NFP Motions on Health and Covid Disallowed
February 6, 2022
Speaker stifles debate on Health
The Speaker’s decision to disallow two Health related Motions for debate in Parliament renders completely meaningless the right of our people to have access to Parliament through their elected representatives.
This is apart from the Speaker’s rejection of a motion on the late Professor Brij Vilash Lal.
The Speaker’s decision comes at a time when the public health and medical system is in a state of decay with dirty and unkempt hospital buildings, dysfunctional diagnostic equipment making it extremely difficult for doctors to provide decent medical care and lack of medication.
Government may well have lifted the curfew first imposed almost two years ago after the outbreak of first wave of Covid-19 in March 2020. But Government’s handling of the crisis in respect of three waves of the pandemic is highly questionable. 1,660 people have died, directly from Covid or Covid related.
The first motion by Hon Lenora Qereqeretabua was to ask Parliament to set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee under Standing Order 129, to critically analyse, assess and report on the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health’s response to the COVID-19 Health Emergency, during the three waves of the pandemic affecting Fiji.
The Parliament Secretariat informed NFP that because this motion was already listed on a DRAFT order paper of 16 August 2021, but consequently ruled out by the Business Committee then, it should not be bought up again now.
How is this kind of unilateral decision even logical, or in the best interest of taxpayers who are gripped by the uncertainty?
The second motion by Hon Pio Tikoduadua on Health was intended to ask Parliament to also set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee under Standing Order 129, to carry out a holistic inquiry into the management and operations of Fiji’s Health System and to establish whether or not it is effective in dealing with Fiji’s evolving health care needs.
The disastrous health crisis management by the Government has resulted in the decay our public health system that is failing to serve people. It means failure of Government's social contract obligation to its people.
The Parliament Secretariat told NFP that this second motion on health is out of order, because these kinds of matters can be dealt with by the Standing Committee on Social Affairs.
Once again, the Secretariat forgets that it serves ELECTED representatives of the people, and is in no position to be dictating what Members of Parliament can bring to the floor because the Standing Orders are crystal clear, unless there is a major English comprehension gap somewhere.
These 2 motions were going to ask for a RESOLUTION of Parliament, as is the process in the Standing Orders.
The NFP once again expresses its outright disgust that the Government seems to be protected from discussing real issues in Parliament.
However, we remain resolute and focused on ensuring that taxpayers get the TRUTH of the matter, and all these instances add more substantive evidence to our brief to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Despite this, it will soon be time for this Government to be judged at the polls by the voters who will not forget how they continue to be mistreated and disrespected.