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PM: SODELPA Leader Spreading Lies

PM: SODELPA Leader Spreading Lies
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka
July 10
11:53 2018

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka had an even more devastating effect on the Fijian economy than any cyclone.Yesterday, all the skeletons in Mr Rabuka’s closet were laid bare in Parliament, his decisions which fractured the economy, his deal to sell his own land to a Chinese businessman while decrying Chinese investment in Fiji and his failed sense of economy were all revisited by Mr Bainimarama.

In his Budget response, Mr Bainimarama criticised Mr Rabuka for his controversial video attacking the Budget.

He labelled Mr Rabuka as a desperate man, clutching at straws and spreading lies in a desperate bid to get back in the political sphere.

Mr Bainimarama reminded the nation about the impact of Mr Rabuka’s 1987 military coups on Fiji.

Among areas Mr Rabuka failed miserably in, included the three devaluations of the Fijian dollar, he said.

“The false economic figures that Rabuka touts are, at best, a gross manipulation. He openly brags that the Fijian economy grew by 4.2 per cent under SVT leadership. Meanwhile, when you do the math, the average growth during full years that SVT was in power, the rate stands at only around half of what he claims: 2.3 per cent. I think, Madam Speaker, he should stop relying on bad economic advice from second-rate former civil servants,” he said.

“Madam Speaker, after he executed his coups in 1987, the Fijian dollar was hit with two large devaluations, draining the pockets of Fijian families everywhere. And a third devaluation came under his SVT regime in 1998. Combined, the three Rabuka currency devaluations wiped off more than half the value of the Fijian dollar. To the many ordinary Fijians who saw their life savings go up in smoke, this, combined with the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji during his time, will go down in our nation’s history as Fiji’s single largest financial disaster.”

Mr Bainimarama reminded Mr Rabuka of the continued infighting within SODELPA and questioned his leadership skills.

“In a desperate bid to reclaim power, he has quickly resorted to spreading falsehoods as his only political strategy –– it’s the only political strategy that he knows of. It would seem that the only truth that has come out of Rabuka’s mouth in recent weeks was when, just last week, he described his own party’s leader in Parliament as “irresponsible!” And SODELPA’s infighting only seems to get worse.

“Madam Speaker, if Rabuka wants to see the height of irresponsibility, he need only look into a mirror. The lies that he tells –– his falsehoods –– are intentionally designed to confuse and scare the public.”

On the Chinese:

Mr Rabuka made remarks decrying Chinese investment in Fiji on the 60 Minutes series. He had not informed the journalist that he had sold off his own land to a Chinese businessman.

“But as it turns out, Madam Speaker, the real assets being handed over are Rabuka’s. We learned just last weekend that he himself sold off his personal estate in Vanua Levu to a Chinese businessman.

“Madam Speaker, you can’t make this stuff up! But while we may laugh, no one should see his irresponsible lies and hypocrisy as comical. Fijians need to see this behaviour for what it truly is. It is a pattern. It is outrageous. And it is dangerous.”

Rabuka responds

While the Leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa delivered her budget response in Parliament, Mr Rabuka held a press conference at the SODELPA headquarters to respond to the Prime Minister’s comments.

“PM Bainimarama accuses me of “lies and falsehood to scare and confuse the public”. Furthermore, saying that I am making Fiji look foolish and weak, for my own celebrity and political benefit.

“He characterised me as outrageous and dangerous and that I have a more devastating effect on the economy than the recent cyclones.

“The interview with 60 Minutes had nothing to do with the Budget debate. I shared my personal views on matters of interest to the nation. How can I be lying in sharing my views? PM Bainimarama’s claims are mischievous and show the breadth of his level of education since he has been coddled throughout his career.

“PM Bainimarama is only misleading the Fijian people.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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