SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka has today told Fijivillage that he cannot substantiate his claims that the Education Ministry instructed the Principal of Thomas Baker Memorial School in Navosa to cancel his invitation to be the chief guest at their prizegiving ceremony today.
Rabuka claims in the statement that this decision has denied him the opportunity to acknowledge the deeds of a great man of Navosa Ratu Simione Drole, who was the first teacher to teach in Rabuka’s village school Drekeniwai District School when it was opened in 1927.
He says they have close links with the school.
Rabuka says another important reason he accepted the invitation was to acknowledge the work of Reverend Thomas Baker and his assistant Reverend Jesse Carrey in the conversion of the people of Navatu in 1860 in their original fortified village of Koroniyasaca before they moved to Drekeniwai as directed by the Colonial Government.
When questioned on whether he has evidence that the Education Minister or Ministry has placed a ban on opposition parties to be chief guests at school awards ceremonies, Rabuka says he has second hand information and cannot substantiate the claims.
When asked on whether he has a record and proof of the number of opposition members banned from being chief guests at the school awards ceremonies, Rabuka said he only knows about his invitation a few years ago and another recent case.
There was a recent case where NFP Leader Biman Prasad was invited to a prizegiving ceremony in the North and the invitation was withdrawn after an email from the Permanent Secretary for Education Iowane Tiko.
Education Minister Doctor Mahendra Reddy had confirmed to Fijivillage at the time that the school committee can invite Biman Prasad.
When questioned on Rabuka’s claims today, Doctor Reddy says he is not aware of any ban and its news to him.
He also says that this is false information.
NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad has now come out saying that Doctor Reddy should apologize to him as the minister knows that the Permanent Secretary for Education had told Muanidevo Sanatan School to withdraw Prasad’s invitation to be the chief guest at the school.
Prasad says he has not misinformed people but the Minister is misinforming people by saying NFP is using incorrect information.
Prasad also says that the Permanent Secretary’s earlier email directive should be officially withdrawn.
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