29 Oct 2005

Fiji senator castigates government for costly dinner dance

8:22 am on 29 October 2005

A Fiji Labour Party senator has strongly attacked the expenditure of US$55,000 on last week's civil service awards ceremony, which she has described as the Oscars night.

Senator Atu Emberson-Bain has told the Upper House the money could have been used for far more deserving purposes and given to welfare organisations like the Bayley Clinic to feed, clothe and pay school fees for needy children.

She said the costly awards night was hosted in the very week the social welfare ministry organised Poverty Eradication Week.

Dr Emberson-Bain said during the week the chief executive of the ministry was far more concerned about hosting a grand awards night at which the prime minister and his cabinet were busy having a good time on the dance floor.

She said the amount of US$24 budgeted for the meal of each of the 1,500 guests was the same as the basic assistance allowance given to a destitute family to cover the cost of food, clothing, transport and housing for an entire month.