Prime Minister To Civil Servants:Do Your Job

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday called on civil servants to show compassion and understanding to the people they serve. And to do their work properly. He made the call after
28 Jul 2016 09:50
Prime Minister To Civil Servants:Do Your Job
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) attending to cane farmers problems during the consultation at Labasa Civic Centre yesterday. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday called on civil servants to show compassion and understanding to the people they serve. And to do their work properly.

He made the call after he and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum were inundated with complaints about civil servants in their Northern Division visit yesterday.

He highlighted one case where a iTaukei Land Trust Board officer told tenants while serving them with eviction notices – “I don’t care who PM is.”

Mr Bainimarama said: “This is not the right language to use, this is not the right message to give to the people.

“I’m the people’s Prime Minister whether you like it or not.”

He said he had also heard that people had been told that Government did not have money to lay water pipes or to give water.

“This is not the right attitude that the public want from us. When I hear that comment from the public it tells me a lot about how our people operate business, the way we see and treat others,” he said.

He said it told him “We don’t have pride in the work we are doing.

“We need to reflect on ourselves and the job we are doing.” He said

one woman said that some civil servants were sitting in the office and not going out to meet the people.

The Prime Minister asked the Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea to see how the civil servants were performing in their roles.

He warned them to draw a line between work and social life. Mr Vocea apologised to Mr Bainimarama on behalf of civil servants and promised that they would improve and lift their performance.

The PM’s concern underscores the  problems that have prompted civil service reforms.

Residents from all walks of life – from great grandmothers to lorry drivers – had their complaints listened to and attended to with urgency yesterday after Mr Bainimarama intervened.

A 62-year-old great grandmother of Seaqaqa, Mir Wati walked up to Mr Bainimarama and informed him that she was assaulted by a iTaukei Land Trust Board staff member four months ago when he had come to evict her from a land she had occupied for 28 years.

Mrs Wati had lodged a Police report the day after the alleged assault and for four months she had not received any feedback.

She told Mr Bainimarama: “He issued a notice and said for me to vacate the four acre land that we had been living on for last 28 years. When I told him that the landowners were my daughters, he pushed me and as I fell, he hit me from behind. I injured my right leg and for days had to struggle while walking.”

She said that the reason she came to personally meet the PM was to inform him that no action had been taken against the officer who allegedly assaulted her.

Mr Bainimarama immediately called Northern Divisional Police Commander (DPC) Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shiri Bhawan Singh and questioned him about the progress of the case.

“Her report is filed at Seaqaqa Police Station and investigation is ongoing,” SSP Singh told Mr Bainimarama.

Mr Bainimarama assured Ms Wati that justice will be delivered and that her case would not be swept under the carpet.

iTLTB deputy general manager operations, research and development Solomone Nata who was also at the meeting confirmed that he was aware of the report.

“She did tell us that one of our employees from our North office assaulted her while issuing a notice to vacate the land,” Mr Nata said.

“We advised her to report this at the Police station. So both of their statements were taken by Police and we are still waiting for an update. Upon investigation by Police if our employee will be found guilty, he will go through the disciplinary procedure. We don’t condone such behaviour.”


Other issues

Mr Bainimarama was also informed that a Water Authority of Fiji official had informed some residents that they would not be receiving water tanks because Government had no money.

This year for the rural water supply alone Government has given the Authority $456,800.

Provision has also been made for 60 of 5000litres of water tanks to be given to areas in the Northern Division in the 2016/2017 budget.


Another civil servant had told a gathering in Labasa that a borehole pump could not be replaced as Government had no money. This too was brought to the attention of Mr Bainimarama and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.


A Land Transport Authority staff allegedly told cane lorry drivers while booking them on Tuesday that he was issuing the tickets after a directive from the Prime Minister. An investigation has been ordered into this as well..


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