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Regime Calls FIT Board Stupid; Defies Board

Regime Calls FIT Board Stupid; Defies Board On Appointment
Issue No: 301 19 December 2000

The interim regime's Education Minister, Nelson Delailomoloma has referred to the idea of converting the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT) into a Fiji University of Technology as "ultimate in stupidity".

Delailomaloma stated: "Just thinking about converting .. would be the ultimate in stupidity".

The comment, reported by the Fiji Times, was an apparent reference to the Board of the government owned FIT. The Board of FIT, on which Delailomaloma sat in his capacity as the Director of the Fiji National Training Council, had commissioned a paper on the conversion of the FIT into a technology university. The Board had also discussed the idea when Delailomaloma was on its board. He did not object to the idea then.

The change around seems to have come when Delailomaloma defied the recommendation of the Board on the appointment of the new Director of the FIT.

It is believed that Delailomaloma used his ministerial powers to get former permanent secretary for tourism, Kolonio Meo appointed to the post. The Board had unanimously recommended that Meo was unappointable. There were other substantially better-qualified candidates for the post. The Board had recommended that the post be readvertised to search for a suitable candidate to transform the FIT into a technology university. The conversion was in line with the People's Coalition Government's plan to launch Fiji into the information technology era.

Interestingly, the media has remained silent on this major development of Ministerial defiance of the Board's recommendation. As a contrast, even minor matters as appointments to the Boards of statutory bodies were being questioned by the media.

END 19 Dec 2000


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