Disallowed by Speaker
February 4, 2022
The Speaker of Parliament has disallowed the National Federation Party to move a motion requesting that Professor Brij Lal’s family be allowed to bring his ashes to Fiji for interment on the basis that it will “interfere with the mandate of the government”.
NFP had given notice to Parliament that it intended to move a motion in next week’s sitting of Parliament: That this Parliament pays tribute to Fiji’s finest and internationally acclaimed scholar, Professor Brij Vilash Lal and agrees that the ban on entering Fiji placed on Professor Lal’s wife Dr Padma Narsey Lal be rescinded immediately by the Department of Immigration to enable her and her children to bring Professor Lal’s ashes to his land and place of birth for interment.
Two days before the Business Committee meeting on Thursday the Parliamentary Secretariat advised NFP that this motion could not be accepted because of “separation of powers”.
This is what we were told:
“The Hon. Speaker has ruled on numerous occasions that under the doctrine of separation of powers, Parliament is supposed to make laws and Government is supposed to uphold the law to make it work. As such Parliament cannot interfere with policy implementation by the Government and its statutory bodies.
On that basis, this Motion is out of order as it will create rise to debate which would purportedly interfere with the mandate of the Government.”
We are putting Parliament’s ruling in front of the people to allow them to judge it.
Of course the Motion wasn’t put before Thursday’s Business Committee meeting.
The NFP questions and motions are repeatedly ruled out of order because of the so-called “separation of powers”.
This is what Parliament’s own website says about “separation of powers”:
Under the doctrine of ‘separation of powers’, the power to govern is distributed between the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial to avoid one group having all the powers.
In a democracy no individual or group has absolute power to govern.
These three groups work within defined areas of responsibility so that each keeps a check on the actions of the other.
One of Parliament’s jobs is to keep a check on the actions of the Government. But now the Opposition is being told that the things it wants to say will “interfere with the mandate of the Government”.
So now, in the one place where the people should be able to hold the Government to account, even that opportunity is denied to them.