Fijifirst asks Speaker to follow law

June 6, 2024 7:08 am

17 FijiFirst MPs who were terminated

The rumblings within FijiFirst continue as the party now says the 17 terminated members of the party are in defiance of the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution.

This comes as the Speaker of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu yesterday stated that the17will remain MPs until further notice

Ratu Naiqama says he will not take any action as he is waiting for legal advice.

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FijiFirst Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya writing to Ratu Naiqama, says they are most concerned that the wilful neglect of the Constitution and attempting to drag the Speaker’s office into any illegal actions will not only diminish and tarnish the position of the esteemed office but also further undermine public confidence in our Parliamentary system and the rule of law.

Koya says under Section 63, nor under any other section of the Fijian Constitution nor under any written law, does the Honourable Speaker have any discretion to unilaterally decide on the matter as long as the notification is received by the Honourable Speaker.

He adds constitutionally and therefore legally, the Honourable Speaker must adhere to the notification and has no authority to decide otherwise nor hold the matter in abeyance.

The acting GS says should the individuals concerned seek to question or challenge the validity of their seats in Parliament becoming vacant, they must within seven days of the vacation of seats make an application to the Court of Disputed Returns for a declaration on whether the seats of those members have become vacant.

He adds if these members within the 7 days make such an application to the Court of Disputed Returns then the members are taken to be suspended from Parliament pending the determination by the Court of Disputed Returns as per section 63

FijiFirst says Under Section 63(3) of the Fijian Constitution the seat of a member of Parliament becomes vacant ‘upon receipt by the Speaker of a written notification’ from the political party, to be signed by its Leader and General Secretary, stating that the member(s) voted or did not vote, as the case may be, contrary to the directions issued by the political party, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party.

Koya says the 30 May 2024 Notification from FijiFirst duly signed by the Leader and Acting General Secretary, listed the names of the 17 individuals who did not adhere to the directions issued by the Party.

He goes on to say there is no dispute regarding who the Leader and Acting General Secretary were on 30 May, including the recognition by Parliament itself as to which individuals held these two positions.

Sixteen MP’s had voted in favor of the Emoluments Committee report which recommended increasing salaries and allowances for MPs.

The MPs are Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, Ioane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Also terminated was Alvick Maharaj who was part of the Emoluments Committee.