Weekender

Ban affects innocent

Written By : SANDRA AH SAM. This was after the President’s official secretary Rupeni Nacewa’s son George was renewal application was rejected. George was to continue his studies and complete
02 Jan 2009 12:00

Written By : SANDRA AH SAM. This was after the President’s official secretary Rupeni Nacewa’s son George was renewal application was rejected.
George was to continue his studies and complete his exams in New Zealand, unfortunately because of the rocky relationship between the two governments, it was rejected.
He had applied for a visa renewal to complete his degree programme at Wellington’s Massey University in New Zealand.
The application was rejected by the New Zealand immigration department just because it was viewed that his father held a post in the interim government.
This is not true.
Mr Nacewa is a career civil servant and he had been in that position even before the 2006 coup.
He was not a military appointee.
His son’s education has been cut short and it is not fair that he has fallen victim to such situation.
When interviewed earlier, Mr Nacewa said there was nothing else they could do as it was the decision by the New Zealand government.
He said it was unfair on his son’s future as the travel ban is now extended to family members of senior government officials. He said it could not be avoided but was referred to as another sovereign government’s decision and individuals affected could not go against this.
It would have been George’s final year for him to complete a degree in health science majoring in sports and exercise.
As a result George is now searching for a school or rather a university in Fiji that offers the same subjects that he took at Massey University. When interviewed earlier George said he was searching websites of universities in Australia but was told that the travel ban also applied there also.
His education is definitely affected since he had two more semesters to complete to attain his degree.
George’s tuition fees were privately paid for by Mr Nacewa.
He explained that it would be a huge expense if he had to send George to attend another school overseas.
Mr Nacewa has lost thousands of dollars as a result of the ban
The family continues to support their son in finding a school that would enable him to complete his education.
The travel sanctions are not fair on civil servants such as Mr Nacewa’s case.
He was just doing his job like any other citizen of this country but held a senior position in the President’s office.
Meanwhile, the NZ government will not amend its travel ban on members of the interim government, military personnel and their immediate families.
This was confirmed earlier last month by NZ Prime Minister John Key who told the NZ media that the government would not amend its policy on Fiji to suit the interim government. This followed further reports that interim PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama issued an ultimatum for travel bans to be lifted or else NZ’s acting high commissioner Caroline McDonald would be expelled. Australia’s foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith believes Australia and NZ’s travel bans are very affective in putting pressure on the interim government to restore Fiji to democracy.
After a year of service as NZ ‘s acting high commissioner to Fiji, Ms McDonald returned to NZ after being given the marching orders by the Bainimarama government.
Ms Mc Donald was accused of acting inappropriately and not engaging with the Fiji administration.
Commodore Bainimarama ordered the expulsion because the NZ government refused his ultimatum to grant a visa to a student who is a senior official in Suva.
While leaving the country Ms Mc Donald said, there wasn’t any basis or justification for her expulsion and that the interim government was able to substantiate why they had taken these actions.
Fiji’s interim High Commissioner in Wellington, Cama Tuiloma, was in turn ordered to leave this country.
TV NZ reported that the NZ Foreign affairs minister Murray McCully said the allegations against Ms McDonald held no water and there was no specific allegation. He said they are obliged to indicate some offense that was committed in order to expel a foreign representative, and added that in this case they had simply made wild generalisations.
“There has been no specific misconduct alleged because there is none. The expulsion of McDonald also has not softened the NZ’s government’s stance against Fiji.
“There’s no way that NZ was going to modify our position on the sanctions while a gun was being held to our head and it’s even less likely that we’re going to modify those sanctions because they’ve expelled our acting high commissioner,” Mr McCullay said.
It was only the third time in New Zealand’s history a diplomat had been expelled, the second involving Fiji. The New Zealand ambassador was thrown out of Russia in retaliation from a Russian diplomat being expelled in the wake of the Bill Sutch case in the 1970s.
McCullay also confirmed there wasn’t an immediate move to appoint a new commissioner just yet
He said they would have to think carefully about who they would want to send to Fiji, where the environment on the current track record showed there was a high chance they would simply be sent back home again.He added that after the Pacific Leaders Forum meeting in January 27, they would decide on whether things were going to improve or not and offer some guidance as to how they would see the way forward.



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