We are here to serve, says Prof Biman as party defends walkout
22 February, 2020, 9:29 am
“WE didn’t come into politics for money.” These were the words of National Federation Party leader Prof Biman Prasad as he explained why party members joined the Opposition walkout of Parliament earlier this week.
He said members of his party had given up a lot of money and entered Parliament to be of service. He said payment for their work was the least of their worries.
“I left a lot of money when I left my previous job to come to politics,” Prof Prasad said.
“A few parliamentary sittings in a year is a small part of an MP’s job. We are full-time MPs. There are many other things that we do.
“We listen to the people regularly, we listen to their concerns, we have hundreds of people coming through our office, we listen to their problems and their questions and we try to solve it.
“Walking out of Parliament is a legitimate form of protest which happens in parliaments all over the world.”
Prof Prasad said NFP members walked out as a matter of principle — because they were disappointed with the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau’s decision to strike out a petition filed by Opposition MP Viliame Gavoka highlighting the grievances of the district of Nasigatoka in Nadroga.
“It’s a matter of listening to the people. It’s a matter of responding to the people’s concerns and dealing with it.
“And if that requires us to make our concerns known, make our disappointments known about the processes and the procedures of Parliament by a walkout of Parliament, we will do that. It is not going to stop us from doing it again if we have to.”
Prof Prasad also claimed he had jointly written to Ratu Epeli Nailatikau with Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka but have yet to receive a response.
“We pointed out the relevant constitutional provisions that compelled Parliament to take heed of the concerns of the people through petitions and their right to participate in parliamentary processes.
“To this date, we have had no written reply.”
Mr Rabuka also confirmed he has yet to receive a response from Ratu Epeli.
Parliament Secretariat did not respond to questions about the Opposition’s letter to Ratu Epeli yesterday.