Supplied Content (Edited)
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama has apologised to fellow Member of Parliament and Leader of National Federation Party (NFP) Pio Tikoduadua over an incident that occurred in the Parliament Complex on August 9, 2019.
Mr Tikoduadua has lodged a complaint with the Police that Mr Bainimarama had threatened and assaulted him outside Parliament. He had filed the report at Totogo Police Station and had been told to get a medical report.
Privileges Committee recommendation
Following a series of developments, the Parliamentary Privileges Committee recommended that Mr Bainimarama and Tikoduadua should apologise to each other in Parliament or face six months suspension from the House.
According Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), the Committee had issued the notification after a week-long inquest into the alleged altercation between the two Members of Parliament.
“The Committee after hearing all evidence and considering all relevant matters says it is satisfied that there is a breach of privilege on the part of the Prime Minister and Tikoduadua,” FBC News said.
Prime Minister’s Statement
Earlier this evening, Mr Bainimarama issued the following Statement:
I would like to – once again – apologise for my role in the incident involving Honourable Tikoduadua which was recently taken up by the Privileges Committee.
Hon Tikoduadua is a man I have known for decades – a man who once served as my Personal Staff Officer (PSO) before, during and after the events of 2000 and subsequently as my Permanent Secretary.
He of course then became a Senior Mof my Cabinet in the FijiFirst Government after the historical elections in 2014.
As my PSO, he spent many hours in my home, with my family.
He is a man I once felt was a part of my family.
He was a comrade in many changes we brought about in Fiji.
We have a history.
Today, we find ourselves on different sides of the political aisle.
But our history as friends and colleagues, taken with a statement he made about my family, are why I reacted as I did the morning of Friday, August 9, 2019.
I fully admit that I momentarily and spontaneously let my emotions, and my love of family, get the better of me. My actions were not appropriate and should not have happened.
Indeed Mr Speaker sir, soon after the incident happened, I realised my mistake and came to you immediately to apologise to you, Parliament and to Hon Tikoduadua.
It is unfortunate that Hon Tikoduadua was not available to receive my apology in-person, nor has he made himself available in subsequent attempts.
Regardless, Mr Speaker I offer my unreserved apologies to him, to my colleagues, to the Parliament and to you, Mr Speaker, for my actions.
I regret that this event has caused a distraction from the vital work of the Parliament in advancing the wellbeing of all Fijians.
I look forward to getting back to the national business of this August Parliament and to upholding the high standards of conduct the Fijian people deserve and expect from those elected to serve their interests.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama (left and National Federation Party MP Pio Tikoduadua (FBC Photograph)