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This page is for posting information about Rotuman communities anywhere in the world. If you have news about past or upcoming events, or happenings of special interest to members of the Rotuman community, please send the information via email to <ahoward@hawaii.ed> for posting. Postings can be either in Rotuman or English. We also invite commentaries about news stories. Sports news can be found at http://www.rotuma.net/sports/ Announcements of births, marriages, graduations and other life events can be found at http://www.rotuma.net/life_events

The News

From PRI Website (7 October 2017)

As seas warm, small island states face a dangerous future

By Adam Wernick

The hurricanes that recently smashed islands in the Caribbean set records for size, strength and endurance — records that experts predict will be broken sooner rather than later, as global warming continues to heat the oceans and intensify precipitation cycles.

Dessima Williams, former Grenada UN ambassador, says the Caribbean people remain resilient and self-reliant, but they have limited financial capacity to recover and rebuild.

This situation makes global action on limiting climate change and preparing for its impacts, especially on Small Island Developing States, more urgent than ever, says Williams, who was also the former special adviser for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

These islands have already begun responding to the threat of storms in “a more intelligent way,” Williams says, including improvements in agriculture and construction, but she believes the biggest help to these nations and territories are lifestyle changes in the industrial and developed countries “where the emissions of carbon really damage the seas and the environment and create this havoc.”

On the islands that are still colonies — St. Martin, St. Barts and the British Virgin Islands, for example — the metropolitan governments are more capable of responding to disasters because they have more resources and have a chance to persuade their parliaments to reconstruct in a manner that suits the islands, Williams says.

For independent countries, it's much harder, however. “You're looking at countries that have not fully recovered from the economic crisis of 2008 and from the repeated battering from hurricanes,” Williams says. “So, I would not be surprised if special measures have to be put in place about the existing debts and the reconstructing.”

The upcoming November climate meeting in Bonn will be chaired by George Konrote, the president of Fiji, one of the Small Island Developing States, Williams notes. Konrote has insisted that the issue of SIDS will be featured during his one-year tenure.

“I recall years ago when my country, Grenada, was leading the Small Island States, we were arguing that we will see in climate change, if we don't act in a decisive and urgent manner, a level of unpredictability and randomness that we could not necessarily control,” she says. “I'm sorry to say that we are proving that our arguments, or our clarion calls, were correct; that, in fact, we must act urgently, because the impacts are going to be hardest on us as small island states, but it is going to be widespread.”

“I think the floods from Houston to hurricanes in Florida suggest that it's not just the islands that will experience this level of climatical chaos, that it is spreading,” she concludes.


From Fiji Times Online (28 September 2017)

REACH program a success in Rotuma

By Alisi Vucago

Update: 4:18PM THE Governments initiative in providing its services to rural and maritime communities through the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) program has been deemed successful after the team visited schools on Rotuma.

Acting vice principal of Rotuma High School Ilikena Tomasi said the government's initiative to better explain the policies and servicers that each department had to offer was commendable.

"Equipping students with valuable information during sessions like this is important for them to not only better understand the issues that they face on a daily basis but will provide a guide for students to be aware of the issues that affect their safety and protection while in the school or in their communities," he said.

Meanwhile director for Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki thanked the students and the teachers for participating in the educational awareness program as it allowed students to have access to information that is not made available easily because of their isolation.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation in partnership, The Legal Aid Commission, Fiji Police Force and the Fiji Human Rights and Anti - Discrimination Commission were part of the visiting team.

Rotuma High School student
Government Officials after their awareness session to the students of Rotuma High School. Picture: Supplied

From Fiji Times Online (21 September 2017)

Program takes State services to islanders

By Vishaal Kumar

PEOPLE of Rotuma will receive first-hand information and knowledge of the aspects of social, economic and legal services that is stated in the Fiji Constitution.

Director of Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki is on the island leading a delegation from the Legal Aid Commission, Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Department of Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working under the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) program.

Mr Fatiaki said such collaborations were a boost for the communities because it would provide economic and social benefits for the people of Rotuma.

"There are some cases where we work very closely with the stakeholders that are here with us, especially Legal Aid Commission. It is a very sound and an effective collaboration that the communities must take advantage of because the services that are brought to them by the Government will mostly benefit them," he said.

During the sessions, the Department of Social Welfare will distribute food vouchers for the recipients under the poverty benefit scheme (PBS) and the social pension scheme (SPS) allowance for citizens above 65 years.

Currently, there are 34 recipients of PBS and 177 recipients of SPS on Rotuma.

The team of six members will also provide their mandated services in the seven districts in Rotuma, covering all nearby villages that are under the jurisdiction of these districts.

Another area where the department will look at is the provision of information to the communities about the new disability allowance that was allocated in the financial year 2017-2018.

There will also be application forms provided to those villagers who need assistance from the Government.

REACH is a program funded by the Government of Japan in partnership with the Fiji Government and UNDP.


From Fiji Times Online (19 September 2017)

Legal Aid extends its services to Rotuma

By Alisi Vucago

IN an effort to extend their services to the people of Rotuma, a delegation from the Legal Aid Commission, Fiji Human Rights and Anti- Discrimination Commission, Department of Women and the United Nations Development Program visited the island this week.

Leading the delegation was the Director of Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki who said the collaboration was a boost for the communities as it would provide economic and social benefits for the people of Rotuma.

"There are some cases whereby we work very closely with the stakeholders that are here with us, especially Legal Aid Commission. It is a very sound and an effective collaboration that the communities must take advantage of because the services that are brought to them by the Government will mostly benefit them," said by Mr Fatiaki.

During the sessions, the Department of Social Welfare will also be distributing the Food Vouchers for the recipients under the Poverty Benefit Scheme (PBS) and the Social Pension Scheme (SPS) Allowance for the elderly above the age of 65 years.

Meanwhile there have been 34 Poverty Benefit Schemes recipients and 177 Social Pension Scheme recipients on Rotuma who have taken advantage of the visit by the Department of Women's visit to the island yesterday.

Legal aid recipients from Losa
Recipients of the Social Protections Schemes and the Villagers of Losa at the completion of the REACH Programme in Losa. Picture: SUPPLIED

From Fiji Times Online (13 September 2017)

Quality, efficiency top franchise requirements

By Siteri Sauvakacolo

"GOVERNMENT usually emphasises quality and efficiency of services in its franchise shipping scheme."

This was the response from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport regarding concerns raised by Goundar Shipping Services, which had ceased its franchise service to Rotuma in April.

Goundar Shipping Services company director George Goundar said the way franchise services were awarded was quite unfair and there were a few matters that needed to be taken into consideration.

"They should take a few matters into consideration like the size of the vessel, its capacity and capability but this is something they never take seriously," Mr Goundar said.

"This was why we ceased services to Rotuma in April because what they gave us was just not enough considering that our boat was quite big and it catered for more than just passengers and cargoes but vehicles as well.

"If they review rates, we will reconsider servicing the island again."

He said the people on the island of Rotuma were suffering because irregular shipping services had forced them to travel on MV Brianna, which now caters for the island's monthly franchise run.

The ministry said the emphasis on the current condition was on quality and efficiency of services, apart from other requirements such as vessel description, vessel capacity, company details such as directorship and shareholding.

It said reviews were always done but every request could not be dealt with individually but holistically considering this was a scheme. The ministry had also undertaken a review for 2017 and the issues raised had been considered but this was subject to Cabinet's decision.

According to the ministry, the request from Mr Goundar to review the rates was not justified with supporting data and financials, adding it was merely a blanket request.


From Fiji Sun Online (13 September 2017)

Military Engineers Work On Rotuma Hospital

By Maika Bolatiki

The group of 40 engineers from the Republic of Fiji Military (RFMF) Engineers now on Rotuma as part of the re-alignment of the role of the military to include human security.

Apart from building the new double storey Rotuma, Hospital at Ahau, the military is also enhancing its role in community development partnership.

Commanding Officer (CO) RFMF Engineers, Lieutenant-Colonel Semi Mocelutu, said the partnership ensured that they utilised their professional and technical potential to assist in community development.

Yesterday Lieutenant-Colonel Mocelutu confirmed that the first phase including the mortuary and the administration block has been completed.

He said the people of Rotuma had initially asked Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for the hospital and the military engineers have been tasked to carry out the work.

“The 40 on Rotuma include electricians, plumbers and carpenters and we are given 12 months to complete this work and we’ll do it,” Mr Mocelutu said.

Hospital workers


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