30 Mar 2006

Family feud in Fiji politics

8:25 pm on 30 March 2006

A prominent Fiji Labour Party member and her son have become engaged in a public feud about their political beliefs and allegiances.

The health minister in the deposed Chaudhry government Lavenia Padarath's son, Ben Padarath, has become an election candidate for the new National Alliance Party of Fiji.

Ben Padarath says he does not believe that Fiji is ready to accept a non-indigenous the Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry as prime minister because that is the view of the people in his electorate.

He says he will not be deterred by criticisms levelled against him by his mother, Lavenia Padarath.

He says he cannot be a racist because his father is an Indian and his mother is an indigenous Fijian

Ben Padarath says he believes in political stability and economic growth for his country and right now the situation is such that to achieve this, leadership of the country needs to remain with his indigenous Fijian relatives.

But his mother says she condemns her son's racist statements which are coming from a party which has publicly announced that it stands for multi-racialism.

Mrs Padarath says it is unfortunate that the National Alliance leader, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has not spoken out against her son's comments.