16 January 2017: Media Release – NFP accuses Minister of peddling untruths over QVS

The misinformation disseminated by the Ministry of Education over the state of readiness of Queen Victoria School confirms beyond any doubt that the Ministry under the Minister for Education have become thoroughly incompetent and an unmitigated disaster.

The Minister for Education and his permanent secretary have been peddling untruths for more than a week and deliberately misleading QVS staff, students and their parents. They knew full well that the School would not be ready for the opening of the 2017 school year.

The NFP had raised concerns following confirmation from reputable sources that the construction works were shoddy and that the concrete walls and pillars cracked under the force of a hammer. Simply, the rebuilt QVS under the ‘Adopt A School Programme‘ would not be able to stand a Category 2 Cyclone and was an Occupational Health and Safety Hazard.

Despite this, the Education Minister tried to gloss over the problems through propaganda in a daily newspaper that QVS was ready and would open next week. The new principal was described as dynamic and the names of staff and their EDP Numbers were also published (Fiji Sun, January 11, 2017: page 1 and 3). Obviously this was in response to another daily the Fiji Times, which published a report on its front page on 10th January (a day earlier) highlighting the Prime Minister telling the Education Minister to fix the School’s kitchen that was shown to be in a state of neglect.

Then on Sunday 15th January, the Sunday Times newspaper published a front page report quoting the Ministry’s permanent secretary as saying students would be temporarily using tents as classrooms while “minor structural adjustments continue”.

On Sunday evening the Minister announced that QVS would open on 30th January saying there was “shortage of beds and polishing work needed to be done”.

We regard this as unacceptable. It is disgraceful for a Minister to keep repeating untruths and try and hoodwink the people. He must reveal the truth and put a stop to his chaotic behaviour. Otherwise he should step down.

Authorised by: –

Hon Prof. Biman Prasad
NFP