From Sanimeli Maraf in Rotuma (22 April 1999)
The Development Committee (District Officer, chiefs and representatives) met today and spent two hours discussing what project Rotuma Island will do for the year 2000. Suggestions were for a cultural centre, a new garage, a pavilion and a new hospital. The vote was for a new hospital. Saturday is a kato'aga and all the money collected that day will be donated towards the hospital; hopefully the Fiji Government will foot the rest. It has not yet been decided where the new building will be situated (the current hospital was built in 1901).
[We have subsequently heard from Sanimeli that after meeting with Dr Rafai, who was not present at the initial meeting, the decision to build a new hospital is being reconsidered. Dr Rafai apparently has drawn attention to a number of problems that were not considered by the Development Committee.]
Pepjei just had some bad, nasty big waves on Monday night at 7 p.m. The seawall was no use and the road was closed; traffic had to come around the back. The waves went as far as Juju in front of the Catholic Church, and debris reached the signpost turning into Sumi. Today the road is opened again.
The Fiji Prime Minister, Mr Rambuka, is arriving on a special flight
on Monday 26 April to inspect the seawall.
Makrava pleads not guilty
FORMER National Bank of Fiji chief manager Visanti Makrava pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement and official corruption yesterday.
Makrava appeared at the Suva High Court before Justice Peter Surman.
The court heard that between December 14 and 23 Makrava received a cheque of $50,000 from a company, Bulapiscatoral which he converted to his own use.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Kenneth Wilkinson said the company needed a loan of $400,000 out of which $370,000 was to be used to buy a fishing vessel and the remaining amount as working capital.
Mr Wilkinson said though Makrava knew the loan was not secured, he went ahead and approved it.
The $50,000 along with another $70,000 was deposited into Makrava's personal account at the NBF Rotuma Branch and the rest he kept as cash.
Mr Wilkinson said the money paid to Mr Makrava was not a loan but a reward for approving the loan.
The case continues today.
Makrava appears in high court again
FORMER National Bank of Fiji chief manager Visanti Makrava appeared in the Suva High Court yesterday to answer corruption and embezzlement charges against him.
Makrava appeared before Justice Peter Surman and will re-appear today. The case was adjourned till today because one of the three assessors was not present. Justice Surman said the assessor who did not attend yesterday was not appropriately informed on time about the case.
Justice Surman said the assessor could not attend because he not given enough time. Makrava is being represented by lawyers GP Shankar of Ba and Neel Shivam of GP Lala Associates in Suva.
The State is being represented by Ken Wilkinson of the Director of Public Prosecution's Office. Mr Shankar urged that the assessors should not be employed by the National Bank of Fiji or have connections with the former bank.
Fiji's peacekeepers have again been judged the best in the world in a skills competition of military units from nations serving in the Sinai Desert. The competition, held twice a year, tests the combat and life-saving skills of the soldiers, pushing them to the limits of their physical endurance and combat fitness. A unit of the Fiji army's Second Infantry Regiment, which won the last round, retained the Force Commander's trophy again this time after once again winning the competition.
Copra prices hit an all time high this month when Punjas Limited announced
a record buying price of F$700 a tonne. This is F$200 more than the
Coconut Board's minimum price. Punjas Ltd, who are manufacturers of
soap, is buying at these prices because of market demands. A steep
rise in the price of copra began last year following a copra price
war between Commodity Traders Ltd and Punjas Ltd.
The Rotuman Cultural Group at Fulton Seventh-day Adventist Missionary College, Tailevu, Fiji, will participate in the upcoming International Cultural week (2-8 May 1999).
Dean Fred Taito would like to inquire if there are Rotuman Seventh-Day Adventists anywhere around the world who are in contact through the Internet or e-mail. He would be very grateful to hear from them. Furthermore, he would like to receive responses from other Rotuman Adventists, or Rotumans anywhere around the world, that could be shared with the Rotuman Cultural Group at the upcoming International Cultural Week celebration.
He would be grateful if you responded to the following questions:
Rotuma Hospital recently acquired a 233 MHz computer system with printer & scanner last month, thanks to the Japanese Government. This was the result of efforts by the Rotuma Hospital Board of Visitors. So in a way we are keeping up with technology and not completely left out from rest of the world. This computer, if used wisely, could be a powerful tool. It should improve the storing and printing of medical information in the Rotuman language and also analyse and record our medical history. What we need at the moment is a connection to the internet, but it is still a difficult and expensive process. Other small needs are items such as medical software, etc., which can further enhance our work here. So if anyone on the net is willing to share/donate any of the latter, we would be most grateful.
In terms of development, our active Hospital Board
of Visitors is really doing a great job. The solar project is in
it's last stages of completion. Our other projects are gaining momentum,
so it is envisaged that by year 2000 we should have a new look hospital
(unfortunately not a new one). I have also started brainstorming
some ideas with a few people and done some writing on these ideas.
I would welcome ideas or suggestions concerning any aspect of Rotuman
life that will benefit our people.
On Saturday, March 27th, we were fortunate to be hosted by the Seven Stars Rotuman Club in Fremont, California at the home of Petero and Makereta Rigamoto. It was a wonderful afternoon with great food, good music, kava and excellent company. The club is planning a kato'aga for Rotuma Day on May 15th. We are planning to attend; our Tefui Club celebration in Honolulu will be the week before, on May 8th, so we will have two Rotuma Day celebrations this year!
Seven Star Club members include: Petero and Makereta Rigamoto, Aitu and Bruce Richmond, Emeli and Bill Hay, Margaret and Supa Susau, Ostonu and Betty, Lili and Joe Crocker, Mereana and Joel Gibson, Sefeti, and Matofili and Eliki Delai. Alfereti Viliame was visiting from Fiji. Check out the photo montage we prepared from the pictures we took.