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Shame On NFP For Boycotts, Says PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it is a great shame that the National Federation Party boycotted the ceremonial opening of Parliament. “Not least because they might have learned something,” he
27 Sep 2016 10:37
Shame On NFP For Boycotts, Says PM
Voreqe Bainimarama Prime Minister

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it is a great shame that the National Federation Party boycotted the ceremonial opening of Parliament.

“Not least because they might have learned something,” he said

Mr Bainimarama said it was an insult to our President Major General (ret’d) Jioji Konrote, Head of State, to Parliament and to the nation.

He was speaking in Parliament yesterday on the debate over the address by President Konrote.

The boycott came on top of the NFP refusing to attend our Constitution Day celebration.

“The leader of the NFP told Pacific Beat Programme on Radio Australia that Fijian Constitution Day was a sham. But, Madam Speaker, tell that to Naomi Lewakita and the other young people who took part in this occasion and read extracts from the Constitution with such feeling,” he said.

“Madam Speaker, the opening of a session of Parliament is, no ordinary session. It is a State occasion, a non-political event. It is our Head of State reminding us that whatever our political differences, there is a higher cause. Which is our duty to our nation to act in the best interests of every Fijian.

“It is the duty of every selected representative of the Parliament to be present. Yet rather than take their places for this solemn occasion, the National Federation Party chose to stage a cheap political stunt in this opening session. In a deliberate snub to His Excellency the President, the Head of the Fijian State, our Parliament and the Fijian people.”

He said he noticed the NFP Leader giving an interview in which he questioned the legitimacy of our Constitution and described our democracy as a sham.

“No, Honourable Leader, it is the leadership of your party that is the sham,” he said.

“You happily stood for the 2014 election under the terms of the Constitution you now reject because you undoubtedly thought you could win and form government.

“But having lost, you turn on the very document that brought you here like a child who wants the rules of a game changed after it has finished.

“You had every opportunity at the last election to win over the electorate. “Twenty nations declared that election was a free and legitimate expression of the will of the people. And what did you get? A mere three seats out of 50.

“The people spoke but you still can’t get over their decision. And ever since then, you have been poor losers, displaying no respect for the will of the people and no respect for our institutions.

“Madam Speaker, it is not our democracy that is a sham, nor our Constitution.

“The real sham is the once great National Federation Party. The party of such great figures in Fijian history such as AD Patel and Siddiq Koya now reduced to a grumpy rump.

He also responded to “an absurd claim made recently by the NFP party president and suspended member, the Honourable Tupou Draunidalo.

“I almost fell off my chair when I heard her say that the iTaukei are disadvantaged in Fiji. And I almost fell through the floor when I heard her plead with Indo-Fijians to support the iTaukei to reverse this supposed disadvantage.”

He asked what disadvantage?

“There is none. And it is astonishing that an educated person like the suspended Member – a lawyer as well as president of the NFP – would make such an outrageous claim. Astonishing and irresponsible.

“Because, Madam Speaker, the Honourable member is doing precisely what His Excellency the President appealed to us not to do – peddle false information and create fear among ordinary people.

“There is no justification whatsoever for her statement. And fortunately, the days when such an outrageous claim takes hold and becomes widely accepted are over.

“The overwhelming majority of iTaukei are far too smart to be swayed by this crude scare mongering. They know the Honourable Member is not telling the truth because they can see for themselves all around them that their position has never been stronger.”

NFP leader Biman Prasad told FBC in response that the NFP was a party of principles and it would continue to push for what he described as “genuine democracy”.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

 

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