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Fiji Time: 5:34 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Youths voice concerns

Tevita Vuibau
Friday, June 27, 2014

YOUTHS of Fiji were able to address some of their more pressing concerns with Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the National Youth and Sports Conference.

Issues such as disabled accessibility at voter centres, the absence of a Senate as well as more sports facilities for the Western Division were all brought up in discussions.

Responding to a question on the absence of a Senate, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained that the upper house had not fulfilled its purpose and was an added expense for taxpayers.

"You have to know why the Senate was created in the first place. The Senate was created because there were not enough protection in the former constitution regarding land rights and the Senate was never elected, it was always selected."

He explained in the previous system, there were 71 seats in parliament and 36 in the Senate which added up to more than 100 seats for a population of less than 900,000.

"Compare that with New Zealand, a country with a population of 4.5 million people also has, like in our new Constitution, no Senate but it has about 124 seats in Parliament — 4.5 million people — 124 seats in Parliament.

"Now Fiji with not even 900,000 people had over one hundred people representing 890,000."

He said there were also undue expenses and the Bainimarama government had passed more laws in five years than the Senate managed to.

He also gave his assurances to Western youths that plans were in the pipeline for an all weather track for Churchill Park, adding he had engaged in talks with Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala.