Remarks at announcement of 33 proposed candidates for 2022 General Elections
NFP HQ – 11am, Friday August 12, 2022 By NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad
Dear People of Fiji
Today, the 59 year old National Federation Party is taking a significant step towards reclaiming its rightful place at the mantle of sound and sensible national leadership, as well as accountable, transparent, ethical and good governance of our beloved nation.
And this significant step is the announcement of 33 of the 55 Proposed Candidates to contest the 2022 general elections under the NFP banner.
At the outset, I provide this unequivocal guarantee – when the final results of the elections are tabulated and released, the NFP will be in government because this is our time.
The outcome of the elections will put an end to the two-man rule that has besieged our nation for over 15 years. It will see the rise of a new dawn, signaling the re-birth of Fiji as a land of hope and opportunity.
And as both Fiji and the South Pacific’s oldest political party, born in 1963 under a mango tree in Vaileka, Rakiraki, at the foot of the legendary Nakauvadra range, the NFP will restore, equality, dignity and justice for all our people.
And today, we are initiating the significant step of being in a government that will not lose its core objective of being compassionate and empathizing at all times with every single Fijian.
This announcement is the second step towards giving Fiji a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
The first step was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, 4 months ago on 8th April, with the People’s Alliance Party and its Leader Mr Sitiveni Rabuka.
The principles of the MOU define what a post-election coalition government of the People’s Alliance and the NFP will do to: -
+ Ease the burden of cost of living + Vastly improve delivery of public health and medical care + Raise the quality of education + Revive the sugar industry and the agricultural sector + Create decent and meaningful paying jobs especially for our new graduates and the youth + Prevent wastage and pilferage of taxpayers’ funds by eradicating mismanagement and corruption + Wiping out nepotism and cronyism in both public service and appointments to Boards of statutory organisations and government commercial companies
These will encompass our Vision Statement that we will release soon. As you all know, it is almost impossible to launch a manifesto when the tentacles of draconian Electoral and Financial Management Act legislation, changed last year, are against us.
You will recall that for the 2018 elections, we released 10 important policies 16 months before the elections on 29th July, 2017, which attracted all sorts of malicious attacks from the Fiji First government. These were especially our plans to reduce cost of living by zero-rating or making VAT-free basic food and essential items and implementing a phased-in living minimum wage of $5 an hour.
We were accused of trying to bankrupt the nation and being anti-business. Four years later, the same Fiji First government, in the dumbest copy and paste job, implemented our list of VAT-free food and essential items, minus medication of course, and announced raising of minimum wage rate to $4.01 an hour by January next year.
But this has come too late because the cost of living has escalated on the face of prices spiraling out of control. So, more decisive measures are needed. But this government cannot provide anything more apart from a $1 or Saqamoli per day for six months – totaling only $180 for 6 months.
Why? Because it has little room to borrow to provide more direct and meaningful help to the people like our friends Australia and New Zealand have done. At the end of the current financial year, each and every man, woman and child in our nation will be burdened by a debt level of Eleven-thousand-one-hundred-dollars.
This is the legacy the Fiji First government will leave behind after it is booted out by voters at the elections.
A government hell-bent on extravagance, paying itself huge salaries despite the reduction by 20% from April 2020, privileging the Prime Minister an average $3,000 per day in overseas travel allowance, traveling in dark-tinted Prados, distributing hand-outs and freebies in an election year, while legislating only $1 per day as Inflation Mitigation Assistance for the people for six months.
Last week, we were inundated with calls from social welfare recipients who expected $180 more in their monthly payments but returned home bitterly disappointed, when the normal allowance buried their hopes.
We told them that it was an electioneering tactic. Fiji First government will make a dump – dump the entire sum as a one-off payment as an election ploy to try and fool the people into thinking they will now get this sum every month and vote them into power again.
This likely will be the modus operandi of a government that has ruled for too long and thinks it is their absolute right to be in power at all costs.
But they should know their time is up, And they have to digest this truth. No matter what they do, they will be banished into political wilderness.
That is all I want to say about the present. The future beckons. And it is within our grasp.
And these fearless proposed 33 candidates are part of our crusade to re-set the political moral compass to once again rekindle Fiji’s image as a beacon of hope.
We say again - These aren’t ordinary men and women. No one in our team is. They have stepped forward, ready, willing and able to serve you. I am proud to present them to you. At this point, of course, they are proposed candidates only, because the formal election processes are yet to begin in terms of Dissolution of Parliament,. Writs for Elections and Nomination.
But you should know they’ll be part of a formidable team. The party’s Selection Committee, together with the Management Board have completed scrutiny of the applications. We have a fair assessment of the strengths we would like to be part of our 55-provionsal line-up that will be submitted to the Supervisor of Elections at the appropriate time of nomination.
We also have a reserve list as well because the response towards our expression of interest for candidacy was overwhelming.
And we are mightily glad for it because it demonstrates our sincere and genuine commitment towards Fiji.
In the next fortnight, we will announce another batch of proposed candidates.
But right now is the time to introduce to you the 33 proposed candidates who can serve you honestly and with integrity, both inside and outside of parliament, as well as allow yourselves to express your views fearlessly and be able to freely participate in the governance of Fiji.
May God bless Fiji
May God bless NFP
List of Proposed Candidates (in order of announcement):
Basundra Kumar Dr John Fatiaki Amitesh Jeet Anirudh Singh Arvind Kant Amen Kumar Bhavick Kapadia Bobby Jainendra Vikash Chinsamy Davendra Naidu Desmond Ben Sagaitu Felix Parker George Shiu Raj Hiroshi Taniguchi Jayant Kumar Josefa Tauleka Khazim Mohammed Kirti Patel Lenora Qereqeretabua Petero Saunivalu Pita Tuibau Prakesh Chand Mudliar Rajendra Raghlu Ratu Esava Nabuta Salesh Kumar Satish Prasad Satya Shandil Seni Nabou Seveci Tora Shiu Dayal Vijay Nair Vijendra Kumar Vinay Vikashni Lata