The Fiji Labour Party mourns the death of one of its founder members, Senator Joeli Kalou who passed away at the CWM Hospital at 4am today after a short illness.
Mr. Kalou, educator, trade unionist and politician, was an executive member of the Fiji Labour Party serving on its management board from 2001-2003. He was on the FLP’s Disciplinary Committee and served as one of its nominees on the Talanoa Committee until last year.
Joeli Kalou has had eight years experience as Member of Parliament being first elected in 1987 on a Labour Party ticket. He served as Minister for Labour and Immigration in the Coalition Government of Dr. Timoci Bavadra. From 1992 to 1999 he was re-elected to Parliament on a SVT ticket and served a term as Minister of State for Environment in the 1992 Government of Sitiveni Rabuka and Minister for Education from 1995-96.
Mr. Kalou returned to the Labour fold in 1999 when he was appointed Leader of the House in the People’s Coalition Government.
A high school teacher by profession, Joeli Kalou did a Bachelors Degree in Arts at the Massey University in New Zealand and later acquired a secondary school teaching certificate in Sydney. He returned to Fiji to teach in various teaching institutions before taking up the post of principal in some of the most renowned schools in the country.
Mr. Kalou had a distinguished career as a trade unionist holding the posts of general secretary and president of the Fijian Teachers Association and later as president of the Fiji Teachers Confederation. He was for many years a vice president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress.
My own association with Joeli Kalou goes back some 25 years to our trade union days. As a unionist and politician, Mr. Kalou always espoused the cause of the common man in the fight for social justice, workers’ rights and concerns for the poor.
A devout Christian, he believed Fiji’s future lay in building a strong multi-racial society with each community playing its proper role in national development.
He had a profound knowledge of Fijian customs and protocol and strongly believed in protecting and preserving traditional and cultural values as the cornerstone of a stable society.
I offer our deepest condolences to his wife Seinimili and children.