The Fiji Labour Party welcomes the communiqué issued by the 34th meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland, and its re-enforcement of the principles contained in the Biketawa and the Nasanoni Declarations.
In particular, the FLP appreciates the adoption by the Auckland meeting of a Regional Model Leadership Code that embraces a number of key principles of good governance. These principles have been accepted by the Forum as fundamental to good leadership.
Labour Ledaer Mahendra Chaudhry brushed aside as ‘utter nonsense” claims by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase that Forum leaders had ignored a FLP briefing paper circulated at the Forum.
“It is obvious from a scrutiny of the leadership code that it addresses all the concerns we had raised on the Fiji Labour Party briefing paper,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“The Prime Minister would do well to take note of Principle 1 of the code which among other things calls for compliance with the letter and spirit of lawfully create policies,” he said.
The FLP is especially pleased that the Code places special emphasis on respect for the law and system of government. Principle 1 calls for:
- Respect for democratic processes and institutions, the rule of law, and the peaceful and lawful transfer of power;
- Just, fair and honest government;
- Respect for and enforcement of the decisions of courts and independent tribunals;
- Enforcement of lawful instructions and lawfully created policies;
- Compliance with the letter and spirit of such laws;
- Disclosure of fraud, corruption and mal-administration;
- Protection of fundamental human rights
In addition, Principles 4 and 6 of the Regional Leadership Code directly relate to concerns raised by the Party (in its paper) about corruption, abuse of public funds, and unethical conduct associated with the SDL government, including the recent formation of the Duavata Initiative by senior Ministers.
In particular, we welcome the Forum’s insistence on
- the proper use of official powers;
- honesty in dealing with the people and Parliament;
- giving priority to official duties over private interests; and
- public and private conduct that does not lead to a conflict of interest.
It is clear from the Forum Principles of Good Leadership that Forum leaders did take the time to read and consider the Fiji Labour Party’s briefing paper which highlighted the constitutional crisis in Fiji and issues relating to good governance.
The FLP paper urged the Forum leaders to uphold the democratic principles and guidelines for good governance contained in the Biketawa Declaration pointing out that it was their responsibility as Pacific leaders to uphold and implement its provisions.
It urged the Forum leaders to make a more serious commitment to the universal principles of human rights and good governance as enshrined within various international conventions.
The FLP now hopes that the Regional Leadership Code together with the Biketawa and Nasanoni Declarations will be diligently upheld by Forum leaders in their endeavour to promote good governance and respect for the rule of law in the region.
Mahendra P Chaudhry