyors form the Lands Department are being engaged in the demarcation and surveying of itaukei land that has not been surveyed.
Technical officer Vereniki Nabiu, who is the team leader for the land surveyors, explained about the work they are conducting in the interior of Serua.
“We started a survey with Nuku district from February this year. We survey and mark the boundaries of land for each landowning unit ormataqali,” Mr Nabiu said.
“There is another team in Taveuni doing village boundaries.
“Nuku is one of those districts in Fiji that has not been surveyed. We engaged both mataqali representatives so that confirmation on boundaries of each mataqali land is made.”
Sometimes disagreement by the landowning units usually happen.
“There are a few cases where the mataqali disagrees but usually we find a solution that is acceptable to all,” Mr Nabiu said.
“Support from the people is good because we explained to them the importance of having their mataqali land surveyed and boundaries identified.
“We really appreciate the visit by iTaukei Affairs staff bringing food items and coming to see for themselves the tough condition we work in as land surveyors.”
11. SURVEYS ESSENTIAL TO COMPLETE GROWTH
Publications and research such as the 2013 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific are crucial in order to beat the adverse global economic environment, and achieve durable, sustainable and complete growth.
This was one of the key messages presented by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific senior economist David Smith at the launch of the 2013 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific.
He said one of the major challenges for economies was the growing rate of unemployment amongst youths.
“Unemployment, especially among youth presents a major challenge for many economies and could have implications for social and political stability if not addressed,” Mr Smith said.
United Nations under secretary general and executive secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Dr Noeleen Heyzer said the Asia and Pacific region was at a crossroads.
“The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific arrived at a critical junction where Asia and the Pacific are currently on the crossroads of developments,” Dr Heyzer said.
She added that such survey reminded us that there was no time for self-satisfaction.
“The 2013 survey reminds us that this is no time for complacency, as the need for more inclusive and sustainable pattern of economic and social development continues to be critical,” DR Heyzer added.
A much lower growth compared to recent years could become a new norm for many regional economies if present economic trends were to continue.
12. FIJI DELEGATION ATTENDS 10th MINISTERIAL MEETING OF ACP NATIONAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORISING OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF DEVELOPMENT FINANCE COOPERATION
The meeting for the ACP National and Regional Authorizing Office was held in Brussels on April 17 and 18. It was preceded by the preparatory meeting of senior officials from April 15 and 16.
Fiji was represented at the meeting by the Ministry of Finance permanent secretary and National Authorizing Officer for Fiji, Mr Filimone Waqabaca, the Ambassador to Brussels, Mr Peceli Vocea and the Director ODA of the Ministry of Finance and Deputy NAO Ms Mereseini Waibuta.
The meeting enabled the national and regional authorizing officers to discuss important issues at the heart of the ACP-EU Cooperation, particularly with regard to the implementation of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
As a lead-up to the ministers meeting, the Mr Waqabaca chaired the caucus meeting for the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) member States with the MSG Secretariat in attendance.
The purpose of the meeting was to update the MSG Ambassadors and representatives in Brussels on the MSG’s common position on the 11th EDF as a main financial instrument for development cooperation between the European Union and the member states.
For the ministers meeting, it noted that programming of the European Union’s development cooperation with the ACP countries and regions under the 11th EDF is in the amount of € 30.5 billion which is part of the implementation of the multi-annual financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020 (seven years).
The meeting also acknowledged the commission’s proposal which aims to ensure that the programming exercise based on the aquis of the Cotonou Agreement and on new policies and new fundamental principles that will govern cooperation during this period as defined in the European Commission’s 2011 Communication on the Agenda for Change, which includes human rights, democracy and other governance-related issues, as well as inclusive and sustainable growth.
The programming exercise is also proposed to accommodate the use of national development plans and strategies.
The meeting noted that this new framework will be based on guiding principles such as ownership, simplified and more flexible process, coherence, flexibility, differentiation, sectoral concentration, coordination and joint programming. The meeting also highlighted the future challenges linked to this new approach.
The 11th EDF is linked to the EU’s new development policy with some linkages to issues of ownership by the ACP countries and regions, the choice of sectors and ensuring complementarity between the National and Regional Indicative programmes alongside intra ACP programmes.
Of particular interest to Fiji was the discussion of climate change as a factor in determining vulnerability of countries particularly for Small Island Developing States and land locked countries so that this factor allows for greater access to resources.
The meeting also discussed modalities for blending operations in order to leverage additional resources using financial instruments to complement grant allocations for national and regional indicative programmes.
The meeting also discussed budget support as an important instrument in the EU’s overall development policy towards the ACP states.
The ACP Group is in favour of budget support which promotes ownership and disbursements. The EU’s Budget Support is an integral part of the EU’s strategic policy to achieve the desired change in partner countries through the allocation of targeted aid.
The meeting noted that there was a need to align development assistance towards the development agenda of ACP Countries and regions.
It discussed that the new post 2015 Framework should support the structural economic transformation of countries and the economic integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) and include the transfer of green technology taking into account lessons learnt from the implementation of the MDGs.
It also emphasized that the Post 2015 Objectives should be relevant for all ACP countries and involves different targets according to the particular contexts of individual countries with special attention to fragile states, landlocked states, LDCs and small island developing states.
During their discussions, the meeting highlighted the need to link South-South Cooperation to building cooperation among ACP countries, which is one of the major objectives of the Georgetown Agreement and to define a national and/or regional strategic approach to maximize benefits from South-South Cooperation.
13. FIJI SPORTS COUNCIL & SPORTS FEDERATIONS MARKET DAY
The Fiji Sports Council will host its 3rd Sports Federations Market Day this Saturday at the council car park.
This initiative is to help each sports federations, clubs and associations raise funds for their own sporting organisations.
In working together with sports federation, the FSC is giving its facility for free so that sporting bodies can raise funds to assist them in preparations for upcoming events or tournaments, administration cost and other daily expenses. FSC is inviting all sporting bodies to take up this opportunity.
FSC provides free space and each sporting bodies bring in their own tents, tables, chairs and their goodies to sell. Whatever funds raised by each stall goes to their individual coffer. This is FSC’s way of giving back to our national sporting organisations.
FSC’s last market day was on the March 30 and they intend to have this event every month.
Members of the public are encouraged to come and support their favorite sport. There will be food stalls, craft, clothes, old household items and face painting.