14 Jun 2006

Labour may not work in multi-party Fiji cabinet, says Vyashnoi

7:42 pm on 14 June 2006

The Fiji Labour Party minister for energy, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, says he stands by his statement in parliament that his party may not work in the multi-party cabinet if the SDL pushes ahead with its controversial Bills.

Radio Legend says Mr Vyashnoi is the only Labour Party minister at odds with the other FLP ministers have said that any issue can be resolved through dialogue in the cabinet.

The radio says when questioned why he has taken a different approach, Mr Vyashnoi said he stands by the Labour Party's policies, represents his party in cabinet and believes in speaking his mind.

He had earlier told parliament although he was in the multi-party cabinet, he stood by his leader Mahendra Chaudhry's views that the government should put on hold all controversial legislation that will create division.

Mr Vyashnoi had said if the government tried to force the Reconciliation and Unity Bill, it would not augur well for the co-operation the Labour Party had extended in the formation and working of the multi-party cabinet.

Mr Vyashnoi also said the government should remove all forms of discrimination and include people of all races in its affirmative action programmes.

On why he did not speak to the prime minister first before raising it in parliament, Mr Vyashnoi said he did not need to speak to anyone before he talks in the Lower House.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who was absent from parliament when Mr Vyashnoi spoke, says he will deal with the matter in cabinet, not outside.