Deputy Leader of the Opposition Poseci Bune revealed another government attempt to buy votes through a plan to distribute 180 fishing boats by August next year.
The 2006 general elections is expected to be held by mid-August 2006. The scheme reminiscent of the $30 million agricultural scam that preceded the 2001 general elections, was branded by Bune as another vote buying scam under the guise of affirmative action.
While Government insists it is part of affirmative action, Bune speaking during the Budget debate says “It is free distribution for supporters before the general election. It’s a continuation of what we saw in the build up to the 2001 general elections.”
He also disclosed that a 2001 campaign manager of the Prime Minister was given a $25,000 boat which he then sold for $5500.
The Prime Minister admitted he had bought the boat for his relative under government’s one-third, two-third scheme, adding that it was not his ‘business’ if the person decided to sell the boat afterwards.
But an editorial in the Fiji Times slammed the attitude claiming it was very much the Prime Minister’s business because taxpayers’ money was involved.
“The Prime Minister may not think it is his business if his relative sells a $25,000 boat for a mere $5500. He is the steward of the nation’s future. He must make it his business to ensure that Fijians use affirmative action for long term success. Not as a quick means to profit off taxpayers,” the Times editorial said.