May 25 2014
- Fiji First is the registered name of a previous political party that contested the 2006 General Elections:
- The Government Gazette No 92 Vol 8 Fri 12 Dec 2008
- A letter of invitation from the Prime Minister’s office to the officials of Fiji First dated 16 March 2009 requesting names of Fiji First delegates to the President’s Political Party Dialogue Forum
- The minutes of the Political Parties Dialogue Forum meeting of March 9th 2009 Chaired by the proposed Leader of Fiji First & Prime Minister and the exchange between the Chair and representative of Fiji 1st Mr Amit Singh
- Just 8 months following the exchanges between the proposed Leader of the Fiji First Frank Bainimarama referred to above, with the legal owners of Fiji 1st Party, the proposed General Secretary of Fiji First, Attorney General Mr Aiyaz Khaiyum registered the Domain Name FIJI FIRST.COM on November 11th 2009.
- He updated the registration on January 21st 2014
Approval of the use of the proposed name Fiji First would be a breach of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) (Amendment) Decree 2013.(Decree No 11 of 2013) which was effective on Saturday 16th February 2013 and in particular:
a) Section 8 amended
3. Section 8 of the Principal Decree is amended by inserting the following new paragraph after paragraph (g) –
(h) The name of the proposed political party, the abbreviation or acronym of the name or the
symbol is the same as the name, the abbreviation or acronym of the name or the symbol of:-
(i) An existing political party that has not made an application to register in accordance with the provisions of this decree;
(ii) An existing political party that made an application to register in accordance with the provisions of this decree, and the Registrar has made a determination that the application by the existing political party to register as a political party should be refused; or
(iii) A political party which has been deregistered or wound up by the Registrar under this Decree or any repealed law governing registration of political parties.
The existence of Fiji 1st as a political party since December 12th 2008, the exchanges involving the principal members of Fiji 1st and the proposed leader of the proposed Fiji First on March 16th 2009 and the discussion about the name as recorded in the minutes of March 9th 2009 makes it absolutely clear that Fiji 1st is an existing party and in accordance with the provisions of the decree its name cannot be used by the proposed Fiji First.
- Ongoing Police Investigations
2. Section 3 of the Principal Decree is amended by inserting the following new subsection after subsection (2):-
“(2A) If any media organization reports, represents or holds out an association of persons or an organization as a political party when that association or persons or an organization is not registered as a political party under this Decree or when its application for registration has not been determined by the Registrar, then the Directors of the media organization and the editor and publisher or the Chief executive officer of that media organization, as the case may be, commit an offence, and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or both.”
I have lodged 2 complaints with MIDA and am awaiting the results of their investigations the outcome of which could have a direct effect on members of the proposed Fiji First party.
Given the seriousness of the breaches and the pending Police and MIDA investigations currently underway, I respectfully put it to you that the only conclusion that can be drawn to protect the credibility, transparency and independence of the off of the Supervisor of Elections is to refuse the application in accordance with Section 4 Amended Sec (3) and (5) respectively.
Millis M Beddoes