Govt needs to explain why it will not pay dues owed to the USP - Rabuka

Govt needs to explain why it will not pay dues owed to the USP - Rabuka

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 20/07/2022
People’s Alliance Party Leader Sitiveni Rabuka

The government needs to explain to Fijians enrolled at the University of the South Pacific why it will not pay dues owed to the university.

People’s Alliance Party Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka has made this call as he says Fiji’s bullying tactics were based on an attempt to bend the USP to its will, creating a festering sore and damaging the exceptional example of regionalism represented by the university.

He made the comments following the conclusion of the 52nd meeting of the Pacific Island Leaders that remained tightlipped on whether a solution had been reached over Fiji’s refusal to pay its dues to the USP.

The People’s Alliance Leader says the government’s stance affects the university’s ability to reduce and/or cut off our children’s access to quality education at the regional university.

Rabuka says funds were also not set aside in the 2022-2023 National Budget that was recently announced.

He says the only ones who lose out are our children; who are the future of our country and the Pacific region.

The former Prime Minister says every year, graduates enter the job market and he hopes that this government will for once take the high road and deliver for the young people of our country.

Rabuka says this government promises tertiary students a pittance of $180 for six months in a desperate attempt to win their votes in this general election, yet on the other hand, it will not action a commitment that could translate into an improved suite of academic programmes and better or more teachers who are an integral to the development of our workforce.

He says the Forum’s silence over the USP saga comes in spite of the large number of Pacific Island Forum leaders including Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Australia’s Anthony Albanese, his Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urging for a resolution.

Rabuka says Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame bluntly stated that Fiji should pay what it owes.

He also says if the People’s Alliance were elected to govern, it would also ensure the Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia returns to the Suva campus.

Rabuka says we cannot continue to treat an institution that educates the future of our country and the region using bullying tactics.

He says Fiji’s Attorney General persists in his demand that an independent investigation of certain management and financial issues should be commissioned before Fiji pays what it owes.

Rabuka says there have been previous investigations and the USP Council, staff and students see no reason for another.

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