Fiji, Tonga vow to work together

Fiji and Tonga have expressed their desire to work with each at all levels to further advance issues of common interest to both countries.

This was the result of a meeting between Fijian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola and Tonga’s newly-elected Prime Minister Samiuela Akilisi Pohiva in Nukualofa, Tonga.

The visit took place two months after the national elections in Tonga.

At the meeting, Minister Kubuabola conveyed the Fijian Government’s congratulations to Prime Minister Pohiva and his Government on their successful elections.

Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (second from left) and Tonga's Prime Minister (second from right) during dinner in Nuku'alofa.
Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (second from left) and Tonga’s Prime Minister (second from right) during dinner in Nuku’alofa.

The meeting demonstrates the importance that Fiji attaches to its relations with Tonga.

Minister Kubuabola assured Prime Minister Pohiva of the Fijian Government’s full support and commitment towards strengthening relations between the two countries.

The Fijian Foreign Minister shared concerns regarding the Pacific regional architecture and expressed the Fijian Government’s position on its reconfiguration.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (left)  exchanges gifts with Tongan Prime Minister Samiuela Pohiva
Minister for Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (left) exchanges gifts with Tongan Prime Minister Samiuela Pohiva

Prime Minister Pohiva said that with his recent election, he was committed to transforming national and regional issues.

It is envisaged that Prime Minister Pohiva would visit Fiji in the near future.



NSW Waratahs unveil powerhouse winger Taqele Naiyaravaro in hit out against Shute Shield clubs

Powerhouse Yasawa winger Taqele Naiyaravaro was in devastating form in the Waratahs’ first trial of 2015, suggesting he will play a big role in NSW’s title defence having defected from the NRL last year.

The Fijian flyer produced Jonah Lomu-style runs down the sideline, trampling and fending off opposition to score a double and set up two more in 60 minutes terrorising club sides Randwick and Sydney University.

Surprisingly, Naiyaravaro said he is still yet to find his feet in the 15-man code, having joined NSW from the Wests Tigers late last season.

“I am still not that comfortable, I still have a bit more work to do,” Naiyaravaro said after the Waratahs won all three 30-minute trials against Shute Shield opponents at Granville Park on Saturday.

“I still need to do more talking to the guys on my inside. I am still not 100 per cent comfortable with that, I am reacting to what they’re doing but not talking enough before.”

With Wallabies winger Peter Betham still not fit to play until round one, Naiyaravaro has the chance to claim a starting wing spot for the first round against Western Force if he can produce similar work in Friday’s final trial against the Chiefs at Campbelltown.

At 195cm and 120kg, and Naiyaravaro’s bulldozing style, there will be natural comparisons to Lomu but he dismisses that immediately.

Taqele Naiyaravaro takes on the Sydney Uni defence.
Taqele Naiyaravaro takes on the Sydney Uni defence.

“I am a long way from Jonah, I don’t really think about that, I just try to do my job out on the field.”

Naiyaravaro credited extra running sessions after his arduous training with the Tahs for his performance in Granville, in front of many of his home fans at the Parramatta Two Blues club.

“I’ve worked hard this pre-season, it’s a lot of self-belief and extras outside of the Tahs headquarters,” he said.

“I’m still doing it, I’m not going to stop. There is no rest, it is hard work, but I am enjoying it.”

NSW scored 10 tries to two across the three games against Randwick, Uni and Parramatta, with Israel Folau’s older brother Eni crossing for the final five-pointer in his debut for the Tahs.

Eni Folau is trialling with the franchise although it remains unlikely he will be contracted.

Wallaby enforcer Wycliff Palu bagged a double against Randwick, while halfback Brendan McKibbin scored after Naiyaravaro had scorched their wide defence down the sideline and fed the No.9.

Will Skelton bursts through the Parramatta defence.
Will Skelton bursts through the Parramatta defence.

Naiyaravaro bagged a double against Uni after the Students had gone 7-0 up, and then set up Jed Holloway for the final score in the second game.

Naiyaravaro was rested for the final match, with Kurtley Beale getting a surprise run.

No injuries were reported by NSW, and coach Michael Cheika was delighted with the form of Naiyaravaro, fellow league convert Sione Lousi — playing his first senior game of rugby — as well as prop Paddy Ryan and lock Mitchell Chapman.

But Cheika warned Naiyaravaro not to attempt the Lomu runs every time he is fed the ball.

“I still think he has a way to go, but he is doing the things we want him to, getting in good positions, and when you get into those positions you’ve got to take advantage of them,” Cheika said.

“He doesn’t have to run over the top of everyone every time, he needs to understand when is the good time for him to go.

“There is also the defensive side and counterattacking, I thought he was very good defensively, didn’t get a lot of opportunities in counter. I’m sure he will next week.”

Naiyaravaro is the son of former senior civil servant and Cabinet minister Luke Ratuvuki.

Wycliff Palu is up-ended by the Randwick defence.
Wycliff Palu is up-ended by the Randwick defence.

Cheika confirmed that all his Wallabies stars excluding Betham would play next Friday against the Chiefs, including skipper Dave Dennis, Israel Folau and Michael Hooper.


NSW 21 def Randwick 0 (Wycliff Palu 2, Brendan McKibbin tries); NSW 24 def Sydney University 7 (Taqele Naiyaravaro 2, Jim Stewart, Jed Holloway tries); NSW 15 def Parramatta 7 (Ben Volavola, Jack Dempsey, Eni Folau tries).


ADB delegation holds Fiji meetings

A specialist delegation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is in the country for a series of meetings with officials from a few ministries.

The team is expected to meet Public Enterprise Ministry officials tomorrow before a tri-lateral meeting is held between the Fijian Government, ADB and World Bank/ International Financial Corporation.

Last week, the delegation met Attorney-General and Minister for Public Enterprises, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises Shaheen Ali and other Government officials.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the meeting with the senior and specialist team of the ADB was not only indicative of the renewed engagement between the Fijian Government and ADB, but gave the opportunity to discuss the technical assistance ADB can provide with respect to the divestment of government shares in various State Owned Enterprises as announced in the 2015 Budget.

“ … we have a credible and detailed plan – already well advanced – to extract the maximum benefit from these assets for the Fijian people. They are the ultimate stakeholders and with this partnership with the ADB and with other institutions such as World Bank and International Finance Corporation, every Fijian can be assured that the divestment process will be carried out to international best practice and provide maximum economic benefits for Fiji and all Fijians,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they had discussions in respect of updating laws pertaining to public enterprises.

“We have had this reform on our radar and we have carried some preliminary work in this respect and now with the full engagement, we hope to have legal reforms implemented at the soonest.

Of course, it is not just about changing specific laws but to provide the right and conducive environment. For example, the RBF will soon be putting in place a Secured Transactions Reform Taskforce which essentially will look at improving the legal framework for using moveable property as collateral for loans,” he said.


Fijians reminded on dangers of NCDs

A community health walk organised in Lautoka yesterday was an opportunity for the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Jone Usamate, to urge Fijians not be complacent with NCDs.

While NCDs is the common abbreviated form for non-communicable diseases, this commonality also extends to the high number of deaths in Fiji related to NCDs. While the inaugural Colour Fiji “Raang de Viti” walk is intended to get more Fijians to be more health conscience, the minister used the event to reiterate the dangers of NCDs.

“NCDs are avoidable; no excuses and do not wait until it’s too late and be thankful that you have legs to walk around as there are many who are regretting,” Mr Usamate said in reference to those who have had to undergo leg amputations because of NCDs.

In a country where 80 per cent of deaths are NCDs-related, the Minister said that Fijians cannot continue to ignore the warnings issued by health authorities.

“We need to change our thinking and change our ways, incorporate our lives to ‘Wellness lifestyle’ – to eat healthy foods, eat the right amounts of foods and be physically active.”

“Every individual must take responsibility of their own health and ensure they exercise and health healthy.”



Suspect in custody over company executive’s death

Fiji Police have confirmed they have a person in custody in connection with the death of Lees Trading Company Limited chief executive Holland Seeto last week.

This has been confirmed by Police chief of intelligence and investigations ACP Henry Brown, who says the suspect was taken in after officers interviewed witnesses.

“We have a suspect and he is being interviewed,” ACP Brown said.

Mr Seeto, 59, was found dead by a company employee early on Thursday in his office.

Another employee told Police investigators of a masked person who fled through the company back gate after being pursued.

Mr Seeto, who was survived by his wife and two young children, was to be buried today at the Suva Chinese Cemetery.


Fiji delegation checks India farm technologies, training

Fijian agriculture officials will benefit from training and technology opportunities by a leading Indian animal healthcare company, Ayurvet Ltd, following a visit there by a Fijian delegation.

Minister for Agriculture Inia Seruiratu is leading the Fijian delegation in India and is meeting with senior key officials from the Indian government and the private sector with the aim of strengthening relations in the agriculture sector between the two countries.

At a visit to the company, the minister raised the need for Fiji to access Ayurvet’s services and technology and to learn from their model and best practices.

Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu tours Ayurvet Ltd with company officials.
Agriculture Minister Inia Seruiratu tours Ayurvet Ltd with company officials.

He pointed out that Fiji’s agriculture sector would benefit from close co-operation with the company in capacity building/training on animal feed plant/animal husbandry and animal health care. He added that Fiji is keen to learn from the company’s model of sustainable of livelihood, especially on the 5F (Feed, Food, Fodder, Fertiliser and Fuel).

In response, the company has agreed to assist Fiji and provide training, technology advice and assistance.

To facilitate this process, a Memorandum of Understanding will be facilitated by the Fiji High Commission Office in New Delhi, India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian High Commission in Fiji and the ministries of Agriculture in both countries.

Based in Haryana, the Ayurvet Ltd portfolio includes the production of food, feed, fodder, fertiliser and fuel through hydroponics. The company uses an integrated model of sustainability and livelihood for production.



Fiji, El Salvador seal diplomatic ties

The Republic of El Salvador and the Republic of Fiji formalised diplomatic relations this week at a ceremony at the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations in New York.

The Charge d’Affaires of El Salvador’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Ambassador Ruben Armando Escalante Hasbun, and his Fijian counterpart, Ambassador Peter Thomson, signed a joint communiqué establishing diplomatic relations between the two States.

The communiqué conveys the agreement of both States for their diplomatic relations to be based on the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and international law, particularly in the maintenance of international peace and security, equality among States, respect of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States.

The communiqué expresses the desire of both States to strengthen bonds of friendship and co-operation between Fiji and El Salvador.

Following the formalisation ceremony, Ambassadors Hasbun and Thomson held talks on areas of common interest between their two countries and potential areas of co-operation at the United Nations.


PM opens WOWS Kids Fiji resource centre

The new Walk On, Walk Strong Kids Fiji Resource Centre has been opened by Prime Minister Josaia Bainimarama was “a dream come true” for children suffering from cancer.

Many of these children have now passed on including Tae Kami, the 15-year-old girl from Tonga whose strength and courage led to the formation of the Tae Kami Foundation.

Tae’s mum, Sina Kami, has been at the forefront of getting the resource centre up and running with the WOWS Kids (Fiji), an affiliate of the foundation. She thanked the Government for working with them and encouraged the private sector to get involved.

“It was the dream of a child that has become your dream to help the children here with us and of course, some are in the hospital,” Mrs Kami said.

She said the foundation started its work in Fiji in 2006 in support of the Fiji Cancer Society by putting funds to help children suffering from cancer.

“It was last year we got the green light to register as a separate organisation and this is through the support of the people here,” Mrs Kami added.

WOWS Kids Fiji was set up to complement the treatment children receive from paediatric oncology services in our hospitals.

Families of children who are suffering from cancer are given moral support and strength by WOWS Kids, which in recent years has gained popularity through their efforts to raise funds to make the final moments of the young cancer patients a little easier.

The resource centre is based at Rewa Street, Samabula.