3 Mar 2003

Fiji Prime Minister told to rein in Minister for comments about the disabled

12:24 pm on 3 March 2003

Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, is facing increasing calls to discipline the Minister for Women and Social Welfare, Adi Asenaca Caucau, over her remarks in parliament on handicapped people.

Adi Asenaca told the lower house last week that people become disabled because of evil forces and opposition MPs should read their bible.

She also said that "if you are spiritual and know your God, your God makes you a good person, not crippled."

The Sunday Times reports that Fiji's Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, and the Citizen's Constitutional Forum have called on Mr Qarase to discipline the minister.

Mr Beddoes says Mr Qarase cannot defend her yet again for such derogatory statements as she is known for because to do so would be to admit support for her "warped views".

The Citizen's Constitutional Forum has written to the Prime Minister telling him that Adi Asenaca does not deserve to be a minister, and that Mr Qarase's lack of action over the matter is damaging the credibility of his government.