Ali takes a swipe at the A-G

Fiji Woman Crisis Centre Co-ordinator, Shamima Ali. Picture: RAMA/FT FILE

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was flippant about his absence from Fiji while ranting about the “highly despicable and undignified” media that highlighted the prime minister’s absence while Fijians faced a flood crisis.

This was the word from human rights activist Shamima Ali.

“Our prayers are with the prime minister and his family as he recovers from a cardiovascular issue, as told to us yesterday by the A-G,” she said.

“We hope and pray for his speedy recovery.

“Our prayers are also with our brothers and sisters in Tonga and those in other Pacific Island countries who are in the midst of one of the biggest crises in the region.”

Ms Ali, however, said the recent situation affecting Fiji should have been better handled.

She said it was very unprofessional for Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to hold a press conference and say it was “highly despicable and undignified” of the media to highlight the voices of politicians and people like herself about the lack of leadership during the recent flooding.

“Despicable is how the A-G treats the people of this country,” Ms Ali said.

“Had Mr Sayed-Khaiyum been transparent and upfront about the PM’s health situation, everyone would have reacted differently.

“If the PM was unwell during the flooding crisis, the A-G should have stepped up and assured the Fijian people who are living in the throes of a third wave of COVID-19 and hit by floods – that Government was ready to support them.

“The A-G chose to remain silent and only yesterday, and only in response to a question from the media, we learnt of his travel to Singapore for health review.

“And then the A-G informs the media, again only when asked, that the PM had been away for a week before undergoing surgery.

“Again, only when questioned, the A-G says the Defence and Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu was acting PM.

“All this happened without the people being informed.”

Ms Ali reiterated the call made earlier this week for the Government to work in partnership with civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, and political parties to address the immediate needs of Fijians faced with flood and tsunami damage.

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