Travel ban delays Tuvalu hearing on by-election | Pacific Beat

Travel ban delays Tuvalu hearing on by-election

Travel ban delays Tuvalu hearing on by-election

Updated 13 May 2013, 18:20 AEST

Fiji's travel restrictions have led to a delay in the sitting of Tuvalu's Supreme Court.

Prior to the the 2006 coup in Fiji, Tuvalu's Chief Justice Sir Gordon Ward was President of the Court of Appeal there.

But Sir Gordon resigned after refusing to recognise the regime of coup leader, and current prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

He then became a critic of the unelected government, and in response, it banned him from entering the country.

But to get to Tuvalu from New Zealand Sir Gordon must transit through Fiji, something he has done often since the coup.

This time Fijian authorities say the government of Tuvalua did not submit the proper paperwork in time.

One of the matters he has to rule on is an application from Tuvalu's opposition that a by-election be called to replace the country's finance minister.

Lotoala Metia died in December but the government has blocked efforts to hold an election to replace him, leading to a standoff in parliament, with both it and the opposition holding seven seats.

Sir Gordon has offered to take submissions on the case that are sent to Auckland, and then rule on it from there.

Opposition spokesman Taukelina Finikaso told Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney they will accept that, but the travel ban is still frustrating.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Taukelina Finikaso, Tuvalu Opposition spokesman

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