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Wansolwara slams poor Pacific leadership

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Staff Reporters: June edition
Wansolwara (USP)

SUVA (Pasifik Nius): Wansolwara has condemned the lack of leadership in Pacific countries, saying many were mired in corruption and floundering.

In an editorial entitled "Where have all the leaders gone?", the University of the South Pacific journalism programme newspaper has criticised both national leaders and student politicians.

"Pacific people are calling out to their leaders to stand up, take their responsibilities seriously and lead," the paper said.

Wansolwara cited issues such as deadlocked politics in Vanuatu, waste dumping in the Solomon Islands and the "lurching" political power struggle in Fiji.

While praising Vice-Chancellor Savenaca Siwatibau for his promotion of good governance in the region, the paper said student leaders "couldn't care less about Pacific concerns".

"Politicians [in Fiji] smile or rage as each technical dispute is won or lost, while jaded Fiji islanders learn to live with uncertainty and petty politics," Wansolwara said.

"It seems there is no real leadership in a nation still recovering from the May 2000 crisis, with parliamentarians choosing to continue their stale racist rhetoric.

"Fiji's poisonous politics has even seeped into the source of our future leaders - the University of the South Pacific."

Wansolwara said the USP Students' Association had a "nasty history of racial politics", that only ended with a change in the elected executive in 2001. The last two USPSA executives have been headed by regional student leaders.

The paper said the executive still struggled to account for old missing funds and had trouble keeping "clear financial records".

Wansolwara criticised the USPSA executive because at a time when there were serious Pacific issues confronting the region, all student leaders could address was the colour of graduation gowns and campus litter.

"While this is appreciated, how about leading students in a lobby against environmental pollution or waste dumping in the region?" the paper asked.

Front page stories in the June edition of Wansolwara featured two former Solomon Islands militants - now students at USP - who have appealed for reconciliation in their country, and an interview with departing journalism coordinator David Robie talking about USP plans for a $250,000 journalism building and the future.

Also on the paper, student subeditor Moffat Mamu reports on Fiji police victimisation and a special INSIGHT REPORT features globalisation and the Pacific.

Wansolwara has now become the first newspaper in Fiji to publish complete pdf format publication files on line.


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