8 Aug 2006

Fiji Labour leader fails in bill deferral bid

3:07 pm on 8 August 2006

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, failed in his bid to get the prime minister to defer the tabling of two controversial bills in parliament today.

Radio Legend says Mr Chaudhry described the Qoliqoli or Indigenous Fishing Grounds Bill and the Indigenous Claims Tribunal Bill as breaching the constitution and other written law on land ownership.

Mr Chaudhry said the Labour Party had already rejected the tabling of the Bills in the current parliament during the business committee meeting.

He said the Bills were not circulated 21 clear days before tabling as required in the Standing Orders but were only given to them yesterday.

Mr Chaudhry said one of the Bills had the potential to obstruct, restrict, impede or interfere with the free passage of people through Fiji's foreshores and coastal waters.

He said it may also impinge on or may adversely affect the ownership rights of freehold landowners and leasees of agricultural land under ALTA.

But the Speaker, Pita Naceva disallowed Mr Chaudhry's request after interjections from government minister, Ratu Josefa Dimuri. D