Fiji’s trip to COP26 was a junket – Professor Prasad

Fiji’s trip to COP26 was a junket – Professor Prasad

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 15/11/2021
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says Fiji’s failure to achieve anything tangible from its agenda at COP26 proves that the donor-funded trip was a junket.

Professor Prasad says political activist Shamima Ali is right to ask the Government to tell the people who funded the 36-member Fiji delegation to Glasgow.

He says bigger countries than Fiji, such as New Zealand sent fewer than 10 people and the Marshall Islands made a bigger impact than Fiji at COP26 which had a delegation of just five.

Professor Prasad says instead of sending a small, effective delegation that Fiji could afford and lowering Fiji’s own carbon footprint, Fiji put out the begging bowl for three dozen people to travel.

The NFP Leader has questioned which donors gave Fiji the money, whether these donors aligned with Fiji’s interests at COP26 or were they big polluters such as China or Australia.

He also questions whether the Fijian Government was compromised.

Professor Prasad says regardless of who was paying, Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should tell the people of Fiji what per diem allowances they collected for the duration of the trip.

He says tens of thousands of people have had their jobs and lives ruined by COVID-19 and can barely keep their families fed and perhaps the elected leaders are too ashamed to tell what money they have been able to receive in their two weeks away from the country.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had earlier said that the travel, accommodation and allowances of the 30-plus Fijian Government delegation attending the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland are fully funded by various donors.

Sayed-Khaiyum revealed this during a talanoa session after he was asked by a former British Army veteran as to who paid for the Government delegation to attend COP26.

He replied that it was not from Government coffers.

According to a Government statement, Sayed-Khaiyum says different agencies, such as the Pacific Islands Forum assisted the team and other agencies including Oceans Pathway Partnership, European Union, United Nations Capital Development Fund and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

We have sent further questions to Sayed-Khaiyum and the Acting Permanent Secretary for Economy, Shiri Goundar regarding the donations and expenditure of the Fijian delegation.

Goundar says the Government may provide further details later.

We have also contacted both for a response on the statement released by the NFP.

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