Opinion

Analysis: Cutting Through The Lies and Misinformation

Opposition members have lied outright about issues, tried to bring forth two petitions on is- sues which were before the courts and have been called out for misreading standing orders.
18 Feb 2019 10:06
Analysis: Cutting Through The Lies and Misinformation
Opposition Member of Parliament Lynda Tabuya outside Parliament on February 13, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

In the past week, Opposition members showed they poorly prepared for Parliament.
They have lied outright about issues, tried to bring forth two petitions on is- sues which were before the courts and have been called out for misreading standing orders.
The FijiFirst side, in contrast, came across ready with answers even to questions which had no place in Parliament. They came prepared, read up on how the standing orders worked and showed Fiji and those watching on Walesi platform around the world that we still do not have a functioning Op- position.
Some major highlights from the week which showed the lack of intellect in Opposition quite clearly:

1. Liquidity debate

Opposition Whip Lynda Tabuya is a Bond University graduate, a lawyer. Her poorly researched statement on liquidity is a meme making rounds on social media. Rightly so. Ms Tabuya had initially said that liquidity was at an all-time low. When called out on it, she said she meant past eight to 10 years. Even then, she is wrong and this was a misrepresentation in Parliament (see table).

Ms Tabuya would note the liquidity reached triple digits only after her leader left the political scene and not only that, how could liquidity be at an all-time low now, compared to the last 10 years when in 2008 it hit $55.1m? Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khai- yum had particular fun with this ques- tion and his responses not only showed his annoyance at the outright misinformation from the other side but also disbelief that despite being told the facts, Ms Tabuya was still pushing the
subject.

Figures the Fiji Sun received from the Reserve Bank of Fiji reveals our liquidity going back to 1980. They are:

Year: Liquidity
1980 – 83.6
1981 – 76.4
1982 – 21.0
1983 – 18.5
1984 – 31.1
1985 – 34.0
1986 – 46.2
1987 – 40.7
1988 – 121.6
1989 – 63.2
1990 – 68.8
1991 – 20.2
1992 – 112.5
1993 – 13.6
1994 – 8.9
1995 – 20.1
1996 – 22.5
1997 – 29.9
1998 – 21.4
1999 – 132.1
2000 – 51.9
2001 1- 24.6
2002 – 126.7
2003 – 236.2
2004 – 101.0
2005 – 71.5
2006 – 107.3
2007 – 331.1
2008 – 55.1
2009 – 296.6
2010 – 348.4
2011 – 510.1
2012 – 524.2
2013 – 598.3
2014 – 514.1
2015 – 488.3
2016 – 412.2
2017 – 606.0
2018 – 306.0
13 Feb – 342
(2019)

2. Sub judice

The second time Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had to lecture Ms Tabuya, who is also the Shadow Assistant A-G, was on sub judice. Ms Tabuya misread the Standing Order which Prime Minis- ter Voreqe Bainimarama cited when answering the question on an ongoing investigation.
She claimed that standing order dealt with sub judice. It did not. And, it took another lecture from Mr Sayed-Khai- yum for her to understand how very wrong she had been.

3. To be bipartisan or not to be?

Ro Filipe Tuisawau is another person whose ignorance is becoming very ob- vious.
He also made a number of glaring er- rors in the past week.
First up was the silly petition he tried to table in Parliament regarding Suva Peninsula. It was something dealt with by with our judiciary.

He has four lawyers in SODELPA. Did they not advise him and his fellow MP Jese Saukuru on what can be tabled as a petition and what cannot be?
It was particularly painful watching Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau rule out both petitions on similar grounds. This is sub judice, Ms Tabuya.
Secondly, Ro Filipe decided he will give a lengthy narrative which sound- ed more like a soliloquy when a motion was moved for Government to guaran- tee $160m in Fiji Development Bank’s loans.

Instead of sticking with the motion on the floor, Ro Filipe went off on a tan- gent and started to talk about the need to be bipartisan.
Ro Filipe was sitting in that very chair when SODELPA had the opportunity to extend the olive branch and not have a Speaker nominee.
How can they preach for this when they have failed so miserably to do the same?

4. 147 votes

Viliame Gavoka is obsessed with 147.
He still believes that FijiFirst won by 147 votes and uses any opportunity to spill this in Parliament regardless of what is being debated.
And, even if he was correct, that would have been an overkill. But, basic mathematics Mr Gavoka shows how very wrong you are. 273,263 Fijians did not vote for SODELPA meaning 46,196 Fijians rejected the main Opposition Party.
His obsession with 147 is pathetic at- tempt to sway debates in Parliament. If this is what he falls back on, he does not have much to contribute, to begin with.

5. Playing the race card again

The twisting of every single thing down to race and ethnicity is becom- ing rather old. Mosese Bulitavu has joined the Niko Nawaikula bandwagon regarding this. Their agenda became obvious when they started talking nonsense about the amendment in the iTaukei Land Trust Board which called for establishing the position of a chief executive officer.
Mr Bulitavu said this was pulling the safety net from under the landowners! How is this even possible?
FijiFirst would have done well to in- crease the number of Parliamentary sittings, if they really want to show all Fijians the level of debate Opposition brings to the floor. But, work needs to be done. If ministers spent their entire day debating on sub judice petitions, correcting the lies about liquidity; When would they get any work done?

Figures the Fiji Sun received from the Reserve Bank of Fiji reveals our liquidity going back to 1980. They are:

Year: Liquidity
1980 – 83.6
1981 – 76.4
1982 – 21.0
1983 – 18.5
1984 – 31.1
1985 – 34.0
1986 – 46.2
1987 – 40.7
1988 – 121.6
1989 – 63.2
1990 – 68.8
1991 – 20.2
1992 – 112.5
1993 – 13.6
1994 – 8.9
1995 – 20.1
1996 – 22.5
1997 – 29.9
1998 – 21.4
1999 – 132.1
2000 – 51.9
2001 1- 24.6
2002 – 126.7
2003 – 236.2
2004 – 101.0
2005 – 71.5
2006 – 107.3
2007 – 331.1
2008 – 55.1
2009 – 296.6
2010 – 348.4
2011 – 510.1
2012 – 524.2
2013 – 598.3
2014 – 514.1
2015 – 488.3
2016 – 412.2
2017 – 606.0
2018 – 306.0
13 Feb – 342
(2019)

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