PM: I'M SORRY
TIKODUADUA REFUSES TO APOLOGISE. HE IS SUSPENDED FOR SIX MONTHS.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last night apologised in Parliament over an incident involving Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua.
His apology came at the end of a day of drama, which included an Opposition walkout. Mr Bainimarama complied with a Privileges Committee report passed by Parliament that he and Mr Tikoduadua apologise to each other, Parliament and the Speaker or face six months suspension. Mr Tikoduadua refused to apologise, saying it was a matter of principle, his honour and conscience. Mr Bainimarama, however,
I fully admit that I momentarily and spontaneously let my emotions, and my love of family, get the better of me. Regardless, Mr Speaker I offer my unreserved apologies to him, to my colleagues, to the Parliament and, to you, Mr Speaker, for my actions. Voreqe Bainimarama Prime Minister
admitted that his actions were not appropriate and the incident should not have happened.
He said, soon after the incident, he realised his mistake and immediately went to the Speaker of Parliament to offer his apologies to him, Parliament and Mr Tikoduadua.
“It is unfortunate that Hon. Tikoduadua was not available to receive my apology in person, nor has he made himself available in subsequent attempts.” He said Mr Tikoduadua was a man he had known for decades. “A man who once served as my PSO before, during and after the events of 2000 and subsequently as my Permanent Secretary,” he said.
He said Mr Tikoduadua became a senior member of his Cabinet in the FijiFirst Government after the historical elections in 2014.
“As my PSO he spent many hours in my home, with my family. He is a man I once felt was part of my family.
“He was a comrade in many changes we brought about in Fiji. We have a history.”
He said now they found themselves on different sides of the political aisle, but their history as friends and colleagues, “taken with a statement he made about my family, are why I reacted as I did the morning of Friday August 9, 2019”.
“I fully admit that I momentarily and spontaneously let my emotions, and my love of family, get the better of me. “Regardless, Mr Speaker I offer my unreserved apologies to him, to my colleagues, to the Parliament and, to you, Mr Speaker, for my actions.” Mr Bainimarama added that he regretted that the event had caused a distraction from the vital work of the Parliament in advancing the wellbeing of all Fijians.
“I look forward to getting back to the national business of this august Parliament and to upholding the high standards of conduct the Fijian people deserve and expect from those elected to serve their interests.”
WALKOUT... Opposition leader Sitiveni Rabuka (right) outside Parliament last night after the vote.
WALKOUT... Opposition members Pio Tikoduadua (left) and Biman Prasad outside Parliament last night after the vote.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside Parliament on September 6, 2019.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.