14 years after 4th military coup: A more divided, more indebted and economically depressed Fiji
Sunday 6th December 2020
Fiji today is a country more divided, more indebted and more dictated to than it has ever been, 14 years after the 4th military coup of 5th December, 2006, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
“Saturday 5th December marked the 14th anniversary of Frank Bainimarama’s military coup. Where has it left us?”
“Our economy is floundering. The government has given up. It has no vision for the future and no plans to meet our deep economic and social problems”, Professor Prasad said.
Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum promised “true democracy”. What do we have? A Parliamentary dictatorship where even the Ministers in their own government know nothing about what is going on. They consult no one because they do not want to hear dissent or independent views”.
“Town and city council elections are banned because they know the opposition parties will win them”.
“Frank Bainimarama promised an end to corruption. But corruption is worse than it has ever been. Even now, FICAC is now investigating an outbreak of scandals in the same town and city councils his government controls”.
“The government’s so-called “Bainimarama Boom” is now a national joke. Our economic growth has come from debt-fuelled government spending and over-reliance on a tourism industry that is now in mothballs. Our national debt is nearly as big as our GDP. The sugar industry is on its knees. The economy has nothing else to fall back on”.
“Fiji’s rates of violence against women and children are some of the highest in the world. So are Fiji’s rates on health, particularly non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes. The health system is in tatters”.
“We have an education system that is failing our young people and deepening poverty”.
“Our cherished public institutions – the public service, the Police, our constitutional offices, our Parliament – are all politicised and bent to the will of two men”.
“Frank Bainimarama promised 14 years ago that he would not take part in elections after the return to democracy. He promised that no military officer would benefit from the military coup”.
“Now he is Fiji’s highest-ever paid Prime Minister. His salary exceeds $300,000. He has collected tens of thousands in travel allowances. Yet tens of thousands of Fiji citizens live in poverty. Many do not even have jobs at the $2.68 minimum wage”.
“Frank Bainimarama promised that no-one would sit on more than one Government board. But Government boards are now packed with a small and ever-decreasing number of people who are the only ones he and Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum can trust. Many of them are the same people who have contributed millions of dollars to their Fiji First Party”.
“But most importantly, there is no vision for the future. We have a government that has given up, that makes it up as it goes along”.
“We are calling on the people of Fiji to change all of this. We want a government in which everyone has their say. We want to combine the best ideas and the best people – from all sides in all politics, from all communities and from all walks of life – to deal with our pressing national problems”.
“The people of Fiji have no say in in what happens – except, once in four years, their vote”.
“We are calling for new leaders to step forward now and help us prepare for the 2022 election. We need young people, those who have led in their communities, in the fields of education, social work, business and the professions. We need you to step forward. If we want Fiji to prosper and our people to live in a fair and equal society where all are respected and taken care of, there must be change”.
“We are getting ready. And as a mighty collective force, we will bring that change”
Professor Biman Prasad