22 Nov 2003

Senior Fiji Labour MP criticises health minister's constitution remarks

11:15 am on 22 November 2003

A senior Fiji Labour Party MP has delivered a sharp rebuke to the health minister, Solomone Naivalu, for attacking the 1997 Constitution and describing it as fundamentally flawed.

Mr Naivalu was among many MPS who voted unanimously in favour of the constitution in 1997, but this week he said it was imposed in violation of the rule of law and the foundations of democracy.

Mr Naivalu described the election of the Bavadra and Chaudhry governments in 1987 and 1999 as acts of legalised dispossession of the Fijian people and warned they would retaliate if they see their political control of the country is under threat.

But senior Labour MP and deposed education minister, Pratap Chand, hit out at Mr Naivalu, saying as the health minister he should be promoting healing and building bridges and not pouring venom.

Government ministers and backbenchers responded to Mr Chand's comment with laughter and jeering.