Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Speaker to rule on statement at a later date

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu will later deliver his ruling on a statement made in Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Professor Biman Prasad.

Prof Prasad had stated: “they (FijiFirst) looted the workers, forcing them to use their Fiji National Provident Fund during the pandemic.”

Leader of Opposition, Inia Seruiratu raised this matter with the Speaker and stated that it was offensive and unparliamentary.

He called on Prof Prasad to bring proof to Parliament and also questioned what his intentions were when he uttered the statement.

“Mr Speaker, the use of the word looted again is very offensive, and I hope and plead with you that the honourable member needs to be reminded and warned, that it is unparliamentary and offensive.”

Seruiratu had also raised a Point of Order during the Parliament sitting last week, pursuant to Standing Orders 74 asking the Deputy Prime Minister to bring proof about appointment being made that were made by Ministers and not according to the processes.

The Speaker said that he has duly perused the uncorrected Daily Hansard of Wednesday, specifically on pages 2171 and 2172, where Professor Prasad said, the use of Section 127(8) of the Constitution.

Ratu Naiqama said it is in the Constitution, and that there is nothing we can do about it, but this Government moved the Ministry of Public Service under the Prime Minister, under whom the PSC is also based.

“The PSC, is only responsible for appointing the Permanent Secretaries under the Constitution, the Permanent Secretaries have the absolute power but with the agreement of the Ministers. What was happening in the past, the Ministers were actually making appointment, and it happened in many cases.”

“Honourable Members, I am satisfied that the honourable Deputy Prime Minister was referring to the provisions of the Constitution and thereby rule that there was no misrepresentation of information or breach of the Standing Orders,” the Speaker said.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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