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Archived News: December 2014

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (19 December 2014)

Enhanced radio coverage for Rotuma

by Kalpana Kaajal

People of Rotuma will now have enhanced radio coverage through Fiji Broadcasting Corporation station; Radio Fiji One (RF1).

FBC has confirmed that a FM transmitter has been installed at the Digicel site on Rotuma.

This has been possible due to Digicel's capability of providing IP based data transfer between FBC and the remote site.

FBC CEO Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this comes after the decision to switch AM transmission to FM.

"This comes on the back of the work that's going on right now between FBC, the Fijian government and the Japanese government in overhauling the whole AM transmission throughout Fiji at our site in Naulu and the work on that has started."

Previously Rotuma used to be covered by the AM frequency from the station in Namara, Labasa.

The Jet Newspaper (19 December 2014)

A Government delegation led by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Hon. Jioji Konrote is in Rotuma today for the ground breaking ceremony to commence construction works.

The Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary Mr Filipe Alifereti said that this was a commitment that the Prime Minister had made after seeing for himself the poor state of the hospital during his visit to the island on the occasion of the Rotuma Day celebrations in May this year.

The new hospital is expected to boost and improve health services to the people of Rotuma, Mr Alifereti said.

"This new development would ultimately fulfill the aim of Government in bringing services closer to rural and maritime people. It would also commit Government to make basic health services easily accessible in rural or remote communities across the country, Mr Alifereti said.

"The construction of the new hospital will be in two phases for which phase one is expected to begin immediately after the Groundbreaking. These include the construction of the hospital foundation and the wall structure," Mr Alifereti reiterated.

Construction work will be undertaken by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces engineers.

"The Ministry will continue to look at new ways of providing the best services to rural communities.

"We are committed for the continual improvement of rural Fijians," Mr Alifereti said.

The estimated cost of the project is $4.6m and is expected to be completed by early 2016.

Note from John Bennett

George Konrote came in his official capacity along with other dignitaries on a charter flight (Northern Air) from Suva (Nausori). Guest speaker was Dr. John Fatiaki. Samo Pene, from Itu‘muta, was among several older members of the community who shoveled concrete into the foundation, along with Ministerial heads.


Photos by Harieta Bennett

From John Bennett in Itu‘muta (17 December 2014)

Some photos from Itu‘muta mane‘a te la‘a at Itu‘muta Hall


From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (16 December 2014)

Engineers personnel leaving for Rotuma

Report by Savaira Tabua

Twenty RFMF engineering personnel will be leaving for Rotuma tonight to finalize the construction of Rotuma Hospital.

The Government has allocated four-point-eight million dollars for the project.

Regiment 2IC Major Isireli Cataka says the construction work will bring new changes to the health facility and it is expected to boost medical services on the island.

''The extension is going to include the main dinning facility for the patients including the new kitchen. The kitchen there is going to be abolished and we are going to construct a new kitchen altogether including the dinning facilities''.

The existing Rotuma hospital was established in the late 80's by the RFMF engineers.

Major Cataka says the engineers are expected to return to Suva to spend Christmas with their families.

They will return to Rotuma later next month to complete the project.

'It is the last project to be deployed in 2014 yes its' going to be concurrent and it will also be the first project also for 2015 for our man from RFMF engineers to be deployed out to rural areas''.

The Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relation Jioji Konrote is expected to lay the foundation for the new extension later this week.

The Government has made it a priority to improve infrastructure on Rotuma for the benefit of the islanders.

From Fiji Sun Online (13 December 2014)

Tuvalu, Rotuma Sign Agreement

The government of Tuvalu and Rotuma signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in Rotuma formalising the Bilateral Development Co-operation signed on July 23, 2010 at Natadola on Wednesday.

The MOA was signed by the Deputy High Commissioner for Tuvalu to Fiji, Avafoa lrata, and the Rotuma Export Marketing Company Umited (REMCOL) executive chairman, Hiagi Foraete, on behalf of Rotuma Island.

The signing was witnessed by the deputy secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and Fiji head of delegation, Setareki Tale, Rotuma Island Council members and district officer Rotuma, Niumaia Masere.

Mr Tale said the signing of the MOA would strengthen bilateral relationship between Tuvalu and Rotuma and also pave the way for the same to other small Pacific island states to ensure sustainable development and economic security.

Mr Irata said the signing of the MOA would continue and improve trade between Tuvalu and Rotuma that had begun in 2011.

He further said the commencement of the trade would ensure food security since Tuvalu was a low lying island and the frequency of cyclones had a lot of impact on agriculture.

He added that it was essential for the Tuvalu government to re-schedule and re-assess its shipping capability to facilitate the trade.

Mr Irata also thanked Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, for his initiative to revisit the trade.

He also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for finalising the trade and the signing of the MOA would be a deciding factor in the trade.

Mr Masere said the last shipment of commodities to Tuvalu was made in April 2013 and the issue was raised with the Prime Minister for its continuation when he visited the island for the Rotuma Day celebration in May this year.

He said: "Rotuma is ready to meet the market in Tuvalu and is confident that it will expand to other commodities."

The Bilateral Trade Agreement between the Government of Fiji and the government of Tuvalu was signed on October 1, 1998 at Funafuti.

On August 22, 2007, the Transport Minister of Fiji and Tuvalu met in Suva to discuss the Rotuma and Tuvalu trade issues.

The Government in support of the trade initiative set up a taskforce in 2008 to implement Cabinet's Decision to declare Rotuma as an international port of entry and provide the supporting infrastructure facilities and services to facilitate the trade with Tuvalu.

Tuvalu agreement

by Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management

From Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (5 December 2014)

Taro exports to Tuvalu

by Rita Narayan

Plans are now underway to increase the export of taro from the island of Rotuma to the island nation of Tuvalu. Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga says a group from Tuvalu will be in the country to hold talks with various stakeholders to look at increasing the export of taro between Fiji and Tuvalu.

He says they understand that the Fijian government has been undertaking major developments on the island of Rotuma and they would like to improve the transportation of taro from Rotuma to Tuvalu.

Sopoaga says they look into the consistency of transportation of the taro but in terms of supplies there, it is a well-established market already in place." He pointed out that Tuvalu continues to face challenges on environmental security particularly the areas of climate change and sea level rise both the technological side.

Sopoaga says Tuvalu believes that Fiji has quite strong capacity to us small island countries to help us.

Earlier this year, the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, during a visit to Rotuma said that people on the island need to improve food security and do everything to boost Fiji's current export trade with Tuvalu.