NEWS

Some Will Politicise Core Issues as We Near Elections: Attorney-General

We must understand, unfortunately there are some people in Fiji, because they view everything from a political perspective, they will want to politicise everything. As the elections come nearer, people
19 Feb 2017 11:00
Some Will Politicise Core Issues as We Near Elections: Attorney-General
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum addressing staff members of the Legal Aid Commission at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO News

We must understand, unfortunately there are some people in Fiji, because they view everything from a political perspective, they will want to politicise everything. As the elections come nearer, people will politicise situations even more, says the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He was speaking to the staff of the nation-wide Legal Aid Commission to remember that they were providing services not for a political reason, but because it was necessary.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum spoke at the closing of the 6th Legal Aid Annual National Corporate Staff Training Seminar at InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola yesterday.

He reiterated the importance of Government funding for the Commission to be able to perform its task efficiently and develop.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also stressed that regardless of the people’s ethnicity, colour, race, religion or gender, all must be taken care of and all were important.

Being the largest law firm in the country, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum further reminded the Commission staff members that they played a pivotal role in respect of providing access to ordinary Fijians.

“As you know that under the Fijian constitution, there is now a constitution requirement to have a legal aid commission.”

In 2006 the total Government support to legal aid was $400,000. Today it is $5.5million.

“You are the face of legal aid. When people walk into your offices, they see your face. When people ask for advice, they ask for your advice. When people ask for any form of direction, where to go, who to talk to, perhaps what they should do next, you are the ones actually dealing with them,” he said.

“We are committed under the leadership of the Prime Minister to ensuring that irrespective whether that person is rich or poor they must be able to have that access not only to justice, but to right to information, access to knowledge.”

One of the issues that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum brought to the attention of the Legal Aid Commission staff, was that while the commission had grown so large  and was located in so many different areas, there are still a lot of people who do not know what its function was.

“People need to know that if there is some farmer, some women, disabled person, or just some ordinary Fijian who needs to deal with the law and who cannot get access to information, they should be able to say ‘I want to go to legal aid’,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We need to continuously improve the services that legal aid provides by way of creating awareness.”

Participants of the two-day programme yesterday also received their certificates at the InterContinental Fiji Golf and Resort Spa at Natadola.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj


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