In a desperate last minute attempt to buy votes, the Fiji First Party is now making wild and unrealistic promises to the people in its 2014 election manifesto, says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
“It shows no real commitment to the long term development of Fiji or alleviation of the suffering of our people caused mainly by the regime’s own policies.
Besides, a regime that failed to delivered on its promises made at the time of the takeover in 2006, cannot be trusted to keep any promises it makes now,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Mr. Bainimarama had eight long years of unopposed rule to put its policies into effect and provide relief to people suffering under its oppressive policies. In the past eight years the cost of utilities such as electricity, prices of medicines, food and everyday essential items have more than doubled in many instances.
It should be judged on its record, and not on last minute vote buying promises:
Electricity – It was the Bainimarama government that approved a 34% hike in electricity rates in 2010 under a restructure exercise that saw the cost of electricity rise 10-fold for the average family with the reduction in lifeline tariff from 250kWh to 130kWh and the change in calculation of rates on an average daily basis instead of the actual monthly usage.
The regime remained insensitive to submissions made by the Fiji Labour Party objecting to these increases as it would hit the poor hard. Its promise now to make concessions to low income families is only a vote buying tactic and shows no real sympathy for the plight of the poor.
Water: Free water to 80% of the population is another wild promise. The Fiji Water Authority has already said this can’t be done.
Longer opening hours at medical facilities: This promise comes from an administration that shut down out-patients facilities at all hospitals and increased the cost of certain essential hospital services making it too expensive for the poor.
It now offers Free milk to Class one students when under its policies import duty on milk increased by 35%, doubling the price of milk in eight years and putting this highly staple food item beyond the reach of the ordinary family.
It promises to landowners and tenants ring hollow, when under its 2013 constitution, it removed the land ownership rights and security of tenure guaranteed to landowners and agricultural tenants in all previous Fiji constitutions.
Mr Chaudhry said Bainimarama’s record in the past eight years is just a litany broken promises he made to the people of Fiji at the time of the Army takeover in 2006, and the series of draconian and oppressive decrees and policies that have deprived our people of their fundamental freedoms and human rights.
His record in government shows unprecedented increases in poverty levels, unemployment and cost of living. there has been absolutely no accountability or transparency in his handling of public moneys.
“Any promises he makes to the people now ring hollow against the dismal failure of his government in the past eight years to deliver to the people of Fiji,” he said.