Leader of Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama suspended from parliament for 3 years

Leader of Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama suspended from parliament for 3 years

By fijivillage
Saturday 18/02/2023
Leader of the Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama


Opposition MPs object to amendment motion to suspend Bainimarama for 18 months and say he did nothing wrong

By 12,51,53,56
Saturday 18/02/2023
Opposition MP Jone Usamate, Attorney General Siromi Turaga, FijiFirst MP Inia Seruiratu and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad. [Image: Parliament of Fiji]

Several Opposition MPs objected to the amended motion to suspend Leader of Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama for 18 months after the Prime Minister’s call that leniency be given to Bainimarama if he apologises to the President.

Opposition MP Jone Usamate says all accusations against Bainimarama have been imputed and there has been no explicit statement inciting anybody.

He highlighted this while speaking on the amended motion that was later withdrawn that Bainimarama be suspended for 18 months from Parliament after breaching parliamentary privilege following a request by the Prime Minister and the Opposition MPs.

Usamate says we only apologize for something that we have done wrong and do not apologize if there was no call for sedition taking place.

He says no explicit words were spoken and recorded and in this case, there are no explicit comments as well.

Opposition Member Faiyaz Koya had asked the Privileges Committee to re-look at the matter before moving the motion.

He says the letter given by NFP MP Pio Tikoduadua stated that ‘we write respectfully to your high office’ and when he fronted the Privileges Committee, he had said that the letter was written from just him.

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He says no where in the speech of the Leader of Opposition he made any seditious comments and he did not ask for any illegal act to be done but all he asked was for the RFMF to follow the Constitution.

FijiFirst MP Ifereimi Waqainabete says Bainimarama was addressing the constitutional roles and there is no sedition, verbatim.

FijiFirst MP, Premila Kumar says she does not support the motion simply because Bainimarama has done nothing wrong.

She adds last year the Opposition Members showed disrespect to the President and the Government then did not refer it to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee as there was no need to do so.

She says the quality of the report is not good and no one can make informed decisions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad says he is astounded by the hypocrisy of some of the people who sat in Parliament and on three occasions interpreted what the three members, including the current Speaker of Parliament went through.

Member of Opposition Alvick Maharaj says he opposes the amendment because it reflects injustice and political revenge

He says by removing the Leader of the Opposition they are removing the voices of the 29.08 percent of voters who had voted for Bainimarama.

While speaking on the original motion to suspend Bainimarama for three years, FijiFirst MP Inia Seruiratu says they welcome the recommendation by the Prime Minister that leniency be given if Bainimarama apologises to the President.

Seruiratu says he sees this as an opportunity for a new start.

He says he pleads that this be referred back to the Committee taking into account the amendment that has been proposed.

Seruiratu says they can probably come back in the next sitting with a recommendation that has been proposed by the Prime Minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka says he agrees on suspending Bainimarama.

While speaking again on the amended motion, Prasad says Bainimarama is a repeat offender.

Prasad says what is worse is in the past, Bainimarama was protected by many State agencies that allowed him to crush his opponents sometimes either lawfully or by scamming around the law.

He says the Prime Minister has always shown respect to the Leader of Opposition whereas Bainimarama viciously attacks Rabuka.

Attorney General Siromi Turaga says such comments coming from the former Prime Minister is disgraceful, contemptible, and unworthy of a Member of Parliament.

While speaking again on the amended motion, Turaga says he has shown a complete lack of respect for the person and Office of the President.

He says the attack on the President's integrity is unprecedented and despicable and has violated his Office.

FijiFirst MP Mosese Bulitavu appealed to the Government to move forward on a new path and they need to reconcile.

He was speaking during the original motion.

Opposition MP Viliame Naupoto says this back-and-forth game in Parliament should end.

He says we are talking about the person when the offence is all hidden in those words that they aee saying is seditious or treasonous which is not as clear cut.

Naupoto says if it was a swear word then it would have been easy to talk about however, it is about how they interpret those words that were said.

Bainimarama has been suspended from Parliament for three years.



Bainimarama suspended from parliament for 3 years

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 17/02/2023
Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama

Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama has been suspended from Parliament for 3 years effective from tonight.

There were 27 ayes, 24 nos and 4 did not vote.

This is after the Leader of the Government in Parliament, Lynda Tabuya withdrew the earlier amendment motion and moved the original motion again that Bainimarama be suspended from parliament for 3 years effective immediately, to be served until 17th February 2026, that Bainimarama to issue a written apology to the President within 14 days from today February 17th 2023, that Bainimarama issues an apology to the public within 48 hours, that during the period of suspension Bainimarama is not allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts and that if Bainimarama fails to comply, necessary enforcement measures must be imposed to ensure compliance.

Tabuya had moved an amendment motion earlier for Bainimarama to be suspended for 18 months from parliament after breaching parliamentary privilege following a request by the Prime Minister and the Opposition MPs.

In the earlier amendment motion, Tabuya moved that Bainimarama issue a written apology to the President within 14 days from today February 17th 2023, that Bainimarama issues an apology to the public within 48 hours, that during the period of suspension Bainimarama is not allowed to enter the parliamentary precincts and that if Bainimarama fails to issue an apology as outlined, the penalties be served consecutively for a total of 3 years.

This followed the debate on the motion where the Parliamentary Privileges Committee recommended that Bainimarama be suspended for 3 years from parliament after breaching parliamentary privilege. The Opposition had requested for a 10 minute break to discuss the amendment motion and return to parliament.

Bainimarama was not present in parliament.

When the Opposition returned, they made it clear that Bainimarama will not apologise as he had done nothing wrong and they felt that the amendment motion would have been an apology and no suspension.

Parliamentary Privileges Committee Chair, Lenora Qereqeretabua had earlier tabled the committee report with recommendations.

Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua had earlier said Bainimarama uttered words that are denigrating and humiliating to the Head of State and also as Commander-in-Chief when appealing to the rank and file of the RFMF which in view of Tikoduadua are highly seditious and disrespectful while dishonoring the dignity and bringing parliament into disrepute which contravene the parliamentary standing orders.

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu said the words used by Bainimarama are matters which are out of order in parliament and constitute a prima facie breach of privilege.

Bainimarama had said President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere has failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government.

He also said unfortunately, he has to inform the rank and file of the RFMF that all the philosophical commitment and years of hard work of the RFMF is now being undermined and disregarded by this Government.

Bainimarama said the President who we looked up to because we believed that he genuinely believed in the values and principles of Constitution has done an about turn.

The Opposition Leader said Fijians, in particular the weak and vulnerable, those who want actual and practical implementation of the rule of law, those who want the practical implementation of the Constitution and those Fijians who want socio-economic stability, all look up to the RFMF to guarantee these if and when it is under threat.

He appealed to the rank and file of the RFMF to preserve their manna, to maintain their credibility and their calling and not forsake their constitutional role.

Bainimarama said he wishes to inform the RFMF that its gift and legacy, the Fijian Constitution, is being ignored and bashed on a daily basis and the current Prime Minister wants, what the RFMF worked so hard for, removed.

Section 62 of the parliamentary standing orders says when speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It says the President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

The standing orders also says it is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.

Link for the Privileges Committee Report on the Referral of a Matter of Privilege against the Hon. Josaia Bainimarama: https://bit.ly/3YZ2eS4


Bainimarama will not get any benefit if he apologises to the President or not - Rabuka

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 17/02/2023
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says he wished the Privileges Committee had put a provision that if Leader of Opposition Voreqe Bainimarama elects to apologise then there would be a reduction in the severity of the award.

He has highlighted this while speaking on the motion following the Privileges Committee’s recommendation after Bainimarama’s breach of privilege.

Rabuka says Bainimarama will not get any benefit if he apologises to the President so he could rightly say that whether he apologises or not he could still be suspended for three years.

He says they have heard that Bainimarama has openly stated that he does not value matanigasau or apologies so if was forced to do a matanigasau, he could satisfy the order but there is no benefit for him.

The Prime Minister says they must maintain the dignity and decorum of Parliament and the language they use must be in keeping with the status they project to the people who voted them as leaders.

He further says the President is the Turaga Bale Na Tui Macuata and the Speaker is the Turaga Bale Na Tui Cakau.

Rabuka says they have heard the efforts of the Coalition Government to bring back the Great Council of Chiefs and it was the GCC that accepted their actions in 1987 and forgave them.

He says their forgiveness resulted in the provisions of immunity in the 1990 and then the 1997 Constitution.

He says it came from the hearts and the soul of the GCC.





Privileges Committee to report back this hour on Bainimarama

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 17/02/2023
Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama

The Parliamentary Privileges Committee will report back to parliament this hour with recommendations regarding Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Following the recommendations, parliament is expected to have a debate before a vote is taken.

The committee is expected to look at precedence when dealing with the matter or breach of parliamentary privilege.

For previous matters of privilege - Former SODELPA MP, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu was suspended from Parliament for two years in 2015, former NFP MP Tupou Draunidalo was suspended for the remainder of her term in June 2016, former SODELPA MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca was suspended for two years in September 2016 while Tikoduadua was suspended for 6 months in 2019.

Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua says Bainimarama uttered words that are denigrating and humiliating to the Head of State and also as Commander-in-Chief when appealing to the rank and file of the RFMF which in view of Tikoduadua are highly seditious and disrespectful while dishonoring the dignity and bringing parliament into disrepute which contravene the parliamentary standing orders.

Ratu Naiqama says the words used by Bainimarama are matters which are out of order in parliament and constitute a prima facie breach of privilege.

Bainimarama had said President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere has failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government.

He also said unfortunately, he has to inform the rank and file of the RFMF that all the philosophical commitment and years of hard work of the RFMF is now being undermined and disregarded by this Government.

Bainimarama said the President who we looked up to because we believed that he genuinely believed in the values and principles of Constitution has done an about turn.

The Opposition Leader said Fijians, in particular the weak and vulnerable, those who want actual and practical implementation of the rule of law, those who want the practical implementation of the Constitution and those Fijians who want socio-economic stability, all look up to the RFMF to guarantee these if and when it is under threat.

He appealed to the rank and file of the RFMF to preserve their manna, to maintain their credibility and their calling and not forsake their constitutional role.

Bainimarama said he wishes to inform the RFMF that its gift and legacy, the Fijian Constitution, is being ignored and bashed on a daily basis and the current Prime Minister wants, what the RFMF worked so hard for, removed.

Section 62 of the parliamentary standing orders says when speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It says the President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

The standing orders also says it is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.



Privileges Committee to recommend action against Bainimarama today

By Vijay Narayan, Alifereti Sakiasi, Cecilia Matanatabu
Friday 17/02/2023
Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama outside parliament earlier this afternoon

The Parliamentary Privileges Committee will report back to parliament today with recommendations regarding Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Following the recommendations, parliament is expected to have a debate before a vote is taken.

Bainimarama appeared before the committee chaired by Deputy Speaker, Lenora Qereqeretabua.

Bainimarama was summoned to appear before the committee after the Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu referred him to the committee.

Bainimarama did not make any comments while entering the committee room after being asked by the media on what will be his stand if the committee recommends him to be suspended from parliament today. He also did not make any comments when asked on whether he will apologize if asked to do so.

He said no comments while leaving the committee room.

The Privileges Committee is chaired by Qereqeretabua and the members include Lynda Tabuya, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, Esrom Immanuel, Faiyaz Koya and Jone Usamate.

Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua had raised the matter of breach of parliamentary privilege against Bainimarama after his comments in parliament while responding to President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere’s speech.

Tikoduadua was also summoned by the committee.

The committee is expected to look at precedence when dealing with the matter or breach of parliamentary privilege.

For previous matters of privilege - Former SODELPA MP, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu was suspended from Parliament for two years in 2015, former NFP MP Tupou Draunidalo was suspended for the remainder of her term in June 2016, former SODELPA MP Ratu Isoa Tikoca was suspended for two years in September 2016 while Tikoduadua was suspended for 6 months in 2019.

Tikoduadua says Bainimarama uttered words that are denigrating, humiliating to the Head of State and also as Commander-in-Chief when appealing to the rank and file of the RFMF which in view of Tikoduadua are highly seditious and disrespectful while dishonoring the dignity and bringing parliament into disrepute which contravene the parliamentary standing orders.

Ratu Naiqama says the words used by Bainimarama are matters which are out of order in parliament and constitute a prima facie breach of privilege.

Bainimarama had said President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere has failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government.

He also said unfortunately, he has to inform the rank and file of the RFMF that all the philosophical commitment and years of hard work of the RFMF is now being undermined and disregarded by this Government.

Bainimarama said the President who we looked up to because we believed that he genuinely believed in the values and principles of Constitution has done an about turn.

The Opposition Leader said Fijians, in particular the weak and vulnerable, those who want actual and practical implementation of the rule of law, those who want the practical implementation of the Constitution and those Fijians who want socio-economic stability, all look up to the RFMF to guarantee these if and when it is under threat.

He appealed to the rank and file of the RFMF to preserve their manna, to maintain their credibility and their calling and not forsake their constitutional role.

Bainimarama said he wishes to inform the RFMF that its gift and legacy, the Fijian Constitution, is being ignored and bashed on a daily basis and the current Prime Minister wants, what the RFMF worked so hard for, removed.

Section 62 of the parliamentary standing orders says when speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It says the President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

The standing orders also says it is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.



There is no cause for alarm - Tikoduadua

Home Affairs Minister meets Army Commander
By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 15/02/2023
Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua

There is no cause for alarm regarding the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the call made by the Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama to the RFMF in his parliament speech.

Those are the comments of Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua who met with Army Commander, Major General Jone Kalouniwai.

Tikoduadua says the parliament will handle Bainimarama’s comments while the RFMF is focused doing it’s work.

The Parliamentary Privileges Committee is meeting to deal with Bainimarama’s comments.



Speaker refers Bainimarama to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee

Committee to report back on breach of parliamentary privilege by Friday
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 15/02/2023
Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua, Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Leader of Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has referred Leader of Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

The committee has to meet from later today and report back to parliament regarding Bainimarama this Friday.

The Privileges Committee is chaired by Deputy Speaker, Lenora Qereqeretabua and the members include Lynda Tabuya, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, Esrom Immanuel, Faiyaz Koya and Jone Usamate.

Home Affairs Minister, Pio Tikoduadua had raised the matter of breach of parliamentary privilege against Bainimarama.

Ratu Naiqama confirms that this is in relation to Bainimarama’s comments in parliament while responding to President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere’s speech.

Tikoduadua says Bainimarama uttered words that are denigrating, humiliating to the Head of State and also as Commander-in-Chief when appealing to the rank and file of the RFMF which in view of Tikoduadua are highly seditious and disrespectful while dishonoring the dignity and bringing parliament into disrepute which contravene the parliamentary standing orders.

Ratu Naiqama says the words used by Bainimarama are matters which are out of order in parliament and constitute a prima facie breach of privilege. Bainimarama had said President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere has failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government.

He also said unfortunately, he has to inform the rank and file of the RFMF that all the philosophical commitment and years of hard work of the RFMF is now being undermined and disregarded by this Government.

Bainimarama said the President who we looked up to because we believed that he genuinely believed in the values and principles of Constitution has done an about turn.

The Opposition Leader said Fijians, in particular the weak and vulnerable, those who want actual and practical implementation of the rule of law, those who want the practical implementation of the Constitution and those Fijians who want socio-economic stability, all look up to the RFMF to guarantee these if and when it is under threat.

He appealed to the rank and file of the RFMF to preserve their manna, to maintain their credibility and their calling and not forsake their constitutional role.

Bainimarama said he wishes to inform the RFMF that its gift and legacy, the Fijian Constitution, is being ignored and bashed on a daily basis and the current Prime Minister wants, what the RFMF worked so hard for, removed.

Section 62 of the parliamentary standing orders says when speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It says the President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

The standing orders also says it is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.



What Bainimarama said to the RFMF is treasonous and he should be referred to the Privileges Committee - Tikoduadua

By Vijay Narayan, Alipate Narawa
Monday 13/02/2023
Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua

Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua has made it clear that what Leader of the Opposition, Voreqe Bainimarama said in parliament today to the Republic of Fiji Military Forces is treasonous.

Tikoduadua stresses the matters in relation to the RFMF is treasonous.

He says the issue should be referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

The Minister asks can parliament deserve that for its integrity and do the people deserve it.

Tikoduadua says its irresponsible for Bainimarama to do that and no leader with caliber would do it.

While responding to the President's speech, Bainimarama said President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere has failed the Fijian people and he will go down in history as the person who aided and abetted the most incompetent and divisive government

He also says unfortunately, he has to inform the rank and file of the RFMF that all the philosophical commitment and years of hard work of the RFMF is now being undermined and disregarded by this Government.

Bainimarama says the President who we looked up to because we believed that he genuinely believed in the values and principles of Constitution has done an about turn.

The Opposition Leader says Fijians, in particular the weak and vulnerable, those who want actual and practical implementation of the rule of law, those who want the practical implementation of the Constitution and those Fijians who want socio-economic stability, all look up to the RFMF to guarantee these if and when it is under threat.

He appealed to the rank and file of the RFMF to preserve their manna, to maintain their credibility and their calling and not forsake their constitutional role.

Bainimarama says he wishes to inform the RFMF that its gift and legacy, the Fijian Constitution, is being ignored and bashed on a daily basis and the current Prime Minister wants, what the RFMF worked so hard for, removed.

Section 62 of the parliamentary standing orders says when speaking a member must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It says the President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice (performing the functions of the office of President under section 88 of the Constitution), members of the judiciary, or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

The standing orders also says it is out of order for a member, when speaking, to use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.

Parliament resumes on Wednesday.

Stay with fijivillage News for developments as the matter of privilege is likely to be raised against Bainimarama.

Click here for the full Parliament Coverage




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