The people will not be fooled by SDL’s election promises to contain poverty and help the poor when, in the past five years, the government has failed to show any compassion for the underprivileged.
“Statistics show that absolute poverty has multiplied and the squatter problem has more than doubled in five years of SDL rule,” Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Chaudhry said.
“It is a shocking record for any government that more than half the population are today either in dire poverty or are at risk and that 100,000 people are living in overcrowded, substandard hovels without proper sanitation, water or electricity,” he said.
The lot of the Fijian people have deteriorated sharply under the SDL – rural poverty stands at 40%, pushing hundreds of villagers into towns and cities in search of a better life. More Fijians are today living as squatters and lining up for the State’s destitute allowance than ever before.
“How can anyone take seriously promises by the SDL now that it will fight poverty and improve housing for the poor?” Mr. Chaudhry asked.
The entire nation knows that in five years the SDL has driven this country to the brink of bankruptcy through huge borrowings and financial indiscipline.
It has driven a flourishing economy into deep recession with key industries like sugar, garment, gold, fisheries and timber in serious trouble and exports down substantially compared to the 1999/2000 levels.
“The Prime Minister talks about increasing jobs, when all indicators show a sharp decline in jobs even in the past 12 months.
“If there is one word to describe the SDL government’s five year tenure in office, it is “disaster”, Mr Chaudhry said.
The Opposition Leader has warned the people not to be taken in by election promises.
“You must look at the entire record of a government or party to see what they stand for and what policies and measures they initiated when in office.
“The SDL government certainly does not have a record of caring for the poor and underprivileged. Instead, it is known for its corrupt practices, and policies that have promoted the interest of a select group of associates at the expense of the ordinary people of this country,” Mr. Chaudhry said.