INDEPENDENT NEWS

Women Slam Minister Over Airport Board Change

Published: Thu 12 Oct 2000 02:58 PM
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SUVA: The Fiji Women's Rights Movement has accused Public Enterprises Minister Hector Hatch of "political interference" for dumping coordinator Gina Houng Lee as a director on Airport Fiji Ltd's board, the Daily Post reports.
The state-run company's operations include two international airports, Nadi near the tourism heartland in the west of the country and Nausori near the capital of Suva.
Ms Houng Lee was dumped from the board along with Daniel Urai, president of the Fiji Trades Union Congress, and Ram Rajend of Airports Terminal Services.
They have been replaced by Islands Business International managing director Godfrey Scoullar and two other new directors, Jagendra Singh and Ratu Timoci Tuisawau, according to the Daily Post.
Ms Houng Lee said her directorship was terminated on October 6 with immediate effect and no reason was given.
"I am surprised that Mr Urai and I have been terminated since we both belong to organisations supporting the Fiji Blue campaign [for democracy]," Ms Houng Lee said.
The FWRM said in a media statement that it was concerned with "tampering" with board appointments by the military installed interim regime.
"This termination is seen as political interference, discriminatory and outside the mandate of the interim administration," the statement said.
Ms Houng Lee was reportedly appointed to the board in a policy direction set by the ousted elected Fiji Labour Party-led government of Mahendra Chaudhry which had encouraged representation by women on statutory boards.
"The policy and the national implementation plan of action state that 30 percent of all government boards should be comprised of women," the statement said.
The Fiji Women's Crisis Centre joined the FWRM in condemning the minister.
+++niuswire

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