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PM slams politicians for misinforming cane farmers

July 27, 2016 6:27 pm

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has strongly criticized politicians and former politicians who he says have been misinforming sugar cane farmers on the contents on two new sugar industry bills before parliament.

According to the Prime Minister, sugar cane farmers have been told that they will not have any rights whatsoever in the two new bills, the Reform of Sugar Industry Bill and the Sugar Cane Growers Fund Amendment Bill.

“As usual, they are trying to politicize the sugar industry and they are trying to use you for their own political gain. In particular, they are using you to drive a wedge between you and I and to create a distrust to create uncertainty not only in the sugar cane industry but throughout Fiji. But, I know it is not going to work because you know I have always been there for you. I have always served your best interest and I want to assure you all today that I will never use you in the way that they are using you – for my own political gain.”

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The PM says a few amendments will be made in the new bill and these include the removal of the clause that requires growers to register their farms or changing their records, increasing the membership of the Sugar Cane Growers Council to include a representative from each district and removing the section on industrial disputes.

The Minister for Sugar also refuted claims that the Master Award will not be effective once the two bills are in place.

He has assured the farmers, it will remain in place.

The Prime Minister also gave his assurance to the farmers that the two new bills, which are currently before the parliamentary standing committee on Economic Affairs, will not adversely affect individual cane farmers and that their rights will always be protected under the Constitution.

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