Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Civil Service Coup cuts deeper into Fiji’s soul.

Fiji experienced its seventh coup since 1987 as civil servants over the age of 55 years were forcibly retired by the Bainmarama government.

The forced retirement came into effect today April 30th, 2009, in effect making today the last day for over 2000 men and women who have spent most of their working life serving their country as teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers and in the many ministries and departments of government.

In some instances, the forcibly retired civil servants only received their termination letters towards the end of today, crushing the hopes of possible reappointments on contracts. All handing over to subordinates was hurried through today with all retiring staff forced to vacate their offices and desks by the end of work today.

The immediate vacuum of senior civil servants, especially in the education sector with a high number of principals/head teachers and vice-principals/deputy head teachers ending their careers on this sad note.

Ordinary Fiji citizens are struggling to comprehend the logic of the forced retirement. Apart from the impact on government provided services, the effect on families in terms of income will further impact the struggling economy. Even more worrying is that many civil servants housed in government quarters will be forced to immediately vacate their homes.

The forced retirement came into effect just twenty days after the Good Friday abrogation of Fiji’s Constitution by Fiji’s President, who subsequently reappointed the military council-run interim cabinet of Military Commander Voreqe Bainimarama.

There are also rumblings that the retirement age may be further lowered to 50 if Fiji’s economic situation does not improve.

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