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SODELPA Row Flares Again

SODELPA Row Flares Again
SODELPA principal administrative officer Mick Beddoes (left) and SODELPA member and former communications manager Sainiana Radrodro.
September 14
10:00 2015

Continuing divisions within the Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) have spilled into another ugly open clash.

This follows decisions of the main Opposition party’s special general meeting in Suva on Thursday.

The party’s principal administrative officer Mick Beddoes in a Facebook posting claimed there was an “ambush” during this meeting. Mr Beddoes is amongst those in the party close to Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa.

His appointment in the parliamentary Opposition Office – allegedly on a salary of $45,000 – is believed to have been made by Ro Teimumu. His is amongst positions the meeting resolved should be advertised.

Soon after the comments by Mr Beddoes fellow prominent SODELPA member and former communications manager Sainiana Radrodro made a scathing response. She reminded Mr Beddoes that he “lost” the elections thus has “no mandate”.

Mrs Radrodro is amongst those in the party supporting reforms passed at the meeting. These have weakened the powers of Ro Teimumu within the party and strengthened those of party president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and the management board.

In his public post on his Facebook page, Mr Beddoes claimed the special general meeting was to amend the Constitution only.

However, he said there was an “ambush” and three vice-presi dents were elected, which was not on the agenda. (see full text of what Mr Beddoes posted below).

Mrs Radrodro replied to him: “I am questioning on whose mandate and authority you are working on to question consistently the position of the General Secretary of the Party and in this case, the Party President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu. Your mandate was not given during the elections. You lost! Had people believed in you, we would have you as an MP.

“This is not the first time, you are questioning the Party leadership. You seem to think by virtue of your being in the Opposition Office, you have a mandate!

“Remember, the Special AGM notice was out in the papers a month ago along with notice that the amended Constitution was there to see if needed be.

“You chose not to do that! Had you done so, you would have noted that the amendments to the Constitution would come into effect immediately. Which part of the Turaga’s statement did you not understand?

“We want to move forward. Have a team that is progressive, for the people and is practical!

“We do not need regressive attitudes of power hungry individuals guarding the golden gates. I suggest you stop claiming this is the work of a spin doctor and relook at your ‘ambush’ connotations.

“I personally do not believe in you because I was there at he (sic) AGM. By the way, since when have we had an AGM and had representatives from 14 Provinces present to allow us to select office bearers?

“And as for your suggestions on the recruitment of staff…did that have to take a year to do? We’ve all worked before, stop behaving as we are dumb!”

In the original posting, Mr Beddoes claimed that Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu continues to be Party Leader as well. This is despite amendments showing otherwise.

He further says that Ro Teimumu did not intend to re-contest the SODELPA leadership post and was to relinquish it by choice.

Mr Beddoes also blamed SODELPA general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu for not getting a permit in time for the meeting which was initially scheduled for Saturday 5 September.

He also said his suggestions to postpone elections for posts within the party was “knocked out the window” by Ratu Naiqama.

 

What Mr Beddoes said on Facebook:

 Mick Beddoes

“SOME FACTS ABOUT THE SODELPA SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING THAT THE MEDIA SPIN DOCTORS MAY HAVE MISSED OUT.

“The meeting was essentially to adopt changes to our constitution. The work of which has been ongoing for some time. The initial date for the meeting was last Saturday 5th Sept. however the GS forgot to arrange a permit.

“As a result the meeting was shifted to Thursday 10th consequently many delegates could not make it

“It had also been agreed too ahead of the SGM that only the amendments to the constitution would be concluded and elections of office bearers would be done at the proposed October meeting. This was also what the AGENDA specified.

“However, once the constitutional changes were adopted and the meeting was to be wrapped up, the SG & Adi Litia proceeded with the election of people to  the ‘new’ positions.

“This is what I call an ‘ambush’.

“I had just arrived back to the meeting having been called away, when Laufitu was in an exchange with the meeting officials regarding the understanding of meeting and the fact that many representatives were not there.

“I then drew the Presidents attention to our obligations under the Political Parties Decree and the need to ensure the provisions we adopted were in order with the decree, given we are always under the spotlight and they are looking for excuses. I suggested that we needed to complete the task assigned for the day, circulate the draft and give our members time to read and digest the changes than decide who they wanted as office bearers, because many of our constituencies were not represented.

“The President knocked that suggestion of mine out the window and allowed the election of officials to proceed.

“But in the end, their ‘ambush’ ran out of steam because they failed to elect 70% of the positions as the districts were not represented due to the deferment of the meeting so they had to fall back to what Laufitu (fellow Opposition Office member and Ro Teimumu supporter Laufitu Malani) and I were saying anyway.

“As far as the staff positions in the Opposition Office go, these positions were always going to be advertised but we had the very disruptive period from Oct 2014 to April 2015 with the on again off again funding issues, and only in the last 5 months have we managed to settle and we have been busy with the Parliamentary activity, our constituency visits and save the flag campaign.

“Now that the new structure is done, we will proceed to advertise all of the positions including mine. This is still very much part of the original plan.

“As for the Marama losing her position as Party Leader, she has not. She is still the party Leader and will relinquish it when the new changes come into effect and a new Party Leader is elected to lead the party to the 2018 General Elections. Ro Teimumu has previously indicated she will not seek another term as Party Leader and had previously tendered her resignation but was asked to withdraw it until the changes were in place and she obliged.

“As for her position as Leader of the Opposition, On Oct 6th she was nominated by the Tui Cakau and seconded by Adi Roko Tupou Draunidalo, President of the NFP. it was unanimous and she continues to command the respect of the majority of the 18 Opposition members today.

“There are laid down procedures for anyone of the 18 to mount a challenge to her leadership, we are not aware that anyone has filed a challenge.

“These are the facts, the rest is pure conjecture and QORVIS spin

“Cheers……………….Mick”

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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