Cruel and heartless - NFP
29 August 2022
The case of a Northern Division bus driver Mosese Yabukivou who was fined $1,000 by Land Transport Authority for providing humanitarian assistance and help to other passengers clearly shows the Fiji First government and LTA’s cruel and heartless attitude with no regard to empathy, care and compassion.
The National Federation Party in government will review legislation and the entire system to ensure bus drivers and passengers are not harshly and unreasonably penalised that the Fiji First Government and Land Transport Authority have imposed on the people.
Till now, neither the Government nor the LTA has spoken up about the case (reported in The Fiji Times a few days ago) of Mr Mosese Yabukivou, the bus driver for Vishnu Bus Service Ltd, who has been issued a penalty notice for $1,000 in Savusavu.
Mr Yabukivou was fined because he tried to help bus passengers who had no credit on their e-ticketing cards. He accepted cash from them and used his own card to ensure they could travel.
He has explained that he often had to do this because his passengers were rural people who had nowhere to top up their cards. He explained that between Wainunu and Dawara in Cakaudrove, there were no top-up machines and the machines in Nakorovatu and Vakativa villages frequently did not function.
As he explained, many passengers did not have enough money to make repeat trips to top up their cards.
Why is the Government silent? Why is LTA silent?
The news report highlighted the real life problems that people face when the Government imposes new systems on them that the Government cannot support.
The Government cannot maintain a power supply to many places. It cannot maintain internet connectivity to other places.
Yet, when this inconveniences the people, their rules do not change. The people are made to pay the price.
It is the same for voting, when laws are passed forcing people to re-register as voters, simply because the Government wants their names to be recorded in a certain way.
The same is true for people who want to register their businesses. It is true for people who are told to produce their birth certificates for everything - and in so many other aspects of life in Fiji. The Government does not work for the people. Instead, the people are made to run around to meet the Government’s rules.
People’s lives are already hard enough. Why do unnecessary rules and restrictions make them harder?
When in Government, the NFP will look at options that will allow people to use cash when in need. It will certainly review the mindless enforcement of rules in situations such as the one that arose in Savusavu.
We need a government that is working for the people, not the other way around.
Professor Biman Prasad