Response to Times:Tebbutt Poll – Local Government

The National Federation Party says an NFP Government after the general elections will hold local government elections to ensure ratepayers and citizens in all municipalities have the right to choose their representatives

NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the  fact that 66% of those polled in all demographics wanted elected municipal councils in the country shows people want to elect their  representatives  so that they are accountable to them.

“This right has been denied since the dissolution of the municipal councils in 2009.  And this has meant that ratepayers have no right  and voice whatsoever in determining how their rates and other fees and charges levied by the municipalities are used. This is unacceptable”.

“The Minister for Local Government Honourable Parveen Kumar Bala has reneged on his promise made on 24th September 2014 to hold local government elections as a matter of priority”.

“45 months on, this betrayal of promise is not lost upon the people of Fiji. All his excuses about the need to review the Local Government Act is farcical”.

“The bottom line is that this Government through the Local Government Minister simply has no interest in  democratising our municipalities.”

“We have conclusive evidence that the Administrators of the town and city councils are treated like puppets, allowed only to dance to the tune of the Minister because they are not allowed to make the simplest of decisions on their own” .

“We have conclusive evidence that the rates, fines and other charges cannot be spent without the approval of the Minister. In fact some funds are used to feather the political nest of the current government in the form of work being done by  some Councils outside their boundary while rate time ratepayers and citizens continue to suffer”.

“All this is affecting  leading to a demoralised workforce of municipalities who cannot even get the Administrators to resolve the simplest of issues as they are powerless and have to refer everything to the Minister”.

“This Government and the Minister do not even understand the meaning of a Council or fail to deliberately do so. A Council is defined in the Local Government Act as an elected body of a number of councilors elected in an election to be determined by the Electoral Commission”.

“It is not an Administrator-run toothless tiger body that is drowning in a cesspool”, Professor Prasad said.