KURUSIGA’S NEW ROLE

The Bri­gadier-Gen­eral be­comes the cer­e­mo­nial head of the Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces Ter­ri­to­rial Force

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - MAIKA BOLATIKI NADAVE, BAU

Out­go­ing se­nior of­fi­cial of the Min­istry of

iTaukei Af­fairs Apakuki Kurusiga has joined a special group af­ter be­ing pro­moted to Bri­gadier-Gen­eral.

He be­comes the fifth per­son hold­ing the high-rank­ing mil­i­tary ti­tle in recog­ni­tion of his ser­vice to the mil­i­tary and the coun­try.

The an­nounce­ment was missed by the me­dia and he only con­firmed it yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing asked by the Fiji

Sun.

The other ti­tle­hold­ers in­clude two for­mer Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces Com­man­ders, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau (for­mer Pres­i­dent) and Ratu Epeli Gani­lau. Mo­hammed Aziz, deputy Com­man­der of the RFMF, and Si­tiveni Qil­iho, the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, make up the rest of the special five. Bri­gadier-Gen­eral is be­tween a Colonel and a Ma­jor-Gen­eral. Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Kurusiga is a cer­e­mo­nial leader of TF, one that they look up to.

He served the Ter­ri­to­rial Force with dis­tinc­tion af­ter an ear­lier stint with the reg­u­lar force.

Al­though he has no op­er­a­tional role the TF keeps him in­formed of de­vel­op­ments. The TF may seek his words of wis­dom on cer­tain mat­ters.

As the TF ex­pands its role es­pe­cially dur­ing re­lief and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work dur­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and other emer­gen­cies, Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Kurusiga may be a guid­ing light. Al­though he is re­tired, his ad­vice will be much sought af­ter.

“Now you’re the first to in­ter­view me and I’m happy with it,” he said yes­ter­day from the Min­istry of iTaukei Af­fairs.

He said now that he is re­tir­ing from the min­istry he would con­cen­trate on his TF role.

The TF is made up of the 4th Bat­tal­ion based in Nadi, 5th Bat­tal­ion based in Lau­toka, 6th Bat­tal­ion for Nau­sori/Suva, 7th Bat­tal­ion based in Labasa and the 8th Bat­tal­ion for those in the is­lands.

It now has an of­fice at the Army Train­ing Group Camp at Nas­inu and has about 30 reg­u­lar staff headed by the Chief of Staff TF Brigade, Lieu­tenant-Colonel Ali­pate Vo­saicake. Lieu­tenant-Colonel Vo­saicake said the reg­u­lar staff were car­ry­ing out the ad­min­is­tra­tion work for the TF Brigade.

He said for peace­keep­ing du­ties, 60 per cent was made up of TF. Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Kurusiga is now on pre-re­tire­ment leave and will fin­ish from the iTaukei Af­fairs Board in Oc­to­ber.

Speak­ing to the Fiji Sun at Nadave, Bau, Tailevu, yes­ter­day at the Roko Tui sem­i­nar, he warned the iTaukei

and Fi­jian peo­ple to be aware of Gov­ern­ment crit­ics vis­it­ing them and the mes­sages they were spread­ing.

He said the Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama-led Fi­jiFirst Gov­ern­ment had car­ried out de­vel­op­ments for all in­clud­ing the

iTaukei. He said the iTaukei and vil­lagers were ben­e­fit­ting from these de­vel­op­ments.

The Op­po­si­tion politi­cians, he said, would like to win sup­port but they were us­ing the wrong tac­tics.

He said the de­vel­op­ments car­ried out by the iTaukei Af­fairs Board were in line with what Gov­ern­ment was do­ing.

Mr Kurusiga joined the Min­istry of the

iTaukei Af­fairs Board in 2008.

He said he was tasked to au­dit the min­istry and sub­mit a report. One of the things he found dur­ing his au­dit was the abuse of of­fice by some of­fi­cers.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Kurusiga he sub­mit­ted the report with rec­om­men­da­tions.

He said he was happy that ac­tions were taken as rec­om­mended.

For so long he said there were no au­dit re­ports and the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment wanted this done in 2008.

Cur­rently the TAB and the 14 pro­vin­cial coun­cil of­fices had sub­mit­ted a total of 92 an­nual ac­counts to the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral up to 2007.

Tar­get sub­mis­sion for 2017/2018:

■ TAB an­nual ac­counts: 2008 – 2016 ■ 14 PCs an­nual ac­counts: 2008 – 2013. Draft ac­counts un­der review for sub­mis­sion:

■ Naitasiri: 2008 – 2011

■ Serua: 2008 – 2010

■ TAB: 2008 - 2010

When asked what he would like TAB to im­prove on in terms of de­vel­op­ment for the peo­ple, he said the min­istry should im­prove on the de­vel­op­ment of the vil­lage head­man (turaga-ni-koro). He said they were the ones that lived with the peo­ple and knew their needs.

He said he fully sup­ported the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Naipote Ka­tonitabua’s pro­posal for more train­ing for the turaga-ni-koro.

Mr Ka­tonitabua was cor­rect when he said the turaga-ni-koro was the first con­tact in any vil­lage and they would also be re­quired to make brief­ings to high level del­e­ga­tions vis­it­ing the vil­lage.

Mr Kurusiga said now the turaga-ni-koro were re­quired to write and sub­mit their quar­terly re­ports to the pro­vin­cial coun­cil of­fices.

One of the rec­om­men­da­tions he made was for the turaga-ni-koro to at­tend work­shops to learn on how to write re­ports.

Now he said the min­istry was giv­ing al­lowances to the turaga-ni-koro. Other min­istries and com­pa­nies were us­ing their ser­vice.

“It is time they must also pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the turaga-ni-koro,” he said. He said the min­istry had also put in place a new vil­lage pol­icy where the turaga-ni-koro would be heav­ily in­volved. Mean­while, Mr Ka­tonitabua thanked Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Kurusiga for his lead­er­ship. He said lead­er­ship was one of his lega­cies they would trea­sure.

Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Kurusiga will be of­fi­cially farewelled by the Roko Tui at Nadave to­mor­row.

Photo: Ronald Ku­mar

Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Apakuki Kurusiga.

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