Monday, 9 September 2019

Who Knows What Either Of Them Really Thought

One half of my mind feels sympathy for Pio Tikoduadua who I think honestly saw no reason to apologise for what he said. He was misunderstood or misrepresented. But the other half wonders why he reached so high for the moral ground when he could have followed Bainimarama's example and made a qualified apology.

Pio said,  "If I am to choose between my seat and my dignity, I'd rather lose my seat." He said he stands by his principles, virtue, and honours the oath he took in parliament.  He insisted his remarks about the PM were misunderstood.   When he made the comment that the PM should look into his own house – he was referring to the FijiFirst Party members on the other side of the Parliamentary House and not to Bainimarama’s family. Had he been referring to the PM's family, he would have used words like family and home. He says he cannot apologise for other’s interpretations of his words.
“All that is said and I accept what everyone has said, but I only know what I feel ... I let out no word – not one – so I know what I said. I know what I meant.”
I  see no reason to doubt his honesty, and wonder why the FijiFirst members of  the Parliamentary Privileges Committee thought otherwise. Did they really think Pio was insulting Bainimarama's family or were they trying to lessen the damage to the PM's reputation by holding Pio  to be equally at fault, and gain political advantage from the situation? Why did they not at least give him the benefit of doubt?

But I think Pio was unwise — unless he was also seeking political advantage from the situation— in not apologising.  He could have made a qualified apology like the PM who said:
“I fully admit that I momentarily and spontaneously let my emotions and the love of my family get the better of me. My actions were not appropriate and should not have happened. Indeed Mr Speaker Sir, soon after the incident had happened I realised my mistake and came to you immediately and to apologise to you, to parliament and Honourable Tikoduadua.”  
Pio could have echoed him:
“I fully understand that my remark, spoken in haste, was misunderstood by the Prime Minister, and for this I apologise. I should have been more careful in my choice of words.  Mr Speaker, Sir, I assure the Honorable Prime Minister —and the House—  that I intended no disrespect to his family. Indeed, their past friendship and  hospitality brings back many pleasant memories. I ask the Honorable Prime Minister's forgiveness for the misunderstanding. "


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