Revise Travel Ban List, MSG Meeting this Week, Corrupt Lawyer, Women Leaders, Rural Electricity and Roadmap, Tourism Record
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unlikely to obtain visas to take part in the Adelaide Sevens because they are in the army, and four members of the Fiji Netball team are still waiting for news on their visa applications. The PM said if Fiji cannot send its best team, it shouldn't send a team at all. His comment follows the Fiji Rugby Union saying it will probably drop its top players after the Hong Kong 7s next weekend because the three are unlikely to get visas to go to the Adelaide tournament. The PM said the FRU should stop playing politics and fight for the right to send the best team to the IRB-approved tournaments.
In this writer's opinion, if Australia and NZ insist on maintaining the travel bans,they should be targeted at those at the top end of the Fiji government and military services, not at their families, career public servants and the lower ranks of the military. Jobs are not easy to come by in Fiji. If the three Sevens players left the army, they would probably be unemployed, with not even money to look for employment in Australia. If it would have them.
N0237. TRAVEL BANS AND CAREER CIVILIAN CIVIL SERVANTS. The new Permanent Secretary for I'Taukei Affairs, Savenaca Kaunisela, joined the public service in 1977. He was promoted to Public Service Commission deputy secretary in 2001, and made Commissioner Western in April 2006, under the Qarase government. He served as High Commissioner to India from December 2007 to December 2010.
Photos: Savenaca Kaunisela (top), Filimoni Kau (bottom)
The new Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources, Filimone Kau, joined the public service in 1989. He was promoted to principal information Officer in 1997, senior executive service director in 2000, and human resource management director in 2000. He served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2003 to 2006. All this took place under the Chaudhry and Qarase governments.
In 2007, after the Bainimarama Coup, he was made Director of Information. In 2008, he was head of the public relations and media team of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji and became acting deputy secretary Ministry of National Planning in January 2009. By November 2010 he was the acting permanent secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources.
Both three-year positions were widely advertised and both appointees seem to be deserving of their appointments. -- Based on No.0631/PSC.
Both men are clearly veteran career public servants who had nothing to do with the Bainimarama Coup. And both men — and their families — are on the Australian and NZ travel ban list.
When the Bainimarama government appoints military men to civil service positions (often because qualified civilians, fearful of the travel bans, do not apply) its critics cry foul. When it appoints civilians, they are treated no differently than if they personally had ousted the Qarase government at gun point. Australian and NZ civil servants do not resign when there is a change in government because they are administrators, not political appointees. So also are these Fiji civil servants. They should not be on the travel ban list.
N0238. THE MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP will meet this week and next under Fiji's chairmanship and with two new observers, Timor Leste and Indonesia, and with Luxembourg as a special guest. Fiji was due to host the summit last July but the then chair Vanuatu’s prime minister, Edward Natapei, cancelled the meeting, raising concerns about an unelected leader assuming the chairmanship. Some say Australia was involved in Natapei's decision but this was denied by both parties. Since then, Natapei has been voted out of office clearing the path for Fiji's chairmanship. Meetings at the Vale ni Bose complex in Suva will start this Wednesday with trade and economic officials, followed by senior officials, and the country leaders meetings will start on Thursday 31st.
N0239. CORRUPT LAWYER. Government will soon have a special team to assist prospective investors when they visit Fiji. This follows an incident where http://www.radiofiji.com.fj/fullstory.php?id=35237 a corrupt lawyer told three Chinese investors who were considering investing in a ship-building and slipway business that he knew the Prime Minister personally and would be able to process investment papers quickly if they were paid $US20,000 dollars. When he asked for a further $US200,000 the investors became suspicious.
N0240. ELECTRICITY NOT FOR YAQONA DRINKERS. After five years of effort, Naikalawaca village in Namara, Tailevu, now has electricity that will enable the villagers to make ice to preserve their fish and later to build an ice plant, explore micro-business opportunities. and provide better lighting for children's study than benzene and kerosene lights.
In opening the new $100,000 installation (to which villagers contributed $6,000) the PM challenged villagers to use the electricity for the education of their children, to refrain from using it too much for yaqona consumption and to look at ways of improving their economic well being. Rural electrification, improved water supply and road projects are essential parts of Government's infrastructural reforms.-- Based on No.0675/MOI.
N0241. THIRTY PERCENT OF THE SKY. Governmment is aiming to have women occupy 30% of positions on decision-making bodies, up from the present 17%. Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni told a Consultation on UN Women’s Global Strategic Plan 2012-13 on Saturday. She said this is the vision; to gain greater respect in society, to strengthen the capacity of women in decision-making and leadership positions,to show they can perform just as well as men, and so gain support for our efforts to increase representation. The Minister noted that Fiji already has a significant number of highly qualified women in academic fields and young women now outnumber young men enrolled in tertiary institutions. -- Based on No.0676/MSWWPA.
N0242. TOURISM RECORD. The latest figures show 631,000 international visitors went to Fiji in 2010, a 16% rise on the previous year. Australia still accounts for the about one-half of all foreign visits. Numbers from China, India and Russia are small but growing.
Visitor numbers for January were up from all countries other than Japan, Korea and the UK that showed small decreases. Of the countries with the largest number of visitors, NZ was up 2.7% and Australia 11.4%. On average visitors stayed for 10.9 days.(No:0667/MOI)
In other travel and tourist related news, Continental Airlines will cancel its service to Nadi from Guam and Honolulu from September 25th. The airline blames rising fuel prices.