Rotuman Issues that Should Concern Us All
Dear Fellow Rotumans and Friends of Rotumans,
I was in Rotuma between 21 December 2000 and 18 January 2001.
I have been visiting the island regularly since the 1980s. This
lastest visit, however, depressed me terribly. A number of issues
seriously concern me and I wish to raise them here, each in turn,
but not necessarily in their order of importance.
First, compared to the main roads of Viti Levu, Rotuman roads (or
bush tracks, for that is what they are) are in a shocking state.
Travelling vehicles have to be constantly avoiding potholes and rocks.
The roads seem to have steadily deteriorated over the last 20 years.
Urgent repair is required.
Secondly, transport fares (e.g. airfares), freight, communications
fees (e.g. telephone costs) and the prices of certain staple food
articles are far too high. Rotuma is the most remote island of the
republic, therefore, as a matter of justice and equity, all these
items should be subsidised by the Government. This is the case in
many socially and politically enlightened countries.
Thirdly, the pollution of the beaches and sea by tin cans, bottles,
plastic bags, used batteries, etc. is totally unacceptable. Educational
programs should be instituted in schools and villages to address
the problem and adequate fines imposed on those continuing to pollute.
For example, polluters could be required to clean various areas of
the beach or sea which they pollute.
Fourthly, Rotumans (especially school children) should have immediate
access not only to personal computers but to the Internet. Such access
will dramatically improve communications within Rotuma and with Fiji
and the outside world. Without online access to information, the
educational and economic gaps between Rotumans and other world citizens
will continue to widen.
Fifthly, St. Michael's Church and buildings at Upu and St. Mary's
Church and buildings at Sumi are excellent examples of missionary
and colonial architecture. They are monuments, certainly to the French
missionaries but more particularly, to the ingenuity and talent of
Rotuman artisans and craftsmen. Those buildings should be immediately
declared national heritage treasures and restored and maintained
in perpetuity by the Government. There is no doubt that they will
be significant sources of pride and inspiration for future generations.
Last but not least, since Rotumans are as indigenous to a part of
the republic as Fijians are to another, the republic should be called
the Republic of Fiji and Rotuma. This will not only be symbolically
elegant, it will truly reflect present social and cultural reality
and historic truth.
These statements should be seen as positive suggestions rather than
as negative criticisms. There are of course other issues of concern
I have not mentioned. Obviously, individuals should not be blamed
for these situations. On the contrary, all Rotumans -- indeed all
Fiji citizens -- should ensure that political and administrative
structures (underpinned by legislation) are set in place to properly
address such concerns as outlined above.
- JS Foster
- PO Box 134
- Potts Point
- NSW 1335
I work for Telecom Fiji Ltd as a Rural Radio
Technician. My section provides telecommunication services to rural
areas around Fiji and Rotuma. People back in Rotuma don't realize how
fortunate they are to have state of the art telephone communication
equipment. It was only a few years ago that they had to shout into
the phone, queue for hours to make a call, days of no service and many
had to walk all the way to Ahau to make a call. Many Islands in the
Lau Group still have the old HF Radio that was previously used in Rotuma,
while many villages in the interior of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu don't
have any form of communication with the outside world. These unfortunate
people have to walk or take a horse ride to get to a phone. I believe
it is unfair to complain about the call charges while a fair number
of the indigenous people of Fiji are without phones. It's better to
have good phone service(at a price) than a phone that hardly works
at a cheaper price.
- There more important issues to deal with:
- 1. Hospital facilities
- 2. How to rid our beautiful Island of flies and mossies.
- 3. Boat/Plane services.
- Thank you
- Ravai Fesaitu
- Telecom Fiji Ltd
- Fiji Islands.
- The 250 disconnections eventuated
not because of the high costs as claimed, but because of the abuse.
You know and I know that the current telephone service in Rotuma
is as good as anywhere in the world. Years ago, when only a Radio
Telephone (RT) system was available, one has to shout at the top
of his/her voice in order to be heard. I was in Malhaha last year,
and I noted that parents no longer send a child to relay a message
to a family in either 'Elsio or Pephaua or even a couple of houses
away. The message is relayed by phone. Kids ring one another at
night to discus the homework for the next day. An expensive exercise
From my experience, many people on Rotuma want a telephone "because
every other household has one." The attitude is that if we don't
have a phone, then "amis to kaunohoag
kelea' 'e hanis ta!" A typical Rotuman mentality. But someone
will have to cut a lot copra to pay the bill. We have to have a
phone in Suva because it is a necessity, but most importantly we
earn a salary and can afford to pay the monthly bill. Phones are
being disconnected in Rotuma because people amass huge bills that
they cannot possibly pay, which proves beyond reasonable doubt
to the community that "aus ta kaunohoag
kelea' 'e hanis ta." I understand that most of the phone
bills in Rotuma are paid by "the children in Fiji," which is a
burden they can do without.
Install a radio station on the island? Somebody has got his priorities
wrong here. There are pressing needs to improve the schools and
hospital facilities and equipment. Thanks to the Rotumans in Sydney
for providing a library and a computer lab to Rotuma High School.
Thanks also to Dr Hereniko and all the Hawaii Rotumans, and to
the Seven Stars club in California, for their monetary assistance
to the Hospital at Ahau. There are also pressing needs to improve
the roads, water and electricity supply, transport between Fiji
and Rotuma. Find markets for the farmers' agricultural produce,
not forgetting those barrels of coconut oil, etc. There are two
agricultural officers based in Ahau who are there to provide assistance
and professional advice if and when a farmer needs their services,
so the dissemination of agricultural information by radio is not
necessary. A person-to-peron contact is a more effective method.
I consider myself to have been blessed to
visit Rotuma last month, for the first time. What a beautiful island,
and what wonderful people. Thank you all, especially the people of
Oinafa, for the generousity and hospitality you showed in welcoming
us into your homes.
My mother-in-law, Anne Stonehouse (nee Hoerder) hadn't been home
for 55 years, so it was wonderfiul to be able to shout her a trip
to the island, and to be alllowed to visit ourselves (that is Alan
and Aileen Peacock, Anne Stonehouse, Kitty and Kathy Palmer). It
was an interesting exercise in geography, politics, statistics, and
environmental studies also.
Issues I noted included:
The age gap with many children and elderly represented and few
of working age ( I imagine many between late teens and early fifties
will be in Fiji or elsewhere around the world for education and
Apparent over-fishing within the reef, and lack of use of the huge
fishing areas outside the immediate island surroundings
Over 50% of the people we spoke to have Type2 Diabetes - diet and
Why is Rotuma so poor (relatively speaking). One only has to look
at a map of Fiji to realise that Rotuma adds about a 7th of the
EEZ or fishing waters. Where's your share of that? Logically, if
Rotuma had a better say in the fishing going on in your waters,
you should be getting a 7th of all licence fees from the boats
that are fishing the total Fijian waters. You should be one of
the richest income areas in the Pacific, per capaita of those living
on the island. Fishing revenue alone should be easily around $1
million per annum (based on articles in Island Business about
the total fish catch for Tuna species in the Pacific and what's
coming back to the nations in the region, which is about $60 million
If that was placed in trust with your council, then in a couple
of years you could afford a decent boat to get supplies to the
island, but better still why not use some of the revenue and purchase
some bigger fishing boats yourselves to allow fishing offshore--who
knows; you might actually create jobs on the island and retain
some more of your people. You could create an export industry and
enjoy, at least financial freedom, from the issues happening in
Rotuma is an island blessed with many positive things, and money
isn't everthing, but a bit more of it would make a world of difference
in fighting illness, and in making sure you have more opportunities
available for your people in the future.
Thank you once again for allowing us the priviledge of visiting.
Alan Peacock, Christchurch [13 July 2005]
I have read Saumaru's letter in which he highlighted some of the
pertinent issues currently affecting Rotuma, which I personally believe
to be very valid. The subsequent responses provided by Ravai and
Tomasi were also valid, but I believe they were made with vested
interest for it could be work for the Telecom Fiji Ltd and therefore
they must be seen by their seniors as doing the right thing to protect
their interest and turf. Believe me that I empathise with them.
However, allow me to say this: Rotuma is entitled to any development
that is occurring in Fiji, for it is part of the Republic. Of course
there are other urgent priorities, but I believe that a good telephone
system is a must for any modern or developing country, not only for
personal convenience but for emergencies such as the need to urgently
call for an aeroplane to fly a patient over to Fiji for treatment
that will save his/her life. A good phone system is definitely a
must and required. Our MP, Marieta Rigamoto, now holds that portfolio
and it's within her power to look for subsidies, not only for Rotuma
but all the rural areas.
Furthermore, I also read Provincial Development Minister Ted
Young's comments that in the last four years his ministry has spent
$924K in Rotuma. That's fair and good
to hear; the PM, whose portfolio Rotuma falls under, has done well
and should be congratulated together with Marieta for his efforts.
But how much of this was spent on the wharf at Oinafa instead of
on such pressing priorities as the hospital, the schools, roads,
and more importantly, on a regular boat service to Rotuma? I see
the wharf at Oinafa as an ongoing costly expense and I am advocating
that a new wharf be built at the Vai heta at Itu'muta, which would
save a lot of money in the long run.
The PM, our MP and Senator, have all done well but they need to
continue the good work of keeping Rotuma developed.
Sydney Australia [18 July 2005]
I was a Board member of Telecom and had no shame in asking for a
new telephone service for Rotuma, and we should be grateful for the
Board at the time, especially to Berenado Vunibobo and Fred Caine
for their support, for it was approved and implemented. Others have
been instrumental in its implementation, of course, but the beginning
of it all was in that Telecom Board.
I, again, have no shame in saying that there is no need to feel
that we are in a "privilege"' position compared to other areas in
Fiji for the following reasons:
Rotuma is (was?) classed as a "rural" service. That meant that the
government had to subisdise Telecom for the provision of the telephone
service because rural services were and are uneconomic. That explained
why Rotumans had to put up for years with shouting into the receiver
to get heard on the other side and vice versa, under the old system.
Since the introduction of the new telephone system, the Rotuma telephone
service, according to my information, is more than paying for itself
and has been doing so for a number of years now. The government no
longer has to subsidise Telecom for that service.
In other words Telecom and government are making a profit out of
the Rotuma telephone service and we should all support the installation
of more phones in Rotuma. I, too, pay for my uncle's phone bill in
Rotuma and have no problems with it. I think it is now a necessity
and not a luxury in Rotuma.
A reliable source told me that Vodafone wants to operate in Rotuma
because the company sees a profit to be made there, but it has been
stopped from doing so by Telecom for fear that the competition might
affect its bottom line.
So I urge you all, please support our telephone service and do not
be ashamed to ask for any improvement and expansion of the service,
because Telecom and government will get their fair profit out of
Suva, Fiji [20 July 2005]
- We really enjoyed our visit to Rotuma in June, but the visit
pointed out, among other things, how under funded Rotuma is, compared
with the impact the island makes in the EEZ of Fiji, and hence
the fisheries licence fees paid to the Fiji Government. The run-down
state of the roads etc. is only to be expected therefore, and considering
how little the council is granted, they do a wonderful job in the
administration of the island. Many items, however, could be donated
to help make life a little easier. It would be a good idea to list
these on the Forum pages so Rotumans' overseas could nominate projects
to fund raise towards.
The hospital is a case in point. We have a sign company and had
already offered to make signs for the upgrade of the hospital,
but had been told they weren't required. We were instead asked
to donate the plaque for the redevelopment, which we did; however,
during our visit we quickly realised that signs were required and
could make a difference to the efficiency of the hospital and Dr.
Manueli was kind enough to give us a list of what was required.
In the first week of August, a full set of interior and exterior
signs for the hospital, two new signs for the Council Building,
and a new sign for the Satellite Earth Station, were flown to Nausori
on an RNZAF C130 flight. These donated signs are worth a total
of $3500 ex-factory. Upon reaching Fiji they then sat in the store
at Air Fiji for two months waiting for letters of clearance from
Fiji Customs. This was finally done and they were collected by
the Ministry of Health (MoH) staff. At this stage I am unaware
if they have even reached Rotuma yet.
I have also been speaking with friends who operate one of the Rescue-Helicopters
in Christchurch, and mentioned the hospital in Rotuma. They have
been kind enough to donate some medical goods and equipment, including
a resuscitation kit complete with mask, gas flow monitor and oxygen
bottle for the hospital. These are quite valuable, and yet, despite
telling the MoH that these are in my store and ready to send, we
have, once again, heard nothing. Before they can come up we need
a letter stating that duty will be waived, or once again they will
sit at the airport for months or worse, be misplaced or stolen.
We are looking also for a crane for the wharf at Oinafa, to make
unloading of the supply boat easier. Ideally we'd like to donate
a crane truck, but sourcing one that we can afford is proving difficult.
We will get one, eventually. Should any Rotumans in New Zealand
wish to help in this regard they can contact me at email@example.com
Other things that could make a difference could include a couple
of smaller aluminium boats that could be used for fishing. These
would need outboards and auxiliary motors, as the one fi-glass
boat we saw on our visit didn't have an auxiliary engine, and when
asked if much fishing was done outside the reef we were told "no,
because if the engine broke down, the next stop Solomon Islands!" If
a boat or two was complemented by a smaller chiller truck, jobs
could be created fishing and selling the product around the island.
The costs here are not unachievable; however, they require people
to actually get up and make it happen.
Doubtless there are many other smaller projects that can be best
funded by the Rotuman communities offshore getting together. Then
you will have both the satisfaction of seeing projects through
to conclusion, and have the knowledge that the hard earned funds
you have contributed have been used for the right reason.
Be enthusiastic and make it work! You will get a lot of pleasure
out of helping make life on Rotuma just that little bit better.
Christchurch, New Zealand [18 October 2005]
When in Rotuma
in June we saw for ourselves the state of the abandoned Mobil Fuel
installation at Motusa.
Can someone answer my questions on this please . . .
. . .Who currently owns the installation - if it has been abandoned
and Mobil don't want it any more, has it been gifted to the Rotuma
Council - the facility surely is still useful?
. . . If the Rotuma Council don't want it, or Mobil won't give it
to the poeple of Rotuma, what is going to happen to it - Mobil has
a duty and obligation to remove it and mitigate any environmental
impacts caused by leaving it in it's current deteriorating state?
. . . Does Fiji have any environmental protection agency who could
take up this case on your behalf?
When in Tonga a few years ago we stayed on an island which had a
thriving local village. Every single house had electric lighting
- all of which were solar powered with battery storage in the roof.
These used 12 volt halogen lighting and had all been installed by
a Canadian Aid Agency. Maybe it's worth while the Rotuma Council
petitioning AusAid or NZAid to carry out a similar project - with
decent lighting in the homes the children would be able to carry
out their homework far easier, and the saving on generator fuel would
be a positive impact on Rotuman household budgets.
Christchurch, New Zealand [12 December 2005]
From Andrew Tinker [25 August 2008]
It is supprising that Air Fiji can do two trips a week to Tuvalu,
while there are a shortage of flights to Rotuma? Why can’t there
be two trips to Rotuma a week; there are enough people who want to
go. You have to make reservations three months in advance. If it
is not profitable they should increase the price and see if people
are willing to pay! Our boys have finished the work on the Bulou
Ni Ceva, and we would pay to bring them home.
From Emily Erasito in Rotuma [15 May 2011]
S.O.S. -- CAN ANYONE HEAR?
Since the declaration of Rotuma as a port of entry in May 2008 by Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Rotumans have expected progress in its connections to the outside world, and along with it, an improvement in their standard of living. However, sadly for me to say, things have not really turned out that way.
Lately there has been shortage of fuel and groceries in the island stores, a situation that has occurred over and over again in recent years. It’s been about two years now since our school children have had to travel to school in trucks (used for transport of copra from the copra sheds to the wharf, not to mention the collection of raw coconuts from the bush). Because of the shortage of fuel, some school children have to walk to school in the morning and back home in the afternoons, a sight that brings tears to my eyes.
As a Rotuman I am deeply concerned about the well-being of the people in our island community, and wish to blow a trumpet to sound an S.O.S call.
Rotuma does not have a boat on its own, but those of us living in Rotuma do not deserve to be taken advantage of the way we have been. We have arms and legs (our leaders of Rotuma), and a head (of state) who are supposed to serve and work with the body (the people of Rotuma) to meet the needs of the people; it is the very reason they are there as leaders. Unfortunately at the moment nothing is happening, and the people are suffering in silence. If things have been done, their repercussions are not being felt by people at the grassroots level.
Around mid-March a boat (LC Kusima) was scheduled by Sunrise Ship Brokers to bring groceries, fuel (diesel, gas, benzene, kerosene) and other cargo for the shops in Rotuma. The vessel was also supposed to take cargo to Tuvalu after offloading the cargo for Rotuma. Everyone paid their freight charges, and the goods were loaded onto the boat. But it’s been more than a month now, and still the boat has not reached our shores. Tragically, because of the prolonged deferred departure, non-durable cargo such as onions, potatoes, eggs, just to name a few, will rot and will have to be written off.
The MV Westerland has returned twice to Rotuma, but without the bulk of the cargo for the shop owners, who had paid for their goods to be brought on the LC Kusima. There have been a lot of contradictory stories told to shop owners who have been liaising with Mr. Pat Faktaufon, the contact person for Sunrise Ship Brokers regarding this shipment. People on the island now refer to the vessel as the MV Mataka/ MV Tomorrow/ MV “Ka” (‘tomorrow’ in Rotuman) because every time they enquire, they are told that the vessel will depart Suva ‘tomorrow’.
What is going on here? What has been done to rectify the losses? What is the true story? Who is at fault? Will the innocent cargo owners be compensated? I wonder, but am still waiting for the authorities to bring this whole story to light. The ripple effect has reached as far down as the Class 2 child who said that she was so tired after school, but had to pack her bag and walk home because there was no fuel for the transport.
So again I call . . . S.O.S; can anyone hear? Rotumans are a minority group. For us to be taken advantage of is something I cannot keep quiet about when I feel a responsibility to help my fellow Rotumans. Again I am calling . . . S.O.S. Can anyone hear us???
From Capt. Fuata Jione in PNG (17 May 2011)
Emily, I hear your cries and those on our beautiful island Rotuma for a decent and reliable transport system between Fiji and Rotuma.
I fail to understand the logic of so much infrastructure spending in Rotuma by the government when there is no guaranteed reliable and affordable transport for the people of Rotuma. All those developments by the government to date should be commended, but at the same time the strategy is missing something.
That Rotuma is to be a port of entry is good, but no company will burn fuel at today's prices just to transport a load of taro, cassava and yams to neighbouring islands such as Tuvalu. The upgrading of the airport is good, but it is hardly affordable to most Rotumans, and freight by air will be out of reach for most people on the island.
The most important and pressing issue for all Rotumans today is to operate their own vessel (boat) and have it dedicated solely for the Rotuma run. I have said in the past that it will need joint venture partners involving Rotumans abroad, as well as government aid, and that our leaders in Rotuma will have to work with with the government of Fiji and/or with outside donors.
In 2001 I attended a seminar run by the Forum secretariat in Suva regarding $20-40million in aid from the European Union to Pacific island nations on small projects. It was run for three days and I happened to talk directly to the donor aid representatives, and they told me that any development project in the Pacific can access this type of aid, and that it can be administered by representative governments for infrastructure projects, or handed out directly for environmental projects.
I put forward a proposal to the Rotuma Island Council shortly after that seminar, but did not even receive an acknowledgement or a single reply from our leaders in Rotuma. At the end of the day the leaders of Rotuma will have to take the lead and gather all those people who are able to put together a viable project, even if it has to be government funded until it is established and profitable.
My advice again to those people in Rotuma, and especially the council and their support leaders--no one will hear you unless you put together a viable proposal to be considered for outside aid. That means finding a suitable vessel or building a new vessel for which direct aid can be accessed either through government agencies or from other donors.
I put forward a proposal some years ago that the seven disctricts of Rotuma should come up with 100,000FJD, and with the support of our oveaseas networks Rotuma will be able to solve its transport problems. There are vessels available today designed for fuel efficeincy, and that are supplemented with sail propulsion. I think it would be worth looking into.
At the end of the day these goals can only be achieved through hard work and persistence, and with procedures in place to ensure that the objectives can be reached. I would love to have the six million allocated for airport development in Rotuma put aside for a reliable sea transport, as its my belief that Rotuma's airport should be left to cater for its current twin otter service. Its nearly cheaper to travel to Austrlaia and New Zealand return than to take a one-way trip to Rotuma. The airport should be maintained for emergency services, and the money available from Government should be put aside to establish a shipping service that will meet the needs of Rotumans for reasonably priced transportation for people and freight.
Until such an idea is supported by all Rotumans the problem will remain and we are left waiting, waiting, and waiting for the vessel to arrive at our shores in Rotuma.
From Henry Enasio in Rotuma (11 August 2011)
I have read with interest Emily’s comments and it may be so that “Rotumans have expected progress in its connections to the outside world, and along with it, an improvement in their standard of living” and also the response from the Captain. But I know for certain that such things take time and patience is a virtue, for Rome was not built in a day.
However, allow me to say this that Rotuma is very fortunate to have all these things done and we should be appreciative and thankful to the Government of the day. For since independence a lot of Governments came and went, but I can categorically state that the present Government is much, much better than any in the past. For in 4.5 years, this present Government has done more for Rotuma than any other Government that I can think of or remember and no offence to any of the previous ones. And I have also read that $22.5M was earmarked and may have already been spent on infrastructures to help develop the island as I write this. Besides, Rotuma now is an international port of entry, an economic tax free zone and a market with Tuvalu.
That’s a lot of money, given the recent global financial crisis and the current predicaments of the monetary markets; besides there are 14 other provinces to cater for. And it is my earnest hope that the present Government stays on beyond September 2014 and as long as possible to implement that Road Map for The Peoples’ Charter for a better Fiji and to weed out the endemic corruption. For true to his callings as a professional soldier, the PM is a man of action and Rotuma has benefited a lot from his tenure.
I would be amiss if I don’t admit that I am very impressed to say the least. I have downloaded and highlighted segments of an article in the Fiji Sun of 2 June 2011. No doubt many have read the article but I felt obliged to paste it for our readers again. For it is self-explanatory and will help to offer a respite to Emily’s intuitive questions. Even though the article was ascribed for the people of Naitasiri the implications are there for Rotuma too, viz:
“Government wants to eliminate the possibility of people being manipulated by unscrupulous politicians. This is by ensuring that all Fijians have access to proper infrastructure development.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said Government was focused on infrastructure development around the country because it wanted people to have access to proper development. “And thus eliminate the chances of them being manipulated by unscrupulous politicians,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
Commodore Bainimarama made the statement in Naluwai, Naitasiri, yesterday while officiating at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sawani/Serea Road upgrade. He said it was important that there is proper infrastructure in place to stop old practises manipulation by politicians. These politicians use lack of proper infrastructure development as one of their main tools during campaigns by promising to meet those needs if they are elected.
“Underdevelopment is a fertile breeding ground for suspicion and ignorance,” Commodore Bainimarama said. “Access to proper infrastructure means empowerment.
As has been seen from our history, the regions, districts, provinces that do not have access to proper infrastructure are not only under-developed but also their people are the mostvulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous politicians.“This is one of the other reasons why my Government is committed to infrastructure development.
“We want all Fijians to not only become empowered but rid themselves of the old ways of thinking. We want modernisation and the collaboration of all of Fiji’s citizens as one nation, as one people - as Fijians - for socio-economic advancement.” Commodore Bainimarama said the upgrading of the road was an old issue and Government was committed to not only see that project through but also ensure that real development benefitted the people..”
So given the above and the infrastructures in place in Rotuma, we are empowered to take the next step and help ourselves. We can’t be dependant on Government all the time, for handouts to do everything for us. But we need to help ourselves and do something about what Emily has adequately highlighted for our own benefit otherwise that vicious cycle will keep reoccurring.
Look at the Lau Group with its many scattered islands. They no doubt have faced the same or similar issues mentioned by Emily. But the difference between them and us is the Lauans took the opportunity to fund raise and invest in boats such as the MV Yatulau (operated by a company of the same name) to resolve their predicament. Likewise, we Rotumans need to own a boat too (which I’ve previously mentioned in A Boat for Rotuma on 21/12/2004. It’s not impossible and we can do it if we are of like minds and united.
A boat owned by Rotuma would be the mainstay and the pillar that most businesses and developments in Rotuma would depend on and the resolution to the predicaments highlighted by Emily.
Itumuta District has been fund raising for sometimes to buy a boat. So why couldn’t we all pitch in and make A Boat for Rotuma happen? Tthere are a lot of ways to assist and make this happen, but the easiest is to seek help from other Governments through foreign aids.
All our leaders need to do is put up a united front and apply under the Council banner. For I know from sources and my brother-in-law, who happens to work for one of the large foreign donors in the world, that without the banner and a viable proposal as the Captain has aptly put it in his response to Emily, it’s going to be virtually impossible to be a recipient.
There are a lot of examples of aid received and misused in Rotuma. One that comes to mind is the Australian aid for a computer lab at the high school. I know, as the school manager, that the aid of $40K was squandered through back-hand dealings and shoddy work that resulted in the building being incomplete and earmarked for demolition. That’s a lesson for all to be wary of in the future. And one thing for certain, the stakeholders must step up to take charge and ownership of the issues.
This reminds me of Sanimeli Maraf’s news update of 12 June 2011 where she said “We need good leaders, honesty is the number 1 thing!” A very appropriate statement, for such is long overdue in our local context. We need men and women who are true to their calling and will stand up to be counted and will not compromise their standards. We've got to do away with the se ‘iokia ka, ka na se ‘os fạ’u. For how can these culprits learn and be made accountable for their actions! All we need to do is follow the lead of Wilson Inia in the past and instill in our leaders a commitment to honesty as the number one thing.
Further thoughts about job opportunities and services on Rotuma, by Henry Enasio (16 March 2013) pdf file
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