Parliament Speaker Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Opposition MP Parveen Bala
Parliament Speaker Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says he has reviewed and assessed the evidence provided by Opposition MP Parveen Bala on the claims made by him against Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad in July.
Earlier this week, Bala had provided evidence on the claims made by him against Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad.
During the July parliament sitting, Bala on two occasions made claims that the budget does nothing for the sugarcane farmers, who in the cane belt are still asking what happened to the promise of $110 per tonne of cane made by Professor Biman Prasad.
Bala had further claimed that Prasad and his candidates told the farmers during the campaign that they were going to give $110.
On the second occasion, Bala claimed that the new scholarship system that replaces the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme is a sell-out of the principle of equal access to higher education just to keep a badly thought-out election promise and that the Finance Minister is simply keeping his job by keeping his promise.
Professor Prasad had then raised a point of order, claiming that Bala is using parliament to incite racial hatred and did not provide evidence.
The Speaker says he has decided that the matter will not be referred to the Privileges Committee.
“I am satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to support the statement he made in the House and hereby rule that the matter will not be referred to the Privileges Committee and this is the end of this matter.”
The Parliament Speaker says he has also instructed for legal opinion on the issue of parliamentary privilege breach by Bala.
This was raised by MP Sashi Kiran.
Lalabalavu says he will deliver a ruling on the matter at a later date.
He says such cases take a while as the Solicitors General’s Office has so many cases before him.
The Speaker says he also received an official notification on Tuesday from Opposition MP Ketan Lal raising a matter of privilege against Sugar and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister Charan Jeath Singh.
This is in relation to Singh’s comment when responding to a question on Monday where he referred to Lal as a “bloody small kid”.
Lalabalavu says he went through the Hansard report and ruled that Singh must withdraw these words.
He also ruled that the matter will not be referred to Privileges Committee.
The parliament speaker ordered Singh to withdraw these words and this was done by Singh in Parliament this morning.