Fi­jians in Cook Is­lands in Limbo $376 a week

Fiji Sun - - NATION - SHALVEEN CHAND Edited by Ranoba Baoa Feed­back: shal­vene.chand@fi­jisun.com.fj

The fu­ture of at least 500 Fi­jians work­ing in the Cook Is­lands hangs in a limbo. This is be­cause the Cook Is­lands Govern­ment sub­sidy for loss of wages to for­eign work­ers may cease at the end of the month.

Cook Is­lands an­nounced a three­month wage sub­sidy of $376 a week for three months as part of their COVID-19 ini­tia­tive. This cov­ered lo­cal as well as for­eign work­ers. The three-month pe­riod ends the end of the month.

A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of the Fi­jians Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion in the Cook Is­lands, Save­naca Tuk­i­toba, said dis­cus­sions were un­der­way within the com­mu­nity to de­cide on a repa­tri­a­tion flight.

“A larger num­ber of peo­ple are in the tourism sec­tor and with the re­stric­tions of travel, most of them have been af­fected,” he said.

“And tourism be­ing a large part of the Cook Is­lands econ­omy, other busi­nesses would also be af­fected.” at is paid to lo­cals and for­eign work­ers for three months as part of its Govern­ment COVID-19 ini­tia­tive. This is sched­uled to end at the end of the month.

He said the first thing they needed to do was es­tab­lish the num­bers who would want to re­turn to Fiji and then find out if those want­ing to re­turn could af­ford it.

Fi­jians in the Cook Is­lands are em­ployed in most sec­tors in­clud­ing govern­ment, health ser­vices and even the re­tail in­dus­try. But ma­jor­ity are in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor. Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary for For­eign Af­fairs Yogesh Karan said their of­fice had not re­ceived any cor­re­spon­dence for a repa­tri­a­tion from the Cook Is­lands.

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