14 Aug 2013

Tuvalu govt yet to address Fiji travel ban on Chief Justice

7:28 pm on 14 August 2013

Tuvalu's secretary to government, Panapasi Nelesoni, says the new government is yet to consider how to overcome a Fiji travel ban placed on the country's Chief Justice Sir Gordon Ward.

Sir Gordon lives in Auckland and had been travelling to Tuvalu on a regular basis, transitting through Nadi, which is the only international airlink for Tuvalu.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Sir Gordon was stopped in May by Fiji authorities but ruled on an application via email concerning the then Tuvalu opposition's push for a by-election. Mr Nelesoni says he understands Sir Gordon has continued to conduct court business via email, including an ex parte application on the attempted mutual sackings of the governor general and the then prime minister, Willie Telavi, late last month. He says the new government of Enele Sopoaga has a number of matters to work through but it will get to the plight of the chief justice. It is not clear why Sir Gordon, who was once the head of the Fiji Court of Appeal, is on the travel ban. But he had refused a contract extension in 2007 because he was opposed to the coup staged by Commodore Bainimarama and had spoken out about the regime's actions."