27 Oct 2005

No compromise on Reconciliation and Unity Bill proposals, says Fiji Labour leader

9:18 am on 27 October 2005

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says there will be no compromise with the government on its Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mr Chaudhry has told Radio Legend they will file a legal challenge in the High Court against the Bill if it's passed in its current form.

Mr Chaudhry says the Labour Party doesn't want the Bill to become law and plans are in the pipeline to ensure that the government does not get its way.

Mr Chaudhry also says Labour will continue with its boycott of the parliamentary committees dealing with land leases, the sugar industry restructure and constitutional issues.

Mr Chaudhry says the prime minister has promised changes to the amnesty provisions of the Bill but Labour will wait and see what type of change he'll propose when the Bill is debated in parliament next month.

Mr Chaudhry says they'll mount a legal challenge against the Bill because it's unconstitutional.

Mr Chaudhry's comments followed an earlier statement by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, that he didn't believe there was anything unconstitutional in the Bill.

Mr Bale's statement contradicts those of the police, the military, the Fiji Law Society and the Human Rights Commission, all of which believe that the Bill is unconstitutional.

In its present form, the Bill will fast track amnesty for coup convicts like 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.