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Tears Flow At SODELPA Rally

July 25
08:57 2014

SODELPA Party party members having breakfast at Kadavu. Photo: Saniana Radrodro

REPORT BY Saniana Radrodro
SODELPA media manager, Kadavu

Tears flowed freely at the Tavuki Village hall in Kadavu as the leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party heard the people.
The struggles that people said they faced like the removal of the Fijian Affairs Board scholarships, the cost of living, fears and pain over the abolishment of the Great Council of Chiefs were just too much for the party leader to take in.
Overwhelmed with emotion, the hall broke in silence briefly as the villagers saw Ro Teimumu crying.
For the entire day, villagers from the nine tikinas gathered at the hall. Responding to most of the issues raised, former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase shared that SODELPA was aware of the challenges being faced by the people and sympathised with them.
He assured them that a SODELPA government was going to reinstate not only the Fijian Affairs Scholarship, but also the Multi Ethnic Scholarship scheme.
He said most iTaukei people were not yet in a position to sustain the cost of living of its young people in tertiary education.
He said the removal of the GCC and the abolishment of the Senate meant that the last custodians of the council appointed to represent the iTaukei race in safe guarding land issues and other issues concerning the iTaukei was no more. He explained that in Senate, 14 out of the 28 members of the Senate were appointees of the Great Council of Chiefs.
“Thus with the abolishment of the Senate, another major process now influenced by Government and sensitive to the Indigenous Fijian people would be the appointment of Board Members to the iTaukei Land Trust Board. This used to be a function of Senate and instead with their abolishment, the Minister for iTaukei Affairs now had the discretionary role to make the Board appointments of people who will look after the interests and land matters for the Indigenous people,” Mr Qarase said.
He said whoever the new board appointments would be, it would be clear that their decisions on land matters could be viewed from different perspectives especially as people who were not iTaukei were now being appointed to the TLTB.
Meanwhile, the Radini Vanua ko Tavuki Bulou Lusiana Duikete said from the women’s perspective, there were notable contributions being made by the current Government to improve the livelihoods of the women especially those in the rural areas.
“They brought sewing machines, funded our buildings where we can do sustainable livelihood projects from, they are sending women to trainings like the Women’s Expo which will happen shortly in Suva where Government is paying for all expenses from boat fares, our hotel accommodation in Suva plus pocket allowances,” Bulou Lusiana said. “This Government has also provided other village financial support which has assisted the women. For all that, we are grateful.”
However, Bulou Lusiana said it must be made clear that when it came to matters affecting their children and future generations, they have always shared among themselves that they would have to have wisdom and ensure they safeguarded what belonged to the iTaukei people because it was not an individual’s right to give or pass around but was a part of historical heritage which must be respected by all races in Fiji and protected.
She said the upcoming elections would be a crucial one and one which they were all looking forward to. She said the people of Kadavu, especially the women, were hopeful that the Fijian Elections Office would quickly reach them and enlighten them on how to go about the electoral process so that it would eliminate any confusion and frustration during election day.
Meanwhile, Mr Qarase also briefed the people of Kadavu that this year’s elections would see ballot papers only containing party candidates’ nominated numbers and highlighted that there would be no party symbol nor any party name to assist and identify the various candidates.
He was responding to queries from the villagers particularly from the elderly who raised their concerns on how well they could memorise the numbers of the various party candidates they wanted to vote for.
Feedback: newsroom@fijisun.com.fj

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