The Fiji Labour Party’s National Council met in Suva on Tuesday 28 November and voted to expel five dissident members who had challenged the Labour leadership and brought disrepute to the Party.
Among those expelled are two Cabinet Ministers, Krishna Datt, Minister for Labour and a Party vice president and Poseci Bune, Minister for Environment who was Deputy Leader of the Opposition before the 2006 general elections.
Also expelled is another vice president Atu Emberson Bain. The other two are: former MP Vijay Singh and former president of the Vuda branch, Prem Chand.
In a secret ballot which went 24-4 in favour of expulsion, members agreed to expel the five who were not present at the meeting but were represented by their Counsel Hamendra Nagin.
Two others initially disciplined along with the five, MPs and trade unionists Felix Anthony and Agni Deo Singh escaped the axing, after they had initiated reconciliation moves and apologized for their behaviour.
Party leader and Secretary General Mahendra Chaudhry said the five now have 21 days to appeal the decision of the National Council. The appeal will be heard by the supreme decision making body of the FLP, the Delegates Conference.
Failing an appeal, the secretariat will then move to carry out the expulsion. The disciplined five had earlier given a commitment they would attend yesterday’s National Council meeting.
The disciplinary action followed a public ruckus created by the seven Party members who had publicly denounced the Party leadership and questioned the Leader Mahendra Chaudhry’s list of Senate nominees. They questioned why Vijay Singh’;s name was not nominated.
The very public bickering, which started soon after the advent of the Multi-Party Cabinet arrangement following the 2006 general elections, had caused considerable embarrassment and brought ridicule to the Party and its leadership.
Disciplinary proceedings had dragged on since mid-June because the seven dissidents had not availed themselves to attend National Council meetings.