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FLP questions statement on schools

Aqela Susu
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

THE Fiji Labour Party has questioned the Attorney-General and Education Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, on why Government has not released information on the number of schools been repaired after being damaged by severe TC Winston.

Responding to a comment made by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum on Taveuni last Wednesday about the number of schools damaged during TC Winston, FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry said it was not acceptable that children were still learning in tents or makeshift shelters two years after the cyclone.

While responding to concerns raised by villagers of Navakawau on Taveuni, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed that 95 per cent of the 225 schools damaged during the cyclone had no architectural and engineering plans.

He said many of these schools had to be built from scratch.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also said some of the reasons rehabilitation work was slow was because of a shortage of building materials and the shortage of construction workers.

In his response, Mr Chaudhry said there was a need for a thorough investigation into the "controversy" surrounding the reconstruction of these schools.

"Attorney-General and Education Minister Mr Sayed-Khaiyum speaks around the subject, but has not told us yet in plain English how many of the 225 schools reportedly damaged have been fully repaired and are safe to be used as classrooms, and how many are still undergoing repairs or awaiting construction," he said.

"There is a lot of controversy surrounding the handing out of contracts for the reconstruction of damaged schools."

The party has also not accepted the explanation by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the A-G.

"It certainly should not take more than two years to strengthen the building structures.

"There is definitely something fishy here. Government has not provided audited accounts of these moneys in the trust fund.

"A lot of questions are being asked and people deserve honest answers," Mr Chaudhry added.

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