24 Nov 2005

Parliamentary debate reaches new low in Fiji

10:26 am on 24 November 2005

Debate in Fiji's parliament has reached a new low with the prime minister and the opposition leader trading personal insults across the floor.

Laisenia Qarase accused Mahendra Chaudhry of using taxpayer money to fund renovations to his private house when he was prime minister.

Mr Qarase called on Mr Chaudhry to account for funds collected during a visit to the Indian state of Hariyana last year.

The prime minister also asked Mr Chaudhry to confirm or deny whether he and other Labour MPs tried to profit by attempting to get a commission from a US$52 million loan from the EXIM Bank of India to restructure the sugar industry.

But Mr Chaudhry called on Mr Qarase to stop lying to the House and to the nation, adding that it was not becoming of a prime minister.

Mr Chaudhry said other criticisms levelled at the opposition were "the work of pimps employed by the Prime Minister's Office."

He said hurling insults and accusations and trivialising national issues would never result in solutions.

Mr Chaudhry called on the prime minister to grow up.