Posts tagged Suva

NEW SUVA METEOROLOGY OFFICE

Honourable Ministers;

Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be here to mark an important milestone in Fiji’s ability to provide timely and accurate climate-related information that will ultimately help save lives and protect property.

The new Suva Meteorological Weather Office is a state of the art facility that will drastically improve our risk assessment and early warning capabilities, increase our ability to conduct important research, and enhance weather information services to the Fijian people and other Pacific Islanders.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the recent weeks I have spoken a lot about climate change. Whatever its cause, island nations like ours feel its effects more intensely than the larger countries of the developed world.

Climate change causes extreme weather patterns such as intense flooding and ever more frequent tropical storms and cyclones. This is a reality that we have to face in the Pacific region.

Over the last decade, tropical cyclones and floods have cost more than 100 lives and hundred of millions of dollars worth of damages in Fiji alone.
So we have learned to be prepared. And I am proud to say that preparedness meant that not a single life was claimed by Cyclone “Evan” last year.

But we cannot drop our guard and the opening of this new Weather Office is part of a serious campaign to equip Fiji with the latest technology that will increase our capacity to deal with natural disasters.

The equipment housed in this new facility is a far cry from that possessed by Fiji’s first national Weather Office that was built on this site in 1942.

The new two-story building was constructed at a total cost of $3.6million and it houses a modern IT infrastructure, Conference Room and communication facilities.

The Suva Office will work in close co-ordination with the Nadi Forecasting Centre to detect extreme weather and flooding. If the Nadi office goes offline for whatever reason, the Suva Office will take the point position to ensure essential services are continued.

But it’s not just about early detection. The new technology in this facility will also allow us to conduct important climate-related research. The demand for data about the weather is very high for a number of development related purposes.

There’s no doubt that future strategies to deal with climate change will depend upon sound knowledge of past and present climate around our nation and in our region.

This is an important point. This new Weather Office will not only provide services to Fiji, but also to seven other Pacific island countries: Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru and Cook Islands.

Under the World Meteorological Organisation, Fiji has assumed an important responsibility as a key strategic Tropical Warning Center for the South West Pacific region.
This means that Fiji is able to contribute substantially to the protection of life and property against natural disaster not just at home, but for our neighbours as well.

We perform this important job with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that we can provide this important service to the region.

In fact, given our strategic location, the Forecasting Center in Nadi is now one of six specialised centres for tropical cyclone warning and forecasting in the world.

This new Suva Office will support this undertaking by going a long way to raise the level of our Meteorological Services to the highest international standard.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to leave you with one final thought. While we cannot control the course of Mother Nature, with investment in the appropriate infrastructure and the latest technology, we can do our best to make sure we’re prepared for when she comes our way to save lives and property.

With those few words, I thank the Fiji Meteorological Service for its contribution to Fiji and the region over the past years and wish it many more years of success.

I now take great pleasure in officially opening the new Suva Meteorological Office.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

PM Urges Milo Kaji Players to Play Hard

More than 3000 school children participating in the Milo Kaji Rugby Tournament were today urged by the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama to play hard and play fair during the four day competition.

This year’s event which was opened by the head of government is the biggest ever Milo Kaji Rugby tournament with more than 3000 players, representing 630 teams from 28 districts.

“To the players, I would like to say that this is your tournament, your time and your playing field. Play hard and play fair and may the best team win,” PM Bainimarama said

PM Bainimarama while acknowledging the significant role that rugby plays in Fiji also thanked parents, coaches and supporters of the Milo Kaji rugby tournament.

“To the teachers, coaches, parents, supporters and friends, without your tremendous support your sons wouldn’t be here today for this tournament,” PM Bainimarama said.

“I applaud you for the countless support, sleepless nights and dedication that you have given to the players.”

Players that travelled from all over Fiji were also acknowledged by the Prime Minister.

“Without you there would be no tournament,” PM Bainimarama said.

The first game for the tournament saw the Suva Under 13 team defeat Navosa 22 -0.

Internet: Statement From the Prime Minister on Internet Shops – PM Bainimarama

I have directed the police to reverse their decision to close Internet shops in Suva before their normal closing time. All Internet shops from today will be able to open until the hours allowed under their specific business licenses.

It has been brought to my attention that some parents have been leaving their children in Internet shops while they go to nightclubs. I urge those parents to stop this irresponsible behavior. As parents, we owe it to our children to not only nurture them but keep them in a safe environment and provide them with proper guidance.

It has also been brought to my attention that some of these shops have been used as places for drug taking and access to pornography.

The police are rightly cracking down on the operators of these Internet shops. However, those shop owners who are doing the right thing should not be penalised because of the illegal and irresponsible behavior of a minority.

Meetings have taken place between the Minister for Local Government, the police and the Special Administrator of Suva to develop a code of conduct for Internet shops.

We must allow all Fijians, and especially our young people, who want to access Internet shops the ability to do so at every opportunity.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Opens New Remand Centre in Suva.

PM Bainimarama: Reforms at Suva and Lautoka Ports Will make Them “Pacific’s Best”

Fiji has joined forces with a major global maritime logistics company to overhaul the operation of the country’s two biggest ports, Suva and Lautoka, and speed up the flow of goods in and out of the country.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, says poor performance on the wharves has retarded Fiji’s development, added to the cost of imports and exports and forced ordinary Fijians to pay more for imported goods. This has happened because international shipping firms have imposed special levies on voyages to Fiji to take into account delays in loading and unloading caused by inefficient practices.

“This affects every Fijian and cannot be allowed to continue. So today, I announce a program of radical reform. The old ways of doing things of the wharves are over. These ports need to be run as smoothly and efficiently as possible to ensure that our trade runs more freely and more cheaply for the benefit of all Fijians”, he said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the signing of a Private Public Partnership (PPP) agreement between the Fiji Ports Corporation and prominent Sri Lankan conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC.He said the two companies were joining forces – through FPCL’s subsidiary Ports Terminal Limited – to bring international best practice to the ports of Suva and Lautoka.

“We share the same vision to make these container terminals world class, to radically overturn the inefficiencies of the past and apply best practice to eventually establish them as the leading ports and maritime logistic centres in the Pacific”, he said.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest maritime logistics company and also an important global player, with installations in six countries in South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It has a track record of superior performance inits operations, including container handling, cargo, courier and supply chain management.

Established in 1868 when Sri Lanka was British Ceylon, Aitken Spence PLC has a range of diverse interests aside from its trading and maritime services, including hotels, tourism, power generation, health care, plantations, insurance, financial services, IT, printing and garments.

The Prime Minister said Fiji’s alliance with Aitken Spence was undoubtedly one of the most significant of the PPP agreements that Government was forging as it reformed a range of sectors in Fiji. The cost of doing business would fall and all Fijians would benefit.

“The global record shows that where there’s better efficiency and productivity on the wharves, prices come down. The goods we import get cheaper because shipping charges fall, just as our exports become a lot more attractive in the global marketplace because they are better able to compete. The Government expects the business community to pass on these price reductions to the public and will be taking a tough stance against anyone who doesn’t”, he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said a program of reform at the Suva and Lautoka installations was long overdue.

“There’s been far too much corruption on our wharves, far too much sabotage when certain people don’t get what they want. We’ve seen far too many restrictive and outdated work practices, far too much over-manning and far too much resistance to change by both the stevedoring companies and maritime unions.”

“We need better turnaround times for ships visiting our ports. We need to make Fiji more competitive, more attractive as a trans-shipment for other places in the Pacific. And we can only do this by lifting performance standards in Suva and Lautoka”, he said.

The Prime Minister signaled that the reforms could produce right sizing in the short term but the long-term effect would be more jobs and more investment as the cost of doing business came down.

“Yes, initially there may be re-organization on our wharves as certain changes are implemented and new technology is introduced. However, these will be more than offset by the creation of new jobs as the benefits flow to the wider economy”, he said.

The Prime Minister said the global record showed that private public partnerships were the best way to run a nation’s ports.

“ The odds of success are vastly in our favour. 88 of the top 100 sea ports in the world are run by public/private partnerships like this one that generate much higher revenues than operations that are wholly government owned.

I want to pay tribute to those who negotiated this deal for their hard work – the directors and management of Aitken Spence and Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and the Minister for Public Enterprise and his team.

Together, we will make Suva and Lautoka the leading ports in the Pacific and fulfill their potential at the crossroads of this important region to drive economic growth and benefit all Fijians”, the PM said.

The PPP announcement was attended by Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Chairman, Aitken Spence Maritime Ltd and Director Aitken Spence PLC, who signed the agreement and underlined the company’s strong record of enhancing productivity and efficiency in its operations.

“Aitken Spence is delighted to have forged this agreement with FPCL and the Government of the Republic of Fiji. We see immense opportunities for the private sector to spearhead Fiji’s vision to exploit its strategic geographic location and skilled human resources to become the premier regional maritime hub,” Dr. Dissanayake said.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Opens National Energy Forum in Suva

Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told Fiji’s Energy stakeholders of the need to adopt sustainable energy sources and to move from the reliance on oil imports.