NEWS

More Disrespect

Opposition members walked out of Parliament last night after their colleague, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, was suspended for two years for making derogatory remarks against the Speaker. Soon after Parliament voted
22 May 2015 10:55
More Disrespect

Opposition members walked out of Parliament last night after their colleague, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, was suspended for two years for making derogatory remarks against the Speaker.

Soon after Parliament voted for the suspension, they stood up and walked out while the Speaker, Jiko Luveni, was making her closing remarks.

Opposition Whip, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, exclaimed loudly in iTaukei “sa vakaloloma na vale oqo” (this house has been disgraced) and walked out with other members of the Opposition.

Their conduct contradicted their earlier assertion of their respect for the Speaker when they defended Ratu Naiqama against a motion calling for his suspension.

Opposition members including leader Ro Teimumu Kepa, Ratu Naiqama and National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad refused to comment outside. Ro Teimumu, however, called Nasik Swami of the Fiji Times into her office.

The motion was moved by the acting Prime Minister and Attorney General Aiyaz Saiyed-Khaiyum, who said it was aimed at protecting the sanctity and dignity of the Speaker’s office and the institution of Parliament.

It caused a heated debate and the session had to be extended to allow MPs to contribute.

Twenty-seven voted in favour, and 18 against. Four members did not vote, including the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who is attending PALM summit in Japan.

The motion relates to slurs made by Ratu Naiqama at a Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) meeting last week against the Speaker.

An amendment motion by Opposition MP Tupou Draunidalo, calling for Ratu Naiqama to apologise and retract his statement without a sanction, was defeated.

Twenty-five voted against, 18 were in favour, two abstained and four did not vote.

The slurs were referred to the Privileges Committee that presented its report yesterday.

The Parliament sat into the night and deliberated for four hours on the motion.

The decision is effectively immediately meaning Ratu Naiqama will not be present in Parliament today.

 

MOTION – BREACH OF

PRIVILEGES/CONTEMPT

“Having received the report of the Privileges Committee, I move pursuant to Standing Order 134 (3) ––

A. that this Honourable Parliament cite the Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu for serious breach of privilege and hold that the Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is in contempt of this Honourable Parliament;

B. that Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu must be suspended from Parliament for two years of the term of Parliament with immediate effect from 21 May 2015;

C. that during the period of suspension, Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu must not be allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office;

D. that Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu must issue a public apology in writing to the Honourable Madam Speaker;

E. that immediately upon his suspension, Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu must be ordered to leave the parliamentary precincts and must remain outside of the parliamentary precincts during the period of his suspension; and

F. that if the Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu fails to comply, necessary enforcement measures must be imposed to ensure compliance.”

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