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Everyone Took It As A Joke: Dr Luveni

Dr Jiko Luveni said yesterday everyone took it as a joke when Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made comments and gestures about a character in Star Wars. She said she
23 Nov 2015 11:28
Everyone Took It As A Joke: Dr Luveni
The face of Darth Vader of the Star Wars movie.

Dr Jiko Luveni said yesterday everyone took it as a joke when Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made comments and gestures about a character in Star Wars.

She said she even laughed because she found it funny. She said MPs on both sides of the House laughed about it.

She was surprised that two days later Opposition Whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca raised a point of order and said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s action was offensive to him and the iTaukei.  Ratu Isoa wanted an apology from Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Dr Luveni said she ruled it a non-issue because it should have been dealt with immediately after it happened. The real meaning of what was said should have been discussed, she said. But no one objected to it then, she added.

Ratu Isoa yesterday declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he had mimicked Darth Vadar’s speaking style in Star Wars movies by lowering the register of his voice and adopting a Darth Vadar pose. He said he was saddened that lighthearted comments and gestures he made had been deliberately twisted to imply that he made a racial slur against the iTaukei.

Dr Luveni said the late protest over the Darth Vader joke – in which it was turned into a racial issue – was the only blemish in an otherwise great Budget debate.

The Opposition, she said were fully engaged in scrutinizing the Appropriation Bill.

“It was very good to look at it from other lenses,” she said.

She said there were a lot of interjections and the debate was robust because the House was in committee.

She said she did not have the authority to stand and stop the interjections because she was not sitting in the Speaker’s chair.

She said MPs had learnt a lot during the first year of Parliament. She said debates could be intense but when MPs knew the rules, she would not have to do much.

She said she was looking forward to a substantive debate in the New Year.

“A lot of bills are being processed and they will be tabled in the next sitting.”

Parliament is in recess for the Christmas and New Year holidays. The next sitting is on February 8.

“After one year I am strict now on the rules of debate in the House. It’s been a learning experience for me. I gained a lot of confidence in the way I applied the Standing Orders.”

Dr Luveni was speaking yesterday from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea where she is leading a delegation attending a parliamentary conference today and tomorrow. Other MPs with her are Government Whip Ashneel Sudhakar, Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Veena Bhatnagar and Opposition MPs Salote Radrodro and Semesa Karavaki.

Dr Luveni said she was looking forward to hearing from the women-dominated Rwandan delegation.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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