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All Applications Will Be Processed

All Applications Will Be Processed
The crowd Prince Charles Park in Nadi on May 17, 2018. Photo: Facebook
May 18
11:02 2018

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa and teams of civil servants had been assessing applications since 9am on Wednesday and continued processing applications for thousands of people

Acting Prime Minister and At­torney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says staff members of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation led by their minister are working hard round the clock to ensure that all applica­tions for the Cyclone Assistance Re­lief Effort for Fiji, or CARE for Fiji are processed.

He made the comment after a large crowd of people, who turned up to apply for assistance at Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka, and Prince Charles Park, Nadi, had to be turned away yester­day after the officials could not serve the big number of applicants.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Al­leviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa and teams of civil servants had been as­sessing applications since 9am on Wednesday and continued process­ing applications for thousands of people who had turned out at Lawaqa Park until 5am on Thursday.

He said the teams worked tirelessly, but despite their best efforts there were still people left in Sigatoka whose applications had to be pro­cessed.

He told the Parliament that Minis­ter Vuniwaqa and the team decided to finish processing the applications of all those who had gathered in Si­gatoka before moving to Nadi.

“It is because of the numbers that they were delayed. We only have lim­ited numbers of people who can ac­tually do that, and limited numbers of people who are actually trained in that.”

In fact the entire Lawaqa Park sta­dium was full. At one point the line passed the police station going up to the Matamata area.

“It is unfortunate, but should we have stopped all the people who came down from Navosa and told them you have to go back home because we have to go to Nadi?” he added.

“I mean you have to be able to man­age the situation and we have limited people who are trained in this area and so it was a question of giving priority to the one area where eve­rybody has come down, finish with them first with all their applications and then move on to the next one, which is slightly delayed but I am sure that people will understand.

“This is money that is actually giv­en out to them and it has never been given out in such a fashion and, of course, it is for their own personal use.”

The officials worked tirelessly until the early hours on Thursday, having started work at 9am on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Ms Vuniwaqa con­firmed that the Homes CARE initia­tive for the Nadi area had been re­scheduled to next week.

Ms Vuniwaqa, who was present with her team at the Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka yesterday, said they served 7790 people within 26 hours non-stop.

She confirmed this after her team of officials were not being able to at­tend to the big crowd that came to ap­ply for assistance at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday.

The crowd had been building since 8pm on the Wednesday, but were turned away at 7am yesterday by a group of officials despite braving the cold night.

Yesterday Mrs Vuniwaqa said, “We had to work overnight continuously for 26 hours to clear the Sigatoka crowd, which we managed to clear at 11am today. That is why we were not able to go to Nadi”.

“It is unfortunate, but the people of Nadi are important to us too. That is why we need a free time schedule to be able to serve them better. The staff were in no way ready to deliver that service today.”

A team from the Fiji Sun spoke to some members of the public who have been present since 8pm on Wednesday night. They aired their frustration.

Interestingly Sanjeeta Nai du, 30, of Yako said it was good that the event was postponed.

“I was here since 8pm because I took my day off and the area was in a filthy state,” she said.

“There should be a separate line for women and men. Smoking and grog was the order in the cold night, not forgetting the pushing and shoving. Many fainted simply because they had been standing for so long.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa confirmed that the team would process applications in other areas as scheduled before advertising when they would go to Nadi.

“I am anticipating in putting that schedule for Nadi on Wednesday,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Homes-CARE ini­tiative team will continue to process applications at Shirley Park in Lau­toka this morning.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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