Op­po­si­tion MPs not learn­ing: Bain­i­marama

Fiji Sun - - Parliament News - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Feed­back: rosi.do­viver­ata@ fi­jisun.com.fj

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

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