From Sanimeli Maraf in Suva (18 January 2008, posted 30 January)
There was good holiday fun in Rotuma during Christmastime 2007. There were many visitors from overseas--from Ireland, Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, the United States, and New Zealand, among others. Many also arrived from Fiji. The Government team from Fiji arrived for a few days during the second week of December by the Government boat. After that the boat chartered by the Motusa people arrived, then the Nanuya Princess of Blue Lagoon Cruises owned by the Fijian Holdings Company. The airplane didn't provide much service because of the weather.
There were plenty of swimming trips and picnics; barbecue visits to Afgaha; Fuli'u was a popular place to visit as usual; carol singing by church groups; and lots of visiting with friends and relatives. Within the districts there was fara every night so we had to buy extra powder. It was an enjoyable time, especially catching up with long lost friends. Thank goodness for the extra boats, which made it possible for so many people to get to and from Rotuma.
Up till now, we still haven't received our Christmas mail. When we left Rotuma, two weeks ago, the plane couldn't make flights because of the bad weather; still no flights have gone.
Our Rotuma Day celebration this year will be a good one in Rotuma; we're looking forward to having a Government delegation there.
Wishing you all a good year in 2008.
From Fiji Times Online (17 January 2008)
E-project reaches rural schools
TWELVE rural schools will receive internet services thanks to the assistance of the Chinese Government.
The Ministry of Education has installed V-satellite dishes to help install electronic mail to the schools, which are referred to as e-community learning centres.
The schools include Ra High School, Vunidawa, Namosi and Vunisea secondary schools, Nadarivatu High School, Magodro District School, Bua College, Saqani Junior Secondary School, Nadogo Secondary School, Nabala High School and Rotuma High School.
"The Ministry of Education acknowledges with great appreciation the commitment of the Chinese Government to the education of Fiji's students through the E-government project," a statement from the ministry read.
"The project, which is coordinated by ITCS is implemented in selected government departments. The first phase of the implementation has been completed resulting in the Fiji E-Government Master Plan.
"It is expected that the major application areas will be income-generating to sustain the project.
"Within the Ministry of Education, the E-government project has resulted in the setting up of satellite dishes to facilitate the installation of internet and e-mail to 12 e-community-learning centres."
The ministry said the services included internet browsing, GOVNET (Internet) browsing and services, email services and a GOVNET email address for each e' community learning centre.
The ministry said students and members of the community in these rural areas would now be able to access information just like their counterparts in the urban areas.
This year, schools in the maritime zone will also benefit from this assistance.
Importantly the project will see the examination section of the ministry equipped with appropriate connectivity with built-in safeguard, to enable the accessing of examination results by candidates.
An added bonus is the relocation of ITCS to a suitable location.
From Radio New Zealand International (4 January 2008)
Tuvalu government ship will operate Fiji’s Suva-Rotuma route
A Tuvalu government ship will operate Fiji’s Suva-Rotuma route after local ship-owners failed to show interest in providing the service.
But the Fiji Ship Owners Association has demanded that the maritime authorities state whether the foreign vessel will be subjected to income tax or not.
The Association’s president, Leo Smith, said local shipping laws demanded that ships on domestic routes be registered first in Fiji, and asked whether the Tuvalu government had met the requirements.
The interim Minister for Transport, Manu Korovulavula, defended the decision to allow the Tuvalu operator in, saying the interim Government intended to improve the level of service to the people.
Mr Smith said the interim Government should increase freight rates, saying the current low rates contributed to the high cost of servicing routes around the country.