Calls have been made for the University of the South Pacific Council to decide on whether the office of the Vice Chancellor will remain in Samoa or be moved back to Fiji.
Elizabeth Read Fong, President of the Association of the University of the South Pacific Staff, insists that despite the Fijian government lifting restrictions on VC Professor Pal Ahluwalia’s entry into the country, both he and his office remain situated in Samoa.
Fong argues that the logical choice would be to relocate the Vice Chancellor and his office to the main headquarters of USP in Laucala Bay, Suva.
Fong is appealing to Samoa to facilitate the release of the Vice Chancellor, aiming for the relocation of his office.
She emphasizes that a significant amount of money is being spent on travel and accommodation expenses for the Vice Chancellor’s frequent trips to Suva.
According to Fong, USP is allocating $4300 for a seven-day per diem for the VC when he travels.
“It is the council that has to tell him to go to Suva. We are hoping that they do that in the council meeting. We asked for it to be done in the May meeting; they did not do it, so we made the submission reminding them of our May submission, and we got told we had to give 21 days’ notice; we said we had already given six months’ notice to Council.”
Fong asserts that while Fiji has welcomed back the Vice Chancellor, it is now the appropriate moment for Samoa to express that he should depart. She explains that there was initial understanding for him to serve from Samoa, but the circumstances have evolved.
Efforts are underway by FBC News to obtain comments from the Council on this issue and other related matters.