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Draunidalo issues public apology


Jun 10, 2016 05:40:53 PM

Draunidalo issues public apology Suspended Member of Parliament, Roko Tupou Draunidalo has issued a public policy to Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about her utterances in the House last week.

The Suspension Resolution (paragraph (B)) required that she issue a formal public apology in certain terms.

“I will comply with the Suspension Resolution, without prejudice to my rights to challenge the process by which it was arrived at,” she said in her letter to Speaker Dr Jiko Luveni, a copy of which was advertised in today’s newspaper.

“Through you and without prejudice to any such action, I give this explanation and apology to the Hon. Minister Reddy, Parliament and the people of Fiji about my utterances in the House last week.”

“As I stated in the House last Friday, I did not say – and have never said - that the Hon. Minister Reddy uttered the words 'dumb natives'. I was replying by way of interjection to a point of order raised by the Attorney-General, who objected to Dr Reddy being called a “fool.” My interjection was to the effect that Dr Reddy had implied worse of the Opposition: “Calling us dumb natives?”.”

“I did not intend to imply that Dr Reddy’s utterances had any racial connotations. As I explained in Parliament I included the Hon. Prem Singh as a “native” in my speech (a definition supported by the Oxford English Dictionary). He is a fourth generation one. Indeed, he has been a native longer (in years) than I have been.”

“I have many differences with Dr Reddy. I do not however consider him to be racist and did not intend to cast him as such in the words I used. To anyone who has interpreted my words otherwise, I apologise unreservedly.”

“I am required to acknowledge that the breach was severe and that it had far-reaching effects. Through you, Madam, I take this opportunity to encourage every Fijian of like mind to work with me to eradicate the barriers that would lead certain sections of our country to put and receive an ethnic slant to the words I uttered.”

MP Draunidalo said she is looking forward to inviting Dr Reddy and his family to her home or village one day so that they can share a meal and put the very unfortunate turn of events behind them.

She has been suspended for the remaining term of Parliament and during the period of her suspension, Draunidalo will not be allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts including the Opposition Office.

By Reginald Chandar


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