Prominent lawyer, Richard Naidu stresses that no law has been broken by the coalition government if it proposes to allow the use of vernacular languages in parliament.
While responding to the FijiFirst Party General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the Suva based lawyer says other than for the formal process of electing the Speaker and the Prime Minister, Parliament has not even sat yet.
Naidu says the new Government wants to allow the use of vernacular languages in Parliament.
He says the current Standing Orders do not permit this, so, to allow the use of vernacular languages in Parliament, the Government will have to propose changes to the Standing Orders and Parliamentarians will have to vote for them.
Naidu says that is normal procedure under Standing Order 128.
Richard Naidu also says Aiyaz read out section 4 of the Constitution (“Secular state”) and claimed that at Government functions prayers were now only offered in one religion (presumably the Christian one).
Naidu says to suggest that this is something new – that this did not happen under the FijiFirst Party government – is fantasy, and he too wishes that those who offer prayers would sometimes be a little more sensitive to other religions.
But Naidu says that is not the point.
He says the Constitution does not tell any of us how to pray and no law has been broken.
Naidu further says the Constitution may refer to all citizens as “Fijians” but it also guarantees freedom of speech.
He says there is no law that says we must all call each other “Fijians”.
Naidu says we may call each other what we want, and no law has been broken.
The prominent lawyer says Aiyaz has still not explained to anyone how, in the space of three days in January, he got himself kicked out of Parliament by accepting a position on the Constitutional Offices Commission – and then had to resign from the Constitutional Offices Commission when asked how he could continue as general secretary of the FijiFirst Party.
Naidu asks should we really be taking legal advice from Aiyaz.
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