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Don't be swayed, says Chaudhry

Shayal Devi
Monday, June 02, 2014

THE Fiji Labour Party has urged supporters not to be swayed by the introduction of free education and bus fare schemes and remember the events of the past.

Speaking at a FLP meeting in Lautoka on Saturday, party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said decrees such as the Public Emergency Regulation — more commonly known as PER — in 2009 had taken away the rights of people.

"Up until 2009, the 1997 Constitution was in force so your rights were there and safeguarded," he said.

"The restrictions placed took away your personal freedoms and liberties and you need to remember this."

The PER was removed by government in mid-2012 but Chaudhry said this was a severe restriction for the people of Fiji.

"There were other restrictions in force — restrictions on political activities which meant you couldn't hold any political meetings between 2009 and mid 2012

"Then there were decrees that were promulgated during this period. Draconian decrees that took away your rights, including crippling the trade unions effectively rendered trade unions in many industries powerless.

"Virtually, they couldn't do anything for their members as bargaining and negotiating powers were taken away in gross violation of the laws that existed so I'm just reminding you about this, you must not forget what has happened."

Chaudhry also said this was one of the longest spells in the country that people had been without elections and an elected government, which was not good.

"We'll have to get used to an election after some eight years as many people have forgotten what elections are."

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