Politics

Speaker Sets NFP Leader Biman Prasad Straight

Ratu Epeli made a ruling clarifying insinuations made against his Office and the Parliament Secretariat that he has prevented debates on the floor.
21 Sep 2021 10:15
Speaker Sets NFP Leader Biman Prasad Straight
Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. Photo: Parliament of Fiji

A fiery exchange erupted between the Speaker of Parliament and NFP leader Biman Prasad yesterday over an oral question regarding the 2019-2020 Household and Income Expenditure Survey.

Mr Prasad raised a point of order questioning why the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was allowed to speak on the survey.

He claimed that Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was practicing double standards when he approved the question and rejected a question submitted by the NFP.

Ratu Epeli responded saying: “The Business Committee makes the decision, it’s not the Speaker that makes the decision in the business committee. When there is a parity of votes, it’s defeated whatever is proposed there. That’s what a lot of people are thinking that the Speaker has the final say. No, not at all.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was their duty to protect the Office of the Speaker and there was lack of decorum and finesse on the part of the NFP.

Ruling

Ratu Epeli made a ruling clarifying insinuations made against his Office and the Parliament Secretariat that he has prevented debates on the floor.

He said his actions and the actions of the Secretariat were always in accordance with the Parliamentary Standing Orders.

With the assistance of the Secretariat, he said his duty as the Speaker was to facilitate debates and ensure that it was efficiently and effectively conducted within the parameters of Parliament procedures.

He said all members of the Parliament Business Committee, comprising Members of Parliament from both sides of the house, were aware of questions and motions submitted to the Secretariat.

The submissions were put through an extensive vetting process by the speaker and the secretariat in accordance with the standing orders and were put before the business committee for final approval.

“The Business Committee has the final say in all business that will be dealt with in Parliament,” Ratu Epeli said.

“The standing orders are the guiding rules that regulate proceedings and procedures of Parliament. In that regard, it is imperative that all MPs fully understand the provisions and adhere to the guiding principles.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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