Thursday, 14 May 2020

Resolutions of the SODELPA Working Committee which met on Wednesday 13th


Resolutions of the SODELPA Working Committee which met on Wednesday 13th May

14 May 2020

This statement is issued by the Leader of Opposition and Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party, Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka regarding the resolutions of the Working Committee meeting held 11.00am-3.00pm on Wednesday 13th May 2020.

As Party Leader, I attended the meeting of Working Committee of the Management Board held yesterday Wednesday 13th of May. The meeting was chaired by SODELPA Vice President Vijay Singh online via the zoom meeting platform since he is currently in Australia and unable to travel to Fiji due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in both Fiji and Australia.



The intention for the meeting was to agree on the date, logistics, venue and agenda of the next Management Board Meeting as required by the Supervisor of Elections. It was agreed that the Management Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for the 23rd of May 2020 awaiting further consultation with the relevant authorities whether the Board can be convened as a “workplace” meeting, in view of the COVID-19 restriction on gatherings involving more than twenty people. The tentative date can be changed according to the ruling of the authorities.

In addition, the committee discussed and voted by majority, on a resolution to be tabled to the Management Board, regarding the position of the General Secretary, Adi Litia Qionibaravi. The working committee agreed that this resolution will be tabled at the next Management Board.

In view of this decision, the Working Committee resolved that Hon. Adi Litia Qionibaravi will remain the General Secretary and due process will be undertaken by the Management Board, in accordance with the SODELPA constitution.

In addition, the Committee resolved to recommend to the Management Board the name of Mr. Vijay Singh as Acting Party President. The Committee will also recommend the names of Ratu Jone Seniloli and Gina Pareti-Rawalai to the Board to appoint as acting Vice Presidents until the next Annual General Assembly where vacant positions will be filled.



There are three Party Vice President positions, and Mr. Vijay Singh’s two year term expires at the end of June 2020, as he was first elected at the AGM held in Lautoka in June 2018. In addition, the Committee recommended that the Management Board consider the former Treasurer, Ms. Ruci Karuru to act in the position of SODELPA National Treasurer.

I urge the SODELPA Family, including financial members, voters and supporters to remain calm and allow due process to take its course. Let us remain united, we will get through these challenges, if we talk about our challenges, and commit to move forward in achieving our, towards our primary objective of changing government by winning elections in 2022.

“Meda tudei tiko, masu tiko, veitauriliga, ka veilomani.”

ENDS//

Authorised by:

Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka Leader of Opposition & Party Leader, Social Democratic Liberal Party

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

QIONIBARAVI QUESTIONS CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PURPORTED SUSPENSION AS SODELPA GENERAL SECRETARY

QIONIBARAVI QUESTIONS CONSTITUTIONALITY OF PURPORTED SUSPENSION AS SODELPA GENERAL SECRETARY 


13TH MAY, 2020

The following statement was issued by Hon. Adi Litia Qionibaravi, SODELPA Member of Parliament for Tailevu North today following a meeting of the Working Committee of the Social Democratic Liberal Party which purported to suspend her appointment as General Secretary.

As General Secretary of SODELPA, I convened the meeting of the Working Committee held today at the Party Office. Towards the end of the meeting, a complaint from SODELPA USA President was tabled and I was asked to leave the room. I was not asked to return to the meeting and was surprised to learn it had ended.



I have not been officially informed by Mr. Vijay Singh in writing, email or by telephone of the decision of the Working Committee. However unconfirmed media reports state that the Working Committee have purportedly suspended me from the position of General Secretary.

I wish to state categorically that the Party Constitution gives only the Management Board the authority over disciplinary matters.

I confirm as well that I was not afforded natural justice by Mr. Vijay Singh and the Working Committee when they purportedly decided to suspend me. I was not informed as to the substance of the complaint, neither was I given opportunity to respond to the complaint before the decision was made.

Section 26(b) of the SODELPA Constitution states clearly that “An accusation against a member of the party is to be in writing, signed and addressed to the Chairperson of the Management Board through registered mail or hand delivered to the party secretariat.

The Party Constitution makes it very clear that disciplinary matters are the responsibility of the Management Board alone, and not the Working Committee. While the Board has delegated some of its functions to the Committee, it cannot and has not delegated disciplinary matters to the Committee.

In section 25 (c)-(f), the following is required:

(d) No accusation that occurred over six months prior to the date on which the accusation is lodged shall be accepted by the Board unless there are reasonable grounds, at the Management Board’s discretion, to accept the accusation. (e) The Board shall ensure that due process is observed when dealing with the accusation, the accused is allowed the right to be heard and to be represented by a person of his/her choice.

(f) The person making the accusation has to provide information as to who the accusation is against, each and every matter giving rise to the accusation and action that the accuser had taken to address the matter before lodging the accusation. (g) The Chairperson of the Board shall table the accusation to the Management Board as soon as

possible for decision.

It is unfortunate that the provisions of the Constitution provided above, have not been followed and at this stage, I have not been given the complaint, neither was I heard before the Committee made its decision.

At this point in time, I am still waiting for official notification from Mr. Vijay Singh, and I have sought legal advice as well.

In terms of the GS position, although I had stepped down from the position in 2019 to focus on my parliamentary duties, the April 27th 2020 directive from the Supervisor of Elections required me to step in to organise the meetings of the Working Committee, Management Board and Annual General Assembly, which are urgently required after the recent High Court decision pronounced on 23rd April 2020, the directives of the Supervisor of Elections, pending the result of the appeal.

My primary concern is to ensure the Party continues to operate, and to meet the requirements set by the Supervisor of Elections, and the expectations of members, to have a functional Party Office, as we prepare for the 2022 elections. Given the lacunae, I stepped in on the directive of the Supervisor of Elections.

I am aware as well that a previous complaint by SODELPA Tovata USA has also circulated in the media. As it is a matter for the Management Board, I had prepared my response to the complaint, as I would have for this second complaint which has not yet been disclosed to me. However, I have been denied opportunity to respond.

In terms of SODELPA finances, our audited financial report has been prepared annually since the party was first registered in 2013. In accordance with the Political Parties Act, the party accounts and records are audited annually by Chartered Accountants, and this is filed with the Supervisor of Elections before the end of April annually. The SOE then publishes this in the media, and on the FEO website.

In my view, complaints relating to the management of SODELPA finances are unfounded and based on misinformation, and misunderstanding of accounting procedures. As General Secretary of SODELPA, I have always been mindful of the fundraising challenges of political parties given the fundraising restrictions in the Political Parties Decree. All parties are reliant on donations from individuals to survive and campaign.

Electoral Campaigning is an expensive undertaking for parties. Given the purpose of all parties is to win elections, that is our primary focus, to stay operational and prepare for elections.

Our electoral effort is primarily reliant on funding, and volunteers. That is why as General Secretary, I endeavour to keep the party finances on an even keel. As part of this effort direct requests are made to overseas chapters, for the purchase of certain items like vehicles or for particular campaign requirements like a media/advertising blitz.

While sometimes the party has the cash to pay for certain items, knowing our members overseas are fundraising based on our mutual discussions, direct requests for some of these items are made. So

while the party may have paid for a vehicle on a certain date, the money donated from overseas arrives a bit later and “reimburses” the amount paid by the Party. All the items queried to me, have been properly receipted and accounted for.

In 2018 the Party Leader and I travelled to the U.S.A. I took time to explain to members the purchase of two vehicles in 2017 from their donations. All queries were answered satisfactorily, in my view. As for donations made in 2018, these have been audited and the audited report tabled with the Elections Office. Unfortunately the U.S. SODELPA have not held their annual meeting in 2019 and 2020, to afford us opportunity to explain their 2018 donations that helped with the 2018 election campaign, to them. In any case, all payment vouchers, invoices and receipts for the funds requested by USA SODELPA have been scanned and prepared to be sent to this Chapter.

At the moment, I will focus on constituency matters in Tailevu North, and preparing for the Parliament Sitting May 25th – 29th 2020.

I am also preparing for the proper constitutional forum, the Management Board meeting to respond to the queries, and I am waiting to hear from Mr. Vijay Singh as I have sought legal advice on the latest purported decision of the Working Committee.

Authorised by:

Hon. Adi Litia Qionibaravi 
Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Liberal Party

OPPOSITION LEADER COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES, URGES SODELPA FAMILY TO REMAIN UNITED


OPPOSITION LEADER COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES, URGES SODELPA FAMILY TO REMAIN UNITED 

13 May 2020

This statement is issued by the Leader of Opposition and Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party, Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka as the world prepares to celebrate international day of families on May 15th, 2020.

International Family Day is marked to raise awareness in the significance of families and the different challenges faced by families, particularly parents and children today.



The mantra “It takes a village to raise a child” reflects and is deeply rooted within the Fijian and Pacific community way of life and plays a significant role within family structures and communities. Instilling values and respect together with Christian principles on the cultural understanding that each individuals within a family will succeed and become prosperous.

International Day of Families is a day to reflect on our individual roles in our own family and to re-commit our bonds of love, service and respect to each other. In doing so, we will be able to build much stronger families, stronger communities and a stronger nation. For Fiji to become an inclusive and progressive society we must all continue to embrace family values.

Although families all over the world and in Fiji have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure and as a result of global trends and demographic changes, the United Nations still recognizes the family as the basic unit of society.

Despite this effort by the United Nations and other related international organizations to protect the family as social institution, families are endangered in an unprecedented way today, starting from the way it’s defined to its psychological and social applications, including the values and principle it regulates.



Families are the bedrock upon which society is built. Families are the basic building blocks of the nation. Strong families mean a strong nation. Therefore we must continue to embrace the fundamental value of families.

A SODELPA government will consult with all relevant stakeholders in the development and improvement of laws, policies and programs to improve and protect family values to build a prosperous industrious nation. We are committed to building a new Fiji with strong family units.

For the SODELPA Family, I urge you to remain steadfast and calm, while we face some challenges, like all families, we can solve our issues with dialogue and mutual understanding and respect for one another. I urge forbearance for all members of the SODELPA family today, to the Plaintiffs and Defendants, and your families and supporters, let us remain united, we will get through these challenges, if we hold hands, talk about our challenges, and commit to move forward in achieving our, towards our primary objective of changing government by winning elections in 2022.

“Meda tudei tiko, masu tiko, veitauriliga, ka veilomani.”

May God Bless Families in Fiji and all over the world.

ENDS//

Authorised by:

Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka
Leader of Opposition & Party Leader, Social Democratic Liberal

Monday, 11 May 2020

OPPOSITION LEADER COMMENDS NURSES FOR BEING FAITHFUL TO THE NIGHTINGALE’S CREED

OPPOSITION LEADER COMMENDS NURSES FOR BEING FAITHFUL TO THE NIGHTINGALE’S CREED 

11 May 2020 

This statement was issued by the Leader of Opposition and Party Leader of the Social Democratic Liberal Party, Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka as the world prepares to celebrate international nurses day on May 12th 2020.

2020 has been designated by the World Health Organisation as the Year of the Nurses and Midwives on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Unfortunately, while nurses are amongst the most trusted profession, in many countries, nurses are considered less important than others and treated with less respect. In Fiji and many countries, there is a shortage of nurses, we have graduates every year, but they are lured by other countries where they are recognised with better working conditions and pay.



Nurses and midwives make up more than half of the health and medical workforce and if we in Fiji want to improve the provision of health care, it is important to recognise and celebrate the role and contributions of nurses to our healthcare system, and the well-being of our people. It is a global goal in the Sustainable Development Goals to have universal health care, this can only be achieved if the role of nurses, midwives and all healthcare workers are recognised and accordingly rewarded.

Yesterday the Churches in Fiji celebrated Mothers’ Sunday in COVID-19 Lockdown Mode. While we were not able worship in our regular Churches, many of us celebrated with the mothers in our lives with our family, at home. It was a great time to reflect on the great responsibility shouldered by mothers and women as a whole, in society.

In the world today we see women and mothers in every level of service and leadership from Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Speakers and Presiding Officers in Parliaments and Senates, in Executive Offices in both the Public and Private Sectors, all levels of Management and Professions and Employment, in fact, no mother can ever be unemployed as motherhood is a full-time Management employment.

Mothers plan and manage the daily requirements of the family and ensure the budget is properly spread to ensure the family enjoys the quality of life to ensure each life she is responsible for will eventually be capable of leading and manage his or her family unit as they grow up and age.

It was a day for all mothers’ children to acknowledge the great task our mothers have done in bringing us up to be what we are and where we are today. Many of us will appreciate that more than 80% of the efforts to get to where we are can be attributed to our mothers.

I have always liked the words of tribute given my King Solomon in Proverbs 31, because it sums up the perfect relationship guidelines for a family:

Sayings of King Lemuel 31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him. 2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! 3 Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. 4 It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. 6 Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! 7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. The Wife of Noble Character 10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family

and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Let us all be thankful for our mothers, and may God bless all mothers.

International Nurses Day Tuesday 12th May is International Nurses Day

Like Mothers’ Sunday, it is a day that we all need to remember and celebrate – and not only on the day, but every day.

This year, when the world is still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic, we celebrate International Nurses Day. Most non-nurses will be able to celebrate this day and write about nurses, even drink a toast to Nurses, while most of the nurses may not even be aware that it is International Nurses Day, because of their hectic work of saving or preserving lives and treating patients, even delivering new lives in Labour Wards around the world.

Many of us consider with reverence the commitment of the nurses in our Health Facilities around the country. Some toil with very little job comforts and facilities, but toil on nonetheless. Many of us wonder what drives them on as many may have already given up hope.

In the Rural Health Facilities first established by the colonial government and extended by successive government, Nurses brave all kinds of weather conditions to do their ‘Rounds’ of their allocated villages and settlements or attend to a call for help from a remote community unable to travel to the Health Centre or hospital.

All of them, men and women nurses, as young persons, chose not only a profession or a career, they chose a way of life dedicated to service for humanity. They are driven by their love for humanity and life. They have a pledge which is the bench mark of their service and the pledge is not just nice words written for them to recite as they finish their training and graduate to go and serve – the words are from their hearts:

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to pass my life in purity and to practise my profession faithfully.

I shall abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and shall not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.

I shall do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.

I shall be loyal to my work and devoted towards the welfare of those committed to my care.”

This is the Nightingale Pledge which the Nurses all over the world us as a lamp in the dark world they work in. May God Bless our Nurses and Midwives.

ENDS//

Authorised by:

Hon. Major-General (Ret’d) Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka 
Leader of Opposition & Party Leader, Social Democratic Liberal Party