Ro Teimumu Wants Answers

The Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, came out swinging yesterday after the obligatory niceties during her maiden speech in Parliament. First congratulating Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni on her
14 Oct 2014 11:52
Ro Teimumu  Wants Answers
The old Fiji Airways hanger at the Nausori International Airport, where Helipro’s Agusta AW109 helicopter, registration number DQ EMS. Fiji Airports Limited has detained the helicopter over non-payment of rent to use the hanger. Photo: Ivamere Nataro

The Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu Kepa, came out swinging yesterday after the obligatory niceties during her maiden speech in Parliament.

First congratulating Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni on her appointment, Ro Teimumu noted an air of optimism in the country.   She thanked SODELPA supporters who had voted 15 representatives into Parliament; into the 50-member House.

Describing the beginning of Parliament last week she said: “It was the end of dictatorship, oppression and suppression and the beginning of accountable and transparent governance in Fiji for the first time in eight years.” And she insisted that the Opposition would play its part to the hilt.

Much of her speech was devoted to responding to several key points of the Presidents’ speech and also providing some personal analysis on the state of education and the media in the country.

Responding to the President’s speech during the ceremonial opening of Parliament last week, she provided snapshots of the Opposition’s intentions for the next four years.

– Defining the place of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) in the national sphere, she claimed the cost of coups over the past three decades amounted to ‘$10billion’, a figure estimated by ‘experts’.   Ro Teimumu wants the RFMF Commander, Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga, to return our military back to what she said was the professional and disciplined force it once was and recommit itself to acting in defence of our people.

– On the role of the media and competition she said a special committee on the Media Industry should look into several issues, ie;

Why was only one TV station broadcasting the parliamentary proceedings?, she asked.   Why were MaiTV and FijiTV forced to deal with business terms that were not ‘free and fair’ like the six-month licence arrangement for Fiji TV compared to 12-year licence for its competitor ?

– On wage and salary increases for workers compared to Government ministers. She asked why there was only a 16 per cent increase for the minimum wage rate from $2 to $2.32 compared to the 63 per cent to 217 per cent salary increase for Ministers and the Prime Minister.

– On the review of Ministry of Education:

a)            On curriculum and classroom-based-assessment (CBA) practices she said exams should be re-introduced, particularly in Year 8 and 10 where students had ‘shorter spans of attentiveness.’ She said parents had asked SODELPA to raise this.

b)            Ro Teimumu wants free education to be extended to pre-school students from Term 2 of 2015.

c)            On a review of teachers’ salaries and conditions Ro Teimumu wants pay to be commensurate with their increasing responsibilities.

d)            Ro Teimumu claimed the merit-based scholarships were a disservice because most recipients migrated.   She suggested building ‘equity’ into the merit-based scholarship system to help bridge the disparity between communities in educational achievements.

e)            Review of funding arrangements for schools: Ro Teimumu claimed current practice discriminated against smaller schools because of current funding criteria.

In summary, she promised to work with the Government to decrease the cost of living for all Fijians and asked that a $50-million subsidy be put aside as a starting point to ease the cost of living.

Fiji, she said, could expect a surge in former Fijians coming back for the blue passport.




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