Sunvoice

Attack On Speaker A Diversion

Biman Prasad is entitled to his opinions. But his criticisms of the integrity and impartiality of the Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, is a diversion from the real issues hindering the
28 Nov 2014 13:59
Attack On Speaker A Diversion

Biman Prasad is entitled to his opinions. But his criticisms of the integrity and impartiality of the Speaker, Dr Jiko Luveni, is a diversion from the real issues hindering the work of the Public Accounts Committee.

Dr Luveni has stepped out of her office to try to help resolve the differences between the Opposition and the Government side.
She has no extraordinary powers to compel the committee members to sit. In fact, it is the role of the Secretary-General to Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua, to organise and facilitate the committee meeting.

Both sides
Today’s committee meeting has been called by Mrs Namosimalua. Both sides must attend this meeting to show they are genuine in their commitment to get to work. ‘

They must put aside their political differences. Mr Prasad has said he will attend the meeting. Hopefully, the Government side will come to the table too.

Mr Prasad is out of line in trying to drag the Speaker into their conflict. He knows that well before the controversy blew out into the open, Dr Luveni had warned him about making public statements about the Auditor-General’s reports before the committee met. He ignored her and continued.

No collusion
There was no collusion between her and the Government side. She made a conscious unilateral decision, knowing that the issue could potentially destabilise the committee and undermine its work.

Her fears were confirmed when the Government side picked up on the issue.
She was in Indonesia attending a United Nations sponsored meeting of parliamentary officers in the Asia-Pacific region when she was informed that the first meeting had been called off.

Government concerns
The Government side had raised concerns that Mr Prasad had prejudged the Auditor-General’s reports and undermined the work of the committee.

Mr Prasad defended his position, denying that he had pre-judged the reports and stating that they were already in the public domain. Because of his defiant stand, the Government side called on him to apologise which he refused.
Mr Prasad would do well to face the Government side across the table in Suva this morning and iron out any differences.

Attacking Dr Luveni is a sign of desperation. Using her as a scapegoat will not help his cause.n.

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