Cruel to parade discredited food distribution
Monday 3rd May 2021
It is not just stupid – it is cruel - for the Government to be parading its discredited food distribution efforts on Facebook when people in real need, all over the country, have no food in the house.
Some people in the West have been without the means to buy food for months. They are completely dependent on their neighbours and the community.
Yet the Government will give excess food rations to people in Suva, even to those who do not need them, as long as there is a camera nearby.
The Government’s own Facebook page has comments from well-off people who have received not one food pack but two when they did not even request it – as happened all the way down their street in Suva.
This is how the Government has achieved its boasted distribution of 7,000 food packs.
The Government wants us to work together to beat this health and economic crisis. But it will not take its own advice.
It has set up its own phone line for people to call which is jammed with calls (if it doesn’t crash).
The Government has no idea if the people who call it are in genuine need. The Permanent Secretary of Health has made clear that this food distribution is to help people who are affected by the lockdown. It is not to help people who the Covid crisis has left without food.
But the Government refuses to work with the NGOs and individuals who have been working with the poor for months, the people who already have the knowledge and understand the needs.
Ironically, over the weekend the Government even distributed food packs bought and prepared by FRIEND, an NGO – but of course the Government insisted on doing the distribution, so Government could get the credit.
We once again appeal to the Government – put your egos and your political insecurities on the shelf. Show humility and respect for the knowledge and experience of others. And help those in need, with or without cameras nearby.
Professor Biman Prasad