THE PRIME MINISTER ADDRESSES THE NATION

The Prime Minister, Hon. Enele Sosene Sopoaga addressed the nation in a message broadcasted over Radio Tuvalu on Christmas Eve 2017. He convinced the nation that for the year 2018, his government is committed to promoting and developing the health standards of all the people of Tuvalu, improving the life standards of Tuvaluans, developing the family food security, and respond to the impacts of climate change, for example, the coastal protection project that includes the islands of Nanumea, Nanumaga and Funafuti is to be soon implemented.

20160229_185511.jpg
The Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga and spouse, Salilo at the entrance to the Tuvalu House

The Prime Minister said that his government has committed in its 2018 budget an amount of $8 million towards the Tuvalu Trust Fund and $2million towards the Tuvalu’s Climate Change Survival Fund.

In other developments, the Prime Minister assured the nation that the government will also prioritize works on the repair and maintenance of classrooms as well as the education and training of Tuvalu citizens.

The Prime Minister also highlighted a few of his government’s achievements in 2017 referring to the development in renewable energy. He said that about 95-96% of homes in Tuvalu have now access to a 24-hour electricity supply. Last month, the new fishery’s office complex was inaugurated and an agreement was also signed between the Government of Kiribati and the Government of Tuvalu allowing Tuvalu’s air space to be used for a new air service to be operated by Air Kiribati to Tuvalu. The new airport terminal is also expected to be officially opened soon.

The Prime Minister also informed the nation about two important events to take place in Tuvalu this year, a leaders’ meeting for Polynesian countries will be hosted by Tuvalu and it will be held in Funafuti. The other meeting is the Forum of Pacific Leaders Meeting to be held in Funafuti in 2019. Government is now working on ensuring that there are available and enough accommodations for the participants to the two meetings.

The Prime Minister confirmed to the nation that Tuvalu is really progressing and advancing as reflected in the continuing increase of the national budget from $70m + in 2017 to about $80m + in 2018.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

NEW FISHERY COMPLEX IS INAUGURATED

A new fishery complex on the capital, Funafuti has been inaugurated on Friday, 23 December 2017. Many high government officials including the Governor General, representatives from the non-governmental organizations, island communities, the private sector and religious communities were there to witness the opening ceremony which was held at the Fishery headquarter, Teone Funafuti.

20160213_125540(The New office building)

The government of Tuvalu through the Minister of Natural Resources, Hon Puakena Boreham thanked the Government of New Zealand through its representative from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Matthew Howell for its great generosity and invaluable support towards the construction of the new fisheries office building and procurement of the equipment. The Minister also extended her thanks to New Zealand’s Government for its continued support towards the technical adviser it provided for the Fishery Department who also played key roles in ensuring that the building is ready and delivered to Tuvalu before the end of the year.

20160213_142136.jpg(Minister of Natural Resources, Mrs Puakena Boreham delivering her address)

In fact, the building is the Tuvalu Fisheries Department Operations Centre. The Centre will house the entire Fisheries staff under the same roof for the first time after two decades, said the Minister.

The Director of Fisheries, Mr Samasoni Auina acknowledged the extra contributions provided by the World Bank and the Republic of China of Taiwan on equipment and fittings. The building cost the New Zealand Government about $4 million plus.

The chief Guest for the function was Mr. Mathew Howell from the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who represented the Government of New Zealand. In his address, Mr. Howell said “to see the building standing is both exciting and a relief, New Zealand is proud to support Tuvalu to reach this potential. We know the importance of fisheries, and the department, from sustainable fishing for communities to the revenue which drives the economy, funds schools and healthcare, fisheries help Tuvalu to set its own destiny”.

Mr. Howell continued by saying that “while the building is just one aspect of our work together in fisheries, it will serve as a physical symbol of this partnership. I hope that our partnership, and this building, stands strong for many years to come”.

The ribbon of the new building was cut by the Governor General, His Excellency Iakoba Taeia Italelei and Mr. Howell.

new fisheryGovernor-General with his back to the camera and Mr Howell in the blue shirt

After the ribbon, has been cut, the invited guests toured the double-story building:

20160213_145143(Office space in the new complex)

After a tour of the rooms and offices, there was a big lunch and the trainees from the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute took charge of the catering.

20160213_130039(TMTI trainees grouped for a photo)

After lunch, the Nukufetau community on the capital provided the local entertainment of ‘fatele’.

20160213_162823(Nukufetau island community on the capitol performing local dance)
20160213_163617(Mr. Matthew Howell joined the dancers)

There were also ‘sivas’ performed by ‘Higano Girls’.

20160213_155652(Higano girls performing)

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

AIR KIRIBATI PROPOSES A NEW AIR LINK

Tuvalu has been very unfortunate for so many years to have only one air link exit and this was through Fiji. Tuvalu has an exclusive agreement with Air Fiji as the sole airline that operates between Fiji and Tuvalu. This means that to travel overseas, you have to go through Fiji.

Towards the end of last year, 2017, the Government of the Republic of Kiribati decided to open up a new air link to enable Tuvaluans to have a new option to exit to other overseas countries. This is through the operation of its national carrier, Air Kiribati Limited.

Thus, a Kiribati Government delegation which included Air Kiribati high officials arrived in Tuvalu to discuss with government about opening up a new air link between Tuvalu and Kiribati. This air link will also provide a new exit for Tuvalu travelers to continue further to other overseas countries like, Australia, New Zealand, other Pacific countries and also Asia, Europe and the Americas.

20160218_124923(Members of the delegation from Kiribati at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel and Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)

The Kiribati delegation met with government officials and an Air Service Agreement was signed which allow Air Kiribati to operate between Tuvalu and Kiribati. The commercial agreement that will detail the operation is yet to be discussed between the Tuvalu Government and the Air Kiribati Limited. If everything goes well, it is possible that the inaugural flight between Kiribati and Tuvalu may take place in February or in early March 2018.

Air Kiribati plans to operate its new aircraft, DASH 8 that can carry a maximum capacity of 37 passengers and freights. The Government of Kiribati has also a plan to operate to Fiji and negotiations with the Government of Fiji is continuing. If this arrangement is successful, it is possible that Air Kiribati will have a much lower airfare compared to what Air Fiji is levying.

20160218_185611(Air Kiribati’s DASH 8 Aircraft parking at the Funafuti International Airport)

 

Kitiona Tausi

TUVALU PREPARES FOR THE PACIFIC FORUM OF LEADERS

The 2019’s Pacific Islands’ Forum of Leaders Meeting will be hosted by Tuvalu and preparations are underway by government. In the meantime, the Public Works Department has started to construct 9 bungalows on the Queen Elizabeth II Park adjacent to the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel. The work is being carried out by PWD’s workforce,

The Director of PWD, Mr Amupelosa Tehulu told KMT News that the 9 bungalows are to accommodate the 18 Pacific Leaders who will be attending the Pacific Forum. There are 3 self-contained room in each of the bungalows and two leaders couple will occupy one bungalow. In the meantime, there are 4 D-grade double story complex are under construction by 4 local contractors and are expected to be completed in March or April this year. Another 4-double story D complex and another 4-double story complex will soon be tendered for contractors

new houseTwo of the nine New bungalows under construction

One bigger project is a Convention Centre also to be built on the Queen Elizabeth II Park. The center is expected to be 40 meters in length by 20 meters in width with a water cistern underground. The concept design is being done by PWD while the architectural design has been contracted out. The contractor to build the center has been awarded to the engineering company in Fiji ‘Eristo’. Director Tehulu said the delay in the work is due to the need by the contractor to survey the soil, since the center is to be built on a reclaimed land, the soil need to surveyed to know its behavior and movement. Once this is cleared and proven to be alright, work will start immediately.

 

Kitiona Tausi

GOVERNMENT TO BUILD NEW STATE HOUSE

Government has planned to build a new state house that accommodate the Head of State, the Governor-General of Tuvalu. The old building will be demolished to make space for the new state house. The Public Works Department has already started demolishing the building.

new officeThe bit that remains to be demolished, the Office of the Governor-General. This photo was taken a week ago, and today, the ground is completely levelled.

Sources from the Public Works Department said the new building may cost Government about $800.000 – $1million.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

 

A NEWLY-WEDDED COUPLE SPENT FIRST NIGHT IN HOSPITAL

A newly wedded couple spent their first night in hospital after an accident happened at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel. The couple, Mr Mark Pesega of Nanumea and Ms Lepeka F. Lameko of Nanumaga planned to spend their first night at the hotel but thing turned out the way they were not expecting.

Sources revealed that they were with friends in a room on the above floor of the double storey building, and the couple were outside the verandah leaning against the metal pipe rail when the rail was suddenly broke loose and fell off with the couple went down together to the ground, it might have been a height of 2 -3 metres.

The couple were immediately rushed to the Princess Margret Hospital and the bride sustained serious injuries while Mr Pesega sustained just minor injuries. He was discharged after 1-2 days in hospital while the wife had to remain in hospital a few more days. She was discharged a few days later.

On Sunday a week later, their families were able to host the cultural family feast to close the wedding festivities.

newly wedded

The newly-wed couple, Mr and Mrs Mark Pesega at a family feast to close the wedding festivities at the Nanutasi Fou Falekaupule. The cake was to thank God that they have survived the accident. The photo below is the verandah of the room at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel where the rail broke off.

newly wedded 2

Staff members of the Hotel confirmed that the rails are quite safe and a strong force must have been the reason why the rail was detached from the building.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

MFED RECEIVES TPL DELEGATION

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MFED), Hon Maatia Toafa has kindly received a delegation from the Tuvalu Post Limited (TPL) to discuss issues that are pertinent to the development of the company. The Tuvalu Post Limited is a public company established by the government a few years ago and it merged the former Tuvalu Post Office and the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau.

After a resolution by the Board of Directors of TPL to meet with the Minister, the meeting was fulfilled on 05 February 2018. TPL’s delegation included the Board Chairman, Mr Kalepou Tili, Board Members: Ms Hilia Vavae and Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi and staff members, Ms Sulia Pepeuga, the General Manager and Mrs Oniki Teitala, the Accounts Officer.

The minister was together with the Acting Secretary of the ministry, Mr Niuatui Iakopo who is in fact the Director of Budget, Planning and Coordination.

MOF(L-R) At the front: Board Director, Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi, Hon Minister, Maatia Toafa, TPL General Manager, Ms Sulia Pepeuga, TPL Accounts Officer, Oniki Teitala.
At the back row: Niuatui Iakopo, TPL Board Director/Chairman, Mr Kalepo Tili, TPL Board Director, Ms Hilia Vavae.

The TPL delegation wanted to raise to the minister some very important issues that may assist the development of the company. These issues include:

  1. TPL’s concept paper requesting financial assistance from government to launch a major marketing project to expand Tuvalu stamps sale, commencing from the Asian market.
  2. TPL’ outstanding membership fees in the Universal Postal Union (UPU) when it was still a government department. This fee now amounted to about AU$317,000 to date as payment ceased after 2010.
  3. The Audit Department’s outstanding rent when it rented part of the Philatelic Bureau’s building which now amounts to $84,000.
  4. The Philatelic Bureau’s loss of revenue years back when its incoming mails used to be offloaded by the airline which amounted to AU$60,000.
  5. The need for a Technical Assistant.

Minister, Hon Toafa was very positive and very kind in his response to TPL’s issues. For the outstanding fees with the UPU and the loss of revenue sustained by the offloading of mails, he requested for a paper submission to the ministry. With the Audit rent, he confirmed that the ministry has allocated the amount of $84,000 in the National Budget this year to pay off this rent and he will see that this payment is processed. For a TA, the minister explained that government has agreed for a total number of 13TAs for this year and this has been achieved. Thus, TPL may have its TA next year. In regard to the concept paper, the minister said that it is going to be discussed by the Development Coordination Committee and its result will be brought to Cabinet for a final decision

TPL’s delegation was more than satisfied with the minister’s responses.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

MORE TUVALU LAWYERS ADMITTED TO THE BAR

Three Tuvalu lawyers have been admitted to the bar after they have graduated. The trio were Mr Paniani Nakala of Niutao, his wife Chrisanthy Nakala and Ms Lisepa Paeniu of Nukulaelae. The Acting Attorney General, Mrs Laigane Maina told KMT News that the three new lawyers can now practice in Tuvalu and they can stand in the Senior Magistrate and other superior courts in Tuvalu.

Mrs Maina confirmed to KMT News that about 17 Tuvalu lawyers have been admitted to the bar in Tuvalu and only one lawyer now has not been admitted and he is Mr Saaga Talu who now serves as Tuvalu’s first Ombudsman. Mrs Maina said that it is not an obligation to be admitted to the bar in Tuvalu and it is a personal choice of the person, but as a lawyer that has been admitted to the bar in Tuvalu, that lawyer can now practice in the courts in Tuvalu.

lawyers(Mr and Mrs Paniani Nakala to the left, Ms Lisepa Paeniu to the right)

Mrs Chrisanthy and Ms Lisepa Paeniu are now working in the Office of the Attorney General while Mr Nakala now serves in the Office of the People’s Lawyer.

In the official ceremony that was held for the purpose of admitting the lawyers to the bar, a few of those in attendance to witness the ceremony can be seen in the photograph below.
lawyers2
KMT News hereby congratulate the new lawyers and wish them luck in their service for the government and the people of Tuvalu. The admission ceremony was done by Tuvalu’s Senior Magistrate, Mr Simon Kofe.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi

A WELL-KNOWN TUVALU DOCTOR RETURNS TO SERVE TUVALU AFTER 30 YEARs

Dr. Kaiva Tulimanu who has served in the Tuvalu’s Health Department has returned to serve in Tuvalu after 30 years. Dr Tulimanu decided to move on in life in February 1987 to serve in Vanuatu. Although he had paid short ad-hoc visits to Tuvalu on private businesses, his visit this time was an invitation by the Tuvalu’s Health Department to relieve the surgeon who was also a contracted expatriate from Papua New Guinea. Although it was a short contract of six weeks, he really enjoyed his time with the staff of the Princess Margret Hospital.

When asked to comment on the current hospital services compared to the time when he was serving in Tuvalu, he said the hospital is a new one, better equipped as well as having new staff. But, he could see the need for better supervision and management of the doctors, seeing that many of the doctors are quite young.

doctorsDr Kaiva Tulimanu outside the verandah of his accommodation at Dr Falesa Pitoi’s guest house at Tekavatoetoe

Dr Tulimanu explained to KMT News that he runs a private hospital in Port Villa, Vanuatu and it is the biggest private hospital in the country. There are three of them doctors who are employed in the hospital but he owns the hospital together with a German doctor. Since that they have three doctors in the hospital, he can now take time off to attend to any future invitation by the Tuvalu Government and he looks forward to returning when invited.

In his six-weeks contract in Tuvalu, he could see that most of the patient he saw were suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. He said that this was a result of a change in diet from local food to processed food sold in the stores. He recommended Tuvaluans to try and eat local food and do away with processed food.

 

Dr. Kitiona Tausi