FijiFirst MP Ketan Lal has called for the resignation of senior Government Ministers who were seen indulging in a grog session at an ‘Emergency Operations’ briefing, as Fijians braced themselves for TC Mal, earlier this week.
The picture posted on social media by the Attorney-General Siromi Turaga, included the Solicitor-General Ropate Green, Minister for Disaster Response Sakiasi Ditoka, Assistant Minister Jovesa Vocea, Permanent Secretaries and senior civil servants.
Lal said this shows a blatant disregard for the severity of the situation, raises serious questions about the competency and commitment of those entrusted with ensuring the safety and well-being of our citizens.
“At a time when communities are grappling with the devastating impacts of a cyclone, the focus should be on swift and effective disaster response, not on leisurely activities.”
“The images of Coalition Ministers engaging in grog party at a Government Response paint a disturbing picture of a government that is out of touch with the hardships faced by ordinary citizens.”
“While our police officers bravely navigate treacherous conditions to provide assistance, the Minister for Disaster Response and the Attorney General appear to be more concerned with personal enjoyment than fulfilling their duties,” Lal said.
The Opposition Member said this also raises serious concerns about Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and his government’s ability to handle crises and protect the interests of the people.
Lal added that Fijians deserve leaders who are committed to their welfare, not individuals who treat disaster response headquarters as a venue for socializing rather than a center for urgent and critical decision-making.
However, the Acting Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad has labelled Lal’s outburst as unwarranted, foolish and dangerous.
Prof Prasad said that the response by the National Disaster Management Office led by the Minister and his Emergency Operation team, relating to Tropical Cyclone Mal is doing a fantastic job and people can see the efficient and effective delivery of services.
“People can see the NDMO is very well-prepared in disaster preparedness and response,” the Acting Prime Minister said.