Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (Feb. 18) – Mayor Rajendra Gounder of Lautoka in Fii has a duty to tell the people of his whereabouts.

He has a duty to the city council and indeed to his Fiji Labor Party to say whether he wants to continue as the first citizen of the nation's second largest municipality or not.

It is not fair on everyone that he should just disappear without telling anyone what his plans are for the immediate future.

No one seems to know, even his colleagues and relatives, of his whereabouts in Australia where he went to late last year with his family to spend their holidays.

It is particularly embarrassing for his Labor colleagues who entrusted him with the city's top job because of their faith and confidence in him.

It looks bad that he has turned around and suddenly forgotten about them and the trust and faith they had in him.

The decision by the party to elect a new mayor is understandable given that they hold the majority in the city council and are entrusted by the ratepayers with running the council's affairs.

The council has to move on to serve the ratepayers of the city.

To not do anything will be shirking the responsibility and trust placed on the party by the ratepayers of Lautoka.

For Councillor Gounder, it is in his best interest that he makes contact immediately with the council or at least someone he is comfortable with to make known what his plans are.

He holds a very privileged and respected position in the city.

It commands a lot of responsibility and Cr Gounder has been doing exceptionally well up until his disappearance.

He cannot blame the people for being suspicious of his motives because he has disappeared while there is an assault case pending in court against him and the police want to talk to him too.

If it has to come down to it. the police may seek the assistance of their Australian counterparts and Immigration authorities to help trace him down. That's not too hard to do.

His actions have inevitably cast a negative image on his character and reputation. He does not want that and his relatives and friends too.

Time will tell what impact if any his actions will have on the credibility of his party which has always regarded Lautoka city as one of its strongholds.

He owes it to the people who voted him into the council and his Labor colleagues who supported him for the top position to explain his prolonged absence from the council chambers.

February 18, 2005

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

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