Parties refute claims

Professor Biman Prasad of Opposition (left) exits parliament after an earlier sitting. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

THE National Federation Party (NFP) and Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) have refuted claims made by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that some political parties were trying to create divisions between ethnicities in the country.

While responding to Mr Bainimarama’s speech made at the opening of the Ba Provincial Council meeting in Vuda on Wednesday, NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said if the PM had irrefutable evidence that certain parties were involved in sowing division between Muslims and Hindus, he should reveal it.

He said the PM’s statements on the Opposition were also untrue.

“The PM is also rubbishing the role of the Opposition by saying that the NFP was in the political wilderness for the last four years.

“Therefore in the eyes of the PM, there is no role for the Opposition in parliamentary democracy.

“This is the height of his hypocrisy, especially from someone who constantly preaches about talanoa as the best form of dialogue all over the world, but struggles to practise it locally.
“The PM also selectively named former leaders of the NFP. We remind him that all our leaders — A D Patel, S M Koya, Harish Sharma, Jai Ram Reddy and our founding fathers and mothers were giants of their time, in their ability, understanding and perception of problems facing Fiji.

“They did not stoop to gutter-level politics but were statesmen and women. Their achievements were milestones etched in the annals of history.”
He said the NFP remained an impregnable and principled fortress.

Meanwhile, SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said as a national leader, Mr Bainimarama should be visionary, conciliatory and forward-looking rather than descending into gutter politics and cheap attacks.

“If anything, he should respond in a substantive manner, and set a good example for our people, particularly our children who should not be subject to him using a provincial council to make a cheap political attack,” he said.

“PM Bainimarama should stop ‘hoodwinking’ the people of Fiji particularly institutions such as the provincial councils whose members represent the interest and will of the people of all different communities of their respective province.

“It is time that PM Bainimarama should embrace the truth and reject lies. He must be truthful rather than blaming and criticising other political parties for all socioeconomic problems facing the country today.

“He must take full responsibility for the poor performance of his dictatorial Government due to the lack of consultation with all the people of Fiji.”