Lenora blasts Reddy over ‘drama queen’ call

Opposition MP Lenora Qereqeretabua speaking at parliament. Picture: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji

Opposition parliamentarian Lenora Qereqeretabua hit out at Waterways Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy for labelling her a “drama queen” when she raised concerns about an issue in Wainadoi outside Lami.

“I cannot believe that the honourable Minister for Environment and Waterways is saying ‘drama queen’, this is his department and he should shut up and take care of it,” she said during her response to last week’s Parliament opening address by President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere.

Ms Qereqeretabua said Dr Reddy’s comment was “totally misogynistic”.

She said communities beside the Wainadoi River were heavily dependent on rainwater and the river tributaries for bathing, washing and cooking during the dry months because despite pre-election promises, they remained without reticulated supply.

“Despite being 30 minutes away from Parliament House and despite pre-election promises, they are still without piped water to this day.

“So in the words of one of the residents who I visited only last Sunday, I quote: ‘So much for COP26 which I assumed was about saving what is left of our pristine environment. What was once the best water source for all residents along this natural ecosystem has now been destroyed. We (they) engaged the Environment Department, only to be advised that it comes under Mineral Resources, we called them only to be advised it comes under Ministry of Waterways, when we called them we are then advised that it comes under Lands Department. The river banks are collapsing even without rain or flooding.’

“Finally, a stop work order was approved a week ago today, the extraction from the Waisulubonu Creek has stopped for now but the damage has already been done because at any one time there would have been up to three diggers working in the creek with seven different trucks taking loads.

“Now, Wainadoi children often go to the creek to brush their teeth, wash clothes and bathe and I would hate to think what could happen if a weakened bank were to suddenly collapse on a group of frolicking kids.”

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