Sunday, June 08, 2008

PS defends family trip by minister

PS defends family trip by minister - 6/7/2008
A Government ministry has defended the decision by an interim minister to take members of his family along with him on an official trip to Lau. The Defence ministry has taken great exception to the criticism levelled against interim Defence minister and acting Prime Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau and his family for the official Government trip to Lakeba and Vanuabalavu.
Permanent secretary for Defence Malakai Tadulala said that as acting Prime Minister, it was Ratu Epeli’s entitlement to take his family along. “He was accompanied by many Government Officials to determine the extent of Government assistance needed for affected island communities,” he said. “He also met with ex-servicemen from these islands as part of his portfolio on ex-servicemen.” He said the minister was chief guest at two celebrations and also surveyed the areas affected by the recent cyclones.

“The official visit by Ratu Epeli Ganilau was multi-purpose in nature,” said Mr Tadulala.

“Apart from being chief guest at the Ratu Mara College cadet pass-out parade, he was also the chief guest at the Ratu Sukuna Day celebration on the island.

“He visited places that required rehabilitation following devastation by recent cyclones as part of his portfolio on national disaster.”

Mr Tadulala said the MV Iloilovatu apart from catering for the official delegation also took with it a number of Government officials and passengers from various islands in the Lau group as well as much needed groceries and cargo that was stranded in Suva due to lack of shipping services to these islands

Ratu Epeli was accompanied by his wife Adi Ateca Ganilau, her two sisters, a grandson and a cousin.

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