From Fiji Daily Post (29 October 2008)
More reps needed at dialogue:
UNITED Peoples Party president and ousted Opposition Leader Mick Beddoes has suggested more representation at further political leaders' meetings and the proposed President's Political Dialogue Forum.
He said he would be sending a request to the interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama this week, suggesting that a representative of the Rotuma Island Council or their elected member from 2006, George Konrote and Independent member Robin Irwin be invited to join the forum.
"Based on the 2006 election results, three parties who did not feature in the 2006 elections, are included in the forum and six other parties who received 498 votes in total between them with one party's total vote being 18 are represented," said Beddoes.
"Konrote received 1,983 first preference votes, while Robin got 629 which is significantly higher than seven political parties participating in the forum."
"There is a case for the PM to consider their inclusion and would be communicating this to the interim PM this week.
Beddoes said like the minority community in Fiji, the Rotuman community must also be part of the process and he would be requesting that this be done.
Meanwhile, Beddoes said the political leaders' meeting on Monday was "a positive first step" towards improving the Fiji situation.
He commended the meeting saying "it was now up to the organisers to demonstrate its intent to the people by way of the level of urgency and the frequency of further meetings."
Fiji Daily Post Editorial (29 October 2008)
Let the peoples' representatives
Mick Beddoes suggestion that political parties and independent members successful in the 2006 General Election to be included in the political leaders' meeting and President's Political Dialogue Forum should be taken on board. Democracy and nation-building has always been inclusive of the voice of the people, especially those who have exercised their right to vote for which party or candidate they have put their trust and hopes on.
The absence of the Rotuma representative George Konrote and Independent Robin Irwin, seems odd when considering that they can each claim to have lawfully and fairly acquired the confirmed consent of voters. The two members of parliament's 'representative' status is unquestionable, unlike some of the small parties and other interests that participated in Monday's talks.
It's baffling that people whose representativeness have been given credence to and tested by the electoral process, were being left out of the talks. The interim government's People's Charter for Change, Peace and Progress claims to be a document that is inclusive of all of Fiji's people, yet the people of Rotuma appear to have been sidelined in the whole process of dialogue and on-going discussion. Already their voice risks being snuffled out by the Charter's proposed electoral system.
Many ordinary citizens exercised their rights at the ballot box in 2006 with political parties and candidates of their own choosing. Although we've had the military takeover of government and the dissolution of Parliament, the voice of the people still remains paramount. Their choice candidates or politicians in 2006 cannot be wholly disregarded simply because of the political events that have occurred since then.
If there is one reference point to be used to gauge the popularity or otherwise of our politicians it should be the 2006 General Election. That was the only legitimate and legal platform on which our political leaders had gained their endorsements. Those political parties and candidates who had been able to acquire votes at that election deserve to be at the leaders' table. They have proven themselves to be the preferred voice of their respective constituents and by being at the forum, they are representing the voice of their people.
Beddoes' suggestion must be seriously considered by the interim regime and organisers of the proposed forum. Moreover, the talks should have inclusive of non-political interests too. It appeared the meeting was a convention of old men and tired politicians. No wonder the women's groups were crying foul over the gender imbalance. Interests groups and civil society organisations that do command the consent, respect and support of the broader section of the community should be included to.
Any efforts at national recovery and restoration of democracy and civilian rule must have the participation of all groups beyond the political establishment because representative democracy in the 21st century is no longer the monopoly of politicians. Hopefully the interim regime and the architects of the road to a new Fiji recognise this.
From Rejieli Flexman in Sydney (24 October 2008)
[Rejieli and her husband Shane were in Fiji for the wedding on 20 September of their son, Hifa (see report and photos). After the wedding Rejieli flew to Rotuma for a week. Here is her report.]
I stayed with uncle Mekatoa’s family because my parents [Faga and Saverina Panapasa] were still in Fiji. It was moea fava and I feasted on fava everyday and all day. The fava tree at Matakese ‘e ufa ‘e Lopta was at its best. I went with my cousin Rigamoto (uncle Mekatoa’s daughter ) and other cousins to jau fao (see photo). It was quite a sight to look up to the sky and see the rain of fava falling down. It was good fun. I left the picking of the fava to my cousins while I filled my stomach. Everyday while I was there except for Sunday, there was jau fava somewhere and everyone was invited to join in.
The day after I arrived, the village celebrated the first
birthday of fa hua'i Ravai’s son. Ravai
is from Losa. The sigoa is Rosarine and Voi Manueli from Noa'tau. Rosarine
baked and decorated that beautiful cake. She is the home science teacher
at Rotuma High School.
It was also maf sulu fishing
at night and I had plenty of fresh fish and lobsters. It's a real home
treat to wake up to the smell of fresh fried fish and steamed lobster
for breakfast. Oh how I missed that. The saddest thing for me on this
trip was missing several of our village people. It’s been four years
since I went to Rotuma. Several people have passed away, and others have
taken residence in Fiji and may not be returning, leaving some of the
houses vacant when they once had been very good homes. I think it is
happening in many places around Rotuma where good homes have been left
unoccupied and neglected, which is rather sad.
From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (23 October 2008)
Good outcome expected from Rotuma
When Adi Finau and her People’s Charter team arrive on Rotuma next week, they may find a few questions awaiting them.
The draft charter was distributed to everyone on the island two weeks ago and they’ve been looking at it ever since.
Speaking from Rotuma this morning, Island Council chairman Tertarani Rigamoto says a clear outcome on whether or not to support the charter will be determined by Rotumans; they will make their own decisions.
He says they distributed charter booklets to all the villages on the island and now await the arrival of the charter team from Suva, which is scheduled to leave for the island next week.
The charter team will be conducting two workshops
on the island, a door to door charter consultation, and a people’s
From Richard Tonu in Anchorage Alaska (21 October 2008)
There are only three of us Rotumans in Anchorage, Alaska: George Lino, Munue Tavo, and myself, Richard Tonu. Once or twice a month we get together at our home and my wife, Connie, will cook 'ikou (palasami), tapiok (casava) and ia' fekei (fish in lolo) so we won't forget the taste of the island. We also met three Fijians, two of whom are at the US army base at Fort Richardson, five miles away from our home.
This year we celebrated Fiji Day and our daughter Sa'ora Tonu's second birthday at our home in Eagle River, Anchorage, with Tom Green, Sireli Koroi and Sela from Fiji, a friend from Micronesia in the US Army, and Munue Tavo.
Whoever wants to come to see Alaska e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You would be welcome.
From Ana Alfred in Smithfield NSW, Australia (20 October 2008)
On Saturday, 18 October, my husband Henry and I attended
the MTA Motor Industry State Awards-2008 Auto Achievers. We were finalists
for three categories: NSW Mechanical Repairer of the Year, Green Stamp
Environmental Member of the Year, and MTA Metropolitan Member of the
Year. The award ceremony was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. It was
an enjoyable night and also gave us an insight of how well the motor
industry recognises small businesses and their achievements for the year.
The awards ceremony was sponsored by drive.com.au, Valvoline, Capricorn
Society Ltd, Commonwealth Bank and was presented by the MTA-Motor Trade
Association of NSW.
We are a small family business that has achieved a lot since we started, and has demonstrated what small businesses can do in the industry."
[Henry Alfred is the grandson of Jieni and Fagmaniua
Fabiano from Maftoa, Itu'muta, and Faga and Matapule Alfred from Itu'muta
Automotive Engineering Specialists
From Sylvia Joe in Brisbane (7 October 2008)
The Vailala Rotuman Catholics of Brisbane held an Island
Night on 27 September to raise funds for renovations to the Sumi and
Upu Catholic churches in Rotuma.
We had kainaga and friends
who attended from all over Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Rotuma and Canada.
So on behalf of the committee and of course on behalf of the Sumi & Upu
parishes, I write to say thank you very much, vinaka, noa'ia for
the part you and all our sponsors played in this most successful event.
Sylvia Joe, Treasurer
From Treasure Island Online (1 October 2008)
An addition to the team is our Environment Officer, Ms. Katrina Sefeti who hails from the beautiful isle of Rotuma (one of the Pacific's hidden paradises).
Being the first environment officer/supervisor for Treasure Island, Katrina has taken on this challenge with vigour and has conservation at heart.
With her Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Environmental Studies, she has been able to focus on her passion for conservation by educating both staff and guests on major environmental issues that are dear to her.