Politics

Ratu Epeli Rejects Grace Road Group Petition

The petition was presented by the now suspended SODELPA Whip Lynda Tabuya for an inquiry into the presence, activity and business practices of the religious organisation and that of its 400 plus members in Fiji.
27 May 2020 09:52
Ratu Epeli Rejects Grace Road Group Petition
Opposition members of Parliament, Ro Teimumu Kepa and Lynda Tabua outside Parliament on May 26, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The Speaker of Parliament has rejected a petition by the Opposition for a parliamentary inquiry into Grace Road Group.

The petition was presented by the now suspended SODELPA Whip Lynda Tabuya for an inquiry into the presence, activity and business practices of the religious organisation and that of its 400 plus members in Fiji.

Ratu Epeli said: “The petition clearly requests for an action which is not within the powers of Parliament to take as it demands that, upon the validation of the implied claims of assault and racism, members of the named religious organisation be repatriated to Korea.”

“Honourable Members, section 21(5) of the Constitution states that “Every person who is not a citizen but is lawfully in Fiji has the right not to be expelled from Fiji except pursuant to an order of a court or a decision of the Minister responsible for immigration on a ground prescribed by law.”

“This is a constitutionally guaranteed right which may only be limited by express provisions prescribed by law. Parliament has not been given the mandate to limit this right, particularly in such a direct and targeted way through the petitions process,” he said.

Ratu Epeli also made a ruling to the claims of assault and racism, he said: “I note that assault is already prohibited by section 274 of the Crimes Act 2009 and inciting racial antagonism is already prohibited by section 17 of the Public Order Act 1969.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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