The claim by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Mills Beddoes and Mr Prem Singh that the Cabinet case filed by the Fiji Labour Party is a political ploy to build up support for the 2006 General Elections is an outright nonsense and reflects the lack of understanding on the part of these two gentlemen.
The Party’s case is based on the principles of good governance, power-sharing and consultation as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution. The Constitution requires the Prime Minster to consult the leader of the eligible Party in appointing Ministers. The Prime Minster has not done this.
Moreover, the Prime Minster must uphold the principles of good governance and equity in allocating Ministries. This requires that Ministries allocated to the Fiji Labour Party in the current case must be realistic and within the parameters of past and present practices.
It is surprising that Mr Beddoes and Mr Singh cannot see that the offer made to the Fiji Labour Party is one of tokenism. The total Budgetary allocation offered to the FLP amounts only to 2.5%. This is an outrage and a naked attack on the intention and spirit of power-sharing enshrined in the 1997 Constitution.
Are Mr Beddoes and Mr Singh suggesting that power-sharing be merely a façade and abuse of the principles of good governance and equity which are the hallmark of the spirit and intent of the 1997 Constitution?
The Fiji Labour Party over the months has made great deal of efforts to persuade the Prime Minister to allocate Ministries to the Party within the context of the Supreme Court ruling and the 1997 Constitution. The Prime Minster has continued to ignore this.
Therefore, the Party taking account of relevant views and the circumstances surrounding the case has no choice but to seek redress through the Court. It is important for the Party to resolve this matter for once and all. The Party hopes that the case could be heard with the case which is due to come before the Supreme Court in May.
As for the 2006 elections the FLP does not have to depend on the current court cases. The voters can see how the current government, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the waning NFP are behaving to uphold the rule of law and cater for the interest of the ordinary men and women. It seems that the two gentlemen have not learnt much from the Labasa and Tavua by-elections. But then some people never learn and have the habit of projecting their shortcomings on others.
Hon Pratap Chand
Member of Parliament