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Regime Wants More Ethnic Fijians In Civil Service

Issue No: 237; 30 November 2000

The interim regime wants more ethnic Fijians as civil servants in key ministries.

Speaking at the Western Division Development Committee meeting which ended yesterday, the interim Labour Minister told the meeting that the senior education officer in Lautoka should be an ethnic Fijian. According to one participant, Momoedonu stated: "I am not a racist, but we need more Fijian senior officer" because they can better understand the needs of Fijian schools. Currently there are nine senior education officers posted to the divisions of which only one is an ethnic Indian. It Momoedonu had his `non-racist' way, even one ethnic Indian officer would be replaced by an ethnic Fijian.

The Development Committee meeting, opened by terrorist supporter and interim regime Agriculture Minister Apisai Tora, was another occasion for the regime to display its blatant racism.

When questioned why were farmers being evicted before their lease grace periods expired, Tora, who is also the Minister for ALTA, declined to answer the question, and instead referred the matter to the NLTB. There was no one present from the NLTB at the meeting.

According to one participant at the meeting, the meeting was one which gave the regime a platform to get its views into the media while achieving nothing constructive.

Meanwhile, the regime released the report of the Education Commission which was appointed by the People's Coalition government to review Fiji's education needs. Because of the 19 May terrorist activities, the Commission did not meet to write its report; instead individual members and consultants views have been collated to make the report. The result is a report which is highly opinionated. It is also believed that the Education Commission Secretary Joiji Kotobalavu has had a heavy influence in the final report, and that the recommendation that there be a 20 year development plan for Fijian and Rotuman education was inserted by Kotobalavu to give support to Qarase's Blueprint for Fijian and Rotuman Advancement. Kotobalavu is Qarase's Permanent Secretary now.

END 30 November 2000


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