Fijian political parties urge State to release grant for USP

The entrance to USP at its Laucala campus. Picture: FILE

Political party leaders have taken a swipe at the Government for continuing to withhold grants for the University of the South Pacific (USP) after the two USP union bodies called for the release the $78.4 it owed to the university.

Association of the USP staff president Elizabeth Fong and USP staff union president Tarisi Vacala, in a joint statement, said the government needed to pay its obligation to bring this matter to closure.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Viliame Gavoka said USP was an independent institution and should be left alone without interference from anyone.

“We want the FijiFirst Government to honour Fiji’s obligations to USP,” Mr Gavoka said.

“The stalemate should end and it is equally important to leave the running of USP to the council.”

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad said the Government was ready to sacrifice USP for its own selfish and egotistical purposes by withholding almost $80 million in grants.

“Everybody knows who is right and who is wrong in the USP saga,” he said.

“There have been many inquiries and reviews and each time it is the university that has been proved right and the Government that has been proved wrong.”

Prof Prasad said withholding of grant by the Government has threatened the education of Fiji’s own USP students and the FijiFirst Government would never admit it was wrong.

“We want USP to succeed and my personal pledge is that when NFP is in government, Fiji will return to being a sound and reliable member and friend of USP which honours its promises.”

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudry said the refusal was only hurting our own students and workers at the university.

“It’s time for the university council to act with determination to resolve this long outstanding issue,” he said.

* Questions sent to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

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