NEWS

Mick’s Appointment Causes Stir In Party

Just when you think Mick Beddoes is down and out, he’s bounced back – to the top administrative job in the Leader of the Opposition office. His appointment is causing
18 Oct 2014 08:36
Mick’s Appointment Causes Stir In Party
Some party stalwarts are surprised that Mick Beddoes (pictured), was selected over other candidates who had made big sacrifices for the party.

Just when you think Mick Beddoes is down and out, he’s bounced back – to the top administrative job in the Leader of the Opposition office.

His appointment is causing a stir in SODELPA circles.

Some party stalwarts are surprised that Mick was selected over other candidates who had made big sacrifices for the party.

The salary for the position is paid by the Government as part of the office package that includes a secretariat, a car and driver.

Some of the party members who were overlooked include party pioneer Pio Tabaiwalu, the general secretary; an official, Tomasi Vakatora; director  for communications,  Jese Sikivou, and some ex-permanent secretaries.

Party insiders are questioning the transparency  of the selection process because Mick had led a media campaign during the build-up to the general election which failed miserably.

Mick ignored and rubbished the Razor Research-Fiji Sun weekly opinion poll which correctly analysed and reported that  SODELPA, trailing badly in the polls, needed to double its efforts to catch up to FijiFirst.

SODELPA supporters were asked to boycott the Fiji Sun, the country’s biggest daily newspaper (don’t buy it or read it and don’t ADVERTISE, said Mick).

The move backfired big time because it restricted the party’s exposure to the people . It came back to haunt the party during vote counting because it was led to believe that it was heading for a major upset win of more than 30 seats.

When it became apparent that FijiFirst was heading to a landslide victory, Mick fronted  as spokesperson for the Opposition parties to claim that there were irregularities and the election had been rigged.

The Electoral Commission studied their submission and dismissed it saying it lacked substance.

The Multi-national Observer Group, which monitored the election, concurred. It said the election was fair and credible.

The party has been quiet since. The issue was not even mentioned in a recent letter by party MPs to the President, stating its position on the election and the Constitution.

While the Leader of the Opposition office is a constitutional provision and Mick’s appointment is in order because of equal citizenry, party insiders raise a sensitivity question.

They ask: How can Mick head an office of a Leader of the Opposition who is also leader of a predominantly iTaukei party?

Concern has also been raised about the appointment of Dr Biman Prasad, the National Federation Party leader, as Finance spokesperson.

It is claimed that it was done without any consultation with the party caucus.

It has also been noted that on the first day of Parliament sitting Dr Prasad and colleagues Tupou Draunidalo (NFP president) and Prem Singh sat behind the front bench.

But they were moved to the front bench in the next sitting.

Sitting arrangement is the prerogative of the party.

Some party members are also concerned about the quality and standard

of some maiden speeches delivered this week and the fact they were not vetted.

They suggested that the speeches should have been screened by the party before delivery as part of its quality management control.

If this was done it would have toned down the provocative speech by Niko Nawaikula, who said unless the Constitution was amended, it would be Parliament’s invitation to a coup.

The Opposition does not look like a cohesive unit yet compared to the Government side.

Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition, Ro Teimumu disagreed. She said it had been a good week for them.

When Mick was asked to explain his presence by Fiji Sun journalist Josua Tuwere, he said: “I am a gopher.”

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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