The plight of over 200,000 of our people continues to hang in the balance as the Fiji government has not taken any credible steps to convince the European Union to restore the $200 million in assistance which includes fundsearmarked for the Sugar industry reforms.
“The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum believes that not much has been done to restore the EU confidence in Fiji and in its roadmap towards democratic elections and the ball is in Bainimarama’s court to convince them otherwise so that the much needed funding is released,” stated CCF CEO Reverend Akuila Yabaki.
“The EU has stated over and over again that Fiji has deprived itself of the $200 million by not showing credible steps on the pathway to holding elections. EU is not insisting that there be elections first before release of the EU funds. Rather by Bainimarama government simply demonstrating certain credible measures such as, the initiation of an independent and inclusive Political Dialogue and lifting of the Public Emergency Regulation, would act as a catalyst for changing the rules of engagement.”
“The sugar industry remains the only source of income for thousands of our people and financial assistance from the EU, which remains suspended since December 2006, would ensure efforts to reduce the poverty levels, provide better living standards for the farmers and increase economic activity is achievable through the reforms to revitalize out Sugar industry.”
“Any such moves towards the possibility to assist the “sugar victims” would not only restore confidence in the sugar industry but the current government’s reform agenda,” says Reverend Yabaki.
“We reiterate that the roadmap and the timelines must move beyond utterance. The Bainimarama government must seek to have the political dialogue at the soonest and allow for media freedom to allow freer public opinion and constructive debate on all processes leading up to the planned elections in 2014.”