Category Archives: Uncategorized

24 September 2015: Transcript of NFP Whip, Hon Prem Singh’s contribution to the debate on the Motion by the Acting Prime Minister, Hon Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum to thank His Excellency The President for his Speech at the Opening of the 2015-2016 Session of Parliament

<Please check against delivery>

nfp whip

Honourable Deputy Speaker – I rise to contribute on the Motion before Parliament. But before that I wish to say Bravo Fiji for a scintillating performance of both running and power rugby against the number 2 ranked side in the world, Australia, at Cardiff early this morning. We lost by 15 points but ran the Wallabies ragged in the 2nd half.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, I too join other honourable Members in thanking our President for his service to our nation over many years and in several capacities.

I developed a close relationship with His Excellency during my 11-month tenure as Leader of the Opposition from October 2001 to September 2002 when Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was an extremely fair and impartial Speaker, always facilitating the requests of the Opposition within the ambit of the Standing Orders.

Might I add Honourable Deputy Speaker we had many informal Talanoa sessions over a tanoa as camaraderie was developed not only with myself but other Honourable Members as well. I wish him, Adi Lady Koila and the family prosperous health.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, we have been told that the State of the Nation is healthy and prosperous and the economic growth of 5.3%, increasing reserves, infrastructure development and so on, are being given as a reason for our economic advancement.

But it seems to me Honourable Deputy Speaker that we now have a consumption driven economy and growth is based on this factor. And it is clear that such an economy is not creating jobs. A 5.3% growth in 2014 should have created thousands of jobs. Instead people looking for work, 80% of who are youth – and this is even admitted by the Minister for Women who on 22nd July said majority of them were university graduates.

Furthermore Honourable Deputy Speaker the Honourable Minister for Employment confirmed in June 2015 that the number of job seekers registered with the National Employment Centre was 46,277. This increased by more than 13,000 from July 2014 – and we have had a 5.3% growth!

The Fiji Times of 1st June reports the Minister Honourable Jioji Konrote as saying and I quote: –
“My advice to the students is to work hard and make the right choice because it’s not easy to find a job. I’ve got thousands of people lining up here looking for jobs and employment, I have a mandate to look for a job for everybody”.

“My advice to the unemployed youths here in the urban centres is to go back to the village and plant some more tavioka.” – Unquote

If the current trend continues, then close to 60,000 job seekers will be registered with National Employment Centre by July next year, unless of course the Minister has concrete plans to generate employment apart from telling our youth to plant cassava.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, 2015 has been a year of confusion as far as Education is concerned. We have heard delays in distribution of textbooks, milk and cramming of curriculum into two terms. This forced teachers to take extra classes after normal school hours including weekends. We have had re-introduction of examinations and lowering of entry marks for tertiary institutions from 250 to 200 on the basis that it will be raw marks.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, Yesterday following concerns raised by Honourable Mika Leawere, the Honourable Minister for Education confirmed leak of examination papers of Year 8, who are already sitting for examinations.
How were the papers were leaked in the first place? What measures are in place to ensure that papers for examinations for Year 10, 12 and 13 are not leaked?

Having raised the expectations of the students and parents, the Ministry has now decided to restrict the free bus fare scheme to students falling within Stage 1 or nearest school – and that too to students whose parents have a combined income of a maximum of $16,500.

This is just a mere $500 above the tax threshold. And if a couple individually earning income below the tax threshold but collectively their income is above the $16,500 set by the Minister, then their children are disqualified from the free bus fare scheme. This, Honourable Deputy Speaker, is a betrayal of the trust of voters by the Fiji First Government. God forbid but may be the next announcement possibly during the 2016 Budget will be the qualification for Tertiary Education Loans Scholarship Scheme based on the same threshold!

Honourable Deputy Speaker, we have been told by the Education Minister through the media that this is being done to prevent abuse of free bus fare vouchers by students, schools and bus operators. But until now, the Minister has not produced any evidence of vouchers being abused by them. On the contrary an Education Ministry employee was charged in October 2013, together with a worker from a corporate company for fraud relating to payment of vouchers.

The question that arises Honourable Deputy Speaker is this; If the economy is growing, revenue collection by Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority is increasing, then why benefits offered to the people of Fiji, as promised in the Fiji First election manifesto last year, are being diluted? What has happened to the mother of all budgets that we heard in December last year?

What has happened to the slogan of “turning promises into deeds”?

Honourable Deputy Speaker, I expected Government, through His Excellency, to lay out comprehensive plans on rehabilitation programmes in our cane belt and agricultural sector following the prolonged drought, which is still ravaging the Western and Northern Divisions. This is despite some rain, which has provided some respite.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, in some areas tanks have been placed and residents are required to travel to these locations to fetch their emergency supply. These tanks quickly run out of water. This is a departure from the past practice of trucks carrying water carts to homes in settlements.

And we all know the natural phenomenon that after a drought there is always a major flood, the two recent devastating floods of 2009 and 2012 are a testimony to this fact.

Furthermore Honourable Deputy Speaker, a survey has to be done to assess the impact of the drought on agricultural crops, livestock and sugar.

Only a comprehensive survey will able to determine the kind and amount of assistant and crop rehabilitation packages needed for the recovery of these industries or sectors. With intermittent rain being experienced in the drought affected areas, the time is right to rehabilitate the crops but this can only be done through proper management and utilization of funds in the relevant areas.

But this needs a comprehensive Crop Rehabilitation Programme and Government must immediately move in this direction, apart from supplying and improving the distribution of emergency water supplies.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, our dairy farmers have also serious concerns about the dairy industry, which is impacting their livelihood. In their representations to us, the farmers have stated they are still being charged Value Added Tax (VAT) for supply of milk per litre. When Fiji Dairy Cooperative Ltd pays them for the supply of milk, they deduct 15% VAT from the proceeds.

Early last month the Permanent Secretary for Industry Trade and Tourism said large-scale farmers are being refunded VAT that was deducted but small-scale farmers are exempted from paying VAT. However in their representations, the small-scale farmers have claimed they are subjected to VAT deduction by FDCL. We ask the Ministry of Public Enterprise to clarify this matter because this is reducing their income.

Furthermore Honourable Deputy Speaker, the outbreak of tuberculosis is having a serious effect on the industry. Large herds of dairy cows are being lost to tuberculosis and there are no replacement cows or calves given to them. The Ministry of Agriculture must urgently look into this issue because this has the potential to cripple the industry.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, neglect and mismanagement of the public health sector has led to a frightening deterioration of our health services.

Our extremely poor health service is blight on our nation. There is no other way to put it. Go to any hospital in the country and you will see the pathetic conditions.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, I have visited a number of hospitals and health centres in the past 6 months. I visited them before the elections as well. My latest visits have shown no improvement in service delivery. Patients especially women and children are waiting for more than 5 hours to see a doctor. The physical condition of many hospitals is shameful. Our hospitals should never run out of essential medicines for diabetics and high blood pressure, or of basic equipment such as syringes for blood tests.

Until last week, the blood testing facility at Lautoka Hospital, the country’s second largest hospital was not working. Patients traveling as far as Ra and Valley Road in Nadroga arrived at the hospital after referrals from their respective health facilities only to find out that the facility has been out of order for five weeks. This is unacceptable.

Even the expectation of clean and hygienic conditions at our hospitals is just too high an expectation from this Government.

Further, Honourable Deputy Speaker, last December the Minister for Health promised a full inquiry into the death of a new-born baby at Lautoka Hospital following my Adjournment Motion on the matter. He also assured Parliament that measures will be implemented to ensure such tragedies are not repeated in our hospitals.

I am deeply saddened to say that I have once again received a complaint from a member of the public on the loss of her baby Shahzaib Shuyab Dean and what apparently transpired at Nadi Hospital, and Honourable Deputy Speaker through you, I offer my sincerest and respectful condolences to baby Shahzaib’s family. I will furnish details of this complaint to the Honourable Minister for Health.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, until recently, the issue of payment of overtime to health personnel was unresolved. A circular issued on 29th June by the Health Ministry’s Deputy Secretary Finance and Administration in respect of overtime work by government wage earners and established staff. Amongst other things the circular states and I quote, “The 2015 Budget has been exhausted, therefore all overtime payment will cease. Accumulated hours for all staff shall be taken as time-off in lieu of payment on hour to hour basis”. – unquote

The Minister for Health needs to clarify this issue because an overworked and underpaid workforce is the last thing we need, especially in the health and medical care facilities.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, healthcare despite major reforms has not improved. This is the painful reality.

That is why we need a bipartisan approach for an inquiry into all aspects of healthcare and medical services. There is little use of building new hospitals when our existing hospitals lack facilities.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, the role of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces has been the subject of much scrutiny. On Tuesday, The Honourable Minister for Employment, himself a former senior military officer, praised the role of the RFMF and its then Commander – the current Prime Minister – in restoring law and order following the coup of May 19, 2000, saying the coup was an action by extremists who had racist and selfish ambitions to run the country.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, the question is who carried out the coups? It wasn’t ordinary citizens. It was people trained to be soldiers and belonging to an institution, revered worldwide because of its reputation in peacekeeping, but also famous for executing coups.

I refer to a statement made by the Honourable Prime minister as Commander of RFMF. While addressing villagers in Nadoi, Rewa on May 22, 2008 following the opening of a church extension, he stated in the indigenous i-taukei language why the military carried out the coups.

He said and I quote the translation from Fiji One National News In-depth Report of 23rd May 2008, covering proceedings of his opening of a Church in Nadoi, Rewa ; “We have taken over leadership because politicians have failed us, that is why the military took over in 1987, 2000 and 2006.” – unquote

Honourable Deputy Speaker, in 1987, The NFP/Labour Coalition Government was only 5 weeks old when it was overthrown. How could politicians in Honourable PM’s words – which was Dr Timoci Bavadra’s government have failed the people of Fiji in such a short time of 5 weeks?

This is the answer that needs to be provided, amongst other things, before we are told to extoll the virtues of democracy and constitutional rule – something that we have always upheld and will continue doing so.

Honourable Deputy Speaker, true nationhood, common and equal citizenry can only be achieved if we collectively start doing some of the following:

Economic growth to generate employment; Meritocracy in the civil service and appointments being made at least in proportionate to the population of our ethnic groups. As a start having a quota for recruitment of personnel from other ethnic groups in the military, again on meritocracy to give it a semblance of multiracialism; Having bipartisan committees to collectively look at serious challenges facing sectors like the sugar industry, health and medical services

My point here, Honourable Deputy Speaker is that its all very well to finger-wag on what should be acceptable parliamentary conduct and what it is not, but reciprocity, humanity and national interest should be our guiding values if are to succeed at bipartisanship, and not arrogance and condescension. We on this side of Parliament continue to offer our hands for bipartisanship. It is now up to the other side to reciprocate sincerity and respect in the national interest.

That is the bottom line.

NFP announces four new candidates

Four more candidates were named today by Fiji’s National Federation Party, bringing to 49 the number of candidates the party has named so far for the 2014 General Elections.

Named today were Savusavu businesswoman Kalesi Ratuwara, Small Business consultant Anshu Lata from Labasa, retired school teacher Etonia Lote and 23-year-old lawyer Anishni Chand.

The party remains firm on plans to submit 50 nominations to the Fijian Elections Office next Monday for accreditation for the forthcoming election.They are expected to name their 50th candidate tomorrow.

Read more at: http://fijilive.com/news/2014/08/nfp-names-4-more-candidates-for-election/58605/
Copyright 2014 © Fijilive.com

AG AN EXAMPLE OF GOVERNMENT’S ANTI‐POOR STANCE

The Attorney General’s outright rejection of NFP’s commitment to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) from 15% to 10% confirms the current government’s anti-poor stance. It clear that this Government is only concerned about raking as much revenue as possible even if it means squeezing the pockets of the
poor.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, while launching the Prime Minister’s Exporter of the Year Award, referred to NFP’s election promise to reduce VAT to 10% and mocked me saying being an “economist does not make one a good person for financial and commercial transaction”. Firstly Mr Sayed-Khaiyum should not become a political commentator. He is also the Minister Responsible for Elections. This re-enforces our belief that he should quit as Elections Minister after becoming the general secretary of the Fiji First Party if he wants to indulge in politics.

NFP’s vision for our people’s future

The following are excerpts from Professor Prasad’s speech delivered at the NFP Convention on 29th March (continued from last week) Creating decent jobs Nowhere is the evidence of failure of government seen more clearly than through unemployment. Thousands of graduates, school leavers, and skilled people cannot find jobs. This is because there has been no growth in manufacturing and agriculture sector. The National Employment Centre tells us that out of 26,000 that registered as jobseekers between 2010 and 2012, only 4,000 found jobs. More recently the figure registered at the NEC has risen to 30,000 and of these 1,000 are University graduates.

NFP ANNOUNCES FIVE MORE CANDIDATES

The National Federation Party has today announced a further 5 candidates to contest the 2014 general elections. They include the President of the largest cultural organisation in the country, a social worker, a retired school teacher, a post-graduate in international relations and a former Captain of Boeing 747 aircraft.

The latest announcement brings to 24 the number of candidates officially endorsed by the NFP, with more candidates to be announced in the next fortnight, which will make the NFP candidates’ line-up as the only genuinely multiracial and most talented election team to contest the elections.

The five candidates are: –

  • Sadasivan Naicker

Sadasivan Naicker is a retired Customs Officer. He retired in September last year after almost 39 years of Service. Originally from Koronubu, Ba, Mr Naicker is well known in the Suva-Nausori corridor because of his active involvement in social and community work as well as football.

Mr Naicker has bee actively involved in the Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam for the past 32 years. He served Nasinu Sangam in various capacities including as Branch President. At national level, he served as President of TIV Sangam (Sangam’s youth wing).

From 2006 to 2011 he was TISI Sangam’s General Manager. In April 2011, Mr Naicker was elected TISI Sangam’s National President and has led the organisation for the last three years.

Mr Naicker has also served as Chairman of the Nasinu Satelite Carnival for 14 years. He has also served as an Executive Board Member of Fiji Council of Social Services. For the last three years he has been the Chairman of Valelevu Health Centre Board of Visitors.

His passion for soccer saw serve Nasinu Football between 1991 and 2003. He was President of Nasinu Football Association for five years from 1998 to 2003 and was also a Finance Committee Member of Fiji Football Association for 5 years.

Mr Naicker is a recipient of the 25th Independence Anniversary Medal for his social and community work.

  • Frederick Harol Work

Frederick Harol Work is a resident of Lautoka. He has worked in the hospitality industry for many years and is currently the managing director of Top Sand Suppliers Ltd. He also had a rugby stint in Northland, New Zealand.

Mr Work, whose roots are embedded in Nadroga, is a nephew of Christopher Work, a Minister of State in the NFP/FLP Coalition Government of Dr Timoci Uluivuda Bavadra of 1987, deposed in the military coup of May 14, 1987.

Mr Work looks after general welfare issues of Pubic Rental Board residents of Natoqowaqa, Lautoka, is a former member of the Natokowaqa Topline PRB Youth Network Club doing community work and a former Topline Rugby Club Coach.

  • Sant Kumari Murti

Sant Kumari Murti is a retired school teacher of Vunivau, Labasa. She is wel known for her social and community work in the North.

Mrs Murti was a teacher for 32 years from 1979 to 2010 and taught in various secondary schools. She also held acting appointments as a vice principal and HOD Mathematics.

She is a member of the Macuata Provincial Development Board, Member of Women in Politics, Vice President of TISI Maathar Sangam. She has assisted in conducting Social Welfare empowerment programs on issues like gender equality, violence against women, child health and protection, and rights for people with disabilities.

Mrs Murti is passionate about her work towards the uplifting of living standards for rural women.

  • Jone Vakalalabure

Jone Vakalalabure is currently employed as a  Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist by the regional organisation Pacific Leadership Program.

Mr Vakalalabure has a Masters  in International Relations from La Trobe University in Melbourne. He has also worked as a short term advsor for UNDP on Climate Change, worked for 9 years with UN AIDS as Regional Programme Specialist and also for the Fiji Red Cross for 4 years between 1999 and 2003.

Mr Vakalalabure possesses: –

  • Academic and practical knowledge on political and international relatins
  • Experience with minotoring and evaluation work
  • Experience in developing stakeholder relationships

He is fully versed with UN funding, operational and management mechanisms.

  • Captain Rainjesh San

Captain Rainjesh San (pronounced Sen) has worked in the airline industry for 30 years. He worked as a pilot for Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) for 22 years from 1988 to 2010, during which time he was promoted to a Captain  of the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, now the 2nd largest passenger aircraft in the world.

Captain San has a total of 15,319 hours of flying time on several types of aircraft. Of this he has 8000 hours of flying time as command of jet aircraft.

His career objective as been to develop skills and knowledge at all levels. Now Captain San’s objective is to part of a successful Team NFP.

(Also Narendra Reddy who was announced last week will have to take the oath.

Mr Reddy’s record of service to the community and NFP has been exemplary.

NFP ANNOUNCES A NOTHER 8 CANDIDATES

The President of the Fiji Law Society, prominent social and community workers, a prominent women’s rights personality, a backpacker resort owner and a minister in the multi-party Cabinet deposed in the military coup are amongst 8 candidates announced today to contest the forthcoming general elections under the banner of the National Federation Party.

This is the 2nd batch of candidates announced by the NFP following the announcement of  eleven candidates a fortnight ago.  This brings to 19 the number of candidates announced so far by the NFP.

The 8 candidates are: –

  • Dorsami Naidu

Dorsami Naidu is the President of the Fiji Law Society. After graduating as a lawyer from University of Canterbury, New Zealand, he entered private practice in 1983. In 1985, he established his own law firm under the name of Pillai Nadu & Associates in Nadi.

Mr Naidu has held various positions in the Then India Sanmargya Ikya Sangam. He was TISI Sangam President from April 2000 to April 2011.

As Law Society President he was a member of the Judicial Legal Services Commission until April 2009.

Mr Naidu was a NFP Member of Parliament for 7 years between 1992 and 1999. In November 1993 following the debate on the 1994 Budget, he called for a division or vote on the Budget. This led to the defeat of the 1994 Budget, and the fall of the Rabuka Government, resulting in snap general elections in February 1994. He was a member of the Parliamentary Justice, Law & Order Committee.

He contested the 1999 and 2001 general elections. In 2001 he was NFP’s Deputy Leader for the elections. He was NFP’s President from 2004 to 2005.

  • Ragho Nand

Ragho Nand is veteran social worker and a former Member of Parliament. Originally from Labasa he has been a resident of Nausori for several years. He was a school teacher for 34 years.

In 1999, he quit his teaching career to contest the elections as a Fiji Labour Party candidate. He served as a Labour Party MP for seven years from 1999 to 2006. During this time he served as a Member of the parliamentary social services and public accounts committees.

Following the 2006 general elections, he was one of nine FLP Ministers in the SDL-FLP Multi-Party Cabinet that was deposed in a military coup on 5th December 2006. Mr Nand was the Employment Opportunities and Productivity Minister in the Multi-Party Cabinet.

  • Bhim Raj

Bhim Raj of Nausori, is a retired civil servant having worked in the public service for 34 years.  He began his civil service career as a clerical officer in 1976 at the Government Supplies Department. He also worked in a similar position in the Elections Office in 1986 and 1987.

From 1987 to 1994, Mr Raj worked as an Assistant Accountant in the Ministry of Lands. In July 1994, he gained promotion as an Accountant  for two years worked in the Housing and Urban Development Ministry.

Mr Raj served as an Accountant in the Ministries of Agriculture and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, as well as Department of Women. He acted as a Senior Accountant in the Ministry of Health.

  • Eroni Maopa

Original from Qamea Island in the province of Cakaudrove, Eroni Maopa of Nadi is a lawyer.

Mr Maopa was a police officer from 1987 to 1996. He graduated as a lawyer from the University of the South Pacific and has been practicing law for 13 years from 2001. He also has a Diploma in Business Administration & Management from Jersey – Britain – through a correspondence course.

Mr Maopa’s community work involves advising and overseeing development at village level in Qamea Island and Naselai, Tailevu.

  • Latchmaiya Naidu

Latchmaiya Naidu of Labasa is a businessman. He is also a well known social worker. He has served as a Member and Chairman of Old People’s Home, Secretary of Crime Stoppers  Zone 2 Labasa to name a few. He is a Vice President of  TISI Sangam Labasa Branch.

Mr Naidu owns and operates Latchmi Enterprises Ltd.

  • Priscilla Singh

Priscilla Singh is a leading women’s rights personality.

Some of her attributes are: –

  • Nine years experience in policy-making and local-governance, served 3 terms as elected member of Suva City Council between 1996 and 2009.
  • Leadership skills acquired through the trade union movement, political party and NGO participation, Local Government and training.
  • Member of the NFP Management Board. Also served as Secretary of the NFP Women’s Movement, NFP Senior Vice-President Southern as well as a former member of the NFP Selection Committee. She contested the 2006 general elections.
  • Strengths in networking; understanding and appreciating diverse viewpoints; and at ease in cross-cultural settings.
  • Ability in working with all levels in the community including political and religious leaders, NGO’s and civil society.
  • Ability to manage and organize election campaigns, facilitate team work and also to organize events individually.
  • Exposure and networking gained through travel to following countries: United states of America, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Korea, Thailand, Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga

Tuinadave Radogo

Tuinadave Radogo, commonly known as Tui Kabu, owns and operates Ratu Kini Backpackers/Dive Resort in Mana Island.

From 2010 he has been the President of the Fiji Independent Backpackers Association.

Mr Radogo is originally from Mualevu village in Vanuabalavu, Lau.  He received his tertiary education at the University of the South Pacific, Andrews University, Michigan, USA and Simon Fraser University in Canada. He has a Diploma in Business Administration.

  • Narendra Reddy
    • Narendra Reddy of Tavua has an exemplary record of service, both to the community as well as the NFP.

      Mr Reddy has fought four elections including a by-election. He successfully contested 4 Sugar Cane Growers Council elections from 1995 to 2004. He was a Sugar Cane Growers Councilor from 1995 to 2009 for the Yaladro Sector in Tavua.

      Mr Reddy served as Vice-Chairman of the Growers Council, member of the Ba Mill Area Committee and member of the Sugar Commission during this time.

      Currently he is the Chairman of Tavua District Advisory Council and a member of the Ba Provincial Development Committee. He has served as Tavua Hospital Board Chairman, Tavua Rural Local Authority Chairman, Tavua Farmers Club Cooperative Association Ltd Chairman and Tavua Andhra Sangam School Chairman.

NFP ANNOUNCES FIRST BATCH OF CANDIDATES

The National Federation Party has today become the first registered political party to formally announce its first batch of candidates to contest the 2014 general elections under the party’s banner.

The first batch of candidates includes, women, youth, a lawyer, former politicians, a trade unionist by profession, cane growers’ representatives, social worker and a medical doctor.

The first lot of candidates are as follows: –

  1. Tupou Draunidalo

Tupou Draunidalo was elected as the first i-taukei President of the NFP on March 29. She is the 2nd woman President. She brings added strength to the party’s multiracial philosophy and character.

Ms Draunidalo received her primary and secondary school education at Draiba, Veiuto, Suva Grammar and Canberra.

She successfully completed her Bachelor of Laws Degree at the Australian National University in Canberra. She was admitted to the Bar of the

Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and High Court of Fiji in 1999.

Ms Draunidalo has been in private practice and also a legal advisor to political parties, political leaders and counsel appearing in court for citizens including the poor and those unable to afford counsel, business people, landowning units, NGOs, lawyers and the elected PM, Laisenia Qarase.

She was the Counsel on record for the intervenor in the Fiji Court of Appeal, Qarase v Bainimarama constitutional challenge in April of 2009.

Ms Draunidalo is a Former Vice President of Fiji Law Society.

  1. Prem Singh

Prem Singh was the lone NFP Member of Parliament elected in the 2001 general elections. He served as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament from October 201 to September 2002, when he had to vacate his parliamentary Nadi Open Constituency Seat due to a High Court of Fiji judgment that nullified his election.

Mr Singh also served as the party’s parliamentary leader. He also contested the 2006 general elections. He is a prominent resident of Nadi, a social and community worker and a Justice of the Peace. Mr Singh is a member of the NFP Management Board.

  1. Bimal B. Prasad aka Bimal Prasad Chaudhry

Bimal Prasad received his primary education at Vashist Muni Primary School, Navua, did his secondary education at Vunimono High School, Nausori before working as a law clerk, clerk in the Opposition and then Government Members Office before teaching at DAV College, Nabua from where he resigned in 2006 to contest the Vitilevu- South/ Kadavu Indian Communal Constituency seat that year for the NFP. He is presently a law student. As public figure, he has been involved in community service, cultural and youth organizations and the sport of Football. Bimal was the Manager of the Fiji National Men’s Team that played the 14th Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia in 2011.

Bimal joined the NFP as a youth while still at school. In 1994, he was elected the Assistant Secretary of NFP Rewa Branch and Treasurer of NFP Youth Movement. In 1996, he was elected the National Vice President of NFP Youth Movement. After five years of stint with the FLP Navua Branch, he was elected in 2004 as the Secretary of NFP Navua Branch, a position he held until 2008. From 2008 to 2013, he was the Assistant General Secretary of the NFP and a member of the NFP Management Board from 2005 to 2013. He attended the Asian Political Leadership Program in 2012 in Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia and in April, 2013 was one of the five Fijian Delegates to the Pacific Parliamentary and Political Leaders Forum in Wellington, New Zealand.

  1. Dr Bijend Prasad Ram

Dr Ram is a practicing medical doctor, a community medicine specialist and consultant in Health Management

Educated at the Fiji School of Medicine, Dr. Ram is a Practicing Medical doctor and a Health Management Specialist with over 37 years of service. He is at present directing the development of Community Health & Medical Care programme through the Suva Bayview Private hospital Project. This mission is targeting to transform Fiji’s Private Health Sector through highly specialized Medical Services with a team of Specialists, seeking to advance medicine into a strong future base for Fiji and the Region. Prior to this he worked in the Government services for 21 years until 1999. In 1995 Dr. Ram was awarded the 25th Anniversary of Independence Medal Award for service to Fiji. During his medical career he gained recognition for his work with the World Health Organization, the South Pacific Commission and through Korea Institute for Population & Health, Sydney & Harvard Universities. Since 1985 Dr. Ram is a FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF TROPICAL MEDICINE & HYGIENE {LONDON}. Apart from other volunteer activities like the Aged medical care, Respiratory Health and Action for Children; he has been involved as the initiator with the inception of the Kidney Foundation of Fiji Haemodialysis & Renal Health services a first for Fiji. Dr. Ram was a member of the Medical team that started the first specialized Coronary Care Unit at the CWM Hospital. He also started and is directing the services for the Aged and Children through the ACATA Trust Fiji involved with their specialized care needs and a general front for prevention & primary care, wellness health and food chain & food security projects.

  1. Seni Leba Nabou

Seni Nabou is a full time Post-Graduate Student in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of the South Pacific.

Prior to this, Seni worked for Greenpeace Australia Pacific based in Suva from August 2006 to March 2014 in various capacities, rising to the position of Pacific Political Advisor and Projects Leader (Oceans Campaign).

From November 2002 to April 2005, she worked as Manager Promotions for Fiji Humans Rights Commission.

Seni has extensive experience in training, change management, communications, journalism, media and social media.

  1. Bala Dass

Bala Dass is a prominent leader of cane growers and is the general secretary of Fiji Cane Growers Association. He has been FCGA’s general secretary since October 2000.

He contested the 2001 and 2006 general elections under the NFP banner. Mr Dass has established sound and harmonious relations with landowners and landowning units and has managed to successfully negotiate the renewal of cane leases throughout the Western Division.

He is a well known resident of Nadi through his social and community work, notably through the Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam of Fiji.

During Mr Dass’s term as FCGA general secretary, the FCGA controlled the administration and operations of the Sugar Cane Growers Council for six years, u til the Council was usurped by the military regime through the former Finance and Sugar Minister in January 2007 – a month after the military coup.

Since the usurpation of the FCGA Council, the sugar industry has plummeted to less than half of what it used to be before the coup.

  1. Usaia Cirikiwai Moli

Usaia Cirikiwai Moli is well known for his work with the less fortunate and the youth. His last work was Facilitator for Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding.

Mr Moli is an industrious and quick learner that has seen him progress from a farmer, Director at a Youth Hostel for Street Children to a Youth Trainer in youth social empowerment programs since 2004.

His work with young people has allowed him to wrk with local, provincial, national and regional multi-sectoral actors.

Usa is a highly motivated person who is currently the Chairperson of NFP’s Youth Steering Committee. On May 25 he was appointed to the NFP Management Board by the Working Committee.

  1. Raman Pratap Singh

Raman Pratap Singh is the scion of NFP Founder Member and Bua Landlord, the late Ram Jati Singh. He graduated as a lawyer from Auckland, New Zealand and has been in private practice since 1971. In 1985, Ram Singh was elected as a Councillor of the first Sugar Cane Growers Council from the Labasa Sector and was appointed the Director of SCGC Labasa District, a position he held until 1992. In fact, he won in 1985 SCGC elections on the Federation of the Growers under the leadership of the then NFP leader, Hon. S.M. Koya.

Raman Singh entered the House of the Representatives as an elected member of the NFP from the Bua Indian Communal Constituency, a seat that he retained in 1994 with 81% of the total votes cast. He served as a member of several important parliamentary select and sector committees, the most important being the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Review of the 1990 Constitution that led to the evolution of the 1997 Constitution. In 2005, he was elected as the National President of NFP, a position that he held until March 29, 2014.

  1. Parmod Chand

Parmod Chand is the Vice President of NFP. He hails from a prominent Labasa business family and is the managing director of Parmod Enterprises Ltd. Mr Chand is a senior pastor of Pathway Assembly of God Labasa. He is a member of the Finance Committee of A.O.G. Fiji. Mr Chand was a NFP Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1999. He also contested the 1999 and 2006 elections under the NFP banner.

Mr Chand is a Vice President of Fiji Bus Operators Association and a Trustee of Fiji Football Association. He served as a Labasa Town Councillor from 1993 to 1999. He as served a number of organisations in various capacities, including Labasa Football Association.

  1. Mohamed Rafiq

Mohamed Rafiq is a fulltime cane farmer and social worker. He hails from Coqeloa, Labasa. He is a former school teacher, having taught mainly at Naleba College in Labasa. He is a Vice President of Macuata Muslim League. Mr Rafiq is the Vice President of Fiji Cane Growers Association Northern Division and served as FCGA’s Northern Executive Officer for many years until 2009.

He also contested the 1999 and 2006 general elections under the NFP baner.

  1. Attar Singh

Attar Singh resigned as General Secretary of the Communications, Mining ad General Workers Union to contest the elections. He was the general secretary of this union for 10 years. Mr Singh was also the general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions from 2002 to 2014 until he resigned due to the requirements of the Political Parties Decree.

Attar was the general secretary of NFP from 1998 to 2002. He led the Party into the 2001 and 2006 general elections. He is also a Trustee of NFP.

Mr Singh is a aeronautical engineer and worked for Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) as aircraft engineer before jining the trade union movement.