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Vote First, Work Later

Prioritise voting time tomorrow for your staff or face a hefty penalty, the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, has warned employers. In a press conference yesterday, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum focused
16 Sep 2014 08:48

Prioritise voting time tomorrow for your staff or face a hefty penalty, the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections, has warned employers.

In a press conference yesterday, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum focused on supermarkets that will be opened tomorrow, a designated public holiday.

“They have to pay staff double time. They cannot force staff to work without voting. They should vote first. This is for shops that will be open. It is an offence under Section 141 of the Electoral Decree to inhibit anyone from voting,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Section 141 of the decree imposes stiff penalties for those caught breaching these provisions. Under the heading Undue Influence, it says: “Any person who hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance by any other person, of any political right or duty that is relevant to an election commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or to both.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said: “Anyone who feels that they have been inhibited from voting should report it to the Police and the Supervisor of Elections but I hope it won’t come to that.’’

The Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation has backed Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s call and encouraged its own members to take time to vote and ensure that their staff do the same.

The federation’s chief executive officer, Nesbitt Hazelman, noted the public notice by the Ministry of Labour about the gazetted public holiday tomorrow.

“We do note that it is a gazetted public holiday and staff are not obliged to work. Having said that, we also note that there is a cruise ship in the Suva Harbour so some of the shops may want to open. The employers should work out something with their staff to enable them to vote. It’s important that we all have our say since its been eight years since the last election,” Mr Hazelman said.

The polling stations around the country will open at 7.30am tomorrow and will close at 6pm.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj




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