18 Jun 2004

Fiji parliament told most of disciplined services are living in poverty

3:48 pm on 18 June 2004

Fiji's parliament has been told that 80% of personnel in the country's disciplined services are forced to live below the poverty line.

Radio Legend quotes the opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, as saying these include people in the army, the navy, the police and the prison service.

Mr Beddoes highlighted the situation when he challenged the minister for Home Affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, to ensure that the disciplined services are given a pay rise.

Mr Beddoes said over a period of 30 years there had been six job evaluations of the police recommending pay rises to bring them in line with the rest of the civil service, but none had been implemented.

Mr Beddoes called on Mr Cokanasiga to prevail on the Minister of Finance to provide for the long overdue adjustments in the 2005 budget to be tabled in parliament in November.

Mr Cokanasiga stalled by saying more discussions were needed and there was a process to be followed.

But, Mr Beddoes' deputy, Ofa Duncan, turned on the minister angrily saying it was just not good enough that six job evaluations had been done over 30 years and nothing had happened.