People need help, not a lavish PM’s complex
Wednesday 5th May 2021
“The decision by the Fiji First Government to forge ahead with the construction of a new and lavish office complex for the Prime Minister at a time when more than 50% of our people are in poverty or on the margins of abject poverty, is totally insensitive and at the height of governance immorality”.
National Federation Party President Pio Tikoduadua made the comment in response to release of tender documents for the construction of the complex.
Mr Tikoduadua described it as a decision “bereft of any social, political and economic conscience that completely trashes the government’s primary obligation of caring for its citizens”.
He said on 30th July, 2020, during debate on the 2020-21 National Budget, Fiji First Government defeated a Motion by the Opposition to scrap the allocation of $7 million allocated for the construction of the complex despite the need for the money to be instead used for the underprivileged and the less fortunate.
“Tenders will close next week for construction of a new five-storey office complex in Suva for the Prime Minister’s Office. On our information a building of this kind cannot be completed and outfitted for less than F$30 million”.
“The artist’s drawings suggest a modern tower imposed on a heritage building in highly questionable taste. But style is not the issue here – substance is”.
“Is Voreqe Bainimarama really thinking, right now, that he should build himself a $30 million monument as his new office?”
“There were people desperate for food even before the latest coronavirus breakout. Now it is even worse.”
“This poverty will last well into 2022 and beyond. The tourism industry and the economy will take years to recover from 2019 levels”.
“We have to feed people, vaccinate our population and look after education and health sectors. These are the national priorities. What are the priorities for Frank Bainimarama and his government?”
“We are begging for and borrowing money from foreign governments – from Japan $200 million, from Australia $55 million. The Government will give only $6m in response to food poverty in containment zones. But it will still carry on with a project worth tens of millions of dollars to keep the Prime Minister governing in style”.
“People do not even have decent houses to live in. So maybe the PM can think about that and put up with his already-comfortable office complex for just a little bit longer”.
“We will be in the next government after 2022. And we are telling the Fiji First Party now – do not waste a cent on this. Because if we are in the government, this project will be scrapped immediately”.