21 Aug 2006

Fiji's Labour Party council discusses discipline despite high court ruling

6:15 am on 21 August 2006

The Fiji Labour Party's national council has discussed disciplinary action against five senior dissident members despite an undertaking in the High Court.

The party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and president, Jokapeci Koroi, withdrew disciplinary action against the five before Justice Roger Coventry in the face of legal action.

But the national council meeting discussed disciplinary action at the request of the Sigatoka and Lautoka branches despite a warning by cabinet minister and lawyer, Chetanya Lakshman, that it would be in contempt of court.

Ten Labour party MPs including four of the five dissidents present walked out for fear of being held in contempt.

The Labour deputy leader and one of the dissidents who took legal action, Poseci Bune, says Mrs Koroi allowed the disciplinary action despite the court order being read out to her.

Meeting organisers refused to allow a busload of members from the party's Vuda branch, who had asked for disciplinary action against Mr Chaudhry and Mrs Koroi, from entering the venue and police were forced to intervene.