By JOELENE TUIMOALA
Another iTaukei chief has pledged his support for Government two days after Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama revealed that he would contest next year’s elections.
This time it is Udu district chief, Ratu Emori Waqanivalu of Macuata in Vanua Levu. “If Government responds to the needs of the people then that’s the government people need to support,” Ratu Emori said.
“We are really happy about what the Government is doing for our villages. I would like to thank the Government for giving us this opportunity.”
He made the comments after they were visited by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni, last week.
He said it has been 10 years since a government minister had set foot in Nabouono Village, located at Udu Point in the province of Macuata.
“The last minister to visit the village was Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu ten years ago.”
Their village is not accessible by road.
Villagers over the years have to pay a lot of money to travel to the nearest town – Labasa.
Last week, Dr Luveni and Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta were in the village to mark the village’s commitment to the Zero- Tolerance Violence-Free Community initiative.
But for the villagers, the joy in just seeing the Government officials was a huge boost for them.
“We have been told about the expansion of our school, Duavata Secondary School, and other Government assistance that have come our way.
Most times we have been neglected probably because of our remote location, but we thank the Minister, given her age, she has braved the long journey to come and see us. We are very thankful about that,” Ratu Emori said.
He said five villages within the district had also received two sewing machines each from Government through Dr Luveni’s ministry.
“We the people of Udu are very strong. We don’t worry about anything, even though we are located very far from town. I don’t know about you in towns; whether you eat fish everyday like us here. Our only problem is the high transport costs and drinking water. These are the difficulties we face here in Udu.”
The same sentiments were echoed by Tui Wailevu, Ratu Kinijoji Maivalili who also thanked Government through the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation for their assistance in the construction of the Senibiau Women’s Resource Centre in Dreketi Village in the district of Wailevu, Cakaudrove Province.