HON. SPEAKER.- I now give the floor to the Honourable Professor Biman Prasad.
HON. PROF. B.C. PRASAD.- Thank you, Madam Speaker. First of all, I congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister for his Presidency of COP23. Let me also say, contrary to his usual diatribe in attacking the Opposition when we raise issues of importance, that we want Fiji to succeed in leading COP23.
COP23 is not the only COP, we had 22 others in the past, Madam Speaker. Also, let me say to the Honourable Prime Minister that he should stop saying to the Opposition that we have little knowledge about certain things when it is of national importance. We kept talking about the sugar industry, we kept talking about FSC, the poor performance of the CEO and what did he say, “I have little knowledge”. He actually showed his pocket once and he said “my knowledge of the sugar industry is in this little pocket”. This is exactly what the Honourable Prime Minister is doing on COP23 and I am sorry to say that his spin doctors and speech writers actually have not read this article that I wrote and misinterpreted.
HON. MEMBER.- It’s there?
HON. PROF. B.C. PRASAD.- I know you do not read the Fiji Times (some of you) but read this, read this, nowhere, nowhere in this article have I devalued the importance of COP23 and Fiji’s Chairmanship or the Presidency of COP23.
The Honourable Prime Minister, Madam Speaker, has misrepresented my views in this article. What we are saying, Madam Speaker, is this; that the Government must come out very clearly, openly, in a transparent manner and put out a plan which the Honourable Prime Minister did to some extent in his statement today but this is precisely the point that we want to make. I mean we are hiring consultants, I see SystemtatiQ. I looked at it, this company was just formed last year. I want to know whether there was a competitive bidding to get consultants.
I have no doubt that Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Honourable Minister Inia Seruiratu, Ambassador Sharon are capable people, I think they will do a good job and I wish them well, but coming back to the whole issue of COP23, it is no use the Honourable Prime Minister telling us that he is going to pursue these things with politics, he should have told them already and putting out a plan, the Paris Agreement, Madam Speaker, itself requires us to consult, involve community groups, private sector and there has been no plan yet by the Honourable Prime Minister.