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Letters To The Editor, 14th May 2017

Letters To The Editor, 14th May  2017
May 14
10:55 2017

Loud TV commercial

Tomasi Boginiso,  Nasinu

Has anyone noticed anything when watching Fiji One News every evening? When the news is on air and just when you turn the volume to its minimum to suit you and when the commercial breaks the sound almost reaches its maximum volume. It gets irritating when you are trying to turn the volume low but as the news returns you could hardly hear a thing.

I wonder if the people on the controls are aware of the difference. I believe at a certain stage they could have heard of such sudden loud sounds at home.

I will be really surprised if no one has noticed this so far.

Please, do something to stop this loud nonsense and just get it right.

 

Railway system

Sukha Singh,  Labasa

Vishnu Mohan wants more cane to be delivered to the mills by rail.

The portable rails are very heavy and so are the rail trucks. There are many risks and hazards involved in carrying these portable rail lines, joining them and pulling the loaded carts to the main line. Though it is cheaper it is too labour intensive.

 

Dakuvula responds

Jone Dakuvula,  Suva

I refer to the article by Jyoti Pratibha headed “Privilege Bill Does Not Mean Government Exempt from Criticism”.

The article purports to be a criticism of those who have made submissions criticising Section 24 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill.

The article appears to be also justification of why Fiji Sun has not reported on the Parliamentary Committee hearings of the Bill.

It accuses the critics of the Bill of not basing their submissions on facts and therefore “not holding any water”.

It then refers to their reading of the 1965 Parliament Powers and Privileges Act which is the origin of the current Act, and that the Bill will repeal.

The writers unfortunately, have a misunderstanding of the current legislation and therefore their argument does not hold any water.

The words they refer to like “insult” and “slander and libel” and “defamation” to justify their argument that Parliament has the right to protect itself from such words and actions by ordinary citizens and that the Bill is merely continuing the old provisions is a misreading. Pratibha and Delaibatiki do not understand the context.

The Bill and the old Act, on provision of information for Parliament, is about:

 The giving of evidence

 Presentation of submissions and documents

 Publication and presentations of document

 Formulation and Communication of documents

 Presentation of information

 Words spoken or acts done for the purposes of business of Parliament and its Committees

Citizens can be arrested in Parliament precincts and punished if they indulge in insults, making false statements or allegations, defaming or take violent actions in relation to the above-mentioned purpose of the Act. Parliament has the powers similar to the High Court.

Section 24 of the Bill however goes beyond the ambit of the powers of this Parliament by seeking to criminalise actions or words that are spoken and published by citizens outside Parliament and that are deemed to be demeaning or defaming Members of Parliament and the Speaker.

There is Defamation Act Cap 34 under which the Speaker and Members of Parliament can sue ordinary citizens and the media.

There is no need to use the powers of Parliament to restrict the right and freedom of citizens and the media to express themselves, especially criticism of Parliament and Government Ministers.

The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act of New Zealand and Australia have specifically removed the potential powers of their Parliament to punish ordinary citizens in the way that Section 24 of the Bill proposes and the Government would be wise to follow what these more advanced democracies enacted instead of taking Fiji back to the Colonial days.

The British constitutional principle of supremacy of Parliament and that Parliament can make any laws no longer applies in Fiji. Parliament and Government have to justify their laws under the decreed “Constitution”, which has taken Fiji backwards in terms of protection of peoples’ rights.

Under the Bill of Rights of the 1997 Constitution, Section 24 of the Bill would be struck down as not “reasonably justifiable in a free democratic society”.

Even under the 2013 Constitution, Section 24 cannot be justified as a “necessary law” under Section 17(3). We need to ask, is it necessary to criminalise with fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years statements that might offend the Speaker or a Minister?

The backward 2013 decreed Constitution needs a complete review because it is colonialist and authoritarian.

That is what Nemani Delaibatiki and Pratibha need to be advocating if they will not report on the hearings of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill.

Editor’s note: Jone Dakuvula, as we’ve said before, is entitled to his views. It does not mean he is right. As we’ve also said before: Mr Dakuvula should read the Fiji Sun properly. He reminds us of another prominent critic who when questioned admitted he had not read the newspaper.

 

Second Mother’s Day

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Canada

Out here and in other parts of the world, Sunday May 14 is Mother’s Day.

For some in Fiji, it was last Sunday, May 7 and some will have a special treat for their mothers again on the second Mother’s Day.

A pastor friend gave my other half a Mother’s Day card and the words written on it moved me to write this letter.

It said: “How would you like to me remembered by your family after you are gone? One who kept the house clean, a good cook, a friend? These are important, but there can be no higher tribute given to a mother/grandmother than to say of her. She influenced me to come to know the Lord and to lead a good life.”

From a child brought up in the Methodist Church and then joining the Assemblies of God Church before choosing to be a Seventh-day Adventist; it was my mother, who despite all my backsliding, would encourage me: “Save, veitalia na lotu o lewena, mo lotu ga!” (Save, no matter what church you join, as long as you join one)

A happy second Mother’s Day to all the mothers in Fiji and I pray that you will all take to heart the question asked above.

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you said it
"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
May 2017
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