KURUSIGA’S NEW ROLE
The Brigadier-General becomes the ceremonial head of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Territorial Force
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
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.
Brigadier-General Apakuki Kurusiga.