GOVERNMENT OBJECTS TO LACK OF CONSULTATION AND SNUBBING OF FIJIAN INSTITUTIONS IN EU-AUSTRALIAN TRAINING PROJECT

The Government has expressed grave concern over the announcement made yesterday by the European Commission (EC) and Australia of the allocation of 4- million Euros to be channeled through Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) for the apparent training of Fijians connected with the sugar cane industry. It is understood that these funds are being allocated under the Accompanying Measures Support Program (AMSP).

The purpose and the intended benefits from this approach are highly questionable, since there were no consultations with the Fijian Government or the key and relevant stakeholders.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar, Voreqe Bainimarama, said, “The intended association demonstrates a unilateral approach towards development assistance rather than a partnership approach. This approach is highly irregular. It is also unclear as to how this training through the APTC will complement Government’s revival of the sugar cane industry or, conversely, how it will tie in with the national policies on targeted development and creating sustained livelihoods.”

The Fijian Government believes that if the European Commission is genuine about development and assistance, it must reconsider its association with APTC and work with organisations such as Fiji National University (FNU), which are resourced by local personnel and the Government to achieve the best results for all Fijians.