NATION

It’s a Bus Stand Petition, PM Tells Niko Nawaikula

A petition to table a draft village by-laws before a Standing Committee of Parliament is a ‘bus-stand petition’ says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. The Prime Minister labelled the petition such
09 Feb 2017 12:26
It’s a Bus Stand  Petition, PM Tells Niko Nawaikula
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

A petition to table a draft village by-laws before a Standing Committee of Parliament is a ‘bus-stand petition’ says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The Prime Minister labelled the petition such after it was brought to Parliament yesterday by Opposition MP, Niko Nawaikula.

While moving his motion, Mr Nawaikula said it sought Parliament through its committees to look at the draft village by-laws.

Pursuant to Standing Order 37 – 5, he moved that the petition be referred to the Standing Committee under which the subject matter of the petition falls.

However, the motion was thrown out of Parliament with 30 votes to 14 while five didn’t cast their votes.

Mr Nawaikula said the process in which the draft village by-law was done was against the indigenous rights of the iTaukei.

The petition, he claimed was signed by nearly 400 individuals from all over Fiji.

Mr Nawaikula said targeted group of people in which the law were directed have shown their grievances.

He said it indicated how serious they had left about village by-laws and what Government was trying to impose on indigenous communities.

Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni, then clarified claims by Mr Nawaikula that even though he claimed petition was signed by people from all over the Fiji it didn’t mean the petition was taken to people all over the country however but to a particular group of people.

Responding to clarifications from Dr Luveni, Mr Nawaikula said he sat at the bus stand and waited for people to sign the petition.

When they signed the petition, he advised them to specifically state which part of Fiji they were from.

Mr Bainimarama said in his response to the motion that the SODELPA MP has lied to everyone in Parliament in the way he obtained the petition in the first place.

“I call it the bus stand petition,” he said.

The petition, Mr Bainimarama said aimed to sabotage the work of Government and the democratic process of this nation.

He told Mr Nawaikula he was still living in a time warp, in 2000.

Earlier Mr Nawaikula said that village by laws were already in place since 1996 which were needed to be re-introduced and not introduced by this current Government.

“Just put back to life what is already been there,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said that by-laws during the colonial era restricted iTaukeis in their settings.

He said the village by-law implemented during the colonial period were rooted by villages in their respective provinces.

Mr Bainimarama said SODELPA didn’t want the Government to directly consult villagers with the truth of what’s happening in the country.

His response was interjected with a point of order. Mr Nawaikula said that labelling of Opposition as liars from the Prime Minister wasn’t parliamentary.

He then requested that the statement to be withdrawn.

Mr Bainimarama said: “He lied when he said that he got his petition from all over the country and he said he went to the bus stand but was corrected by the Speaker.”

However, he later withdrew that statement.

Mr Nawaikula said the content of the draft laws were bad and ugly which also removed the sovereignty of the vanua.

He said that iTaukei needed to independently decide their future and from their own institution not for the Government to decide everything for them.

Mr Nawaikula said the Government didn’t have the right to direct people to label iTaukei lazy if they didn’t want to touch their forest.

He said it was the iTaukei way to be friendly to the environment and not to exploit them.

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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