The dictatorship regime has been basically caught with its pants down after learning that the Methodist Church violated conditions of a permit given to the Church leadership to hold its powerful Standing Committee meeting on Friday.
The permanent secretary for Information, Leiutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, told Fiji Television news on Friday they were displeased at the Church leadership for allowing the violation of the permit conditions.
Early this week, military commander and the interim regime's prime minister Frank Bainimarama had stated that while no Methodist Church conference was going to be held this year, the Standing Committee would also need a permit to hold any meeting.
He said this was relayed to Church President Reverend Ame Tugaue.
On Thursday, the Methodist Church leadership applied for a permit and permission to go ahead with the meeting was given on early Friday morning. Leweni said the permit contained conditions the Standing Committee had to be comply with.
One of the conditions was that former leaders, Reverends Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi, would be excluded from the Standing Committee and all its meetings. But we can confirm that both Reverend Lasaro and Kanailagi were at the meeting to discuss Bainimarama's decision to disallow the annual Church conference to be held in Rewa next month.
So far the Church has not made is official position known to both the regime and its membership about the status of the conference. Friday's meeting was supposed to come to a firm conclusion on whether they would abide by the directive from a dictator or go ahead with the conference by ignoring Bainimarama's ultimatum.
Leweni told Fiji TV news they would now talk to the Church leadership. When asked if there would be repercussions for the Church, Leweni said there would be none but a normal meeting between "adults" would be held to try and get an explanation from the Church leadership.
Leweni's muted response is a far cry from his arrogant and confrontational tone two weeks ago when he told pro-regime radio station Legend FM they were going to find out where and why the Standing Committee was meeting when the committee met two weeks ago.