Parliament

PM supports decision to suspend Draunidalo

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that he strongly supports the parliament’s decision in suspending NFP Parliamentarian Hon. Tupou Draunidalo for the remaining term of Parliament. PM Bainimarama said Draunidalo incorrectly attributed the quote “dumb natives” to Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy during an exchange of words in Parliament. BAINIMARAMA: “Hon. Draunidalo incorrectly attributed the quote “dumb […]

Peni Shute

June 4, 2016 10:30 am

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that he strongly supports the parliament’s decision in suspending NFP Parliamentarian Hon. Tupou Draunidalo for the remaining term of Parliament.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside parliament yesterday. (Peni Shute/Newswire).
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama outside parliament yesterday. (Peni Shute/Newswire).

PM Bainimarama said Draunidalo incorrectly attributed the quote “dumb natives” to Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy during an exchange of words in Parliament.

BAINIMARAMA: “Hon. Draunidalo incorrectly attributed the quote “dumb natives” to Minister for Education Honourable Dr. Mahendra Reddy during an exchange in Parliament on 1 June 2016. Upon review of the audio recording, it was revealed Hon. Reddy never made any such statement and that Hon. Draunidalo alone mentioned the quote “dumb natives”. Instead of engaging in rational debate, she sought to add an element of ethnic prejudice into the exchange and mischaracterise the Minister’s statement.”

PM Bainimarama said upon review of audios it was revealed that the Minister for Education never made any such statement as “dumb natives” and Draunidalo alone mentioned the quote.

BAINIMARAMA: “To levy such a heavy charge against Hon. Reddy without any factual proof is inexcusable. It discredits the Minister unfairly and brings ethnic tension and discord into a conversation where none existed.”

“It is unacceptable for any member of Parliament to misuse their right to engage in parliamentary debate by falsely accusing another of ethnic discrimination. Not only did Hon. Draunidalo misrepresent Hon. Reddy’s statements, she also went on to call him a “fool” and an “idiot”, blatantly disregarding the Standing Orders and degrading the work, dignity and standing of the Parliament, which represents the Fijian people.”

PM Bainimarama said instead of engaging in rational debate, Hon. Draunidalo sought to add an element of ethnic prejudice into the exchange and mischaracterise the Minister’s statement.

BAINIMARAMA: “Hon. Draunidalo’s comments have also inflamed ethnic tensions and debates on social media. Her comments have been treated as accurate by some and used to divide Fijians on the basis of ethnicity. For her part, Hon. Draunidalo had taken no steps to correct her error prior to today’s parliamentary debate or quell the divisive, ethnically charged comments that have been posted online.”

PM Bainimarama said Fiji’s Parliamentarians must discuss the real issues of national development, climate finance and adaptation, the status of women in our society, economic and youth empowerment and children’s education objectively without reference to ethnicity, religion or the other forms of commonality.

BAINIMARAMA: “By pointing to our divisions, you stop us from reaching our true potential as a nation. Therefore, it is not in the nation’s best interest for elected leaders to pull out the ethnicity card at every drop of the hat as the Opposition has a tendency to do.”

PM Bainimarama is also urging every Fijian to be wary of those who fan the flames of ethnic tension on social media, and to stay away from any who seek to use ethnic division as a tool to destroy.

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