Home » Uncategorized » Law expert: Unionists may put parties at risk

Law expert: Unionists may put parties at risk

February 13, 2014 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by:

By ROSI DOVIVERATA

Political parties who continue to invite or engage trade union office holders in their activities may risk deregistration, says an expert on Fijian legislation. Former High Court judge Nazhat Shameem said: “The risk is that a party which invites public officers to show support for it, or to act in a way that the neutrality of the public office is compromised, could be deregistered.” (Ms Shameem provides training workshops and education programmes helping a wide range of organisations understand and comply with the country’s laws. They include programmes for Fiji Sun journalists.) Recently the involvement of trade unionists in political parties, notably the People’s Democratic Party and National Federation Party, have been highlighted. This is because of the provisions set out in the Political Parties Decree. Ms Shameem explained that the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013 by virtue of section 14, provides that a public officer shall not be eligible to be an applicant or a member of a proposed political party or a registered political party or be eligible to hold office in a proposed political party or a registered political party. Nor should a public officer “engage in political activity that may compromise or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of that person’s office” or to “publicly indicate support for or opposition to any proposed political party or [registered] political party or candidate in an election”. “Section 14 goes on to define who a public officer is for the purpose of the section. It includes persons holding positions in boards established by a written law, and persons employed in the police force, military and corrections and persons holding judicial office. “It also includes under section 14(2)(d) elected or appointed officers of trade unions registered under the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP), or of any federation or congress or council of trade unions or affiliation of employers.” Ms Shameem said section 14(4) provides that if a public officer intends to become a member of a political party he or she must first resign from holding the public office. “In summary; if a person is the holder of an office in a trade union which is registered under the ERP or is a member of a federation or council of trade unions, then he or she cannot do any of the following;

1. become a member of a political party;

2. hold office in a political party;

3. engage in any political activity which undermines or is seen to undermine the political neutrality of the union;

4. publicly show support for any political party. “Under section 14(5) a trade union office holder who becomes a member of a political party, is deemed to have vacated office before applying for membership.

She said the consequences of the breach of section 14 can be found in section 19. “The Registrar has powers to deregister a political party which contravenes the provisions of this Decree.” But trade unionists often claim that they attend political party meetings only on “invitation” by the party. For this Ms Shameem said Section 14(1)(c) and(d) are relevant. “Is the attendance of the union official at a political meeting such that it compromises the political neutrality of the union? “Could it be seen to compromise the political neutrality of the unionist’s office? “Additionally, is such attendance such that it publicly indicates support for any candidate or political party?” She said a good way to approach this question was to ask if a magistrate should attend and speak at a political party meeting. “If it is not appropriate and if it shows a lack of political neutrality then generally the same rule will apply to all public office holders including trade union office holders.”

UNION VIEW Trade unionists Daniel Urai and Felix Anthony are among founders of the People’s Democratic Party. Pramod Rae and Attar Singh previously held positions in the National Federation Party. It has been reported that Mr Urai, who is the president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress (FTUC), and Mr Anthony who is the general secretary will both stand in the General Election under the PDP banner. They have yet to announce their resignation from the FTUC. Both Mr Rae and Mr Singh have relinquished their political party positions with the NFP but are often speakers at party meetings “on invitation by the party.” Mr Singh is the general secretary of the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) while Mr Rae is the general secretary of the Fiji Bank and Financial Sector Employees Union. Mr Singh remains adamant in his claim that trade union officials should be free to at the same time participate in politics.

The Government is adamant that they can participate in politics, so long as they step down from their union position. Mr Singh said political activity was a natural extension of a trade unionist’s daily work. He added: “Let it be clarified that I have not been taking part in meetings or affairs of any party. I repeat that I only speak at any party gathering if invited. “Otherwise I am not entitled to be at meetings of any party as I am not permitted to be a member of any party under the Political Parties Decree.” Mr Singh said the 2013 Constitution entitled every citizen to political rights. “Mine however are restricted under the Political Parties Decree, a decree that falls under the responsibility of the Electoral Commission,” Mr Singh said. “This Commission must now review the Political Parties Decree not only to remove this unprecedented and unnecessary restrictions on trade unionists, but also to make other amendments if it is to fully perform its role of conducting free and fair elections.”

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39 thoughts on “Law expert: Unionists may put parties at risk

  1. Here you go: A true friend of our family. Nazhat points out the reasons for de-registring any opposition. Only those with posts in our much beloved and democratic government are allowed to stand in elections. This is the only way to ensure that elections are free and fair. McCully has already indicated that his government will indeed support this simple rule, designed to ensure stability and continuity.

  2. Nazhat Shameem, who keeps telling you that the decrees illegally placed to the people is legal anyway. Are you mad or what? Is it money which is filling your pocket? I am not even a legal person and yet I know that you just cannot seize power with guns and set laws anyhow even if some are good.

  3. The comments above clearly indicate that this Govt is not allowing a free and democratic election…its all deception to ensure Bainimarama wins;

    “Nor should a public officer “engage in political activity that may compromise or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of that person’s office” or to “publicly indicate support for or opposition to any proposed political party or [registered] political party or candidate in an election”. “Section 14 goes on to define who a public officer ”

    All political campaigning pre-elections ALL DEMOCRACIES leading up to an accepted free election are based on persuading the public to side and vote for the campaigners and they must naturally be discussing why not to vote for other parties except the party of the campaigner…what else is the use of the pre-election campaign.

    They must involve asking for support from the public to support one’s party. Members of Unions are significant members of the public because they are lawful citizens with rights and they through their jobs are vital cogs in the life of Fiji.

    They the Unionists must be involved with whatever Party or parties they believe will progress their interests…this is not a crime…if Fiji Laws DISALLOW THEM OPEN SUPPORT OF A POLITICAL PARTY THEN Fiji IS NOT FREE GOING TO COMING ELECTION.

    it forces us to react,

    Best reaction is NOT TO VOTE FOR BAINIMARAMA TO END ALL THIS DICTATORSHIP.

  4. who said she is a “law expert”?
    she should be in jail for her part in showing her arse to the rule of law in the country by providing her “legal expertise” to the coup makers.

  5. This just keeps getting better and better. Julie Bishop & McCully will be most impressed. The legal architect of all things treasonous and illegal bestows her ‘impartial’ view to the great unwashed from on high.

  6. nothing will change until the people decide its time to take to the street and get rid of the dictator and his cronies and that includes this “law expert”.

  7. Renown television journalist David Koch has criticised his own TV network about the payment for the Schapelle Corby interview (Corby payment “ethically wrong”, the Australian 12/2).
    In Fiji there has been no cause for any journalist or lawyer or academic to criticise the Bainimarama military dictatorship of doing anything “ethically wrong” because they are such an honest, ethical mob.
    I can’t understand why people can’t see that?
    I wonder if the absence of the Auditor-General’s report has a part to play in this?

  8. Too little too late “expert shyster”, enuf with the pretense at impartiality and join up bai’s political party. Time to prove your real worth if your gang believed that you had people’s support and acquiescence.

  9. of what value is a “law expert” when she is morally bankrupt?
    this “law expert” is clearly such a person.
    a shameless creature
    who has thrown her support behind a human rights’ abusing dictator.

  10. Some questions for regime propagandist Jyoti Pratibha with regards to her piece headed ‘Man up. Heed the PM’s clear message’ (Fiji Sun 13/2):
    What kind of attitude should one bring to bear on the rape of democracy in Fiji?
    Should we feel a sense of national shame that that has happened 4 times in four decades since Independence?
    Should we have zero tolerance for coups and coup makers?
    Why are you as a journalist and your newspaper propagandizing for a man who raped democracy in Fiji?
    Where is your professional ethics?

  11. There is no progress relating to the proposed $290 million casino development project just outside Denarau however the money that has been paid in late penalties will be used for community projects by the Prime Minister’s Office.

    The government has received almost $800,000 so far by the proposed developers who are led by One Hundred Sands Limited’s, Larry Claunch.

    There is no development at the site after the public announcements made by Claunch that they have started construction works.

    When questioned on the government’s next move, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said they are in the process of gathering all the details before deciding on their next step.

  12. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke.
    But in our case the good men and good women – including this “law expert – did not do nothing, they actively supported the evil doer!!
    That’s why he is still there holding onto power UNLAWFULLY 8 years on.
    Tell me this “law expert” has not benefited directly from the evil doer’s unlawful takeover?

  13. You folks don’t seem to get it. Our beloved leaders have made every effort to play it by the books. Initially they kept the 97 constitution until an out of control appellate court ruled against our leaders and declared their democratic take over of the racist and corrupt Qarase regime illegal, backstabbing our leaders. Then the visionary and extremely honourable Khaiyum hired his friend Ghai to draft a new constitution. The commissioners went out of control, backstabbed our leaders and came up with a draft that required an interim government and did not provide full forward looking immunity for Khaiyum’s bodyguards. No surprise then that this time our leaders will retain control over the election and their outcome. Just assume they would let the process spin out of control on a so called level playing field. The corrupt opposition would incite disaffection with the government (a crime in Fiji) and would win the election. Then what? A new constitution, punishment for our leaders and their supporters in the RFMF and elsewhere and a repealing of all the progressive legislation such as the media and the essential industries decrees. So it is no surprise that the honourable Khaiyum will play it safe this time. He knows that the entire population will bend over and ask for more when he de-registers parties because their leaders have failed to declare the assets of their families. A grandsons undeclared iPod is reason enough for terminating SODELPA, an undeclared goat owned by an FLP grandfather is sufficient to terminate FLP.

  14. Why? Friggin morally bankrupt cow. Take a long walk off a short pier with Arselame

  15. Now let me give you a brief insight into how election 2014 will unfold.
    1. it WILL BE rigged no two ways about it. everything is in place to give the dictator the unfair advantage to win. and “law experts” like this madamn is one strategy to disqualify potential opponents before they can say ” Free and Fair Elections”.
    2. opponents of the regime will dispute the election results and claim it was rigged/unfair.
    3. the Election Commission will be sidelined
    4.the President will appoint the Bainimarama gang to form government.
    5 the international community will make some feeble noise about the credibility of the elections
    and then accept the Bainimarama government as the legitimate government.

  16. The illegal PM is on political campaign while paid for by the public as an illegal PM…just read his speech below while opening a school in Suva,,,asking impressionable young minds to return home and persuade their parents to vote in Bainimarama…..what a corrupt son of gun..

    Election is not being played on level playing field…where is the Election Commissioner?????

    WE SHOULD NOT VOTE BAINIMARAMA IN. REJECT HIM AND HIS PARTY.

    PM calls for support

    By TEVITA VUIBAU
    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Update: 4:39PM PRIME minister Commodore Bainimarama is calling for support for his political party as he prepares to relinquish the leadership of the military in two weeks.

    He made the call as he opened Vatuwaqa Primary’s new school hall and grounds – constructed by army engineers.

    “I very much like the blue colour of your uniforms, maybe I’ll use it as the colour for my new party and you should ask you your parents to vote me,” Commodore Bainimarama told the students.

    “But I’m asking everyone to support me in the elections so that I continue to work to make Fiji a better place.”

  17. Nazhat my dear wife likes it up her rear and so do i. We share one big double head dildo (Frank) and i always win the bigger part of it…..we are so up shit creek we can’t let go of this falla. Nazhat is a closet nymphomaniac who gets some army boys lining up for her every now and then. I also compete for that. We are such a farked up glamour couple.

  18. Iam baku, lam Hindu, l need to stick my big bakuna in this. Nazhat arse hole. Clean my baku there.

  19. We learn from New York Times breaking news alert that former Mayor C Ray Nagin of New Orleans was found guilty on Wednesday of accepting payoffs for city contracts , becoming the first leader in the city’s history to be charged and convicted of corruption.
    Now this high profile public official’s bribe taking got exposed because there is democratic accountability, transparency and public scrutiny in the American political system.
    We haven’t had that in our political governance for the last 7 plus years so we don’t know if any of our leaders ( who appointed themselves as leaders) have been on the take as well.
    High profile people can get down to doing some pretty low down stuff when power gets to their head and crooked money gets into their pockets.
    I mean let’s face it we don’t have saints as our political leaders, do we?
    We have usurpers.
    And usurpers as a rule have no respect for rules.

  20. Naz is as tainted as bai or any of the regime culprits and is culpable in the crime of treason along with head honcho bai. She is the one who is bending and twisting the law to make the regime’s ride through this illegal course more manouverable. She has no credibility and must be thrown in the dustbin when the regime is ousted.

  21. Naz and husband both are alike.

    Naz it is a shame on you to be supporting an illegal regime.

    But it is the support for brotherhood in Fiji!

  22. Good posting Rajend. The corrupt mayor had used his high public office to extract payoffs from contractors- both in cash and kind.

    The ursurpers here in fiji have lots to hide alright – evident by the non-audit of public monies for 8 years. Wow..

    As it is, they can’t even hide the rotten odour already emanting …, but the real extent of their daylight robbery of the nation coffers will be as shocking as much as it is distressing for all fijians. No amount of creative accounting and doctoring of the books will cover their tracks. So they’re very desperate to rig elections to continue the cover ups…

  23. it’s said the higher the human ape climbs the more arse it shows. this ‘law expert” human ape has certainly climbed high ( has done a lot of climbing) and has certainly showed a lot of arse!!

  24. Reading some of the comments makes one wonder how the human psyche function.

    In some if not all insistences the brain of an ape is far more superior than most humans.

    It has been said that false knowledge is far more pernicious than being ignorant.

  25. @mackeral
    we are not talking card games dickhead
    we are talking about the destiny of a nation and its people
    perceptive people anticipated in advance the likely future of a nation and its people on the basis of prevailing trends.
    that gift of perception and insight everybody does not have.
    mackeral obviously does not have it
    because he is an intellectual amoeba.

  26. not producing the Auditor-generals report during the entire period of Bainimarama “government” rule is not in comformity with the principles and practice of good governance, is it?
    has the “law expert” boor raised any concerns about this?
    we know why she hasn’t – she too has been a prime beneficiary of the misrule during this period.

  27. We learn from The West Australian (17/2) that a glamorous lawyer has gone missing – after clearing her law office – along with $6.6 million from her clients’ accounts. According to London’s Daily Mail, Dreidre Newell-Austin stands accused of one of the largest ever fraud. Her law firm is now being investigated by the solicitor’s watchdog, the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
    Do we have any such glamorous lawyers in Fiji ? The variety who stray from the ethics of their profession and rip off their clients or are otherwise engaged in dubious and devious practices for their personal gain. This variety one will notice tend to be very matey with the mob in power or with big business wallahs.
    I know Fiji has some very decent, honest lawyers. Men and women of integrity. My friend Gynandra Prasad I am proud to say was one such a lawyer in Fiji.

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