14 Mar 2005

Fiji's PM says some NGO's should register as political parties

11:13 am on 14 March 2005

Fiji's prime minister has strongly attacked some non government organisations, saying they should de-register themselves and instead register themselves as political parties.

The Daily Post reports that Laisenia Qarase told the Prime Minister's Corporate Governance Summit at the weekend that these NGOs have taken on the role of political parties and adopted an anti-government stance.

Mr Qarase said if they registered themselves as political parties, overseas donors would cut off their funds.

He said it was not very clear how representative they are in terms of membership or what mandate they have, adding that the NGOs are not very transparent.

Mr Qarase said he had expressed his concerns to one of the major donor agencies, explaining that aid programmes raise issues of sovereignty, protocol, diplomatic relations and national integrity.

Mr Qarase said his government is currently looking at amending laws which apply to NGOs.

He said a combined meeting of NGOs to discuss changes to the law with the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, had to be cancelled because some of them boycotted it.