Clash of opinions

NFP leader Biman Prasad. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

NATIONAL Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad has hit back at Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s attack on the NFP last week, describing the FijiFirst Government as a “rudderless regime”. Prof Prasad was responding to the PM’s comments at the launching of a hospital ship that the NFP could not steer the ship of government and lacked realism and principle.

He criticised the PM’s use of a taxpayer-funded event to launch political attacks on the NFP.

“He reads whatever is given to him by his spin doctors,” Prof Prasad said.

“This is a sign of desperate despair from a government and its leader to remain in power on the face of rising tide of change.

The haphazard implementation of the CARE for Fiji program, that has lost its objective of providing rehabilitation for flood victims, is another sign of a government gone berserk.

“The Prime Minister may have been a good captain of a navy boat during his career in the Fiji Navy, but he is least qualified to be at the helm of the nation. He has been leading both a rudderless regime and the FijiFirst Government since December 2006 with grandiose words that keep changing when their objectives cannot be achieved.”

Prof Prasad claimed the FijiFirst Government had broken its 2014 election promises not to impose VAT on specified food items and prescription medicines.

He said NFP was a 55-year-old political party with unshakeable foundations.

“All our leaders have been giants of their time in their ability, understanding and perception of the problems facing Fiji,” he said.

Prof Prasad quoted NFP’s founding leader, A D Patel: “It is easy to be a ranting politician. It is difficult to be a statesman. A statesman has got to look at the next generation. A politician usually looks to the next election.”

He said an election campaign should be a battle of ideas instead of mudslinging.

During the commissioning of the vessel, Mr Bainimarama said the current head of NFP had never steered a ship and does not have the capacity to do so.

“As we mark another historic milestone, another first for Fiji, we now just have to wait and see what desperate critiques the Opposition musters up to belittle these accomplishments,” he said last week.

“Flip a coin — we’ve either spent too much or too little. Or perhaps they’ll (opposition) make another empty and totally unobtainable promise. “In line with the steady stream of empty promises and flat-out lies of SODELPA and NFP, perhaps they’ll now vow to build the world’s fastest mobile hospital which will provide miracle cures.

“SODELPA and NFP are not guided by realism. SODELPA and NFP aren’t driven by principle. SODELPA and NFP are driven by desperate attempts to remain relevant in an economy where all of their accusations and critiques have been proven wrong,” the PM said.

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said it was unfortunate that the PM decided to engage in political mudslinging when he should be celebrating the happy occasion, rather than making personal and political attacks.

“I believe it is unbecoming of the PM to make petty attacks and arguments without any statistical basis, when the Writ of Election is yet to be issued. Perhaps he is now worried because people are no longer buying his propaganda and all the misinformation from his speechwriters,” Mr Rabuka said.

He said while launching the Veivueti the PM had lost the plot and was speaking out of context.

“We appreciate and welcome the new hospital vessel, the Veivueti, but it is not a milestone or ‘first’ for Fiji.”