It’s dif­fi­cult to Un­der­stand those who op­pose work to help the poor

Fiji Sun - - Comment - CHARLES CHAM­BERS

Some­times it is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand the men­tal­ity and ra­tio­nale of some peo­ple, es­pe­cially those who are op­posed to the work be­ing done by the Fi­jiFirst Gov­ern­ment.

This is more so on the work be­ing car­ried out to en­hance and im­prove the lives of or­di­nary Fi­jians, es­pe­cially those who are at the bot­tom rung of the lad­der. That means those who work a nine to five-shift but yet do not have enough fi­nance to have their own homes or even af­ford a bit of lux­ury in life.

These are the peo­ple who will scrounge around for the cheap­est rent, even if it meant hav­ing a lit­tle leak in the roof when­ever it rains.

This Gov­ern­ment has seen the plight of these peo­ple and said: We will im­prove your lives and nar­row that gap that had widened each year be­tween those in the ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas.

New Project

This week, one such project to im­prove the lives of such peo­ple has started and Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing sure it is com­pleted.

Pre­vi­ously, 39 hectares of na­tive land lay idle at Tau­ve­g­avega in Ba and slowly, squat­ters started erect­ing their homes there.

To­day the land has 350 sit­ting ten­ants. Gov­ern­ment, through the hard work of Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Hous­ing, En­vi­ron­ment, In­fra­struc­ture and Trans­port, Parveen Bala, stepped in and re­al­is­ing the plight of these peo­ple, de­cided to of­fer them land se­cu­rity with a 99-year lease.

Con­sul­tant sur­vey­ors are now mark­ing the lots while Mr Bala has made sure that ev­ery one of those homes has piped wa­ter. Work will be­gin soon on the sew­er­age lines, up­grad­ing of roads and the sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to the area.

On Mon­day, dur­ing the heat of the day, the Mr Bala led a group of Ba Town Coun­cil of­fi­cials, con­sul­tants and TLTB of­fi­cers through most of the 39 hectares, mak­ing sure that ev­ery­thing was be­ing done.

The smiles on the res­i­dents’ faces said it all with one woman re­mark­ing – “we pre­vi­ously had sleep­less nights but this Gov­ern­ment has given us a new life. Ev­ery time we see Mr Bala we are so happy.” Gov­ern­ment has paid the rental to the landown­ers. An­other 550 lots are be­ing pre­pared for peo­ple who are at that bot­tom rung cat­e­gory and have no home or prop­erty to their name.

Help

Mr Bala said Gov­ern­ment would help these poor peo­ple with $5000 to pay for their lots and fur­ther as­sist with $1000 to help build their homes.

But Mr Bala was an­gry at the same time at peo­ple (although he did not men­tion who) who con­tin­ued to op­pose this ini­tia­tive and cre­ate a neg­a­tive pic­ture of the devel­op­ment.

“How can some say this is vote buy­ing as I have been do­ing this for the past three years get­ting ev­ery­thing in or­der be­fore we start devel­op­ing the place,” he said. “I am talk­ing about bread and but­ter is­sues where we are giv­ing 900 poor peo­ple a chance to live an im­proved life with all mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties such as road, sew­er­age, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity at their homes.

“Now tell me if this isn’t good then there is some­thing wrong with those crit­ics.”

The best peo­ple to an­swer this are prob­a­bly the 350 sit­ting res­i­dents of Tau­ve­g­avega.

They know who came to their as­sis­tance and they will cer­tainly not for­get this.

Feed­back: charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

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