Politics

NFP Unsure About Next Parliament Sitting

The National Federation Party (NFP) is not sure about continuing their protest of being absent from when Parliament when it sits again in March.
22 Feb 2020 09:47
NFP Unsure About Next Parliament Sitting
NFP party members and Opposition Member of Parliament (from left) Lenora Qereqeretabua, (Party Leader) Biman Prasad and (Party President) Pio Tikoduadua during a press-confernce on February 21, 2020. Photo: Ilajia Ravuwai.

The National Federation Party (NFP) is not sure about continuing their protest of being absent from when Parliament when it sits again in March.

NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said they respected parliamentary procedures and the authority of the Speaker.

However, in exercising his authority if the Speaker makes rulings that NFP disagrees with, Mr Prasad said they would respond in the way they think best.

Mr Prasad and fellow party MP, Lenora Qereqeretabua, joined SODELPA MPs on Tuesday when they walked out of Parliament following the ruling by Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau disallowing SODELPA MP Viliame Gavoka’s anti-mining petition. When SODELPA MPs returned to Parliament on Thursday, the two NFP MP’s remained absent.

“We serve a more useful purpose doing this than merely sitting in Parliament listening to the Government present out of date annual reports,” Mr Prasad said.

“This is not the first time we have protested. And as long as Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are in power, this will not be the last.

“We believe the right of our people to have unrestricted access to parliamentary processes is inalienable. This is the basic tenet of any genuine parliamentary democracy. That is why we have remained out of Parliament for the last four days.”

Mr Prasad said they still have not had any response from the Speaker on queries penned in a joint letter by Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and himself.

He added that NFP wrote a second letter to Ratu Epeli advancing queries about two motions they had tried to put to Parliament.

“The first is calling for a bipartisan committee to inquire into education reforms carried out since 2014. The second is for an inquiry into the public-private partnership of Lautoka and Ba hospitals.

“However, the Speaker’s Office and the Acting Secretary-General rejected both motions even before the Business Committee was convened.”

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj



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