20 May 2005

Fiji Labour party warns Reconciliation Bill could jeopardise sugar talks

1:14 pm on 20 May 2005

The Fiji Labour Party has warned that if the government goes ahead with its controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill, current talks on sugar, land, the constitution and other issues would be put in jeopardy.

The Daily Post reports that veteran Labour MP, Krishna Dutt, delivered the warning at a function yesterday to remember the 1987 and 2000 coups during which Labour-led governments were overthrown.

Mr Dutt said the way forward was for the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to behave like a gentleman and enter into talks with the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry.

He said Mr Qarase should have used the "talanoa" forum to break the ground so that when a final resolution was reached, it would have had all parties moving together.

Mr Dutt said if the government decides to bulldoze the Bill through, the future would be bleak.

But another report today quotes Mr Qarase as saying there is no need for prior consultation before a Bill is drafted because it contains the thinking of the government.