Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka says all issues will be considered when dealing with the Minister for Education, Aseri Radrodro’s rejection of the Permanent Secretary appointment as ministers do not have powers under the constitution to interfere in the process.
These include the convention according to the constitution, the convention of negotiation or look at it purely based on law as abuse of office.
Rabuka says he will deal with the issue regarding the Minister for Education, Aseri Radrodro rejecting the appointment of the Permanent Secretary, Selina Kuruleca, after parliament.
He has made it clear to fijivillage News that the convention according to the constitution is clear where the Public Service appoints Permanent Secretaries with the agreement of the Prime Minister, and the other is convention of negotiation.
When asked by fijivillage News if this opens the doors for other ministers to reject appointments although they do not have the powers under the constitution to do that, Rabuka says they also have to look at the issue of abuse of office.
SODELPA General Secretary, Viliame Takayawa clarifies that the SODELPA Board has no involvement in the appointments of Permanent Secretaries or any other positions within the public service.
Takayawa stresses that they have not supported nor endorsed any specific appointments to PS positions.
He says SODELPA upholds the principle of neutrality and independence of the Public Service Commission, respecting its mandate to ensure fair and impartial recruitment processes.
Takayawa also says it is important to emphasize that the appointment of personnel to public service positions is an operational matter that falls under the authority of the relevant stakeholders.
He says SODELPA, as a political party, respects the decision-making processes in place and acknowledges that the views of stakeholders have been communicated to those in authority.
Takayawa says in light of recent events, it has come to his attention that Selina Kuruleca has chosen to engage with the media regarding her concerns.
He reiterates that, in such circumstances, SODELPA has consistently advised individuals to follow appropriate channels, such as contacting the PSC, to address any grievances or seek redress.
Takayawa says their party firmly believes in the importance of due process and adherence to established procedures.
He says it is equally important that dialogue, courtesy and consultation with the Ministers is done so that the service delivery of the ministry is in par with the people’s expectation as prescribed in the 2013 Fiji Constitution and also stipulated in the Coalition Agreement.
He has also announced that SODELPA will be organizing the Youth Annual General Meeting on the 27th of July, 2023.
This event aims to provide a platform for young individuals to engage, discuss relevant issues, and actively participate in shaping the future of our nation.
They will also be hosting the Women’s Annual General Meeting on the same day, focusing on the empowerment and inclusivity of women in political discourse.
The Fiji Women's Rights Movement is today making an urgent call on the Minister for Education, Aseri Radrodro and the teacher unions to respect the decision of the Public Service Commission in appointing Doctor Selina Kuruleca as the Permanent Secretary for Education.
FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh asks what are the justifications of the Minister and the unions rejecting Dr Kuruleca’s appointment to the Education Ministry, and why do they think they have to be consulted when the law clearly states otherwise.
Singh says Section 126 (1) of the constitution confirms that ministers are not required to be consulted about appointment of Permanent Secretaries.
She says the FWRM is disappointed with the way the appointment has been handled by the Minister for Education and the union representatives.
Singh says Dr Kuruleca, whose appointment was confirmed by the Public Service Commission and due to have begun work on July 3rd, has been rejected by her own Minister, an act that not only undermines the qualifications and capabilities of Dr Kuruleca - a professional woman in her own right - but also the decision made by PSC.
Singh says they are disappointed with this turn of events.
She says in the line-up of new PS appointments, we only have three women.
Singh says Dr Kuruleca has contributed immensely to the fields of teaching and mental health. She asks why is she not the right candidate for the PS role.
Singh says this reeks of gender bias, and Dr Kuruleca is not being given the chance to take up her post, despite meeting the criteria and deemed the best candidate.
She says gender prejudices and stereotypes are often a major barrier of women at work, issues that women's rights groups have continuously advocated against as it prevents the recognition of women's contributions and limits their achievements at work.
The FWRM says they are saddened that issues around Dr Kuruleca’s appointment have been thrashed about in the media after processes have been followed as there could have been better ways to address this issue.
FWRM believes that to truly provide an opportunity for women's advancement into leadership positions, organisations including the state ministries and departments need to overcome gender bias in the workplace and other professional settings.
A research on leadership perceptions in Fiji conducted by FWRM in 2022 found that 69 percent of 906 survey respondents indicated that “gender stigmatisation” decreased a woman’s chances of being 'elected' as a leader.
A combined 74% (agreed and strongly agreed) that performance rewards are easily awarded to men, while women have to work twice as much.
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