NEWS

Uproar Over Attacks on Two FijiFirst Billboards. General Secretary Calls Them ‘thuggery’

A FijiFirst billboard next to the Vugalei Bridge in Lami was vandalised on Tuesday. This is the second billboard of the ruling party which has been vandalised, the first being
04 Oct 2018 11:09
Uproar Over Attacks on Two FijiFirst Billboards. General Secretary Calls Them ‘thuggery’
The FijiFirst Party billboard near the Vugalei Bridge in Lami that was vandalised on Tuesday.

A FijiFirst billboard next to the Vugalei Bridge in Lami was vandalised on Tuesday.

This is the second billboard of the ruling party which has been vandalised, the first being in March in Tavua.

Owner of the billboard, director of Go Advertising, Charles Wakeham says this is a politically motivated act of vandalism since none of their other billboards featuring advertisements of other clients have ever been damaged.

FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last night said this incident was most unfortunate.

“Unfortunately, however, this is not an isolated case. Unfortunately, however, we see this type of thuggery, lawlessness and lack of decorum displayed on a daily basis, through social media, by supporters of various opposition parties, in particular NFP and SODELPA.

“Our Prime Minister who is also the leader of FijiFirst gave a statesman’s statement on Tuesday 2, October calling for all political party leaders to ensure that they, their supporters and their candidates maintain decorum and civility during the campaign period.

“The humility, professionalism and nation focussed attitude and philosophy of our leader permeates down to the entire party structure of FijiFirst including its candidates and supporters. Unfortunately, he is the only leader who has so candidly and emphatically condemned communal politics and politics of hate.

“Unfortunately, this type of statesmanship and focus on maintaining nationhood has not been displayed by the leaders, in particular, of the two larger opposition parties- SODELPA and NFP. The type of leadership the leader of FijiFirst possess is lacking in these opposition parties and leaders and which has consequently manifested itself in woeful behaviour as displayed through the defacing of the billboards,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Meanwhile, Mr Wakeham has lodged a Police complaint.

Mr Wakeham said: “This is the second time. The last case happened in Tavua with the same client. Someone removed the entire skin from our billboard, which we had to reprint and install. We reported this to Tavua Police Station. This happened early this year around March.

“I’m sure it is (politically motivated) as this is the first time we have experienced such a case since 2004. None of our other billboards or clients have faced this situation – Only FijiFirst

“I find this very sad. For our client especially and for my team who work so hard to provide the best service to our clients. We try to make our billboards look the best in the market and someone does this to our property. We have cleaned up the site at our cost and we hope this will not continue in the weeks ahead to elections,” he said.

Police are investigating.

This is not the first time the FijiFirst campaign has been targeted. In 2014, vehicles belonging to a party worker had been vandalised and the word SODELPA was spray painted on them.    

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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