Fiji Time: 5:14 PM on Wednesday 21 February

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A level playing field

Nasik Swami
Monday, March 03, 2014

TODAY, The Fiji Times endeavours to take you, our reader, on a journey of discovery into the life of a former politician, Millis Beddoes — better known as Mick Beddoes.

We hope to make this a regular part of our political updates, talking to aspiring politicians and former politicians, giving you an indepth knowledge of what makes them tick, their hopes and aspirations.

Name: Millis M Beddoes

Date of birth: 3/7/1951

Place of birth: Lautoka

Children: Three children and two grandchildren

Occupation: Businessman

Political party: SODELPA

Political background:

Mr Beddoes was first elected to Parliament in 2001 and appointed Opposition Leader in November 2001 until December 2003 when he resigned after the FLP withdrew its bid to join the SDL Multi-Party cabinet and returned to the opposition benches.

He was re-elected for a second time in May 2006 and reappointed Opposition Leader in June 2006. He held the position until the December 5 coup.

Mr Beddoes was president and founding member of the United People's Party for 15 years until it was wound up following the introduction of the new Political Parties Decree. He also previously held various positions in other political parties including the Alliance Party, All Nationals Congress, General Electors Association and the General Electors Party, which changed its name to United People's Party.

Views on Fiji's progress towards elections:

Mr Beddoes said the Bainimarama government has had eight years of effective control of the country since December 5, 2006.

He said Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has had more than enough time to prepare for the general election. He questioned why with six months left until the 2014 polls, there was no Electoral Act, Supervisor of Elections and other basic fundamentals in place.

He said a government should be able to plan and conduct free, fair and transparent elections within 24 months.

Plans to contest the general election:

Mr Beddoes confirmed he has applied to be considered a candidate for the Social Democratic Liberal Party 2014 election line-up and preferred not to make any further comment as the selection process was already on the way.

Political plans:

Mr Beddoes said after his first term in parliament from 2001 to 2005 he had decided that he would only serve a maximum of two terms but after re-election in 2006 he started making plans to identify someone to take over from him.

He said he still felt he had a lot to contribute and after the 2014 election the real clean-up campaign would begin. Mr Beddoes said he still had the mental capacity, strength, experience and political will to help SODELPA bring back democracy.

Views on Fiji's political situation:

Mr Beddoes said Fiji's politics on a good day was difficult to understand.

He said he hoped for a level playing field to emerge before the voting begins.

Mr Beddoes said the path ahead for those who wanted a return to democracy would be tough, treacherous and dangerous.

Areas of focus:

Mr Beddoes said he was not aware of any comprehensive research undertaken that could tell the impact of coups on society and in particular the stress on families over loss of jobs or decline in business.

He said coups in turn reduced family income that often created domestic disputes, and a generally-increased level of emotional stress on families related to poverty, alcoholism, suicide, physical abuse and family break-ups.

Mr Beddoes said he wanted to fix the coup problem once and for all.

Mr Beddoes said Fijians were burying their heads in the sand and hoping that with the passing of time things would work out.

He said Fijians cannot and must not allow coups to keep happening because each time they do, it was the law abiding citizens that were subjected to cruel, demeaning and degrading treatment.

Mr Beddoes said he would also focus on getting all parties and stakeholders to sit down after the election.

In addition, he would also focus on job creation and poverty alleviation.

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