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Opinion

Analysis: Reddy Bounces Back After His Court Case

Analysis: Reddy Bounces Back After His Court Case
Minister Reddy and officials from the Ministry of Waterways with resident of Makoi during the consultation this week.
August 09
11:06 2018

Minister for Waterways Mahendra Reddy has been given an extra portfolio – environment.

It comes after emerging as one of the hardest working Government ministers since being appointed Minister for Waterways.

It’s a remarkable comeback by Mr Reddy, who at one stage was staring at a potentially political career-ending court case.

He resigned as Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, after he was charged with bribery and undue influence by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

He was acquitted and FICAC appealed. The appeal was also thrown out.

He was given a lifeline when he was appointed the first Minister for Waterways after his acquittal by the Suva Magistrates Court towards the end of last year and winning his appeal.

Mr Reddy grabbed the opportunity with both hands and went to work from day one.

The drainage issue which we have talked about for many years became his top priority. He embarked on extensive field trips in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu looking at areas prone to flooding. In the process he also was able to discuss issues not under his portfolio but belonged to other ministries.

Recently, he visited Beqa Island after the villagers there approached him about the deteriorating state of their seawall because of climate change.

In one village they gave him a hero’s welcome because he was the first minister to visit them. They spoke to him about other issues including their water woes.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Reddy confirmed the added responsibility and said he would accept whatever responsibility Mr Bainimarama gave him.

“I am here to serve and I will do my best,” he said. He declined to comment further when told about the positive feedback coming from people about his work so far in Waterways.

He is modest about his achievement. It is understood he has been performing so well that Environment has been transferred to his ministry from Parveen Bala who has his plate full with Infrastructure, Local Government, Housing and Transport.

It is also because of the synergy between Waterways and Environment.

One of priorities of Waterways is to clear clogged drains that cause flooding in towns, cities, villages and rural settlements.   

Littering is still a major problem in the country. Rubbish like plastics are washed away by rain into waterways clogging outlets and causing flooding. They eventually end up in the sea damaging our pristine environment and marine life.

Mr Reddy has put his years in Education behind him. He says he will deal with what’s in front of him and there is a lot of work to be done.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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