Rabi Island Leaders Welcome Delegation From Kiribati

Administrator hopes visit will strenghten ties to families on Banaba

By Serafina Silaitoga

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 20, 2017) – The Kiribati government delegation's visit to Rabi Island will certainly strengthen ties with the people of Ocean Island, says Rabi Island administrator Karia Christopher.

Although the people of Rabi belong to the Fijian Government, Mr Christopher said their families on Ocean Island, who were under the care of the Kiribati Government, needed their support in strengthening such ties.

[PIR editor's note: Most of the people from Kiribati's Banaba (Ocean Island) were relocated to Rabi Island in Fiji during the colonial period when extensive phosphate mining took place on their home island.]

"The Kiribati Government has been in office for ten months and it is encouraging for them to make time to visit us here on Rabi," he said.

"This means a lot for us because we need them to help develop Ocean Island which is occupied by our families who were sent back there in 1975.

"We have had past Kiribati presidents visit us here in Rabi and it is all for the sake of helping our people back on Ocean Island through development of the island."

Mr Christopher said most institutions on Ocean Island had been left idle for many decades.

"The island has a lot of potential and when we see the old buildings and the areas not completely developed, we know that development plans have been neglected for some time," he said.

"That is why we need to work with the Kiribati Government to develop the island.

"Most of our budget from the Rabi Island administration is directed to the families on Ocean Island as we need to support them financially."

Those on Ocean Island, Mr Christopher said, depended on food supply from Tarawa on Kiribati.

"If there is no food supplied to our families that side because of irregular ship services, then they have no food on the island," he said.

"Ocean Island is not fertile and our families can only plant cassava and some fruits which they supply to Kiribati as well.

"Otherwise, they depend on us for financial support so developing Ocean Island through the Kiribati Government is imperative."

Fiji Times Online.
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