Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fiji High Court Judge Questions Activist's Proceedings.

Justice Hickie questioned if AUSAID and NZAID have been advised of Angie Heffernan’s various legal proceedings and if so have they been approached to provide funding of any of the outstanding legal costs awarded against Heffernan.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2009 Fiji Poll not for ‘illegal’ parties: CCF

Reacting to a statement by the interim Prime Minister that the former ruling Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua party will not be allowed to contest the next election, Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) Executive Director, Reverend Akuila Yabaki says such a decision will augur well for Fiji.

read more | digg story

Fiji Government Reiterates Plans For 2009 Elections.

SUVA, Fiji: Fiji pledged again Wednesday to hold "free and fair" democratic elections in March 2009 — after months of serious doubt among foreign governments and observers.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Sickest Event On The Planet. (Surfer Speak).

Dubbed as "The Sickest Event on the Planet", the Globe Pro Fiji is returning to the perfect breaks of Cloudbreak and Restaurants, with the usual cast of top 45 surfers in the world from the ASP World Tour. Article in 5one predicts the action starts on Sunday and according to an article in Surfing, the surfers are literally 'stoked' for more action.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Australia's Selective Compliance of International Law- A Fiji View. (Updated)

Fiji Live (FL)article covers the speculative and outrageous claims by Australian Foreign Minister, Steven Smith regarding the issue of 'threat letters'.

The excerpt of the FL article:

Follow diplomatic obligations, Fiji told
21 MAY 2008

Australia has called on Fiji to comply with its international obligations, which make it incumbent on the interim regime to protect diplomatic missions, staff and their families.

The call has come from Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who told the Australian Parliament that Fiji was obliged to do this under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Age newspaper reports.

Smith revealed the Federal Government would pay for staff and their families at the high commission in Fiji to voluntarily return to Australia after Fiji's military rulers dismissed requests to bolster security following two death threats against the High Commissioner, James Batley.

He said the two threats in the past two weeks had been credible and repugnant but Fiji's rulers had rejected the Government's requests to deploy two unarmed federal police officers and to provide extra Fijian police.

"Regrettably, the Fiji interim Government has advised that it is not prepared to agree to close personal protection and I am still awaiting a response on additional Fiji police measures," he said.

"A number of additional steps will now be taken by the high commission itself to further strengthen security … The Government has decided to allow the families of Australian officials in our High Commission in Fiji to voluntarily return.

"Families may choose to stay. It will be entirely a matter for them."

Smith would not comment on whether the Fijian military was behind the threats, but said the swift response of the Fijian police indicated they regarded the threats as credible.

"Both anonymous threats were vile and repugnant in the extreme," he said. "The first threat, in my view, was a clear death threat against the high commissioner. The second threat was of the same order, but also could be interpreted as a wider threat to Australian officials at the high commission."

The death threats have further strained relations between Fiji and Australia, which has been leading the international effort to pressure the Fijian military regime, which seized power in a coup in December 2006, to hold elections.

Fiji's Foreign Minister, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, said yesterday security at the high commission was adequate and that the Australian offer to repatriate diplomats was regrettable.

"The thing is that if you look at the letter that came … it could be from a crank," he said. "[The High Commissioner] is here in Fiji. He has not been tied down anywhere. He is going around Suva … What the Australians have asked us is to provide security [at] entrances to the high commission. We are providing all that."

A Fiji Sun(FS)article also quotes from Australian Foreign Minister, Steven Smith. The excerpt of the FS article:

Staff given option to leave
Last updated 5/21/2008 9:19:39 AM

Family members of the Australian High Commission diplomatic staff have been offered the choice of “voluntary departure” by their government amid security concerns.
It comes as Canberra again raised its concern over the interim government’s rejection of a request to bring in reinforcement security for the High Commissioner and his staff after two threats in the past two weeks.

Australian High Commissioner James Batley said the latest move by his government came about as part of precautionary measures put in place by the High Commission for its staff and their families.

The country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also reviewed its travel advisory on Fiji. Mr Batley, for security reasons, wouldn’t say if any of his staff was going to accept the offer to return home. Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith said Canberra remained deeply concerned by the threats.

“The Government is disappointed that the Interim Fiji Government has not yet agreed to our reasonable requests for the deployment of Australian personnel and for additional security support by the Fiji police,” said Mr Smith. He reminded the interim government of its obligation, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to fully protect diplomatic staff and their families and diplomatic premises.

“A number of additional steps will now be taken, by the High Commission itself, to further strengthen the security of our staff, their families and our premises,” Mr Smith said.

“The Government has decided to offer spouses, partners and dependent children of High Commission staff in Suva the option of ‘voluntary return’ to Australia, with reasonable costs met by the Australian Government in the usual way.

“Families may choose to stay. It will be entirely a matter for them.” [Smith] said the threats did not alter the Australian government’s policy on Fiji. Meanwhile comments made by Australian authorities that the Fiji military was responsible for making threats against the Australian High Commissioner had been labelled as preposterous.

Interim Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau was reacting to reports in the Sydney Morning Herald which said: “Australian officials believe the Fijian military was responsible for two credible death threats against the high commissioner, James Batley, in the past two weeks”.

Ratu Epeli said the claims by the Australian authorities were unsubstantiated and should be backed up by facts if they wanted to maintain their claims. “The authorities who are occupying themselves with speculations would do better by spending their time with facts,” Ratu Epeli said. He said the interim Government has consistently maintained that it would not tolerate any threats by any person against diplomats in Fiji.

A Fiji Times article covering the subject of Australian diplomats being given the choice to relocate or remain, after the request by diplomats for deploying Australian Federal Police to shore up security in the Suva embassy was declined.

The excerpt of the FT article:

Return if you want, Aussie diplomats told

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A policeman checks out the occupants of a vehicle entering the Australian High Commissioners residence at Tamavua, in Suva

AUSTRALIA has updated its travel advisory, telling its nationals to observe a high degree of caution when in Suva and staff of the Australian High Commission in Fiji are authorised to leave Fiji if they wish.

The change was made after a request from the Australian High Commission for two unarmed Australian Federal Police officers to provide personal protection for its envoy, James Batley, was refused.

Under its safety and security clause in its advisory, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says "the Australian Government has authorised the voluntary departure of dependents of Australia-based staff in the Australian High Commission in Suva, if they wish to leave".

Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri yesterday said the force continued to provide security at the High Commissioner's residence and at the Australian High Commission.
He said police were still investigating the two death threats which were delivered to the Australian High Commission.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith had said the Australian Government would pay for families of diplomatic staff to voluntarily return home.

Speaking to reporters in Canberra on Tuesday, Mr Smith said "a number of additional steps would be taken by the high commission to further strengthen the security of our staff, their families and our premises".

Note that the Fiji Times had quoted Foreign Minister Steven Smith, but omitted Smith's doublespeak of referring to the 1961 Vienna Protocol.

The incident of the death threat letters addressed to the Australian High Commissioner, is quite a deplorable incident in itself. However, it is simply another matter for the Australian Foreign Minister to start preaching about Fiji's obligations under the Vienna Convention; since it has been proven that Australia had willfully breached the letter and the spirit of the Vienna convention.

Although, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's own website claims that they take the Vienna Convention seriously; the website also provides a caveat in the limitations of the Australian Protective Service (APS):

The Australian Protective Service (APS) may be engaged to monitor alarms at other staff residences and at the residences of honorary consuls but this will be charged for. The APS is unable to provide a response service to alarms in residences of staff and honorary consuls.

In these cases, the services of a private security company should be engaged - the APS will monitor the alarm regardless of whether the APS or a private company provides the response service.

Blog "The Interpreter" recent posting by Jenny Howard-Jones seems to have stirred up some misleading points on the subsequent events, after the threat letters were received.
The excerpt of the posting:

Inexplicable new low in Fiji-Australia relations
by Jenny Hayward-Jones
1 day ago

Fiji’s refusal to provide additional security or allow Australian Federal Police to provide protection to the Australian High Commission in Suva in the face of two credible death threats to Australian High Commissioner James Batley is yet another extreme step backwards by the Fiji interim government.

Its lack of respect for international law has brought relations with Australia to a new and unnecessary low, after the deportation of two Australian publishers.

It would be easy to say that this attitude is evidence of the interim government’s increased intransigence but Commodore Bainimarama has surprised us all by meeting on 19 May with Laisenia Qarase, the Prime Minister he deposed with his 2006 coup. The meeting, brokered by church leaders and described as informal, is a significant step in reassuring the region that Fiji is moving on the path to restoring democracy.

Commodore Bainimarama also demonstrated a sense of responsibility for the safety of foreigners in Fiji last week when he said that Fiji was a safe place and assured some Australian tourists who had been the victims of assault that the perpetrators would be 'taken to task by the authorities.'

Like any country heavily dependent on tourism for income, Fiji does not want to see reports of crime scaring away potential visitors. Fiji, presumably, would also be hesitant to see the families of diplomats depart, with the endorsement of the Australian government, because they did not feel safe. The interim government might also bear in mind that it is Australian High Commission staff who provide assistance to Australian tourists who become victims of crime in Fiji – if the diplomats themselves do not feel safe, how can they reassure Australians that the Fiji authorities will look after them?

So why is the interim government being bloody-minded about providing some additional protection to the Australian High Commission? Allowing Australian Federal Police officers in the country might be construed by the interim government as an unwanted intrusion but surely the interim government can spare some extra security officers of its own to protect the High Commission and its staff? It is not just diplomatic relations with Australia at stake here. This kind of publicity does not really reassure tourists that Fiji is a 'safe place'.

The opening sentence of the blog from Meyer Melanesia Foundation Program at Lowly Institute for International Policy is highly inaccurate.

Fiji’s refusal to provide additional security or allow Australian Federal Police to provide protection to the Australian High Commission in Suva in the face of two credible death threats to Australian High Commissioner James Batley is yet another extreme step backwards by the Fiji interim government.

First and foremost, the refusal was directed at the request to deploy Australian Federal Police to the Embassy.

The security at the Australian High Commission was upgraded subsequent to the first threat letter. It is also concerning how the "threats" were leaked to the media in the first place, as security professionals deal with these matters better if the threat matrix was analyzed quietly with the assistance of the local law enforcement.

Fiji Exiles Board posting on the issue is interesting. A poster (Real Jack)on the forum believes that the threats were manufactured, since the Interim Government would have resorted to deporting the High Commissioner if he had been a problem.

Fiji is far more safer than some parts of Sydney and it appears that the Australian High Commissioner is not being fazed even with the threats, because it appears that he was spotted going to the movies with friends, according to a post (by Alohabula 1) on the Fiji Exiles Forum.

Leaking the threat letter to the media would have been a tool for the Australian Foreign Ministry to disparage the efforts of the Interim Government and dissuade Australian tourists from visiting Fiji.

Unfortunately, this disapproval (of deploying the Federal Police)has been spun by the Australian Foreign Minister Steven Smith; as a convenient ploy to garner empathetical support from the International Community, among other things. If the(APS) does not provide services to alarms in staff residences and honorary consuls even in Australia (APS recommends that the services of a private security company be engaged); how would the APS respond to alarms in Fiji?

Clearly, the Vienna Protocol has been conveniently abused by the Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as a Fiji Times article (Wednesday Nov. th 2006 issue) outlines the claim of immunity to searches for diplomatic pouches. The excerpt of the FT article:

Diplomatic pouch is proper: Aussies

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A diplomatic consignment sent to Fiji last Friday was cleared in accordance with normal procedures, Australian High Commission department of foreign affairs and trade media liaison officer Matt Anderson, says.

Mr Anderson said the Australian Government had sent a team of Defence Supplementation Staff (DSS) to help the high commission. "They are to assist the high commission with administration and coordination. This is standard contingency planning and the Fiji Government was advised of the additional staff," he said.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and defence officials yesterday would not identify the number of personnel, their roles or the equipment sent to Fiji, apart from saying the men were "people to assist with coordination and administration".

New Zealand High Commissioner Michael Green said a small number of NZ police officers were in the country to provide security, advice and support to the high commission.

"The Fiji Government and the Fiji police were notified in advance of their arrival. The NZ police team did not arrive with silver boxes," he said. [Green] said that "no decision has been taken yet" over when the officers would return to New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister's Office chief executive Jioji Kotobalavu said foreign embassies, high commissions, United Nations and international agencies based in Fiji were entitled to diplomatic privileges to bring in staff from overseas.

He said this could be as additional measures to protect office premises and staff residences, along with the safety of staff and families.

In a statement, he said there was nothing extraordinary about it. "It is part of their normal diplomatic entitlement under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and the Fiji Diplomatic and Consular Privileges and Immunities Act," Mr Kotobalavu said.

"All they have to do is to notify the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs of their intention, and to request the provision of normal courtesies and facilitation on arrival in Fiji.

"The Fiji police is responsible for the general security of diplomatic missions and their staff in Fiji. However, these missions are free to bring in their own security staff, based on their assessments. Some already do this and, in certain circumstances, they may bring in additional personnel. It is part of their normal entitlement."

On Sunday, the Fiji army's Land Force commander, Colonel Pita Driti claimed Fiji's sovereignty had been breached by the arrival of a group of Australian nationals and 400kgs of equipment on Friday. He said the group had bypassed normal immigration procedures. Col Driti warned the military would not accept foreign intervention.

On Monday night, Fiji military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said they were still trying to find out more about the Australian nationals who entered the country on Friday. "It could possibly be the SAS. We are yet to confirm that," he said.

Mr Downer, speaking on ABC Radio, confirmed some extra staff had been sent to the Australian High Commission in Suva. "We have sent in some additional coordination and administrative staff in the event that there is a coup and there is some violence associated with the coup," Mr Downer told ABC Radio.

However, an article in Christian Science Monitor provides an expose on the abuses of this diplomatic pouch. The excerpt of CS article:

Guess what doesn't get screened by airlines? Diplomatic pouches.
Security experts worry that terrorists could exploit the protected status of these bags.

By Alexandra Marks | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON – Despite the intense scrutiny of airline passengers and their bags since 9/11, potentially explosive gaps still exist.

Top among them, for some analysts, are diplomatic bags - the privileged cargo that is given special immunity.
Readers Vote
(Having trouble? Click here)

Should the US start searching other countries' 'diplomatic pouches'?

Yes. It's only a matter of time before terrorists find a way to abuse their protected status.

61.28 % (201)

No. If it screens another country's diplomatic bags, the US can expect its own to be searched, too.

38.72 % (127)

Total votes: 328

* This is not a scientific poll. It is offered for those readers interested in expressing an opinion on a central issue presented in the accompanying story. The results are representative only of those self-selected Internet users, not of Internet users in general or the public as a whole. Voting closes 30 days after the poll is posted.

Security experts worry that terrorists could exploit the status of diplomatic pouches, which are protected from being opened or detained in any way by the Vienna Convention of 1961. In the past, rogue countries and individuals have used such bags to transport drugs, arms, and cash - and even to smuggle people. That's because a diplomatic pouch can be a crate big enough to carry a large desk.

Some security experts say it's "only a matter of time" before terrorists aligned with a rogue nation - or a dissatisfied diplomatic employee in a friendly one - find a way to abuse the privilege. To prevent that, a growing number of security experts, along with some diplomatic scholars, are calling for the United States and the international community to revisit the sanctity of diplomatic pouches.

The issue is gaining ground as the International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets global aviation standards and best practices, prepares to review its security guidelines later this month.

"The US needs to take the lead in saying this is a vulnerability that needs to at least be explored," says aviation security analyst Andrew Thomas of the University of Akron in Ohio. "Putting our heads in the sand and acting like it's still 1961 in a post-9/11 environment is just not the way to go."

But advocates of more tabs on diplomatic pouches have found an unlikely opponent - the US government itself. The State Department has consistently opposed screening diplomatic bags. "We support [the Vienna Convention] as it stands," says spokesman Noel Clay. That's because it doesn't want American diplomatic pouches screened when they are used overseas. The department worries such a move could compromise the nation's international intelligence operations, Mr. Clay says.

That view is shared by many in the intelligence and foreign affairs communities. The logic is based on preserving the integrity of the Vienna Convention, says Alfred Rubin, professor emeritus of international law at Tufts University's Fletcher School in Medford, Mass. So, if the US insists on screening another country's diplomatic bags, then the US would be vulnerable to the same treatment.

"Then American diplomatic pouches can presumably be examined and X-rayed or opened by our Latin American and African neighbors, and America doesn't want that," says Professor Rubin. "But I do think we have to explore the options."

Advocates of diplomatic bag screening contend there are ways to protect diplomatic protocol and at the same time increase aviation security. For instance, countries could ferry sensitive documents and technology on their own military aircraft.

"Because of the historical record of state sponsorship of and complicity with terrorism, it's certainly something that should be discussed, especially when it comes to nonintrusive means of checking," says Prof. Robert Lieber of Georgetown University in Washington.

Since 9/11, the Canadian government has implemented a policy that allows it to request examination of a diplomatic pouch if it has reason to believe the contents are suspect. "If the process is unsuccessful, [they can] deny transportation of the bag," e-mailed Vanessa Vermette of Transport Canada in response to a question.

Asked if the US has a similar policy in place, Clay of the State Department did not answer directly with a yes or no. "Diplomatic pouches are inviolable under international accords," he says. "We expect that host countries will obey the uses of the diplomatic pouch and institute reasonable precautions to ensure they're used only as intended."

But there is a long history of diplomatic pouches not being used as intended. For instance, in 1984, British authorities found a former Nigerian government minister who'd been abducted and drugged in a large diplomatic crate bound for Nigeria from the Stansted Airport. Also in the crate was a man who was conscious and equipped with drugs and syringes, according to the the July 1985 issue of The American Journal of International Law. Three people were arrested and charged, one of whom claimed diplomatic immunity.

When asked recently if the issue of diplomatic bag screening should be revisited, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff demurred. "There's a lot of law and custom and treaty obligations with respect to this matter," he said at a Monitor breakfast. "We do want to be mindful of all kinds of threats, but we want to operate within the treaty obligations we have."

The CS article underscores the danger of foreign nations exploiting the diplomatic pouch and in Fiji's case, the issue of those silver boxes allegedly holding arms was a validation of Australian abuse of Vienna Protocols; outlined in various SiFM postings (Aussie, Oi,oi,oi; Off Fiji or On Fiji; Location, location, location) on Australia's breach of International Law and the recent Fiji Human Rights Commission's report on the incursion of Australian SAS troopers, as covered by another SiFM posting "Aust. Military Presence in Fiji Pre-2006 Coup Raises Concerns".

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A Question of Numbers- Tied Foreign Aid To Fiji.

An earlier SiFM post" covered the issue of foreign aid to Fiji and the Pacific region. The blog "The Interpreter" featured a posting follow up from Fergus Hanson, who defends his data regarding China's aid to Fiji.
The excerpt of "The Interpreter" posting:

Fighting words from Fiji
by Fergus Hanson
1 day ago

An opinion piece I recently wrote for the SMH on Chinese aid in Fiji has stirred up a fighting reaction, along with some factual errors.

The Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office in Fiji, Parmesh Chand, is reported in the Fiji Times today as saying 'His figures are all wrong'. But at the same time, he has refused to reveal what the actual figures were. This is peculiar as the same newspaper in November 2007 reported the Finance Minister expressing his gratitude for a $US150 million Chinese soft loan (the largest part of pledged aid to Fiji in 2007). Other pledged aid figures were also drawn from the public record and then independently verified.

I don’t pretend using reports of pledged aid is the most accurate way of measuring China’s aid program, but unfortunately, given the secrecy, it remains the best.

The response to my article contains some unfortunate inaccuracies* — such as mistaking my figures on pledged aid for aid received — but is a good reminder of the secrecy surrounding China’s aid program. Clearly, a lot more work needs to be done to persuade China to disclose the details of its aid program and recipient governments to accurately report the aid they receive. The interim government in Fiji should publish the figures on the aid it receives from China if it is serious about contesting the use of the only figures available to the public.

* The Fiji Times journalist also reports me as saying China’s aid to Fiji 'was more than the total amount of aid China gives to the Pacific as a whole on an annual basis'. This is not only a logical impossibility — as Fiji is part of the Pacific and therefore cannot receive more aid than the Pacific as a whole — it is not what my opinion piece said. It said China’s pledged aid to Fiji 'is more than half China's annual aid to the entire Pacific'.

Hanson comments on the remarks by the Permanent Secretary to Prime Minister's Office, Parmesh Chand; who refuted, in a Fiji Times article the published figures of China's 2007 aid to Fiji.

China's aid to Fiji clearly exceeds the aid from Fiji's neighbors- Australia and New Zealand by a resounding factor. Irrefutably, China's deep pockets has created ripples of uneasiness in Wellington and Canberra; both resigned to notion that the untied aid from China equates to a considerable degree of influence, as well severely embarrassing their own 'tightwad' foreign policy in the region; which is traditionally packaged with strings attached.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Qarase charged with abuse of office by FICAC

Deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was produced in the Suva Magistrate Court this afternoon charged with abuse of office.The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption alleges Qarase acted outside his powers when he authorised the use of extinct mataqali funds from the Native Lands Trust Board for investment purposes.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 09, 2008

WiMAX to invade Italy and Fiji

New markets have been opened for WiMAX Technology, since Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry (III) and Newport Digital Technologies (NDT) had started a deployment of WiMAX network in Northern Italy and in The Republic of the Fiji Islands.

read more | digg story

WiMAX to invade Italy and Fiji

New markets have been opened for WiMAX Technology, since Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry (III) and Newport Digital Technologies (NDT) had started a deployment of WiMAX network in Northern Italy and in The Republic of the Fiji Islands.

read more | digg story

FICAC Probes Qarase Over Native Fijian Fund.

Ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase was questioned by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption today over the use of funds in the Fijian Affairs Ministry.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 02, 2008

Fiji Water's Green Veneer and Respect Myth.

Follow up to earlier posting on Fiji Water.

Food & Water Watch blog published an article on Fiji Water's green capitalization.

Fiji Water also featured in a video highlighting its environment sustainability. Video posted below.


I have isolated some images from the video that raise eyebrows about the whole green label and respect for locals.

Fiji Times article expands on the Fiji Water trust, with an interview with Fiji Water director external affairs and development David Roth.

The excerpt of FT article:

Fiji Water helps locals

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Fiji Water director external affairs and development David Roth

FIJI Water Foundation, which was established to help communities in Fiji by improving their daily life, has urged other businesses in Fiji to join hands in improving the quality of life for local people.

Fiji Water director external affairs and development David Roth said the foundation was launched in August last year with the aim of donating money to development projects in priority areas such as health, education and provision of water and infrastructure projects in Fiji.

Mr Roth said the foundation believes big businesses such as Fiji Water should try to give back to the community and this was their way of making sure the quality of life for people in Fiji improved.

He said the foundation was inviting proposals from non-government organisations on projects which were in line with the foundation's priority areas.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response we received from organisations on projects they require funding for and we have granted funding for some projects including water projects for Rotary Pacific Water for Life Trust, Savusavu Community Foundation for their eye-care and public sanitation projects and funding for construction of a mortuary for the Nanukuloa Health Centre in Ra," said Mr Roth.

He said most of the time there are not many donors who want to give funds for projects dealing with sanitation and other small projects but the foundation believes that all projects related to improvement of daily life is important.

"Most of the projects we are involved in may not seem too attractive for many people but we are helping with the projects."

Mr Roth said it was important for businesses to be involved with the community and should come forth in assisting such projects in improving life for the people.

He said the company had been aware of the problems being faced by local schools in relation to water supply and other issues and they will be working with organisations in assisting schools with provision of water and sanitation.

He said they would not be going to individual schools but will look at the proposals sent to the foundation through NGOs.

"We are working with Save the Children Fund on some of their projects and I would like to encourage other organisations to join us."

Mr Roth said Fiji Water Foundation was aware that there were people who fell through the cracks in the system and did not get any help from the government, so the foundation would try to help those people.

"Our commitment is to ensure that the people of Fiji benefit from the success of the company."

The Fiji Water Foundation has called for NGOs in the country to send their proposals to the foundation through their advertisement in the local dailies.

Mr Roth said he was optimistic that the response would be overwhelming.

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