To serve and not to be served

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau at Vatoa Village in Lau last week. Picture: MELA KATONIVUALIKU

A MAN of a few words but he is surely one that lets his actions speak louder than his words.

From a backbencher in parliament to becoming the Minister for Industrial Relations and Employment and later on being appointed the Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau’s life in the political arena has been a busy one.

Now with elections around the corner, The Fiji Times caught up with Mr Koroilavesau, 60, on board the government vessel Bai Ni Takali during his one week ministerial visit to the Southern Lau group.

The Nalotu villager from Yawe in Kadavu spoke briefly about his life as a member of parliament and what the journey has been like.

“My time in parliament has been a learning curve and a wonderful experience despite it being challenging most times,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

“From being a backbencher to being given a government portfolio, I have no regrets and I know I have served the people to the best of my ability.”

Mr Koroilavesau’s work has not gone unnoticed after speaking to senior fisheries ministry officials, they all said how they wished to have the Kadavu native back as their minister as he goes out of his way to find funds for certain ministry projects that were not budgeted for.

Fisheries officer Tevita Vodivodi who was also on board the vessel described Mr Koroilavesau as one person who goes out of his way to ensure things are done and funding for projects is there.

“We are so lucky to have him as our minister because for more than a year now since he joined our ministry, he has achieved a lot of things,” Mr Vodivodi.

“We need people like him in government who actually have passion for their work.”

Mr Koroilavesau was educated at Yawe District Primary School, Richmond High School and later on at Lelean Memorial School.

After his sixth form he joined the Fiji Navy as an officer cadet. In his military career, he reached the rank of Commander. In 1988 he started a tourism company Captain Cook Cruises and in 2003 he retired from the Navy to manage it. Mr Koroilavesau was elected into parliament after the 2014 election in which he won 1611 votes.

Playing it low, the humble Mr Koroilavesau said as the Minister for Fisheries for more than a year now, he feels he has done a lot but a lot more needs to be done.

“I feel I have done a lot for the ministry but a lot more work needs to be done for the people,” he said.

Mr Koroilavesau said if given another chance, he hopes to return to the ministry to finish all the projects he has started and initiate new ones. “If not, then I wish my predecessor the very best and all those at the ministry the very best. My only advice to them is to be people focused and to serve the people to the best of their ability,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

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