Sunvoice

Felix Has To Make A Choice – His Lucrative Union Job Or Politics

Felix Anthony, the Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary, did not break any law when he attended the People’s Democratic Party management board meeting on December 7. But his presence
31 Jan 2018 15:07
Felix Has To Make A Choice – His Lucrative Union Job  Or Politics
Felix Anthony. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Felix Anthony, the Fiji Trades Union Congress general secretary, did not break any law when he attended the People’s Democratic Party management board meeting on December 7.

But his presence answered some questions and raised new questions about his political involvement.

That meeting was significant because it agreed for the PDP to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SODELPA.

The MOU was signed on December 9 after a special general meeting of SODELPA by Lynda Tabuya and Vijay Singh on behalf of the then  suspended PDP. Ms Tabuya was confirmed a SODELPA candidate for the election and Mr Singh  was elected a SODELPA vice-president in the special general meeting.

Mr Singh was later stood down as vice-president because he was not a financial member of  SODELPA at the time of his election. Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem ruled that Mr Singh had breached the Political Parties Act and referred the matter to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for its investigation and decision.

In the meantime, Mr Singh has paid his subscription and says he will seek re-election when the post comes up again to be contested.

The management board meeting  in question did not have a quorum and Mr Anthony, not a board member, was present as an adviser, it is understood.

On December 17, the Air Terminal Services workers’ strike started.

The workers are members of the Fiji Airline Staff Association but Mr Anthony, backed by Ms Tabuya took the lead role in advocating for workers’ rights, demonising the roles of the ATS management and Government.

It is now apparent, with the latest information on hand that Mr Anthony’s and Ms Tabuya’s  involvement, was politically motivated from the start.

That the dispute took a political twist was a natural course of action when all the issues surrounding the key players were analysed.

The visits by SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka, Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa and SODELPA supporters were part of this orchestrated move that culminated in the Nadi march on January 13.

The permit of this march was applied for by Mr Anthony and Ms Tabuya was one of the leaders of the march.

It was branded as a FTUC-organised march. In reality, it was a political rally by members of opposition parties and supporters of the strikers.

It’s interesting that veteran politician, Mahendra Chaudhry, the Fiji Labour Party leader, also marched even though his arch rival is Mr Anthony. It’s true that politics make strange bedfellows.

In Mr Chaudhry’s hey day as a trade unionist and FTUC general secretary, Mr Anthony was regarded as his protégé.

But after the formation of the FLP, the two went their separate ways. Mr Anthony did not like Mr Chaudhry’s leadership style and broke way to help form the PDP.

Members began to break ranks with PDP when the party lost its way after Mr Anthony resigned as party leader. Pioneer Adi Sivia Qoro quit to help form the Unity Fiji Party.

Lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh quit as general secretary and joined FLP. He has joined others who feel that there should not be two parties representing workers. It was attributed to the FLP’s and PDP’s failure to win a seat in the 2014 general election.

But Mr Anthony has stayed with PDP because of his differences with Mr Chaudhry.

Prior to the revelation of his attendance, Mr Anthony has kept his political activities close to his chest.

He even denied a speculation that he had expressed his interest for a SODELPA ticket to contest the general election.

He would have to resign from his FTUC job to be able to do it.

It was rumoured that the move would be formalised when the time was right.

Whatever the plan was, the controversial MOU, obviously rushed through without proper scrutiny, was a weird document. It encourages it’s members to stand in the election on SODELPA ticket and support that party.

Ms Tabua and Mr Singh did it and are now in SODELPA camp.  But they cannot register for two parties, that’s why they have resigned from PDP.

PDP now faces  a difficult task to call another management board meeting to rectify the anomalies cited by the Mr Saneem, like a lack of quorum.

It may need Mr Anthony back to salvage a cause that is fast going down the gurgler.

He has to make a choice – his lucrative trade union job or politics.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Waterfront Lautoka Fiji
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: