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Information Minister Replaced In Reshuffle

Information Minister Replaced In Reshuffle

WELLINGTON (RNZI Online/Pacific Media Watch): Former Alliance Party publicist and academic Dr Ahmed Ali has been brought in from Fiji's Senate to take responsibility for the information, media and communications portfolio in a major cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

He replaces former Minister for Information Simione Kaitani, who was charged earlier this month over taking an illegal oath during the May 2000 attempted coup. Kaitani has been given the transport and civil aviation portfolio.

Home Affairs Minister Joketani Cokanasiga has been dropped.

His departure from cabinet comes in the wake of a long stand off between the military and the government on the issue of coup related trials and the premature release of the jailed former Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

The new Home Affairs Minister is Joe Vosanibola who has been switched from transport and civil aviation.

Two others dropped entirely from cabinet are the Minister for Public Enterprises, Irami Matairavula, and the Minister for Local Government, Mataiasi Ragigia.

Government backbencher Ted Young has been appointed the new Minister for Regional Development while the former minister, Ilaitia Tuisese, has been moved to agriculture.

The former minister for agriculture, Jonetani Galuinadi, has gone to the Ministry of Public Enterprises.

Another government backbencher, Colonel Pio Wong, has taken over housing and local government.

Qarase says the main reasons for the cabinet changes are to bring in fresh blood and serve the people who have previously been neglected.

Meanwhile, there has been high praise in the Fiji Senate on the appointment of Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi as the country¹s new vice president.

Kadavu senator and a minister in the former Rabuka government, Jim Ah Koy, says Ratu Joni is a man who will brook no nonsense and who will not sell his integrity to the highest bidder.

Senator Ah Koy said Ratu Joni¹s appointment will restore to some degree the lost credibility of a country which has become the laughing stock of the international community.

He said Ratu Joni¹s experience as a lawyer and High Court judge will make superfluous the bad and often suspicious legal advice emanating from the attorney general.

Senator Ah Koy said for far too long Fiji has been bedevilled by wrong legal advice the result of which has been to plunge Fiji into a continuous state of confusion.

He congratulated President Josefa Iloilo on the wisdom of his choice



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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