July 16, 2013

Solomon Star News: Invitation costly

TUESDAY, 09 JULY 2013 15:19
Government spends millions to get Fiji’s PM over
THE invitation made by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo for Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama as guest of honour for the country's independence celebration has not come cheap.

Sources revealed the Government had to dig deep in the coffers to meet the expenses of getting the group here.

“It is done at the expense of tax payers,” the source said.

Asked to disclose total funds spent to get the group over, the source declined but said it has hit the millions.
“Traveling expenses and accommodation are met by the Government.”
To add to the millions, the Government before Mr Bainimarama’s arrival quickly purchased a vehicle last Friday from Kosol Cooperation.

Another source told the Solomon Star the vehicle was used to pick up Mr Bainimarama at the airport on arrival and was used in transporting him around while in Honiara, which cost the Government $300,000.

“In fact it was Kosol’s most expensive vehicle,” the source said.

A spokesperson from Kosol confirmed the purchase was made on Friday.

A complainant who tipped to the Solomon Star about the pricy invitation said the Government was spending huge money while vital services and students and teachers’ plights were ignored.

“A lot of clinics have no medicine; teachers have been crying for a fair share from the Government and USP sponsored students in Fiji are begging for their allowances.

“The Government seem to take little notice if not, no notice at all, on these aspects and prioritise its spending on things that we never heard of.”

But commenting on the visit, prominent businessman Yoshi Sato said the visit beautifully demonstrates Melanesian solidarity at its best.

 Fiji’s honorary consul in the Solomon Islands, Atunaisan Balekana, also described the visit as historical
By Elliot Dawea

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