24th October 06:07 PM
Speaker’s Debate on the theme "Is Fiji’s Transport System Working?" gets ugly
By Lena Reece
Wednesday 04/10/2017
Parveen Bala [left] at the Speaker’s Debate on the theme “Is Fiji’s Transport System Working?" at GPH

The Speaker’s Debate on the theme “Is Fiji’s Transport System Working?” got ugly at GPH after a member of the public likened Minister for Transport, Parveen Bala’s behaviour to a thug while Bala said that he knew where the man worked.

Several comments on E-ticketing were made during the forum.  

A common concern that was raised by the people attending the forum was the teething problems relating to the E-ticketing system that led to some students walking to school yesterday and people having to endure long hours standing in lines to get a card or having their E transport cards topped up.

Transport Minister, Parveen Bala stressed that the new E-ticketing System will allow better accountability and highlighted that change in Fiji has the tendency to throw people off.

However, he adds that if given enough time to iron out the teething problems, the E-ticketing System will greatly improve public transportation especially in buses.

Bala stated that the E-ticketing System is not going to fail.

The Minister was booed and laughed at as he continued to answer questions and clarify some of the teething problems of the system. 

During the debate, the Minister’s behaviour was compared to that of a thug by a member of the public Kelvin Anthony.

Speaker, Doctor Jiko Luveni then told Anthony that if he was in parliament, he would have been asked to go out after making that comment. However people said that this was not parliament.   

Anthony had also said that he had no questions for the Minister as he had all the answers.

Bala responded that he knew Anthony and he also knew where he worked.

Bala told Anthony that the truth hurts as he had given all the facts about the E-ticketing System and yet people like Anthony were not satisfied.

The Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni also had to keep the public calm as the public continued with the remarks expressing that they were not satisfied with the answers provided by Bala.

The panelists in the debate included Parveen Bala, Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Aseri Radrodro, President of the Fiji Bus Operators Association Richard Lal, Acting Dean of the College of Engineering at FNU Salabogi Mavoa and Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji CEO John Tunidau. 

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