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Ex Fiji Times

Political agenda

Tevita Vuibau
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A TERTIARY student’s dreams of securing a better future for his family are dashed after his scholarship award was terminated for what he claims is his involvement with a political movement.

The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a volunteer for Roshika Deo’s Be the Change campaign and was informed of his termination through a letter from the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board.

The letter, signed by TSLB co-ordinator Tavenisa Tofinga, makes no mention of an option to appeal the termination and goes on to say he and his guarantors are now liable to reimburse the government for his fees.

The letter, also addressed to the USP vice chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra, mentions his political affiliation and says the scholarship is dependent on maintaining an appropriate sense of order to allow students to develop in an environment safe and free of disruption.

“It has come to our attention that you have been associating yourself in political agendas without taking into consideration your obligation with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs (MTA) which is to pursue the BCommerce (Hotel Management) and as per clause five of your award letter, you are required to abide by your institution’s rules and regulations,” the letter reads.

It goes on to say the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs has zero tolerance for behaviour contravening those aspects – whether done on or off campus before informing him of the termination of his award.

“Therefore MTA reserves the right to terminate your scholarship if a report is received from your institute or from a law enforcement agency concerning a breach of regulation.”

TSLB chairman Dixon Seeto declined to comment on the matter saying all applicants’ information was confidential while USP vice-chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra referred all questions on the matter to the TSLB board.

Emails sent to Ministry of iTaukei Affairs permanent secretary Savenaca Kaunisela yesterday remained unanswered.

“I come from a single-parent family, and to have my scholarship terminated on the basis that I was simply exercising my right as guaranteed under the 2013 Constitution and taking responsibility for my country and its people, is simply absurd, an intimidating act,” the second-year student said.

“My mum is deeply devastated with the news of my scholarship termination.

“This education was the only hope I had to secure my good future and with this very demeaning development, it really has shaken me mentally and psychologically.”

The student maintains he is innocent of any wrongdoing saying he only practised the constitutional rights afforded to him and has called for a full explanation from the TSLB.

“My actions have in no way contravened my bond agreement and I am not aware of any reports from off-campus that will put my scholarship at risk, nor of any report from the university, since the volunteer work is carried out on weekends,” he said.

“As a youth, I have the right to make political choices, as guaranteed under the Constitution, and I feel for exercising this right, one is bound for punishment, in the form of termination of a scholarship.”

He explained his GPA was above the minimum required to retain the scholarship and there was no mention from either the university or TSLB of rules against political involvement.

Meanwhile, the termination has caused uproar from the Be the Change campaign and its leader Roshika Deo also claims he lost his scholarship for “associating” himself “in political agendas”.

She called for the TSLB to be objective and reinstate the scholarship of the student.

13 thoughts on “Ex Fiji Times

  1. The sorry state of affairs in Papa Pig’s vision of one Fiji. This is the kind of reality ordinary citizens have to contend with…the carrot for meek supporters and the stick for those who dare to exercise their freedom of expression.

  2. Does this moron really believe that he can rant against the Honorable Khaiyum and his Rear Admiral without any consequence? Support the Rear Admiral, admire his rear and you will be richly rewarded. Go against our great leaders and you will be kicked in the rear pretty hard. It is never too late to rear a spirit of understanding for the great Khaiyum and his Admiral.

  3. To all you students and the young people of Fiji. This is an example of how this illegal Regime wants to and has been suppressing and stamping out your legitimate rights to participate freely in the expressions of your opinions in your country.

    Please widely discuss with your friends, families and fellow youths and students NOT TO VOTE AND SUPPORT BAINIMARAMA.

    Go on and fight for freedom of your country.

  4. This is indeed a sad state of affairs. This indicates that their is no freedom of expression.Dixoon Seeto the chinese mafia should give an explanation publicly.

  5. Bainimarama and the ILLEGAL AG have made Fiji more corrupt than ever with:
    No Transparency
    Compromised judiciary
    No auditor general’s report since 2006
    Human rights Abuses
    Lowest Economic Growth Ever
    Lowest Private Investment Ever
    Media Restrictions.
    Salary of over $1 million to Bai and Khayium.
    Salary proceeded and hiden by Khayium’s aunty Nur Bano

  6. The constant whining about the missing declarations of assets and incomes of the Honorable Khaiyum and the Rear Admiral becomes a bit irritating. You better be a bit patient. As Mr Chaudhry would certainly know, a lack of due diligence in the process of hiding money in overseas accounts can get you into serious trouble. In order to avoid this kind of embarrassment it takes a bit of time and careful planning when it comes to hiding considerable amounts of Khaiyum’s and the Rear Admiral’s cash in overseas banks. When this process is completed to my satisfaction, the general public will get a peek of what is left in the local ANZ accounts. And boy, it is not going to be a lot. We do not want to be seen as a bunch of greedy pigs with their snouts deep in the trough of public money.

  7. ROSHIKA DEO PROTESTS TERMINATION OF A STUDENT’S SCHOLARSHIP. Independent candidate Roshika Deo claims one of her volunteers, a student, had his tertiary scholarship terminated last week for “associating himself in a political agenda.” There is nothing, says Deo, in the scholarship scheme that prevents a student from engaging in politics. The volunteer is a high achieving student who did not misuse the scholarship scheme in any way.

    Comment. I support Roshika and the student. If his volunteering did not interfere with his studies, the termination is an infringement of his rights and an abuse of the scholarship scheme.

  8. I’m with Allen Lockington and old man Walsh on this type of behaviour. Anyone who does not respect the illegal regime dictatorship should be taken to the police station for a good beating, eh Croz?

  9. On the one hand the minimum voting age is brought down to 18 under the illegal Bai-Khaiyum constitution, on the other regime supporters and institutions colluded to demolish & strangle the life & aspirations out of young people who dare exercise their political & human rights. If this most stupid and most vindicative action by the regime does not turn off the youth vote from the dictator’s party then god help our people – welcome to the south sea’s gangster’s paradise.

  10. Meanwhile, the no-school Dick-tator’s fat offspring sail through university on tax payers funds. What is happening here is really sickening and an affront to any law abiding citizen.
    Until this treasonous regime is removed, we can expect more such injustices to occur. A vote for the FF party will see them continue their pillage for years to come. Anyone who votes for them will be screwing themselves.

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