NO ONE on the civil service payroll is allowed to keep whales' teeth (tabua) or any other traditional gifts accorded to them by members of the community during the course of their duty.
Civil servants should instead offer a formal acknowledgement of acceptance for the traditional gifts and immediately afterwards return any such gifts to those who presented it to them.
This directive was issued by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama in a circular signed by Pio Tikoduadua, the permanent secretary to the Prime Minister's office this week.
The circular was addressed to all ministries, permanent secretaries and public servants. It is understood Commodore Bainimarama had been practising the new measures at all traditional ceremonies he attended.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment has ordered that anyone who wants to sell tabua should register to do so, setting the fee at $1,050.
This followed the confiscation of tabua from a number of pawn shops in Suva. This would allow them to trade tabua on the condition that such trade not involve those that were in the custody of the department.