Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu after reviewing the evidence provided by Opposition Member of Parliament, Parveen Bala has ruled that it is sufficient to back his statement in Parliament during the Budget Debate in July.
Ratu Naiqama said that there is no need to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee.
“This is the end of this matter,” Ratu Naiqama said.
During the 2023-2024 National Budget Debate, Bala said: “This budget does nothing for the sugarcane farmers who in the cane belt are asking what happened to the promise of $110 per tonne cane payment by the Minister for Finance.”
He continued to say that: “I came back from the cane belt, no matter what Professor Prasad said. He can bark like a dog to anyone, but let me say, this was him and his candidates during the campaign, saying to the farmers that they are going to give $110.”
“The Government, the media and the Ministry of Sugar and the unions are silent on the suffering of the poor cane farmers,” Bala said.
On the same matter, the Speaker of Parliament said he is waiting on the legal opinion from the Office of the Solicitor-General on the matter of prima facie breach of Parliamentary Privilege against Bala.
He said he will rule on the matter later after receiving the advice from the Solicitor-General’s Office.
Official Communication had been delivered to the Speaker’s Office from the Assistant Minister for Social Protection, Sashi Kiran.
Ratu Naiqama said that: “It takes a while to get an opinion when you ask for an opinion, because of the so many cases that are before the Office of the Solicitor-General. I hope that you will bear with this as we want for the legal opinion to come through, as to ensure transparency in what we do.”