FLP Leader Mahendra Chaudhry has written to Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase seeking information on the 33 ministerial portfolios he now proposes to establish.
In a letter to Mr. Chaudhry on 21 July, Mr. Qarase said that he now proposed a 33 member cabinet, with 16 from SDL and its coalition parties, 14 from FLP and 3 from independents/non – party senators.
Mr. Chaudhry wrote to Mr. Qarase on 27 July, following FLP caucus meeting reiterating his Party’s concern about the extra-ordinarily large size of cabinet.
“With seven assistant Ministers added to 33 Ministers, there would be a total of 39 office holders which is 55% of the total membership of the House of Representatives”.
“It is an absurd proposition – one which is totally unnecessary and unjustified and the blunt end of which will hit the taxpayers hard.”
“Why do you need 33 people to do a job which can be quite effectively done by half that number?” said Mr. Chaudhry.
“Mr. Chaudhry has asked the Prime Minister to provide a complete list of all 33 ministerial portfolios he now proposes, together with details of the 2004 Budget allocation to each of the 33 ministries.
“Consultation talks between us will resume when the Prime Minister responds to my letter,” said Mr. Chaudhry.