NEWS

Cheap Shot By Tikoca

  Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says his light-hearted comments and gestures in Parliament have been twisted. He criticised Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca for resorting to the old politics
21 Nov 2015 15:17
Cheap Shot By Tikoca
Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

 

Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says his light-hearted comments and gestures in Parliament have been twisted.

He criticised Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca for resorting to the old politics of looking for an ethnic dimension during the Budget debate.

Ratu Isoa yesterday called on Mr Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament to apologise saying he and the iTaukei had been offended.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he was “saddened that lighthearted comments and gestures he  made during parliamentary exchanges on Wednesday had been deliberately twisted to imply that I made a racial slur against the iTaukei.

“Anyone who was in the parliamentary chamber who witnessed the full proceedings and read the Hansard report knows the truth:  that I referred to the Opposition member, Honourable Ratu Isoa Tikoca, as Darth Vader because of the rumbling and menacing tone of his persistent interjections.

“I went on to mimic Darth Vadar’s speaking style in the Star Wars movies by lowering the register of my voice and adopting a Darth Vadar pose. The video clip of the proceedings clearly shows members of the house laughing, including the Honourable Speaker, who specifically referred to me “breaking the ice”. I refer everyone to the full video clip of the proceedings in Parliament. (http://youtu.be/Qt-Zl4JDwek)

“At no stage does the Hansard record me saying anything that constitutes a racial slur. So I am very disappointed and saddened that Honourable Ratu Isoa has engaged in a pathetic attempt to vilify me using parliamentary privilege and inflame ethnic division.

“Ordinary Fijians know that for my entire time in private and public life, I have fought racism and promoted the interests of every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, religious belief or where they come from in Fiji. It is simply inconceivable that I would be guilty of the accusation that is now being leveled against me. It is the cheapest of political shots and totally unjustified.

“The fact that it took two days for the Honourable Ratu Isoa Tikoca to lodge a formal complaint with the Speaker raises serious questions about his own sincerity in this matter. If he was so insulted, why did he not say so immediately or even the following day? I believe that most Fijians will see this for what it is – a cynical attempt to exploit parliamentary exchanges between him and I to suggest a smear on the entire ethnic group to which he belongs.

“Earlier in the week, the Honourable Tupou Draunidalo was forced to apologise to the House when she called a Government member a “fool”. Was she implying that everyone of his ethnic background were also fools?”

He said the Opposition was losing public support and the Government was receiving widespread acclaim for the Budget from all Fijians.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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