Labour Leader meets people in the North

  • 24th May 2014
  • Stories
  • // Display comment count + link

mataqali

Talanoa session at Vunimoli village with
head of Mataqali Viliame Cara

Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry campaigning in the North this week-end
said escalating cost of living
was one of the major concerns of people he met with during his tour.     

Mr Chaudhry said the decline of the sugar industry which had been the economic pipeline of the North had had a severe impact on the livelihood of people in the region. Unemployment and poverty were widespread.

“The northern economy is quite depressed. People are leaving by the hundreds to move to Viti Levu in search of jobs and a better quality of life. 

“It is quite sad. Many homes are abandoned with just the elderly parents left behind. The younger people have all left,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry also expressed concern that over-regulation and  harassment of small businesses  by the authorities were forcing the closing down of many small enterprises that had provided some income to people affected by a depressed economy. 

“These templepeople had some form of sustenance. Now they are forced to move to towns in Viti Levu to seek employment.” 

Other issues that came up during discussions were concerns over the 50% slash in the rate of FNPF pensions, questions over the Prime Minister’s pay package and the appalling condition of roads both in the town and in rural areas.   

The deteriorating condition of Labasa Hospital and vunimoli villageshortages of linen and basic medical supplies such as bandages and syringes was a continuing source ofdiscontent.

“It is appalling. Patients who are admitted have to take their own mosquito nets to keep away the mosquitoes,” Mr Chaudhry said.  

grog session

Discussions around the grog bowl with people at Waiqele

The most heartless is the fee charged for the mortuary. It is a hefty $34.50 for the first two days. For the third day, the fee goes up to $80. 

An additional charge of $25.00 is levied for bathing and dressing the body. The fee is refunded if the task is completed within half an hour.

“People are really angry that they even have to pay for their dead now,” Mr Chaudhry  said.