March 22, 2012
Pensioners plead for justice to the Prime Minister
A petition to the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama calls for an independent inquiry to consider the “issues, contradictions and discrepancies” surrounding the Fiji National Provident Fund’s new pension scheme.
The petition is signed by pensioners who say their monthly payments have been unjustly reduced. About 3600 of them will be affected.
They believe they have been discriminated against and that their fundamental rights have been breached.
The petitioners described the Transition Decree that gave effect to pension changes as “undemocratic” and “iniquitous”. Its provisions and effects were “shocking”.
In addition to many pensioners, petition signatories include supporters of their cause, current FNPF members and a number of leading citizens. Among them are former prime ministers Laisenia Qarase, Mahendra Chaudhry and Sitiveni Rabuka. Taufa Vakatale, Fiji’s first female acting prime minister and a current constitutional commissioner, has signed, along with Mick Beddoes, who served as leader of the opposition. Also signatories are Mere Samisoni, a backbencher in the last parliament and Poseci Bune, previously a Minister in Commodore Bainimarama’s government and administrations led by Laisenia Qarase and Mahendra Chaudhry.
Mr Amraiya Naidu, a retired senior civil servant and ambassador, is a signatory with other former senior government officials. Rev Akuila Yabaki, chief executive of the Citizens Constitutional Forum has signed; so have social justice advocate, Father Kevin Barr, and chief executive of the Consumer Council of Fiji, Ms Premila Kumar.
The petition signatures are complemented by on-line endorsements on the pensioners’ website.
Pensioner and petitioner Talei Burness delivered the petition today to the Prime Minister’s office. She was accompanied by fellow pensioners Waqa Ledua, David Eyre and Pratap Singh.
Mr Singh and Mr Ledua joined pensioner spokesperson Ross McDonald in releasing the document to the media.