Sunvoice

MPs Must Rise To The Level That Is Expected Of Them To Develop The New Fiji

This week in Parliament has been a revelation in a number of ways. The content of the maiden speeches reveals a lot about the MPs, their backgrounds, struggles and experiences.
18 Oct 2014 08:03
MPs Must Rise To The Level That Is Expected Of Them To Develop The New Fiji
Speaker of the House, Dr Jiko Luveni. Photo: DEPTFO news

This week in Parliament has been a revelation in a number of ways. The content of the maiden speeches reveals a lot about the MPs, their backgrounds, struggles and experiences.

It’s interesting that  more MPs in the Government side started from humble beginnings than those in the Opposition, many of whom were born in privileged circumstances.

Some MPs have yet to ditch the old mentality of representing the area they come from.  Their speeches made references to these areas only. They raised development needs and concerns of these areas because that’s where they concentrated in their campaign to get the crucial votes that put them in Parliament. This was the practice under the old electoral arrangement. But now there is only one constituency for the whole of Fiji.

The old parochial approach  which focuses on one area of interest is not consistent with the current rules of engagement.

Over time it is hoped that the mindset will change and MPs can extend their services and that their offices will open their doors to all those who need their help irrespective of political and religious affiliation.

The tenor of some speeches this week sounded like the MPs were still on the campaign trail.

The election is behind us. Parliament is at a higher level and it requires an appropriate and dignified conduct in the quality of debates where common courtesies, respect and sensitivities are upheld.

Niko Nawaikula’s speech failed the test on all counts and hopefully he will learn from the experience and  contribute more positively and productively in nation building in the future.

The fact that the sittings are televised live makes it important for MPs to uphold the dignity and decorum in the House.

Speeches that are made on the election trail should be quite different to those made in Parliament. Outside Parliament politicians address the people. In Parliament the MPs  address the chair, Madam Speaker or Mr Speaker. The Speaker is the boss. The distinction is there for a purpose.

It underscores the importance of Parliament as a national institution where MPs sit as legislators (making news laws) and debate the affairs of the State that have a direct impact on the lives of its citizens.

There is an expectation, therefore, when politicians (on the campaign trail) become MPs (members of Parliament) their whole demeanour changes. They are no longer on the hustings.

They sit in a hallowed and revered chamber where nations are born and developed (in a constitutional sense) and broken.

If MPs rise to the level that is expected of them, as outlined by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, they can develop our young democracy to a strong, peaceful and vibrant nation.

If they fail, we will waste the golden opportunity to make Fiji the hub of the region and the way the world should be.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 




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