The Human Rights Protection Party

What is Good for Apia is also good for Savaii!
"O le mea e lelei i Apia, e lelei foi mo Savaii"

Jul 19

On the proposed Constitutional Review, PM Tuilaepa to Bainimarama

Fiji Military

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says he will continue the open dialogue with dictator Commodore Frank Bainimarama on the dire situation in Fiji for as long as the military regime there is in power and the people of Fiji are denied democratic freedom.

When asked this week about his continuing tit-a-tat with the Commodore, the Prime Minister said;

“Some people say I should not interfere with the internal affairs of Fiji and its sovereignty. The reality is, Bainimarama wrestled that sovereignty away from the Fijian people at the point of a gun back in December 2006.

“So as long as he (Bainimarama) is there pulling the trigger and the strings I will continue this open-dialogue through the media on the situation in Fiji. Several leaders have tried in the past to conduct sensitive and well-meaning face-to-face dialogue with Baini only to be publicly embarrassed by the Commodore. Deliberately distorting any agreements reached in confidence to promote support for his dictatorship. ”

The Prime Minister said he has seen some gruesome photos of soldiers killed under Bainimarama’s orders.

“The photos were taken by a priest I trust. And I am now more convinced at the level of violence and ruthlessness this man is capable of.

“The Pacific is known for peace and harmony. It’s perhaps the last vestiges of paradise in the world. There is no place here for brutal dictators like Bainimarama. What this fellow does in Fiji impacts adversely on the Pacific Islands as a whole.”

Asked about Bainimarama’s allegations that he is peddling to checkbook diplomacy from New Zealand and Australia, Tuilaepa said;

“The Pacific Islands Forum stance remains since 2008 when it suspended Bainimarama and his military regime. My position too has never swayed since December 2006 when he (Bainimarama) usurped the democratically-elected government in Suva. I advised him then – through the media – not to overthrow the Fiji government, and since, have told him over and over again to leave civilian government and go back to the barracks. He doesn’t belong in the seat of government.

“In terms of development assistance, Samoa has had a remarkable record in properly utilizing these financial assistances. The proper checks and balances and good governance practices are in place and grants are effectively utilized where they were supposed to go.

“As per his suggestion, it is the other way around. New Zealand, Australia, USA and other countries actually ask for my views on Fiji and I tell them what I’ve been telling the media through the years. The media here and overseas keep pestering me day and night on my views of Bainimarama and his band of soldiers.”

Asked if he believes Fiji will go to the polls in 2014 as Bainimarama has now promised, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said;

“He has done nothing to convince me he will take Fiji back to democratic governance.

“The public service top echelons are now occupied by inexperienced military colonels collecting high salaries and perks and living the good life. Is he going to corral them back to the barracks without creating another coup?

“Is he going to bring back an independent judiciary and the rule of law? One that will surely see him and his associates court-marshaled for their treasonous and murderous acts? I think not.”

The Prime Minister also renewed his call for the military in Fiji to be disbanded.

“That’s the core of Fiji’s coup culture. Disband the military and let those boys go out and fish and farm and play rugby. Not cooped-up in military forts thinking up schemes to overthrow their government.

“As for the proposed Constitutional Review, it is unnecessary. The 1997 constitution should be reinstated with one major win-win reform. Disband the military!”

Author: Tupuola Terry Tavita of Savali
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