Fiji drink-driving not linked to official duty

Letters, Normal


 IAM writing to you in response to recent letters by a “PNG Resident” in Suva, Fiji, relating to the traffic offence by my driver Mr Poasa Iranavuna. I was present at the NausoriCourt hearing of Mr Iranavuna’s case on Dec 29 and it is true that he was charged with drink driving during the holiday period and fined F$500 which he has to pay within six weeks or go to jail for 21 days and his driver’s licence has been suspended for six months. However, he was not driving the official vehicle but a private vehicle (reg No.EE412) nor was he on official duty at that time of committing the offence. The high commission was closed from Dec 23 to Jan 4, therefore all staff were on holiday and no official business conducted during this period. I have now decided to let him go in spite of the 10 years he has worked for us and the fact that during the Ratu Mara-Somare Golf Challenge, Sir Michael Somare had asked me to send him to PNG this year to receive his long service award with the PNG High Commission in Fiji. As to the claim of not holding Independence celebrations for the past four years, it would seem to me the  NG resident may have had a case of walking around “eyes wide shut”. For the record, the high commission has been hosting Independence celebrations every year and guests attend only by official invitation as this celebration is basically to accommodate mostly the representatives\ of the host country, diplomatic and business community who play a significant role in the relations with the state as in the operations of any diplomatic mission abroad. We have a number of PNG nationals employed by private and regional organisations here in Fiji that we have n t failed to invite on every celebration. Even Fiji foreign minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola’s first diplomatic function was to attend our 34th Independence anniversary at the Forum Secretariat Fale on Sept 16, 2009. The letter alleged that we did not host dinner forMiss PNG and inferred that we did not assist in any way while she was here. For the record, Miss South Pacific Pageant is not the official business of the state, however attempts made to host at least a dinner was unsuccessful due to the tight schedules surrounding their daily programme and also it is the prerogative of the High Commission whether to host or not. Additionally, we assisted with the manning of the PNG stall which was abused by the accusers by drinking grog and causing public disturbances and we also hired the sound system (F$500) for the Miss PNG float The allegation of running the PNG High Commission like a family business and the use of the PNG official and support vehicles by my family is false, made without real understanding of what diplomatic missions are established for. My wife uses the support vehicle for market and shopping runs on weekends when I am out of the country on official duties with the expressed permission of the acting High Commissioner. Most times she uses the taxi to shop and market and only asks for assistance if the vehicle is free, especially when the shopping is big.Peter C.L. Eafeare,High Commissioner,Suva, Fiji