16 Jun 2003

Fiji Finance Minister's comments on multi party Cabinet called naive

3:21 pm on 16 June 2003

The Fiji Labour Party has described as naive a statement by the finance minister, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, that the party is unlikely to get ministerial portfolios if it wins a multi party cabinet case later this week.

The Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has told the Fiji Times that Ratu Jone's comment shows that the government is not negotiating in good faith.

Ratu Jone was reported to have made the comment in an address to the indigenous Fijian community in Majuro last week while attending the regional finance ministers' meeting.

Ratu Jone, who was accompanied by the Great Council of Chiefs member, Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, asked the Fijian community in the Marsahll Islands to pray for a positive outcome to the Supreme Court case.

Mr Chaudhry says a senior minister should not have made such a statement without serious thought.

He says the government may try to frustrate the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling but Labour will cross that bridge when they come to it.