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Forum head visits Nauru MPs worried Dame Meg is just ticking the boxes

Tuesday 28 July 2015 | Published in Regional


YAREN – Nauru’s suspended opposition MPs have not been invited to meet the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum during her visit to the island.

Dame Meg Taylor arrived in Nauru on Sunday as part of a tour of all Forum countries before the Forum leaders meet in September.

Her visit comes amid concerns about a breakdown in democracy on Nauru and at least one suspended MP Roland Kun has said she needs to hear how democratically elected MPs have been prevented from representing their people in parliament.

The Nauru government did invite the three remaining opposition MPs to meet Dame Meg yesterday and one of them, Marcus Stephen, said he raised concerns about the separation of powers, and various actions taken by the government.

He said he would also ask Dame Meg if she would like to meet the suspended MPs.

“That’s one thing I would like to find out from her. Why is she here? Is it just a tick of the box or are they really serious, that they’re here to do something about things if they do see things that are not right?”

Stephen says he is not satisfied Dame Meg will get a full picture of the situation on Nauru if she doesn’t meet the suspended MPs.

At the same time, a group on Nauru is calling for help from the Pacific Islands Forum to fight corruption in the country.

The group Emendena Eimwi says Nauru has no laws or independent mechanism to curb corruption which it says is so alive in Nauru.

The group’s president Joseph Harris said members wanted to meet the Forum’s Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor to discuss regional support for fighting graft.

“Our would-be leaders are trying to aspire to do the right thing, they’re finding it hard to combat this issue because most of us who would be trying to do good things for this country and trying to curb corruption, they don’t have the resources like the government.”

Harris says the group hoped the Nauru government would not stand in the way of its attempts to meet the Forum chief this week.

Emendena Eimwi is aligned to a new political party, the United Nauru Movement, which is planning to field candidates in all of the island’s constituencies at the next election.

It wants to oust the leaders in the present government who the group says have robbed the country and its people of democracy, human rights and free speech.

Harris said its efforts to campaign against corruption have been difficult as Nauru’s democracy has been “poisoned” by corrupt politicians.