Politics

Expect Fiery Exchanges In Parliament This Week

A number of petitions could provide the catalyst for a new Opposition tactic.
17 Feb 2020 13:26
Expect Fiery Exchanges In Parliament This Week
Main entry to the Navua Hospital.

Expect some fiery debates and exchanges this week after the first Parliament session this year opens this morning.

The last day of the sitting is Friday. There will be a wide range of issues tabled for debate, including ministerial statements.

But Opposition politicians are also pressing to present a series of petitions. This appears to be a new strategy by SODELPA to gain attention.

Petitions

Some of the petitions they want to be discussed are:

  • The Grace Road petition – calling for an inquiry into the operations of Grace Road Group and a suspension of all operations pending Parliament’s investigation. Parliament would have to differentiate between Grace Road as a church and Grace Road as a business. It cannot lump them together. Grace Road as a business appears to be doing well;
  • Domestic Violence petition – to call on Parliament to convene a special committee to address domestic violence. So much has been said previously about this problem. The missing link is action.

We do not need another talkfest;

  • Magnetite Mining at the Sigatoka River – a petition seeks to stop Australian mining company Dome Gold Mines Limited from procuring a mining licence. Strict conditions must be met before any operation starts. The mining company’s statement published in the Fiji Sun sounds positive in addressing this;
  • Started by Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka. A petition calls on Parliament to launch an inquiry into the legality and practicality of changes made by the Fijian Elections Office. Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has already outlined clearly how these claims are misleading;
  • Protect the People of Navua, Serua/Namosi from the Coronavirus – petition by SODELPA’s Ratu Suliano Matanitobua opposing the establishment of a COVID-19 Quarantine facility at the new Navua Hospital. Again, the Health Minister had outlined how these claims are misleading.

Motions

Annual reports for both the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations and Fiji Ports Corporation will be moved today for debate.

The reports from 2014, 2015 and 2016 were tabled on July 12, 2018.

Parliament will also be moved to resolve the establishment of a special committee to review all maritime and outer island development programmes.

Committee members nominated are Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Viam Pillay for Chairperson, Assistant Minister for iTaukei Affairs Selai Adimaitoga, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vijay Nath, Shadow Minister for Regional Development Jese Saukuru and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Anare Jale.

Questions

Eight oral questions will be asked today touching on the topics of the:

  • New dialysis machines;
  • Role of the Department of National Trade Measurement and Standards;
  • Occupational Safety and Health at entry ports to protect against outbreaks;
  • Ministry of Employment, Productivity, Industrial Relations, Youth and Sports on reported non-compliance and protection of workers’ rights;
  • Update on the sale of Government Assets as stipulated in the 2019-2020 budget;
  • Update on the Ministry of Agriculture’s response plan in mitigating climate change risks to the and the church livestock industry;
  • Update on the dispute over the ownership of the Minerva Reefs; and
  • Update on the Parenthood Assistance Payment Scheme.

Three written questions will also be asked on the:

  • Update from the Ministry of Forestry on the stock of pine trees;
  • Statistics on treated and untreated piped water in all divisions; and
  • Rehabilitation update on schools destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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