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Fiji Votes: Disability Fails To Deter First-time Voter

Fiji Votes: Disability Fails To Deter First-time Voter
Serua villager Verenaisi Qara, 83, is thankful she has lived long enough to be able to cast her vote in the 2018 General Election. Photo: Fonua Talei
November 06
17:12 2018

Filimoni Drotini hopes the next government will give more assistance for people with disabilities.

The 34-year-old Suva-based construction worker is mute, but this did not deter him from casting his vote at the Serua Village pre-polling station yesterday.

The first-time voter took leave from work and left Suva for his village at about 8am yesterday just to make his vote count.

The Fiji Sun team interviewing him wrote down questions on paper and he responded in writing.

One of the elder villagers, Verenaisi Qara, 83, said she was grateful to God that she lived long enough to cast her vote.

“I don’t know if I will live to vote again in the next election, but I thank the Lord for today,” she said.

“Let us hope that whoever wins this election, would continue with the good work.”

Setareki Qio,63, was the first person to cast his vote at the pre-polling venue.

He said the pre-polling process this year was fast and efficient and he managed to cast his vote within five minutes.

“I thank the current government for the developments that it has done. It has set the standard high for future governments,” Mr Qio said.

“It has shown good governance and leadership skills.”

21-year-old Joseva Robanakadavu, a second-year Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of the South Pacific, also cast his vote for the first time yesterday.

He spoke highly of the Tertiary Education Loan Scheme (TELS), which enabled his parents to send him to university.

He said previously it was difficult for his parents to sponsor his older sister’s tertiary education because of financial constraints.

His father is a farmer and his mother works at a hotel.

He hopes that whatever government takes power will continue with the TELS initiative. Edited by Epineri Vula


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