11 Aug 2005

Fiji parliament to get bill report next week

3:07 pm on 11 August 2005

The Fiji parliament's Justice, Law and Order committee will present its interim report on the controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill to the House of Representatives next week.

The committee chairman, Manasa Tugia of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party, says their report would be based on consultations they have had.

He says they would recommend amendments but it would be up to the government to decide whether to implement them.

Mr Tugia says parliament would have to decide whether to give them more time for further consultations.

Labour Party members of the committee have been boycotting its meetings in protest at the introduction of the Bill but the leader of the United General Party, Mick Beddoes, has been attending them.

The Bill has been fiercely opposed, by the military, police, the Fiji Law Society, the Catholic Church, NGO's, and concerned citizens groups including mothers.

It will set up a Commission to fast track amnesty for coup convicts like George Speight and government MPs, erase their criminal records, give immunity to those not yet prosecuted and ask the courts to suspend proceedings against those facing charges.