23 Nov 2006

Fiji cabinet minister vows he won't resign

7:41 pm on 23 November 2006

A Fiji Labour Party cabinet minister who opposed the budget says he won't resign because he has done nothing wrong.

Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi is one of four Labour MPs facing the sack from cabinet for voting against the budget which was passed in parliament on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has written to the cabinet ministers asking them to resign immediately, but Mr Vayeshnoi says they'd rather be dismissed.

He says the party's fully behind he and the other three - Chetanya Lakshman, Ragho Nand and Udit Narayan.

"We believe that we have done nothing wrong. And by resigning we only prove contrary to that. Voting against the budget that has been against the poor, which has our party position very clear, as mandated by the party, we had voted along the party lines."

Mr Vayeshnoi - who is the Energy Minister - says the Prime Minister refused to allow them to make a conscience vote on the Budget.

He says they shouldn't now be penalised for voting along party lines.