19 Jun 2004

Fijian Political Party slams minister's criticism of chair of Great Council of Chiefs

9:17 am on 19 June 2004

The Fijian Political Party, the SVT, says the information minister Simione Kaitani's attack on the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has exposed the government's double standards.

Mr Kaitani accused Ratu Epeli of being "unethical and unprofessional" when he criticised the SDL government's racially discriminatory education policies.

But, the SVT spokesperson, Ema Druavesi, says Mr Kaitani must be honest and admit that the government's affirmative action programmes are discriminatory against even indigenous Fijian students who attend schools managed by Indian and other communities.

Mrs Druavesi says the SDL government policy on free education for indigenous Fijian students in Fijian schools only, is racially discriminatory and Mr Kaitani must acknowledge that it is against sections of the constitution.

She says "Mr Kaitani's display of arrogance and unsubstantiated allegations against the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs is a testimony of evil forces within the government."