‘Minister thinks people are their ATMs’

Opposition MP Lenora Qereqeretabua and Government MPs Sachida Nand and Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Alex O’Connor outside Parliament. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

“The problem with the motion to guarantee $80 million to the Fiji Development Bank is that it seems like the minister comes to this House thinking that the people of Fiji are their ATMs for the Government’s bad ideas.”

This was the comment made by the Opposition MP Lenora Qereqeretabua during debate in Parliament on a motion to increase government guarantee from $170 million to $250 million for the 12-month period from March 1, 2021, to February 28, 2022, (guarantee period) for the Fiji Development Bank.

She said there was no sense of decency or respect for the current hardships being faced by the people for the past 19 months because of COVID-19.

“This Government just kicks their bosses and by that I mean the taxpayers and voters of Fiji in the teeth, every time they need a blank cheque to be signed, and then they have the audacity to think that it’s their privilege and right to walk all over us,” she said.

“The audaciousness and arrogance will be increased as they traipse all over the rural and sub-rural areas with promised infrastructure absent, and their gleaming pearly whites trying to show voters how good they are before 2022, while they sit here to vote in more dinau that the people will only pay for, and not actually enjoy on a day-to-day basis, like being able to put more food in their shopping basket.”

She said a day which should have Parliament only dealing with the appointment of the new President was lost to ambush tactics at the Business Committee level on government motions which they only got to know on Thursday.

“Everything seems to be thought about in a frenzy and bamboozled through this august House, as if the Opposition is here merely as ornaments to show that Parliament is convening.

“Never mind that all the matters of substance that we debate are voted by acclamation.”

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