Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dictatorship Still Prevails In Fiji!

[No 57 May 13/2015]


The Solicitor General this afternoon issued an advice to Police for SODELPA to apply for permits for their constituency meetings starting this Thursday. This was relayed to SODELPA officials at 4.08pm by Police Public Relations Officer Ana Naisoro.
The Solicitor General has cited Sec 8 of the Public Order Act Cap 20.
Opposition Shadow Attorney General & Minister for Justice Hon Semesa Karavaki called the move outrageous and a travesty of Justice. He said the Fiji First Government has been out and about in public meetings all over the country, using civil servants and their Ministers to campaign and no permit has been applied for or issued.
Yet when SODELPA starts its visits to the people, they panic and cite this old section which is not applicable in any case.
The election system adopted by the government created a single constituency, so members of parliament have to travel the length and breadth of Fiji to visit the people to hear of the issues they face and to update them on what is going on in Parliament. Our plan to start in Suva is because we are all here in Parliament and it is easy to cover a reasonable area in the limited time we have.
A team of 24 youth members have combed Lami, Delaitokatoka, Raiwaqa, Penueli Makoi, Nauluvatu and pensioners in the area in a scoping exercise and established that the key issues they want to raise in the meetings are Poverty, Housing, Unemployment, Scholarships and Student Loans and Pensions,
The Public Order Act is for meetings in public places that is likely to prejudice the maintenance of peace or good order. How this constitutes a threat to Public order is beyond me Hon Karavaki said.
Hon Karavaki said a Public Place as defined in Sec 2 of the Act says:- any highway, public street, public road, public park, garden, any sea beach, river, public bridge, wharf, jetty, lane, footway, square, court, ally or passage whether a thoroughfare or not, or (b) any
(i) Land or open space, whether such land or space is closed or unenclosed, and
(ii) place or building of a public resort, other than a dwelling house, to which for the time being the public have or are permitted to have access whether on payment or otherwise.

The venues advertised for the SODELPA constituency meetings are not Public Places as defined by the Act.
Hon Karavaki said that this advice by the Solicitor General also attempts to disrupt the members of SODELPA from performing their obligations to meet with the people they represent. It is also a breach of the members and peoples rights under the Bill of Rights such as our Rights to Freedom of speech Sec 17; Freedom of Assembly Sec 18; Freedom of Association Sec 19; Freedom of Movement Sec 21; Political Rights Sec 23; Right to Equality and Freedom from Discrimination Sec 26;
Hon Karavaki said the purpose of the Act has been misconstrued for the sole purpose of preventing SODELPA from meeting with the people.
He said that this action by the Solicitor General confirms beyond a shadow of doubt, that there is no Democracy in Fiji. Dictatorship prevails.
Authorized By: Hon Semesa Karavaki

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