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In my last visit to the island in December 2010, I began to wonder as to what has happen to the Development on the Island. There were no sign of progress. For instant Fisheries and agriculture development is not meeting the basic demand of the increasing population on the island.
In view of the above I am inviting concrete ideas and oppinions from the Banaban Voice or the Voice of the Banaban People to the very issue shaking the lives of the so call "forgotten people".
I personally beleive that the system at the community and administration level is failing. what do you think?
Extremely difficult for Rabi to cope with the levels of damage caused by continued cyclones since TC Ami right through to last years TC Tomas. The island just starts to get back on its feet and they are hit again. Here in Australia we are suffering from major flooding and we have emergency services and everyone coming to help; millions pouring in to help us and to rebuild our infrastructure. Rabi is lucky if it gets any help and then it is no where need the aid needed to rebuild already very damaged buildings. All that's been done in the past years is patch up jobs on very damaged buildings that are totally unsound to begin with.
So these natural disasters are really starting to take a major toll on the island, with many of the population leaving the island to seek work through out other parts of regional Fiji and abroad in Tarawa. As we all know Kiribati is trying to resettle a lot of its population with rising sea levels and gross over population especially on the main island of Tarawa. So getting Banabans to resettle back there in the hope of getting pensions for the elderly or education for their children is only compounding the problem.
Rabi needs all the help it can get to develop the island but also we have to realise that with these types of ongoing natural disasters they just take a step forward and are knocked 2 steps back over and over again. If you visited Rabi prior to TC Tomas you probably would have been quite impressed with the island and it was looking good. Main buildings were painted, halls repaired and abandoned and damaged houses far less apparent.
My heart goes out to the community and their daily struggle to make a good future for their families on the island. For me the people living back home on the island deserve all the help and assistance they can get.
Ko raba Tevita for raising this important issue!
Iam glad to see few things happeningin the island like women selling art and craft to get prepared for the school and hoping to see more from those who are in a position to provide assistance and encourangement,however when such questions raised our people have a trusted body to look into those issues and thus make us banabana s feel that we are not completely forgoten and lost .Common banabans we do have a chance to prove that we are not a race of ignorant.I FEEL THE ADMINISTRATION LEVEL IS NOT FAILING BUT SLEEPING ,WHAT ARE SAD .
You are right Ien...I do believe that the system is in a static mode not reacting to contraints when it present itself.
I just don't want to believe that our administration only rushes to seek developments without giving due consideration to sustain them.
At this point in time Iam paying a very close observation over the Rabi Virgin Coconut Oil Project, a development that has the support of the community (in terms of training, management and publicity) and the Council. This is a very good case study to determine the strength of sustaining a development with limited resources.
Aid is a blessing ...
But we cannot be relying on aid all the time...
First of all, we gotta take the first step,...and that is to help ourselves.
Community getting together , dedication and love, communication, and action.
Aid coming in from outside cannot resolve the issue(with no disrespect), but the issue can be dealt with and be resolved from within if everyone within is for the course.
..Just a question ...my apologies if I'm way out of line here...
Would it be possible to have a wharf in Rabi which can cater for big shipping vessels like the ones that are now operating in Suva.
Create a doorway and I believe you would see lots of changes taking place on the island itself.
I still strongly believe that a wharf is a starting point here..let us put our priorities right here and see what is best for the whole of the Rabi community.
Get everyone together to come to understand the need to have a wharf on the island and what the wharf can offer, despite the location.
Look on the bright side of things.
Truly you are not out of the subject.
I strongly and completely agree wtih you that the wharf is a dooway for trade but on a larger scale. It also brings in resources to enhance develoment on the island.
At present the wharf at Lasilasi is at its final stage of completion. Observing it size it should be able to operate local vessels at a commercial level.
All that is left now is for the Island to prepare itself to the commercial demand the wharf will offer.
Just being curious, would a shipping vessel as big a size of the SOFE be able to berth there?
Coz if it does then, I'm seeing great things happening soon.
And when you said final stages, when do you think is that?
That's a big development ...way to go!!!
I think the jetty project has been stopped due to funding problems between Taiwan contractors who won the tender by Fiji government. Hopefully it won't be too much longer for Fiji govt to sort it out while the people back on Rabi wait patiently.
Hopefully we will also be able to get containers into and back out of Rabi which will really help. Inter Island shipping and freight is so expensive in Fiji and nearly as expensive as export freight.
I have some photos I took of the half finished jetty when I was visitng Rabi last September so will post them here in coming days.
Once the jetty is completed it will be up to the shipping companies to provid a direct service to the island. If it doesn't pay for them to come to Rabi it won't happen. So really need the Banabans back home and in other parts of Fiji to really support it if the shipping companies agree to go there.
Just image the opprotunties for local Rabi farmers.
Also the copra price in Fiji is currently the highest it has ever been. This again is a wonderful opportunity for local Rabi farmers to make some good cash money through the local Savusavu Copra Mill while the pricing is so high.
Thanx a lot Stacey for that piece of information.
Hopefully the Fiji Government will resolve this issue soon.
I totally agree with you in regards to the expensive costs involved in the inter island shipping and freight but having that wharf I believe is that doorway that Rabi needs right now.
I wouldn't be surprised to see great things happening on the island as the outcome of having the wharf.
I just cant wait to see that wharf taking it's place.
Yes, the size of the wharf on the island is similar to that in Taveuni and Koro island. These are the only two islands apart from Savusavu in the Northern part of Fiji serviced by SOFE.
And let me gather information directly from the Commisioner/ Northern's Office tommorow on the latest upgrades on the island including the wharf. I will update you immediately.
My previous update was from last annual report for Northern Division
Thanx a lot Tevita for that update.
Would appreciate and love to hear from you then.
Without that wharf, developing Rabi would come about at a very high cost.