$170m budget

THE Opposition spokesperson for defence, Mosese Bulitavu, hopes the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) will put to good use the $170 million allocated to it in the 2017-2018 National Budget.

Contributing to the budget debate, Mr Bulitavu said the budget stated that the RFMF was responsible for upholding and defending the Fijian Constitution.

“We accept, embrace and welcome that statement, hoping it has the endorsement of the military,” he said.

Mr Bulitavu said with Fijians voting next year to express their will and bequeath a mandate to the leaders of this land to govern Fiji, he challenged the military on its commitment to safeguard the Fijian Constitution, to respect the outcome of the election as the will of the people and allow the rule of law to prevail.

“If indeed, it comes to pass, we shall all be happy that we have passed the trial by fire.”

He also said Fiji did not need to throw money to buy military ware such as the recent Bushmasters.

“Fiji is not a combat zone. We do not need such military ware.

“Having said that, let me question the wisdom and rationale behind the purchase of these super military wares.

“Is Fiji going to use them for international peacekeeping or is Fiji going to use that upon its own citizens?”

Mr Bulitavu said the priority of the Government of the day was grossly misplaced in purchasing the Bushmasters when it needed naval vessels to guard and secure its vast exclusive economic zone.

He said it was time to think outside the box and diversify military training with other spheres of life so that there were alternative livelihood available to the military men when they were needed on duty.

“This will reduce the military budget and keep the military power intact.”

Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said the comments made by the MP were irresponsible and he should not use the RFMF and the police for political gains.

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