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Down but not out

Avinesh Gopal
Tuesday, September 02, 2014

HE is disappointed that he is not eligible to contest the general election this month.

But Arvin Datt says it will not stop him from doing what he is known for, serving the people.

Mr Datt's nomination as a Fiji Labour Party candidate was rejected by the Fijian Elections Office on the grounds that he had not been present in the country for at least 18 months out of the past 24 months.

"I was disqualified on the grounds that I wasn't in Fiji full-time for the past 18 months," said Mr Datt, who is FLP's vice-president.

"I'm a businessman and I pay taxes in Fiji and I travel overseas frequently for business purposes, so that keeps me out of the country for some time.

"My wife and two children live in Brisbane and I also visit them now and then.

"This is not fair because people who have lived abroad for 30 to 40 years and who don't contribute to Fiji's economy had the rules changed to be voters. There seems to be different rules here for different people."

Mr Datt, 39, who is the owner of 3SA Carpets in Suva, said he had filed his nomination as a candidate to serve the people.

He said despite his disqualification, he would still achieve his aims by doing what he always does for the community.

"It's rather unfortunate that I won't contest the election but that doesn't stop me from continuing with my community, social and charity work.

"People know me for the work I've done for religious and sporting organisations, not forgetting charity work, which I do every day.

"However, I urge all registered voters to exercise their democratic right and vote on September 17 as the election has come after eight years.

"It's time for people to make wise decisions and vote for the party that has done and will do good for them," said Mr Datt.

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