Samoa's prime inister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says he will continue with what he described is 'open dialogue' with Frank Bainimarama on the dire situation in Fiji for as long as the military regime is in power and the people of Fiji are denied democratic freedom.
“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 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. ”
Tuilaepa say he has seen some gruesome photos of soldiers killed under Bainimarama’s orders referring to the pictures released recently by Roko Ului Mara along with the RFMF Board of Inquiry report into the 2000 mutiny.
“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.”
|Time for Fiji military to step back|
“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.”
He also renewed his call for the military to 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!”