The Fiji Labour Party has called on Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to stop distorting facts to impress leaders of the neighbouring countries who are here to attend the Pacific Forum meeting.
Mr. Qarase is well aware that Talanoa talks on Land and Constitutional issues were called off by the Fiji Labour Party for a number of reasons, including government’s failure to provide information required to progress matters further.
The holding of talks were also jeopardised by the racial insulted hurled at the Indian community by senior members of Mr. Qarase’s government during the last sitting of the House of Representatives.
The Prime Minister’s tacit support for racist elements within his government, aired by way of a ministerial statement last Friday, made matters worse.
We have said that talks may resume when the political climate improves and when government itself demonstrates a willingness to address some of the issues raised by the FLP, including the appointment of Supreme Court judges to finalise the multi party cabinet case.
The Prime Minister lost the case five months ago in the Fiji Court of Appeal which declared his government unconstitutional and ordered that he include FLP members in his cabinet. But the prime minister appealed to the Supreme Court. Yet, we have seen no action by government to appoint the Supreme Court judges to hear the case. It is obvious that it suits the prime minister to drag the issue and the judiciary is as much to blame for it.
As for the exclusion of the FLP form a Commonwealth convened meeting on challenges of democracy in the Pacific, the prime minister could do better than behave like an ostrich. The problem of his unconstitutional government will not disappear by pretending that the official nominee to the Commonwealth can be a member of parliament who sit on the Opposition benches while her other sole party colleague sits as a minister on government benches.
It is ironic that the Commonwealth Secretariat has chosen to host a meeting on challenges of democracy in Fiji which itself has shown scant regard of late for upholding democratic values and traditions.