22 Feb 2003

Fiji government rejects bipartisan committee to oversee distribution of cyclone relief supplies

8:05 am on 22 February 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has rebuffed a Labour Party request to form a bipartisan committee to oversee the distribution of relief supplies for victims of Cyclone Ami.

Radio Fiji reports that the request was put through a motion in parliament which alleged ethnic discrimination in the distribution of food and other assistance.

But Mr Qarase rejected the request saying the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has refused to take a bipartisan approach on important national issues such as land and sugar.

He said he wanted to remind Labour that they could not pick and choose which issues they could discuss on a bipartisan level.

The prime minister said a bipartisan committee should look into more important issues such as land and constitutional changes.