Saturday 22nd August 2020
Welcome & Brief Remarks by NFP President
NFP Working Committee Meeting
Blue Light Village Hotel – Nadi
10.30am – Saturday, August 22, 2020
By Hon Pio Tikoduadua
Party Leader, National Executives, Stalwarts, Branch delegates, executives and members of the host Branch – Nadi – ladies and gentlemen.
Happy 57th birthday NFP!
Yes, NFP, that started as the Citizens Federation in 1963, is 57 years old in 2020.
A movement based on the idea of cane grower Alparti Tataiya, born under the shady mango tree of Vaileka, Rakiraki, with the legendary Nakauvadra range bearing witness to what evolved into an indestructible political force and the South Pacific’s oldest political party.
Long Live NFP!
We meet today in very similar circumstances to when the Party was born in 1963.
At that time the cane growers were under assault from the CSR or Colonial Sugar Refining Company, the Colonial Government, and the so-called representatives of the growers who switched their support for the Colonial Administration and through their action supported the suppression of growers.
That movement, born out of the struggle for equality, dignity and justice of growers and ordinary people of Fiji.
The founding Leader Ambalal Dahyabhai Patel led a movement for social justice and independence, the achievements that are monumental and will last throughout time immemorial.
57 years later, that movement formed under a mango tree is facing similar challenges.
Fiji, in its 50th year of Independence, is at the cross-roads. Fiji’s population, indeed its ordinary people, are suffering from the social injustices, inequalities, a fast deteriorating public health and medical care, a sugar industry struggling for survival.
Above all, the people are suffering due to a government that has heaped more restrictions than governments combined since 1970 – a government that rules on fear, freebies and fear mongering.
This government miraculously survived the 2018 general elections and the verdict of the people, albeit aided and abetted by the 48 hours of strategising for low-hanging fruits.
But now the government finds itself boxed in a corner as the nation literally has jumped from the frypan into the fire due to Covid-19.
And it just doesn’t care about the lives of ordinary people. The “My Way or the Highway” system of government is now littered with potholes and patchworks.
There is nothing to show for the so-called 10 years of Bainimarama boom.
During the debate on the 2020-21 Budget, after I pointed out what the Attorney General and Minister for Economy wanted in terms of revising the GDP upwards to make the government look good for the 2014 elections, I as labelled as a traitor and told to read the whole message contained in an email by the AG.
As a student of law, who undoubtedly received guidance by the finest lecturers and experts including Professor Yash Ghai, the AG should know that the conclusion of any thesis should not be dis-jointed from its body.
Simply, the conclusion, be it of a law student or someone attending high school, should link to what is being proposed.
The proposal was to change the GDP to make the government look good for the 2014 elections.
If the AG now claims that the text of the entire email apart from the conclusion suggested something else, then he is a very poor student of law.
Is he? He is supposed to be the chief lawyer in this country.
We all know that he is muddying the waters. And that has resulted in the doom that we are facing – a situation that loomed large in 1963 but was overcome by our founding leader and his team.
Just like A D Patel and the successive leadership of S M Koya, Harish Sharma, Jai Ram Reddy, we are not feint-hearted. The same was for the leaders in the last two decades like Prem Singh and Attar Singh. They also rose above the perfidies of dirty politics to maintain the NFP as an impregnable principled fortress.
This is now our time. A new political culture but same old rhetoric and suppressive tactics that were prevalent when the Party was born.
Together, we shall overcome.
God bless NFP
God Bless Fiji