Analysis | Politics

SODELPA Leadership: Gavoka’s Vision For Fiji As He Goes Head To Head With Rabuka

He believes the messaging on this has been lacking thus creating unnecessary fear. It should be viewed as the ‘RISING TIDE THAT LIFTS ALL BOATS’.
15 Aug 2020 13:20
SODELPA Leadership: Gavoka’s Vision For Fiji As He Goes Head To Head With Rabuka

Economic empowerment of the iTaukei is Viliame Gavoka’s passion.

It is at the top of his priority list that the SODELPA MP is hoping will add weight to his bid to win the party leader role in November. He is one of the three candidates who stand in the way for incumbent Sitiveni  Rabuka who is seeking re-election for a second term.

The other challengers are party pioneers Pio Tabaiwalu and deputy Opposition Whip Aseri Radrodro. All three believe Mr Rabuka has had his opportunity to win the 2018 election but failed.

While Mr Gavoka subscribes to the party manifesto, there are a number of issues he views with particular passion. He says:

The economic empowerment of the iTaukei must be fundamental as the iTaukei are lagging behind very badly. They are the sleeping giant of commerce and once awaken, the overall impact on the economy will be phenomenal, benefitting everyone.

He believes the messaging on this has been lacking thus creating unnecessary fear. It should be viewed as the ‘RISING TIDE THAT LIFTS ALL BOATS’.

Education must be free right up to university, similar to Sri Lanka. Our development over the years has been impacted by poor execution. An educated people will execute better, doing justice to all development programmes and thus raise the standard of living in our country. (Our Party will scrap TELS and introduce more scholarships whereas I’m pushing that we go free all the way. More dialogue will ensue within the Party).

Our Health system should look at harmonising the role of the private doctors (GP’s) to that of the hospitals as is the case in most countries, where the GPs serve as the outpatient arm of the system freeing the hospital doctors to specialise. With Government subsidy, GPs in teams can set up clinics as opposed to operating alone as in Fiji today. The level of care will improve with this model with cost benefits for the country.

COVID-19 has taught us that agriculture must be key to our survival as a people. Sugar must regain its glory days, and it’s not a land issue as some would have us believe-it’s yield issue. One hectare should yield 80 tons or so, whereas Fiji is at below 40 tons. Yield is the focus and cost of harvesting for the farmers. The non-sugar sector should have the same support system as sugar to truly revolutionise agriculture.

In Foreign Affairs, we must re-open our offices in Brussels and Washington and review the need for Jakarta and Geneva. We must open our embassy in Jerusalem consistent with the faith of the vast majority in Fiji. Australia and New Zealand are both very dear to us, we must sign PACER Plus and scrap PIDF.

Rugby is our passion and with our comparative advantage, we must continue to grow the sport. As the former chair of FRU, suitable playing fields are always a limiting factor. We must build more grounds meeting minimum standards across the country, which we can afford; not the pie in the sky stadiums some people have promised. We will discover more Serevi and Caucau’s with more suitable grounds around the country.

This is Mr Gavoka’s second crack at the role. During his first bid in 2016, he was pipped by Mr Rabuka at the post.

Mr Gavoka was a prominent leadership figure in the tourism industry and has been involved in a lot of private sector activities sitting on several boards.

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