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Fiji Times Online
By Theresa Ralogaivau
Friday, December 05, 2008

ADDRESSING the high unemployment rate on Rabi Island will top the campaign agenda of councillors planning to contest the island's council elections early next year.

The interim Government has allocated $30,000 to the Rabi Island Council to finance operations and to cater for the cost of electing eight new councillors and a new chairman.

Council director Molly Amon said the four-year term of the current council would expire on the eve of the council elections.

The election dates have yet to be scheduled.

However, during a recent visit to the island, acting Commissioner Northern Inia Seruiratu reminded the islanders to register their names at the District Offices in Macuata, Lautoka, Suva and the Provincial Administrator's office in Savusavu by the 20th of this month.

One of the island's main concerns is the lack of markets for their farm produce.

The councillor for Tabiang Village, Tiare Takinana, said the need for markets on the island was dire.

"This island basically relies on crop farming as a source of income but the problem here is that there are not enough markets," Mr Takinana.

"The council has been buying yaqona from the islanders at $25 a kilogram.

"But more market options are needed so that the standard of living of the people on the island can be developed for the better."

There are four villages on the island.

Mr Seruiratu said discussions were being held on the dates of the elections before the interim Prime Minister's Office is notified.

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