Food voucher hoax

Members of the public wait at Shirley Park in Lautoka yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

MORE than 300 people have been gathering at Shirley Park this week after rumours were allegedly spread that the Social Democratic Liberal Party would be handing out $200 food vouchers. The Fiji Times spoke to a number of people who said they overheard from “some people” that SODELPA was going to hand out vouchers.

One person from Wairabetia, on the outskirts of Lautoka, said he had spent the past three days waiting so he could buy groceries for his family.

“For us, $200 is a lot of money, that’s the only reason so many people are waiting here, they have been here every day since Monday,” he said.

Another woman said she saw the crowd at Shirley Park and decided to hang around.

“Who wouldn’t want a $200 food voucher,” she said.

“Times are hard and the cost of food is so high these days.” People stood under the trees and some even formed a tentative queue as they waited for the “food vouchers” to arrive.

Even as late as 6pm yesterday, a team from this newspaper saw about 50 people still waiting at the park. When quizzed by reporters, some of those who were waiting said they would continue their vigil until nightfall.

SODELPA leader and former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka said people who spread rumours that the party was handing out food vouchers were mischief makers. He said the unfortunate incident was an indication of the need of communities and the increasing poverty rate in Fiji.