Opposition MPs not learning: Bainimarama
The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the Opposition has still not learned its lesson over racist remarks.
This is despite the suspension of two of its members, he said. Mr Bainimarama was speaking on the motion to suspend Opposition Whip, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, from Parliament. He said it was the third time that Parliament had to discipline Opposition MPs for statements that could incite racial division in Fiji.
“What is sad is the level of hatred and racial language is getting worse despite the fact that we have rejected them and the mentality that sponge them,” Mr Bainimarama. He said one incident was when suspended Opposition MP, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu used a highly obscene language in the iItaukei language to directly insult the Speaker to Parliament. Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa said outside Parliament, it was a trend that Government was following in terms of the suspension of two members already from the Opposition on the first half of our term. “This is being played out for the country to see the unfairness of the way Government is treating the high office of Parliament by bullying the Opposition,” Ro Teimumu said. Mr Bainimarama said the word uttered by Ratu Naiqama could be seen as an insult to women and that reflected the ways in which so many women find themselves in, where they were easily insulted with obscene sexual language and usually raped and physically abused. He said it was one step to violence once a person was dehumanised. Mr Bainimarama said in July Parliament had to discipline Opposition MP, Tupou Draunidalo for falsely attributing a racist statement to the Minister for Education. National Federation Party leader, Biman Prasad also said outside Parliament it was sad to see Government pushing suspensions which were unwarranted and not reasonable.
“All previous losses including this one are a big loss because it’s a loss for all those people who voted them in and it’s a loss for the representation of the people,” he said. Edited by Maraia Vula