Posts tagged Taveuni

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the New Taveuni Corrections Centre

Ni sabulavinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

Thank you for the Guard of Honour accorded to me by Correction Services staff, who I want to thank for their dedication, often in trying circumstances.

It’s all too easy to forget the difficult conditions in which our staff operate and the challenges they face. The vast majority of prison officers do their jobs conscientiously and well and deserve the support of both the Government and the wider community.

Thank you also for the invitation to open this facility, which has taken more than two years to complete but is now fully operational. It’s the latest chapter in the history of the prison service in Taveuni, which happens to be a relatively brief one.

Nineteen years ago, in 1994, the police holding cells here – that could accommodate 10 remand prisoners – were converted into cell blocks for the Fiji Prison Service. Ten officers were assigned to Taveuni to operate the facility and 15 acres of land was allocated for the prisoners to farm.

It’s been like this for nearly two decades. But a rise in the prison population on the island has led to severe overcrowding and this new facility is long overdue.

As well as housing prisoners, the Taveuni complex has another important function. Because of the vast tracts of unutilized land on the island, it can supply dalo and other foodstuffs to prisons in VitiLevu and Vanua Levuunder the Fiji Corrections Service commercialization programme currently centred in Naboro.

We’re also examining the possibility of developing a commercial vegetable farm to supply the needs of international visitors at the increasing number of tourist resorts on Taveuni.

It’s no secret that there is severe over-crowding at other Corrections institutions in the country so we have looked to Taveuni to share some of the burden.

I’d like to thank traditional leaders on the island, as well as the Ministry for Lands, for agreeing to expand the Corrections site. It hasn’t been an easy decision but they made it for the common good.

Like all of us, they realise that looking after our prison population and trying to encourage them to be good citizens is a shared responsibility. Vinakavakalevu to all the Leaders for your support and goodwill.

At a total cost of $275,000, Taveuni today boasts one of the more modern Corrections facilities in the country with a capacity for 50 inmates. Cabinet has already approved the appointment of an extra 20 officers to resource the facility to an adequate level. The Centre also comes with 22 acres a farmland on which to grow crops.

On behalf of the Fiji Corrections Service, I appeal to the people of Taveuni for your full support, especially for the rehabilitation programs which will operate here. Our aim, as always, is not only to punish but to turn criminals into responsible citizens for the betterment of Fiji.

And we believe that it’s much better for prison inmates to be close to their families – rather than being isolated from them – to assist in this process.

To that end, I am honoured to declare the Taveuni Corrections Centre open.

Vinakavakalevu. Thank you.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of Taveuni Secondary School

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

Of all the many events on my current tour of the Northern Division, I’ve been especially looking forward to this – to celebrate the opening of the South Taveuni Secondary School.

Nothing is more important to me as your Prime Minister than to ensure that our young people get the head start in life that a proper education provides.

Every one of you students are the building blocks of the new Fiji we are striving to achieve – one based on equality and merit.

We want to give you the opportunity to acquire knowledge, gain new skills and prepare you for the challenges of a modern world that is much more competitive than it was when I was sitting in your place.

Just as no-one owes you a living, no-one owes Fiji a living.  We have to all work harder and be smarter, to see opportunities when they arise and seize them, as individuals and as a nation.

The role of Government is to provide you with as many opportunities as we can – not only with schools like this but with skills training after you leave school to best equip you for the workforce.

Some of you will have the ambition to go to university. Work hard to pursue that dream. We are here to help poorer students who previously couldn’t fulfil that dream with our new 2.2-million dollar Tertiary Education Loan Scheme.

I am currently looking at revamping the current loan and scholarship schemes so that any Fijian who wants a tertiary education can get one. So no Fijian student who gains university entrance will be prevented from taking up their place because they can’t afford it.

But apart from becoming teachers, doctors and a whole range of other professional roles, there are lots of other worthwhile jobs for people who don’t go on to university.

Fiji badly needs more skilled trades people, so much so that I want you all to know that I believe a plumber or an electrician is as important to the country as a doctor or any other professional.

That is why the Government has embarked on a major program with the Fiji National University to train a new generation of trades people.

The same goes for farmers, who are the backbone of our country and need better training in farming methods to achieve our vision of Fiji becoming self sufficient in food production.

I recently launched a new program – also through the Fiji National University – to train a new generation of farmers. Many of the young people in the first intake come from poor families. So it was very inspirational to see them embrace the opportunity they’d been given. Their enthusiasm proves that poverty doesn’t have to be a barrier to success.

So I urge all of you to strive to fulfil your dreams through better education and grasp the opportunities my Government is providing.

Of course, your journey is in the here and now. And I am grateful lto everyone who has had a hand in the construction and establishment of  the South Taveuni Secondary School.

The school draws its pupils from fifteen communities along the Vuna Road, including Vatuwiri, Nalovo, Kanacea, Ura Estate, Navaca, Qarawalu and Waioboa.

The feeder schools are the four Primary Institutions of Navakawau Catholic School, Vuna District, Salialevu Primary and South Taveuni. The parents of the children there will be relieved that they don’t have to travel nearly as far now for their secondary education.

For the first time, secondary education is being brought to your doorstep. So I urge all of the residents of South Taveuni  not to use the excuse of distance or isolation to avoid sending your children to high school.

 

Of course, funding for the construction for the school has come from the Ministry of Education, which is also providing $198-thousand this year for a new science laboratory.

But any school is only as good as the community around it and the support it gets from teachers, parents, local businesses and the students themselves.

To the staff here, I say: Be good role models. Fire the imaginations of your pupils. Open up a world of possibilities for them in the new Fiji and beyond our shores. Encourage them to be good citizens. Teach them well and care for them, especially the more vulnerable.

To the 171 students here, I say:  Care for each other.  Respect your teachers and listen to their advice. Make good use of the new buildings and facilities. Keep them in good order for yourselves and future generations here. Take pride in your school and strive to develop a school spirit, of teamwork and healthy competition in the classroom and on the sports field.

You can feel proud to be the pioneering students of South Taveuni Secondary School. In future years – maybe when your own children are here – you can say “I was the first” and together, we began to build a reputation for excellence.

Good schools are built gradually and that is what is happening here. At the moment, you have forms two, three and four. I urge you to work hard to achieve our aim to have level seven by 2016.

To the School Management, parents, guardians and the South Taveuni community, you should feel proud of your achievement. Because building this school is an important part of building our nation, of providing opportunities and fulfilling dreams.

We all need to work together, to be more considerate of each other as citizens, to see ourselves as equals, to treat people on their merits instead of which family they happen to come from. And we also need to be more patriotic, to take pride in being Fijian, which is what we now all are.

Once again, thank you for your efforts and your contribution to education and the nation as a whole. May God bless you all and especially the students and staff of the South Taveuni Secondary School.

I now take great pride myself in officially declaring the school open.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

PM Bainimarama – Speech at the Commissioning of the Whole Nut Processing Facility in Taveuni

Bula Vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

It’s great to be with you in Taveuni today as I continue my tour of the Northern Division.

So far this week, I have witnessed many exciting initiatives underway in the North, ranging from new health clinics and schools, to massive infrastructure improvements like our roads and jetties.

Sometimes what we do can seem small but have a huge beneficial impact  on the lives of ordinary people, like the waiting shed I opened yesterday afternoon at Salia Jetty in Nayalayala.

Across a broad front, my Government is commited to delivering results to the Fijian people, especially to those living in rural and outer island communities.

I consider rural and maritime communitydevelopment as one of Government’s most important tasks. And by this, I don’t just mean providing basic services, such as water, electricity and roads. We also need to support and modernise both the industries and the small-scale trade that our rural populations rely on for their livelihoods. And where possible, we need to help them develop new economic opportunities.

The Fijian Coconut Industry was once a major source of export revenue – alongside sugar. It employed thousands of rural and maritime farmers and workers and brought in much needed foreign exchange.

In the 1950s, copra production was more than 40,000 metric tons a year. Now, it is half that – around 20,000 metric tons. This decline has been attributed to an increase in low-yielding trees, the decline in copra prices, high production and freight costs, and the inability of the industry to adapt to changes in technology and the global market. As a result, many Fijians have turned to farming more lucrative, shorter term crops, such as Yaqona and Dalo.

As I keep repeating, we are committed to ending the neglect of past governments, to make the hard decisions necessary to empower our people and give them a renewed sense of purpose. Our vision is to improve the lives of many thousands through the development of the Coconut Industry. We believe that with the right support and a smarter approach, together we can once again make this a viable commercial industry.

To this end, one of our most important initiatives is the establishment of this Whole Nut Processing Facility here inMua.

This facility – hosted at the Taveuni Coconut Centre –  willoperate as a small to medium commercial enterprise, provide jobs and contribute to the local economy.

It will also serve as a hands-on training centre for Fijians to learn about the various products and bi- products that can be processed from coconuts.

We want to demonstrate different ways that coconuts can be used to earn a living, so that Fijians in rural communities have an additional strand of income.

Because the price of copra is low, coconut famers have to learn how to add value to the raw product. The machines that have been purchased for this facility – through the Coconut DevelopmentProgram – are the most modern means available to use coconuts to create a more lucrative livelihood.

In order to help Fijians enter this industry at a commercial level, Government – through the Ministry of Agriculture – has made funding available to help cover the initial costs of setting up a new business.

Additionally, once participants have been fully trained at this new facility, they will be awarded with a formal Certificate under the stamp of the Fiji National University. This certificate will serve as proof of education and will give financial institutions much more confidence in providing start-up funding to new ventures.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The transformation of the coconut industry will not happen overnight. But this new processing facility is the latest step in a coordinated and determined effort to breath new life into the industry and create new opportunities for domestic and international trade and investment.

We are also engaged in ambitious replanting programs across Fiji. In January, a campaign was launched to plant one million coconut trees over a period of three years.

We are reaching out tomembers of the international community to learn from their experience and benefit from their expertise.

And we are looking at ways to create new markets for coconut products, such as the use of coconut oil at mini bio-fuel mills designed to produce electricity for rural communities.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for all the hard work put into this initiative. They are the foot solders in this effort to provide ordinary Fijians with better opportunities in the coconut industry, not just in Taveunibut around Fiji.

It is now my pleasure to declare the Whole Nut ProcessingFacility officially open.

Thank you. Vinaka Vakalevu.