|Beddoes.pic Fiji Times|
The president of the United Peoples Party, Mick Beddoes, has labeled as ridiculous claims by the regime & Fiji Sun propagandist Graham Davis that a statement made by him in response to threats from the military has sparked a 'self-nflicted row’
Responding to the front page headline of the Fiji Sun (June 17), Beddoes says Davis is obviously a desktop journalist whose opinions are based largely on impressions gathered from people in Fiji who share his and the Fiji Sun’s prejudices and bias.
We pick up the Davis story from here:
The original spark was lit by Mr Beddoes when he publicly raised the spectre of life-long jail sentences for the country’s military leaders for having staged the 2006 takeover.
Unsurprisingly in a febrile political environment after five and a half years of military-led rule, the taunt prompted a furious response from Commodore Bainimarama.
In an interview with the Fiji Sun headlined “PM Warns Critics”, Commodore Bainimarama was quoted as having said that “the day that the military will be taken to prison, that will be the end of those who are behind it”. He did not elaborate.
A statement signed by the three leaders said Commodore Bainimarama’s comments represented “ a very real and grave threat”, especially to Mr Beddoes.
“We call on Commodore Bainimarama to explain what he means by the words ‘that will be the end of those behind it’.
“We also call on him to say whether such a statement will contribute to the creation of the open and free atmosphere he has promised for the talks about Fiji’s constitutional future. All topics are up for consideration, including the role of the military”, the statement said.
They did not elaborate on precisely what action they planned.
In what Commodore Bainimarama will doubtless see as a further provocation, the three leaders said they were taking advice on whether any laws had been breached and that “the Prime Minister needs to understand that nobody is above the law”.
They took exception to his comment in the Fiji Sun interview that “the electoral process and its outcomes would not be influenced by Mahendra Chaudhry, Laisenia Qarase and women’s forums.” The Prime Minister had said the voices of all Fijians should be heard and taken into account.
The statement said some of the Prime Minister’s reported remarks were “undemocratic and unhelpful. It is for the people to decide on such issues, not Commodore Bainimarama”, the statement said, adding that “ it is disturbing that he appears to be planning a controlling role for the army in the constitutional process”.
Many Fijians will be hoping that the steady escalation of rhetoric in recent days between the Bainimarama Government and its opponents doesn’t develop much further.
Because far more disturbing is any prospect of the constitutional review being derailed in an atmosphere of heightened crisis.