COP26 climate trip branded ‘junket’ – Prasad slams 36-strong Fiji team

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Tina Stege, Climate Change Envoy of the Marshall Islands
Tina Stege, Climate Change Envoy of the Marshall Islands (right), and a colleague ... the five-member Marshalls Islands team delegation at COP26 had a "bigger impact" than Fiji's 36, says NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad. Image: SPREP

By Luke Nacei in Suva

Opposition National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad has hit out at the Fiji government, calling on Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to tell the Fijian people who funded the 36-member Fiji delegation to the Glasgow COP26 climate summit.

Professor Prasad said Fiji’s failure to achieve anything tangible from its agenda at COP26 proved that the donor-funded trip was a “junket”.

He said human rights activist Shamima Ali was right to ask the government to tell Fiji’s people who funded the delegation to Glasgow.

COP26 GLASGOW 2021

“Bigger countries than Fiji, such as New Zealand, sent fewer than 10 people,” he said.

“The Marshall Islands made a bigger impact than Fiji at COP26. It had a delegation of just five.

“But instead of sending a small, effective delegation that Fiji could afford — and lowering Fiji’s own carbon footprint — Fiji put out the begging bowl for three dozen people to travel.

“But which donors donated the money? Were these donors aligned with Fiji’s interests at COP26? Or were they big polluters such as China or Australia?

“Was the Fiji government compromised? Whose tune were the Prime Minister and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum dancing to in Glasgow?

Fiji Times 16-11-2021
How The Fiji Times reported the COP26 funding controversy today. Image: Fiji Times screenshot APR

“And regardless of who was paying, the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should tell the people of Fiji what per diem allowances they collected for the duration of the trip?”

Professor Prasad said tens of thousands of people had had their jobs and lives ruined by covid-19 and could barely keep their families fed.

“Perhaps our elected leaders are too ashamed to tell us what money they have been able to receive in their two weeks away from the country.”

Questions sent to Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum by The Fiji Times remained unanswered when it went to press last night.

Luke Nacei is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama being briefed at COP26
Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama being briefed on Pacific priority areas at COP26. Image: FT/Fiji govt

 

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