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Oppn Deserted Draunidalo: Seruiratu

Opposition Members of Parliament refused to take part in the Privileges Committee sitting which recommended that member Tupou Draunidalo be suspended for the remainder of Parliament sitting. Committee members from
04 Jun 2016 14:04
Oppn Deserted Draunidalo: Seruiratu
Oppostion Member Tupou Draunidalo leaving the Parliament premises accompanied by Oppostion Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa(right) yesterday.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau.

Opposition Members of Parliament refused to take part in the Privileges Committee sitting which recommended that member Tupou Draunidalo be suspended for the remainder of Parliament sitting.

Committee members from the Opposition side are Semesa Karavaki and Salote Radrodro.

Government members are Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Faiyaz Koya, Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Minister Inia Seruiratu. It is chaired by Deputy Speaker Ruveni Nadalo.

Mr Seruiratu yesterday raised concerns in Parliament why Opposition MPs deserted Ms Draunidalo when they claimed to be passionate about the issue in Parliament.

When the Committee met on Thursday on the instructions of Speaker Jiko Luveni, Mr Karavaki came in and asked for Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to excuse himself as he was the complainant in the matter.

Government obliged but also requested that Ms Draunidalo who was filling in for Ms Radrodro also excuse herself, as her comments were part of the complaint.

Women Minister Rosy Akbar replaced Mr Sayed-Khaiyum. However, Mr Karavaki informed the committee that it was late and no one else was available to fill in for Ms Draunidalo.

However, Mr Seruiratu informed Parliament that when he returned to Government chambers after the Committee had sat, he noticed that the Opposition Chambers was “filled with MPs”.

He again questioned in Parliament why none saw fit to come in to support Ms Draunidalo. Mr Karavaki informed the Committee when it sat that he felt the committee had prejudged the matter against Ms Draunidalo and for that reason, he would not participate in the meeting.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum gave evidence and the Committee reviewed the Hansard report and the recordings of the Wednesday’s parliament sitting.

It found that Education Minister had never said “dumb natives” and it was incorrectly attributed to him by Ms Draunidalo.

When Ms Draunidalo was called to give evidence, she reserved her right to remain silent.

The committee gave its recommendation to Parliament.

They recommended that Ms Draunidalo:

l formally apologises in Parliament to Mr Reddy, to the people of Fiji and that that the apology reflect the severity of the breach and the fact that it has had far-reaching effects and gone viral on social media here and abroad.

l The apology format should also recognise that the Education Minister did not in fact utter the words “dumb natives”

l That Ms Draunidalo be suspended for the remainder of the term of Parliament, with immediate effect from 03 June 2016 upon tendering of the apology and censure by Parliament;

l During the period of suspension, Ms Draunidalo not be allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office. Immediately upon her suspension, Ms Draunidalo must be ordered to leave the precincts of Parliament and to remain outside of Parliament precincts;

l And, if Ms Draunidalo fails to comply with any of the above, that necessary enforcement measures must be imposed to ensure compliance.

This was voted for in Parliament yesterday which saw the suspension of Ms Draunidalo.

 

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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