Datt will contest polls for Labour

Veteran Labour politician Krishna Datt announced today that we was standing for elections on a Labour Party ticket.

Datt had announced a year ago that he would be retiring from politics and would not contest the 2006 elections.

In a statement issued today Datt said his decision to reconsider followed pressure from his constituents, the public and Party officials and supporters.

A sitting MP from Macuata Open in the North, Datt said he would let the Party decide what seat he would be contesting.

His full statement is reproduced below:

About a year ago, I had announced not to contest the coming general elections.

Since then, I have been under considerable pressure from the Labasa people in particular and people from throughout Fiji.

I have been particularly moved by a lone elderly woman in Tavua who walked up to me in a cafe where I was having a cup of tea with my Fijian parliamentary colleagues and asked me if I was contesting. When I said “no” she said in Hindi – “what will happen to us”.

It struck me quite dramatically how much some of us meant to the people. It has since been impressed upon me that members of Parliament are not just viewed as representatives of the people but as a symbol of hope.

There is a lot of internalized pain, particularly amongst the Indo-Fijian community. Symbols of hope help them get over their days.

It is pressures of this type that has led me to reconsider.

Friends, colleagues, my party leaders- all want me to carry on. I am also overwhelmed with encouragement to contest from parliamentarians and supporters of other parties.

I would have loved to have retired and let a younger person take over. I seriously believe that Fiji needs committed young people to instill a deep sense of belonging, love and national spirit.

I would have liked to have left at a time when I still share respect and trust of all the communities.

However, it appears I may have to get back to the hustings again. I have discussed it with the Party Leader and have left it to the management board to find a suitable constituency. I have given my preference to the leader.

I would prefer a geographically smaller constituency which I can serve better either in Labasa or in Vitilevu.

My preference is to concentrate more on parliamentary work. We are hopeful that Fiji Labour Party will form the next government. Being in Government, provides a much better opportunity to serve whole of Fiji.

I am looking forward to it.