Nauru's President Aingimea unaware of sacking of USP VC, sends wrong message

Nauru President Lionel Aingimea learned of the sacking of the University of the South Pacific‟s ViceChancellor and President Professor Pal Ahluwalia the morning after as it happened in the middle of the night during the meeting of Pacific Forum leaders.

President Aingimea, who is Chancellor of the USP and Chair of the USP Council, was made aware of the details of the situation by council members who advised that the visa permit of the VC was cancelled by the Fiji Government subsequently leading to his contract being terminated immediately.

Fiji‟s Minister for Immigration declared Prof. Ahluwalia and his spouse „Prohibited Immigrants‟ under Fiji‟s Immigration Act with immediate effect and ordered to leave Fiji immediately.

Just prior to departing Fiji bound for Brisbane on deportation orders, President Aingimea weighed the circumstances of the couple spending two weeks in quarantine in Brisbane and offered assistance that they transit in Brisbane to Nauru.

As Chair of the USP Council, President Aingimea requested an adjournment of the meeting of the USP council last Friday due to a cyclone bearing down on Fiji and Tonga that day, and requested that meeting adjourn until today, Friday 5 February.

One of the agenda items is the VCs contract. As the VCs contract is now terminated, issues relating to it will be discussed at the council meeting today.

Without a VC, the USPs senior management team will jointly undertake the VCs duties until Council provides direction.

“We have to be careful of the messages we send to academics and donor partners of the USP.”

President Aingimea says that is one of the issues that need to be discussed at the council meeting as the university needs credibility to attract very well qualified and excellent academics to be able to teach our Pacific people. 2 “It needs to be done in an environment where people feel safe in regards to job security,” President Aingimea said.

The USP has been clouded with negativity over the past couple years, especially with reports emerging about financial mismanagement which President Aingimea, fellow council members and USP staff are trying to clean up.


Photo source Nuku'alofa Times