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NFP President, MP Ms Draunidalo’s Maiden Parliamentary Speech

 

Madam Speaker,please allow.me to begin by apologising to you and all of the Honourable Members of this House for arriving a little late this morning.

I meant no disrespect to any of you, i apologise.

Next Madam Speaker i wish to join the other Honourable Members in warmly congratulating you on your appointment.. Your qualifications and work experience in the civil service and the region is well known but i also warmly recall other ties including your tenure as senior and supervisor to my mother at the Adi Cakobau School. Congratulations, Madam.

I am indeed honoured and privileged Madam Speaker to have been elected directly and indirectly by many other citizens of the Fiji Islands – and through that election – to be here today to speak to the address by the Head of State, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau who opened this term of Parliament last week.

As this is my maiden speech, i shall stick to the English parliamentary conventions with regard to maiden speeches. Key words for those include moderation and – that they are relatively uncontroversial, often consisting of a general statement of the politician’s beliefs and background rather than a partisan comment on a current topic. I shall do my best and leave the fireworks for later.

Speaking to His Excellency’s address at this time would suit the maiden speech description very well.

Also, maiden speeches begin with personal thank yous.

On that note, i wish to thank all those who voted for me and the party i represent. All of your votes earned these three seats, they are yours and they belong to other citizens as well.

I take this opportunity to also thank the Leader, Executives, Members and Supporters of the National Federation Party for giving me the great honour of being President. Thank you.

I thank my fellow candidates, siblings, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grand Aunts & Grand Uncles, nieces, nephews and god children who were quite busy promoting my candidature to their friends in their schools and swim clubs and the like.

I thank my relatives in Noikoro, Beqa, Nakorosau, Moala and other parts of Fiji. I also thank my dear long suffering friends. They all know who they are. One or two may be here today. They are very private people, high achievers in their own right and i know they would prefer not to be lowered by association. Thank you all very much.

I will make special mention of my little brother for his efforts in keeping me in check over many years and ensuring that i got some votes at the last elections. Ratu Qoro or Tuks as i would call him – thank you.

Moving forward to His Excellency’s speech – it sounded very good and it said all of the right things about moving forward and ending the coup culture. Two great things that i hope i can make a positive contribution to in this term of parliament.

But as we all know Madam Speaker, words without action are empty things that produce nothing.

I am very interested that His Excellency’s speech produces great, positive things for Fiji. And so i shall make some suggestions as to how that may occur.

We cannot move forward by doing the same old things and worse, doing those same old things to a worse degree.

 

After the coups of 1987 and 2000, significant portions of the population of this country felt alien and ostracised in this their country of birth to which they and their forebears had made significant contribution.

 

I was made aware of this and was very sensitive to it from a very young age because my late stepfather Dr. Timoci Bavadra and my late mother, Adi Kuini Teimumu Vuikaba Speed led the political parties that fought hard to stop those acts of alienation and ostracism.

 

Citizens felt alienated and ostracised like they did not belong and their values and their roots made to feel inferior – something to be hidden away for the sake of avoiding unwanted attention.

 

I truly believe that those that agreed with the cause and/or action taken in 1987 and 2000 would not have understood the depth of the deprivation of their fellow citizens. Why am i so sure, Madam Speaker?

 

Although my late stepfather and mother were also leaders in non racial politics – they were nevertheless children and grandchildren of some of the oldest and conservative families in this country having roots in many chiefly houses around Fiji.

 

Those roots were in our homes, daily and we heard them – daily. Their apprehensions, fears and views. We know what motivated them and what they wanted to guard against. We also know that they were your typical hospitable Fijians. After all, hospitality is the preserve of chiefs first and foremost.

 

And I know from that experience, that not very many if any of those who supported the cause and/or action in 1987 and 2000 knew of the depth of the hurt and deprivation that they supported.

 

But it was obvious that they were certainly cocooned by their political beliefs into believing that everything was just fine and there was no need for discussion and/or reform of most things.

 

Again, i know that those that experienced the feelings of hurt and deprivation from 1987 and 2000 felt and feel it very deeply. It would have hurt them to their very core. Very few strong and unique people can ignore all that and come out of those experiences unfazed in their commitment to the greater good.

 

Very few indeed, Madam Speaker.

 

Very many carry that hurt for a very long time if not forever. We are all human, these are very human emotions – some may get over their hurt once they feel justice has been served, others may carry it for life no matter what ‘reparation’ is made.

 

This is very relevant to where we now find ourselves, again at the crossroads after the last coup. Its impact is best assessed by the favoured term of His Excellency’s government in describing it – a revolution.

 

I therefore urge His Excellency’s government to take care that it does not continue to alienate and ostracize another significant portion of the population because the end results in this country have been military coups.

 

I invite His Excellency’s government to look deeper into the maze to see that from their own analysis – about 60% of the Fijian race did not vote for them.

 

His Excellency’s government should take care not to further alienate or ostracise that number. And if they started doing the right things by that proportion of the population – they may even win their votes too over time.

 

That would mean that i and others lose votes but that is fine if the greater good is ultimately served.

 

Into the details, Madam Speaker – the first question then is what acts of the revolution by His Excellency’s government are contributing to this process of alienation and ostracism and then, how can that process be halted for the greater good?

 

Native Land

 

Madam Speaker, many Fijians now know that the entrenched constitutional provisions in the 1997 Constitution with regard to native land does not exist in the 2013 Constitution.

 

No one needs a degree in constitutional law to work that out. One only needs to read Chapter 13, Group rights of the 1997 Constitution versus Sections 27 and 28 of the 2013 Constitution to see the marked difference.

 

This factor causes feelings of apprehension, fear, alienation and ostracism viz many indigenous Fijians. They believe that this land is the source of our identity as Fijians separate and apart from all of the beautiful people and races from different lands who have their own unique and rich cultures rooted in other lands.

 

Removing entrenched constitutional provisions with regard to native land is thus an alienating and ostracising act.

 

For the first time, native land is subject to the State’s powers of compulsory acquisition. Previously, this power in this country could only be exercised over land that was not native land as alll laws affeting native land had to pass the requirements of the entrenched constitutional provisons. This is no longer the csae.

 

Fijian Administration

 

Madam Speaker, the removal of a symbolic institution like the Bose Levu Vakaturaga is an alienating and ostravising act. Yes, i am one who thought it could have been improved as nothing in this world is perfect.

 

But to promote peace, harmony and the greater good especially with the 60% i have referred to, dialogue, consultation, compromise and agreement as to reform would have been the much better route.

 

Fijian Name

 

Again, this name was used for the indigenous race for very, very many years. Our community perceived it, rightly or wrongly, as part of our identity as a race not as a citizen. His Excellency’s government could have spent very little time and resources to show sensitivity on this issue and take all of us together to the promised new Fiji under a common name. There was no need to display arogance and insenaitivity again. It did not help.

 

There are other factors which alienate other members of our country like the appearance of disrespect to their leaders in this House and elsewhere. I therefore urge His Excellency’s government to be big people. Have big minds and big hearts. Be magnanimous in your electoral victory. Show due respect and decorum to all members of this House whether they are in your party or not. Extend the same to those who voted for them. Do not be punitive. Show courage and leadership to achieve what you say you desire.

 

Broad Political Dialogue and Agreement

 

Madam Speaker, this brings me to this last heading of achieving broad political dialogue and agreement. It requires leadership on all sides, dialogue, and agreement,

 

Our former leader, the Honourable Mr. Justice Jai Ram Reddy and the former Prime Minister Rabuka who began this military coup culture in Fiji achieved this great dialogue and understanding viz the 1997 Constitution.

 

They managed to achieve the great political statement of unity of our time, the 1997 Constitution.

 

I have hope that it can be done again. That is why i am here, if i had no hope i wouldnt have participated in the general elections.

 

On that note Madam Speaker, i urge the leaders of this House to take up the challenge and take the whole country with them to ensure that we understand the past very well, reconcile our misunderstandings and differences and move forward agreeing to disagree on topical issues but in mature agreement on the fundamentals.

 

On this note i wish to pay personal tribute to my late father Colonel Draunidalo. He would like to have left me with one political advice that he voiced once “All of the flowery socialist principles that your dear mother espouses will come to nought if you do not know the art of war”.. That advice accords with what his wise Uncle also advised me once “Caution my dear, it is better to be the king maker than to be the king”.

 

I know my father made quite a few kings and queens in his time, past and present. I understand that and am happy to play my part in the back room to help in any way possible for the words of His Excellency to bear fruit for all of Fiji.

 

Vinaka vakalevu. God bless Fiji.

 

NFP WILL BE AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION

After almost 8 years of Military rule, democracy has returned to Fiji.

The people of Fiji have spoken through the Ballot Box, not withstanding irregularities in polling that we as a party have complained about via our letter of last Friday, providing evidence to this effect, which is just a small sample of irregularities, reports of which will be compiled and sent to the Electoral Commission seeking clarification.

Nevertheless, people of Fiji have elected a government for the next four years. we respect the verdict of the people and wish Mr. Voreqe Bainimarama and his government well for the next four years. we expect nothing short of a transparent and accountable government and we will hold the new government to this principle.

We also wish SODELPA….

National Federation Party: The choice of the 2014 general election

Speech delivered at NFP Rally, Labasa Civic Centre

10.30AM; Saturday September 5, 2014

By NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Our meeting is shadowed by great pain today. Before I begin my address allow me to share our prayers for our brave men in uniform as they face this period of great uncertainty in the Mid East. Our prayers and solidarity are with the families of those in captivity. We join our Commander and The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki Moon in calling for the immediate release of all Fijian troops. The thoughts of the whole nation are with our men.

Ladies and gentleman
As we come towards the end of the most bitter and difficult campaign in our history, allow me to speak on the choices that lie before us.

Madam President and I have taken our campaign to all corners of Fiji. I have visited all our towns, 100s of villages, and met so many of you at your homes and in communities. Thank you for welcoming us so wholeheartedly.

For the first time in our country’s political history; tens of thousands of you have linked to us from across our country and the world through Facebook, twitter and the web. I thank so many of you who have joined up with our cause through new technology platforms. This is a significant new development that offers hope for our democracy but also hope for how we achieve greatness as a country……

Misleading Advertisements: Violation of Section 144 of Electoral Decree 2014

September 11, 2014

 

The Chief Executive Officer

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation

SUVA

ATTN: Mr Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Dear Sir

Misleading Advertisements: –

Violation of Section 144 of Electoral Decree 2014

 

On Friday 5 September 2014, we filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission about the Fiji First political campaign advertisement being aired on FBC TV that depicts the National Federation Party as liars, without providing any factual basis for the statement under “SODELPA, N.F.P. and Others. Don’t Vote for Liars”.

(See https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=EilNH3soe6w&features=youtu.be).

Yesterday we were alerted to a similar political advertisement being aired on the same TV Station, as well as Radio Fiji Two, now accusing the party leader, Mr Biman Prasad of making untrue statements. Some are also airing on Radio Fiji Two questioning Professor Prasad’s credentials and misleading voters that he will raise income tax. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE LIE. None of the Fiji First advertisements attacking the NFP are based on facts. This is also a breach of the Media Industry Development Authority Decree.

Such political advertisements that have been aired on FBC TV and Radio, which are defamatory against our party leader and candidates in the September elections and calculated to mislead or deceive Fiji voters and influence them relation to the casting of their votes.

Section 144(4)(a)  of the Electoral Decree 2014 states, “Any person who at any time between the announcement of the date of the election and the close of the poll in any election, prints, publishes, broadcasts or distributes, or causes, permits or authorises to be printed, published, broadcast or distributed, any matter or thing that is likely to mislead or deceive a voter in relation to the casting of a vote”; ….

“…commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both”.

We hereby give you notice that unless you cease from airing the above advertisements on your TV channels immediately, in any event by end of business day today (i.e. 4.30pm) 11 September, 2014, failing which we will file a complaint with the police under section 144 of the Electoral Decree 2014.

We look forward to hearing from you the decision you make at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

 

……………………………..

Kamal Iyer

General Secretary

No talk yet

THERE has been no talk of a coalition between the National Federation Party and any political party, says party leader Professor Biman Prasad as he refuted claims that they had been in talks with the FijiFirst party for a possible post-election merger.

“We have repeatedly stated since December 7, 2013 that we are fighting the elections on our own and intend to solely form a majority government,” Prof Prasad said.

“Misleading the voters in an attempt to win votes is a hallmark of politicians and political parties clutching at straws. If anything, SODELPA and the FLP have both confirmed that they will form a coalition after the elections.”

Prof Prasad said if after election there was a situation where a majority hadn’t been formed, then NFP would talk to the party whose ideals and visions matched.

“We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” he said.

FijiFirst party president Dr Jiko Luveni said the party had never held talks with any other party regarding a coalition.

She said if the situation arose post-election, then party leader Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama would make the call if coalition is to be made.

Meanwhile, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said no such remarks were made at any of their meetings.

“As far as FLP is concerned, no such remarks or allegations were made. I think these reports are coming from some of their own people,” Chaudhry said.

According to political scientists, the voting system which is being used for the general election favours coalitions unless there is a majority win, which is getting more than 50 per cent of the 591,095 registered votes.

Prof Prasad said there had also been paid advertisements by a political party on FBC TV stating NFP had been lying.

“Last Friday, we wrote to the Electoral Commission and pointed out that this breached the Electoral Decree because the party isn’t saying what NFP is lying about. The truth is we have never lied or misled our people throughout our 51-year history,” he said.

Prof Prasad said there was a need for the Government to go into caretaker mode so there was accountability of State funds.

He said the perception out there is that State money is being used for political campaigning.

http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=279810

 

The TRUTH

FOR THE LAST TWO WEEKS FIJI FIRST LEADER VOREQE BAINIMARAMA  HAS  BEEN ACCUSING NFP OF TELLING LIES. THIS  HAS BEEN SAID PUBLICLY THROUGH THE NEWS MEDIA, AS WELL AS THROUGH ADEVERTISEMENT ON FBC TV.

 

LAST FRIDAY WE WROTE TO THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION AND POINTED OUT THAT THIS BREACHED THE ELECTORAL DECREE.

 

 

BECAUSE MR BAINIMARAMA IS NOT SAYING WHAT   NFP IS LYING ABOUT

 

THE TRUTH IS WE HAVE NEVER LIED OR MISLED OUR PEOPLE THROUGHOUT OUR 51 YEAR  HISTORY.

 

WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE ALWAYS DELIVERED WHAT WE PROMISED TO THE PEOPLE OF FIJI. AND WE HAVE NOT BEEN TAINTED BY ANY OF THE FOUR COUPS IN FIJI SINCE 1987.

 

SIMILARLY, FIJI LABOUR PARTY CANDIDATES HAVE BEEN SPREADING LIES ABOUT NFP ALREADY ENTERING INTO A POST ELECTION COALITION WITH FIJI FIRST.

 

The truth is that this this demonstrates the desperation on the part of both parties. We have repeatedly stated since 7th December 2013 that we are fighting the elections on our own and intend to solely form a majority government. Misleading the voters in an attempt to win votes is a hallmark of politicians and political parties clutching at straws.

 

If anything, SODELPA and the FLP have both confirmed that they will form a coalition after the elections. They have failed to explain to the people why they could not work together in a Multi-Party Government after the 2006 elections.  The  leaderless Fiji Labour Party, whose last parliamentary leader was part of the military regime, justified his participation in the regime’s Cabinet by describing the then SDL as corrupt. Why is he now working with the same party, albeit under a new name, that he repeatedly described as corrupt and responsible for economic ruin?

 

Similarly, this government is diverting the attention of people away from the real issues facing our nation.

 

This Government has indulged in the biggest vote-buying campaign in our history. This is an indisputable fact. Last week we saw a new dawn of vote buying when rubbish bins were distributed in Nasinu. The Electoral Decree 2014 is being breached by this Government through the use of State funds for campaign in the form of advertisements by Ministries like the PM’s Office and Ministry of Health on common name and equal citizenry and health updates respectively. We see Fiji Pine Ltd, a statutory organisation publishing advertisements in the newspaper on distribution of money to landowners.

 

That is why we have been calling on this Government to go into caretaker mode immediately after the Writ for Election was issued by the President.

 

Fear mongering in an attempt to scare voters is also prevalent. Team NFP has consistently practiced an issues-based campaign because the people of Fiji want answers to the social, economic and political ills plaguing our nation.

 

Furthermore, making pie-in-the-sky promises like providing free water and increasing subsidy on electricity will not work like what Fiji First has proposed. Their proposal if implemented will mean a meager saving of $1.59 on electricity bills per month and $1.16 on water charges for a month. This pales into significance with our promise to reduce Value Added Tax from 15% to 10% and review import duties on imported food items.

 

Electricity subsidy will save you $19.08 in one year

 

Free water of 91.25 units will save you $13.96 in one year

 

Free prescribed basic medicine will save you $400 in one year if you are sick

 

Your total savings under Fiji First’s proposal will be $433.04 in one year

 

Under NFP’s plan to reduce VAT from 15% to 10%, any person earning $20,000 per annum will save $1000 in one year.

 

THIS IS THE TRUTH

 

NOW FOR THE TRUTH THAT FIJI FIRST IS NOT TALKING ABOUT.

The truth is Frank Bainimarama said that that the military carried out the coups of 1987, 2000 and 2006.

While addressing villagers in Nadoi, Rewa on May 22, 2008 following the opening of a church extension, he stated why the military carried out the coups.

He said, “We have taken over leadership because politicians have failed us. I have spoken to Qarase and the head of the Methodist Church was there (Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca), politicians have failed us, that is why the military took over in 1987, 2000 and 2006.”Reported on Fiji One National News In-depth Report, May 23, 2008: Reproduced from opinion by Kamal Iyer in The Fiji Times titled When Truth Causes Verbal Woes – 20th June 2008

“The Commander said that the Military staged the coup in 1987 to develop Fiji but those who went into power used the coup for their own benefit” . – Reported by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation News 25th January 2010, reporting on Bainimarama’s speech to Chiefs of Kadavu; www.fbc.com.fj

“The massive exodus of Indo-Fijians from the country has been one of the most dramatic developments of the last two decades. Since the coups of 1987, more than 120,000 people have left for other shores, taking with them skills and talents Fiji can ill-afford to lose: doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and the like”. – The road from 1987- Opinion by Brij V Lal; Fiji Times May 13, 2008

Is the forced migration of Indo-Fijians from the land of their birth  the development that Bainimarama is talking about? Is the forced separation of loved ones from their families the development that Bainimarama is talking about?

Does he mean that the NFP/FLP Coalition Government of Dr Timoci Bavadra that had won the 1987 general election, was not going to develop the country and that is why the military carried out the coup?

THIS IS THE TRUTH THAT FRANK BAINIMARAMA MUST EXPLAIN

WE BEIEVE THAT FRANK BAINIMARAMA DOES NOT BELIEVE IN HIS OWN 2013 CONSTITUTION THAT SAYS EVERYONE IS EQUAL BECAUSE OF COMMON NAME AND EQUAL CITIZENRY, BECAUSE HE STILL REGARDS INDO-FIJIANS AS INDIANS.

This is clear from his racist comment about NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad to Fairfax Media of Australia. When asked about Professor Prasad’s challenge for both leaders to have a debate, Bainimarama said, “He’s an Indian, without me he wouldn’t even be sticking around”. – Fairfax media of Australia; Published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age titled “Bula Bully” – Reported by Kathy Marks 

This is an insult to the Indo-Fijian community.

For the last 8 years, you have been kept in the dark about the actual salaries of Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Even the official Government record, which is the Civil List, does not reveal their salaries, but states the salaries of other Ministers and all civil servants. This is the TRUTH

For the last 8 years, the people of Fiji have not seen reports of the Auditor-General. This is the TRUTH

For the last 8 years the cost of foodhas increased by a massive 60%, according to the Consumer Price Index of Bureau of Statistics.  This is the TRUTH

Basic Items Price Comparison

ITEM Nov 30, 2006 PRICE NOW
Rewa Butter (500g) $2.99 $8.95
Rewa Life Milk (PKT) $1.39 $2.73
Rewa Instant Powder Milk $3.52 (500g) $6.90 (450g)
Kraft Cheese $3.15 $10.10
Lamb Chops (KG) $5.95 $16.95
Beer (QTS) CTN $31.99 $43.95
Crest Chicken (# 14) $7.99 $15.35
Lamb Shank (KG) $6.99 $19.95
FMF Chow Noodles (5’s) $1.59 $2.95
Soya Bean Oil (750ml) $1.85 $2.67

 

For the last 8 years sugarcane and sugar production has been reduced by 50%, according to official figures of Bureau of Statistics and Government’s National Budget documents. This is the TRUTH

And the official Government Report, which is the Civil Service List shows that at the end of 2012, Indo-Fijians comprised lonely 19.94% of the entire Civil Service. (Analysis of 2012 Civil List of civil servants) – Published by the Public Service Commission.  This is the TRUTH

IT IS ONLY WE, THE TRUSTED TEAM NFP that will give you a new dawn of peace, progress, stability and improving the livelihood of our people.

Biman Prasad

NFP Leader