NFP Parliamentarians Disrespect Speaker By Boycotting Sitting

They had lodged a complaint to Ratu Epeli Nailatikau against Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. But when he delivered his ruling, they were not present to hear him
03 Sep 2019 13:56
NFP Parliamentarians Disrespect Speaker By Boycotting Sitting
Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.


National Federation Party parliamentarians disrespected the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau when they boycotted Parliament yesterday.

Their leader, Biman Prasad, Pio Tikoduadua and Lenora Qereqeretabua might be exercising their democratic right but it was not a good look.

They had lodged a formal complaint against Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to Ratu Epeli about an alleged assault within the precincts of Parliament on August 9 after the last sitting of the one-week session.

Mr Bainimarama had also visited him to apologise to him and Parliament and offered to say sorry to Mr Tikoduadua.

Ratu Epeli tried to arrange a meeting but Mr Tikoduadua was not available.

He then received a letter from Mr Prasad wanting to see the CCTV footage of the alleged incident for the Privileges Committee.

Ratu Epeli said he had seen the CCTV footage and Hansard.

Yesterday was his first opportunity as Speaker to address the matter.

And when he did, Mr Prasad, Mr Tikoduadua and Ms Qereqeretabua were not there to listen.

They may have been watching it on television outside of Parliament, but it was not the same as sitting in the chamber. They showed their lack of appreciation of the efforts of the Speaker to deal with their complaint by following the processes of Parliament under the Standing Orders.

If they had been watching and listening to Ratu Epeli’s address, they would have found out that he had been thorough and fair in the way he had conducted his own independent inquiry to maintain the integrity and decorum of Parliament.

He had outlined the facts in the sequence of events that transpired on August 9,  starting from the debate and the ensuing exchange of words between Mr Bainimarama and Mr Tikoduadua.

Ratu Epeli’s address gave a better perspective of what happened that day than the politically charged views on social media which were often biased and even distorted.

Since his election as Speaker, Ratu Epeli has upheld the honour and dignity of Parliament. He has shown that he is the right person as Speaker. He has stood his ground from political pressure in order to maintain the dignity and integrity of the House.

After the alleged incident, he was pressured by the NFP bench to make a decision on the allegation. He said yesterday he could not make a ruling because he had not seen the alleged incident. He was right.

It is unfortunate that the NFP seems to be selective in the way its MP’s have responded to the processes that are in place to deal with their complaint. Their absence from Parliament yesterday is indicative of this.

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