Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has told Al Jazeera’s 101 East program that he agreed to the March 2009 election deadline to take the pressure off the regime.
Speaking in an interview on the program, Bainimarama said he gave the March 2009 commitment to the Forum Leaders in Tonga in October 2007, hoping that the international community would ease off its pressure on the regime to return Fiji to democracy.
A similar commitment was given by interim Ministers Mahendra Chaudhry, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Ratu Epeli Nailatikau to the European Union in Brussels in April 2007.
The breach of commitments to the Forum and EU have led to Fiji’s suspension from the Forum and the country is likely to be suspended from the Commonwealth in a few weeks if it continues to remain adamant about holding onto power until September 2014.
So far cane farmers in Fiji have lost $172 million in financial assistance from a $350 million grant allocated by the EU to help them increase sugarcane production.
Bainimarama’s statement is the first sign of admission from the military commander that he can lie under any circumstances to escape from promises and commitments made to returning Fiji to democracy.
It is conclusive proof that promises for work on a new Constitution to begin by September 2012 and for elections to be held in September 2014 can be ignored.