The newly-appointed Speaker of the Fijian Parliament, Hon. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu met with the Secretary-General to Parliament Mrs Jeanette Emberson and senior staff this morning, Thursday 29 December 2022.
In his welcoming address, Hon. Ratu Naiqama thanked the staff for their hard work and perseverance over the years, especially in the past few weeks leading up to the first sitting of Parliament last Saturday.
He emphasised that to effectively carry out his role as Speaker, he needs to be an active member of the team.
“I can only actively play my role here if I’m a part of it. The experience I’ve had in the short time I’ve been in Parliament is quite interesting. I want to be close to you as much as possible to hear straight from you.”
He stressed that the Members of Parliament need to understand the Standing Orders, as well as the secretariat.
“I would like us to be upfront, especially with the approval of the review of our Standing Orders. I want the Parliamentarians to know what the Standing Orders are, its impact and effect as well as the relative Standing Orders that we usually observe from the House of Commons.”
“As secretariat, the Standing Orders needs to be on our fingertips. As the legislative arm of Government, we need to keep our fingers on the pulse. So when things come up, we address it straight away. I’m relying on you, from the one who does the lowest job to the Secretary-General, each and every one of you is important to us in achieving our tasks.”
“Let us continue to work as a team as you’ve shown in the past. I’m only here to provide you with policies. The day-to-day operations rests with the Secretary-General.”
The Hon. Speaker also mentioned that he will be working closely with the Deputy Speaker in the running of Parliament.
The Managers and Senior staff of the various Units provided a brief for the Hon. Speaker on their respective functional roles.
After the briefing, the Hon. Speaker took time to visit the new office space at Level 3.
Hon. Ratu Naiqama is no stranger to Parliament, having been the Leader of the Opposition from December 2020 to November 2022, and a member of the Public Accounts Committee during the last term of Parliament. He had also served previously in the Fijian Parliament from 1999 to 2000 and 2001 to 2006.