COVID-19: Ratu Jone Tipped For Top Role In War Against Killer Virus

Ro Jone’s role will be to plug the holes that leaked the problems we are now facing.
29 May 2021 17:50
COVID-19: Ratu Jone Tipped For Top Role In War Against Killer Virus
Brigadier General Ratu Jone Kalouniwai leads a briefing with Ministry of Defence stakeholders and the Ministry of Health leadership team.

If this is a war against an invisible enemy is to be won, the best qualified person to oversee the operational aspects is Brigadier-General Ratu Jone Kalouniwai.

His name has come up for consideration as the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to increase causing fear and alarm.

It will come as no surprise if his appointment is announced soon in a bid to arrest a grim situation that appears to have spun out of control.

His mission, if it is confirmed, will be to ensure that we contain the killer virus and enable the economy to breathe more freely and recover quickly. It requires a holistic and strategic approach to stop the spread of the virus.

Fiji will not be the first country to turn to the military to step up on its hour of need. New Zealand called it’s military when it’s border was breached by some frontline workers.

Brigadier-General Ro Jone is currently the director-general for National Security and Defence Council Secretariat. So he is already in a position of advantage because the Police, military, Ministry of Health and other goverment agencies will all be under his wing.

He has vast experience and has completed a wide range of military courses. They included Political Warfare, Regimental Officers Intelligence Course (NZ), Defence Services Staff College (India), Combined Defence Intelligence Research & Analysis Course (Australia), UN Officers Course (Sweden).



He held senior appointments with the RFMF. He was posted as the:
– Battalion Commander for 2nd Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment with the MFO in Sinai – Egypt
– Battalion Commander for 3rd Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment in Fiji
– He assumed the appointment as the Chief of Staff Officer for Operations, Planning, Intelligence and Training for the Land Force Command

HQ, Chief of Staff for the RFMF Land Force component, Commander of the RFMF Land Forces.
– He also held a two-year post as the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) Chief of Staff in early 2015.
– He holds an Executive Certificate in Management from the Australian Maritime College, Graduate Diploma in Management from Central Queensland University, Masters in Business Administration from Central Queensland University, Masters of Science in Defence and Strategic Studies from Madras University in India.
Ro Jone also completed his Masters in Politics and Policy from Deakin University in Australia.

Opinion Column
In the early days after the virus reached our shores last year he alluded in an opinion column in the Fiji Sun to the challenges we could face if we do not take decisive action.

In his May 2020 column, The Paradox of Our Rights During Perilous Times he spoke of a global sweeping transformation being reshaped by fundamental changes in the nature of risk, political and economic influence, competition and conflict, and the geopolitical balance of power.

He said then: “With the nature of the conflict, today changing significantly; the world is moving away from formal confrontations between nation-states, but to a world that has now become engrossed with far more complex struggles with internal and trans-border conflicts between powers, identities, religions and ideologies.

“Today, such a conflict exists in the form of a global pandemic, unceremoniously breaching our borders as an existential threat – causing global panic, uncertainty, economic shutdowns, overwhelming of health systems and millions of sickness and deaths.”

He said COVID-19 “is a no respecter of the universal norms and rules; breaking boundaries and borders; thriving on our human fundamental nature as social beings and our increasing desire to interact and congregate; functionally dislocating our global communities ability to establish physical contacts through national lockdowns of air and seaports; disrupting the gesturing norms of our human emotions to physically communicate to reach out, share, contact, and touch.”

“Fortunately for now despite our communal and traditional way of living our numbers are 18 confirmed cases with over two-three hundred suspected through contact tracing, as a result of the Government’s immediate response to protect and prevent associated morbidity and mortality.

“Like many liberal democracies the world all-over, Fiji right now is in a predicament where it is constantly preparing for and fighting at the same time an invisible adversary in COVID-19, that is likely to end up violating the individual rights and rule of law that are at the heart of any liberal society.

“However, in times of such national emergency such as this global pandemic or war against COVID-19, our leaders have good reasons to stifle criticism of their policies by curtailing freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“They are apt to have deep concerns about this enemy within, which have been fueled by irresponsible citizens selfishly breaking mandatory curfews, social distancing requirements and questioning the rationale of our leader’s decision to impose such restrictions.

“These reactions when maliciously aired on social media can become very contagious with fear and confusion becoming the order of the day.

“This general atmosphere of suspicion invariably leads to further public discontent requiring authorities to enforce stronger restrictions on individual rights and the likely invasion of privacy through monitoring programmes of our citizens.

“But leaders do not act this way because they are evil. The bottom line for any Government is the due diligence and responsibility to protect the vulnerable against any physical impairment or loss of life.

“To do so, certain rights need to be curtailed under more strict conditions. Given the trade-off between security and civil liberties in dire times, or what are perceived to be dire times, policymakers almost always choose security. A country’s highest goal has to be its survival because if it does not survive, it cannot pursue any other goals.”

Ro Jone’s role will be to plug the holes that leaked the problems we are now facing.

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