SALOTE Panapasa created history yesterday as the first woman to be appointed as an assistant commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service.
Senior Superintendent Panapasa was one of four senior officers promoted by FCS Commissioner Commander Francis Kean at the Suva Corrections Centre.
Commander Kean also announced the appointment of Superintendent Jo Kulinidilo as acting Deputy Commissioner, Snr Superintendent Apimeleki Taukei as Assistant Commissioner of Operations and Superintendent Tuiwailevu Saladoka as acting Supervisor Southern Division and Officer in Charge of the Naboro Medium Corrections facility.
As she was being badged, Snr Supt Panapasa said the advice of her father rang loud and clear in her mind at that moment.
“A vision of my parents flashed through my mind when the commissioner made the announcement. I remembered their struggles and hardship they endured just to make sure we were educated and made it to Suva to find work,” said Mrs Panapasa who was raised in Tubou, Lakeba in Lau.
“There were 10 of us (children) in the family and each time one of us would complete secondary school and prepare to leave home, the whole family would have a farewell breakfast. My father gave us all the same advice: ‘Today you are leaving home for good. You will further your studies in Suva, find a job, have a family and settle in Suva’.”
Mrs Panapasa was recruited in 1986 and will mark 30 years of being a career corrections officer this July.
“I know the job ahead will be challenging but my prayers keep me going and knowing that God will equip me with the skills, knowledge and courage I need to do this job. There will be sacrifices to make but I have learnt to trust God and know that His timing is the best,” she said.
Commander Kean reminded the officers that hard work starts now and expressed his hopes to “see dividends of the institution’s investment in you”.