USPSA ‘appalled’ at State decision to withhold grant

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The old main entrance of University of South Pacific at Laucala Bay. On Thursday, July 18, 1974, The Fiji Times reported that University of the South Pacifi c students on new Fiji Government scholarships would have to repay part of the money when they began work. Picture: RAMA/FILE

The University of the South Pacific Students’ Association (USPSA) states it is “appalled” to hear that Fiji will continue to withhold its grant contributions to USP.

In a statement issued yesterday, the association stated the decision would put current and prospective students and their “collective regional futures of the blue Pacific at serious risk”.

The USPSA was responding to Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s statement in Parliament on Thursday where he said the reappointment of Professor Pal Ahluwalia as vice-chancellor “was a backward and divisive step that goes against the interest of students, regional goodwill and it signals a concerning complacency with the record of mismanagement, nepotism, cronyism, poor financial accountability”.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had said the Fijian Government would not make its annual grant to USP as long as Prof Ahluwalia was the VC.

“We would like to ask Hon Sayed-Khaiyum where his concerns were on these matters when the BDO report highlighted a series of mismanagement (before Prof Ahluwalia’s appointment)?” the statement read.

“Was he not concerned about the interests of students and regional goodwill at that time?

“It seems like Hon Sayed-Khaiyum is hell-bent to destroy all our futures and our only regional treasure, USP.

“The manner in which Hon Sayed-Khaiyum delivered his statement shows our education, our future and the regional family does not matter to him at all while he holds USP at ransom unless the university council bows down and gives in to his every whim and demand.”