Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s response to the Opposition’s call for dialogue on issues facing the nation is not only offensive, it is demeaning to the high office he holds.
One expects the Prime Minister to show respect, and treat other political leaders with the dignity they deserve, and not with the arrogance and disdain that he has displayed. His response is particularly appalling coming as it does at this time of peace, goodwill and good cheer.
This is the time of the year when people bury their animosities and extend hands of friendship, when they review the year’s happenings and seek to make amends for wrongs and shortcomings. This is obviously something Bainimarama needs to learn.
He arrogantly tells the NFP leader that “there is no crisis facing the country”. Well, Mr Bainimarama, we beg to disagree. There is much that is wrong with our country and its governance under the FF rule. We list a few:
• the forcibly imposed 2013 constitution stands condemned by the UN Human Rights Council which has recommended that it be comprehensively reviewed to “make it reflect the will and aspirations of the people of Fiji. It has also called for the legislative and constitutional framework to be amended to maintain the separation of powers and cease any executive or political interference with the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession.
• checks and balances prescribed in the Constitution to facilitate good governance have not been implemented:
1. the Accountability and Transparency Commission
2. Code of Conduct
3. Freedom of Information Act.
These measures are being deliberately withheld to protect corrupt politicians and other holders of high office
• Parliament remains a sham with the Opposition restrained from properly performing its watchdog role
• rampant corruption and abuse of office by government ministers including secret salary payment to PM and AG
• absolute lack of accountability and transparency in government’s handling of public funds
• economic and financial mismanagement
• an appalling human rights situation berated by the UN Human Rights Council
• denial of workers rights under draconian decrees which are still in force
• critical housing problems as evidenced by the mushrooming of new squatter settlements
• escalating cost of living
• high levels of unemployment
• rising poverty levels – it has shot up from 33% to 45% since you took over in 2006
No, Prime Minister, there is much critically wrong with the manner in which Fiji is governed by your military-backed government. These will have to be corrected and it would be far better to have it done through consultation and concensus.
Or else, the people may one day tell YOU to “Go Jump!”