8 Jun 2005

Fiji opposition questions restrictions on submissions on reconciliation bill

10:08 am on 8 June 2005

The Fiji prime minister's assurances of transparency and wide consultations over the Reconciliation and Unity Bill are being questioned after a parliamentary advertisement listing submission restrictions.

The advertisement say people making submissions to the Justice, Law and Order Committee would have to seek its agreement ("concurrence") before making them public.

It says all submissions must be made in writing by next Friday the 17th of June and invitations to make oral presentations may be issued on the basis of those written submissions.

The Labour Party MP, Poseci Bune, has told the Fiji Times the restrictions placed by the committee are totally different from Mr Qarase's assurances that there would be wide and open public consultations where everyone could attend including the media.

Mr Bune says there is something really strange going on here because there is no transparency.

Labour is boycotting the Justice, Law and Order committee which is chaired by the Conservative Alliance MP, Manasa Tugia, who in April had demanded in a letter to the prime minister that the government pardon all coup convicts.

The Bill will fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and can ask the courts to suspend proceedings against those facing charges.