16 Dec 2004

Cokanasiga is dropped from Fiji cabinet during reshuffle

6:20 pm on 16 December 2004

Fiji's home affairs minister, Joketani Cokanasiga, has been dropped in a major reshuffle announced by the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Mr Cokanasiga's departure from cabinet comes in the wake of a long stand off between the military and the government on the issue of coup related trials and the premature release of the jailed former vice president, Seniloli.

The new home affairs minister is Joe Vosanibola who has been switched from transport and civil aviation.

The former minister for information, Simione Kaitani, has been given transport and civil aviation while Dr Ahmed Ali has been brought in from the senate to take responsibility for information and communications.

Two others dropped entirely from cabinet are the minister for public enterprises, Irami Matairavula, and the minister for local government, Mataiasi Ragigia.

Government backbencher Ted Young has been appointed the new minister for regional development while the former minister, Ilaitia Tuisese, has been moved to agriculture.

The former minister for agriculture, Jonetani Galuinadi has gone to the ministry of public enterprises.

Another government backbencher, Col Pio Wong, has taken over housing and local government.

Mr Qarase says the main reasons for the cabinet changes are to bring in fresh blood and serve the people who have previously been neglected.