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Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Captain (Navy) Timoci Lesi Natuva
By ROSI DOVIVERATA
Captain (Navy) Timoci Lesi Natuva describes his appointment as Minister for Transport, Public Works and Utilities in 2008 as the highlight of his career.
He was part of a number of military personnel strategically placed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to help carry out reforms set out by Government. A diligent worker and skillful communicator, it’s no wonder that Captain Natuva is still part of the current Government.
Whether he will be standing in next year’s election is unknown.
Captain Natuva says he is yet to decide. He says the political situation today will be different in six months.
“So six months down the line things will be different.
“There will also be a lot of factors one has to consider before deciding to stand. A lot of considerations - like the finances needed to campaign. All that has to be considered.”
What if the Prime Minister invites him to join his party? “It will all depend when the PM will form the party. He has said he will form his party next year, so I will have to wait until then,” Captain Natuva said.
Captain Natuva’s work ethic is evident in the many changes taking place under his Ministry. Last month for instance, Cabinet approved a study to be carried out by the Commerce Commission. This is to determine the most feasible and sustainable level of shipping fares and freight charges to be levied by private shipping companies and Government vessels to maritime passengers and travellers in Fiji.
Cabinet based its decision on a submission by Captain Natuva.
The Minister said that the last review of boat fares and freight charges was undertaken in 1992.
He said given the importance of sea travel for many Fijians, it is imperative that a study be undertaken to determine the most feasible and sustainable level of shipping fares and freight charges that should be levied by private shipping companies and Government vessels.
The outcome of the study will be brought back to Cabinet for its approval.
Born in 1957 at the Wainibokasi Hospital, Captain Natuva hails from the village of Navuso in Naitasiri.
He attended Sawani Village School and later Lelean Memorial School.
An esteemed military officer, Captain Natuva has had over 30 years of military work experience.
In 1989 to 90 Captain Natuva was a Company Commander with 2FIR in Sinai Captain Natuva also assumed the appointment of Chief Operations Officer Civil Military Affairs at the UNTAET in Dili East Timor and Darwin, Australia.
In 1992 to 1993 he was appointed Military Advisor to the Secretary General in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In 2001, he assumed the position of Chief- Of- Staff United Nations International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
He was also posted to the International Force in East Timor, United Nations Technical Assistance in East Timor (UNTAET), as Fiji’s Contingent Commander.
In 2006 he graduated from Deakin University in Australila with a Masters of Arts in Strategic Studies.
In 2007 he was appointed to be Contingent Commander of the First Fiji Infantry Regiment, Fiji Guard Unit for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
Throughout his military career, he has attended various institutions which include the Royal Australian Naval Staff College, Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies at Honolulu, Naval Post Graduate School at Monterey California.
Captain Natuva is also a Fellow of the Australian Defense College of Strategic Studies at Canberra, Australia.
He is married to Mereani Natuva who hails from Kabara,Lau. They have four children.