‘It’s A Cheap Publicity Stunt’

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there will be no meeting as requested by SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu “I am astonished that with SODELPA tearing itself apart, its President, Ratu
27 Aug 2015 09:53
‘It’s A Cheap Publicity Stunt’
No symposium with me, says PM Voreqe Bainimarama (left)....SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there will be no meeting as requested by SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

“I am astonished that with SODELPA tearing itself apart, its President, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, a suspended member of Parliament would get so desperate to create a diversion by wanting to hold a symposium with me,” he said.

“There will be no such symposium, gathering or meeting with him.  Instead of this cheap publicity stunt, Ratu Naiqama who is desperate to make himself relevant to the Fijian political landscape, would do well on his return from Australia to hold a symposium on the crisis within the opposition partly caused by the power struggle between him and the Opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa.”

Mr Bainimarama said people like Ratu Naiqama were out of their depth when they commented on law, order and stability. He was responding to a request by Ratu Naiqama that those charged with sedition and inciting in Ra and Nadroga should be released from custody. Ratu Naiqama said the accused had not been served full disclosures “which is a basic rule of law.”

Mr Bainimarama said: “Indeed, the fact that he is asking me to ‘release’ people who have been charged and are before the courts shows that he does not even have the basic understanding that the Judiciary is independent of the Executive.”

On the SODELPA crisis, Mr Bainimarama said SODELPA supporters were perplexed by this internal conflict within the party, which was robbing Fiji of an effective Opposition “as SODELPA members scrap among themselves.”

“There is an old political saying – that a party that cannot govern itself cannot govern the country. And every Fijian must now be offering thanks for the fact that SODELPA lost the last election because it clearly cannot govern itself.

“The hunger for power by desperate individuals within that party is making SODELPA, its policies, its leadership and the party itself irrelevant for a modern and vibrant Fiji,” he said.

“The majority of the Fijian people — in particular our youth, the young — want to live in a stable and economically prosperous country. People like Ratu Naiqama, with their old politics of fear and fear-mongering, cannot provide this.

“Equally, their claim that the iTaukei and their land, religion, culture and identity are under threat is not true. On the contrary, the position of the iTaukei has never been stronger. For anyone to claim otherwise is a lie and the Fijian people should take no notice of liars.”

He said he wanted to make a couple of things clear.

“The security of the state and the stability of our nation is my responsibility as the country’s elected leader, not Ratu Naiqama’s.

“The Fijian people gave me that mandate almost a year ago and they expect me to uphold their trust. And I give the nation my solemn undertaking that I will.”

He said people like Ratu Naiqama had always used the implicit threat of instability or taken advantage of it to make themselves relevant and gain political power.

He said the current security operation led by the Police with the assistance of the RFMF was to protect our new democracy from certain forces who did not accept the will of the Fijian people as expressed at the election.

“They must not be allowed to succeed in their attempts to challenge our democracy and enforce their own will on the nation,” he said.

“I also want it known that if we find any politician, businessman or any other person aiding and abetting anyone that wants to create instability, they will also face the full brunt of the law.

“I and my Government will uphold the integrity of our democracy rather than give comfort to those who intend to thwart the will of the people, create instability and damage our economy.

“Our Constitution addresses all these age- old problems and gives us, including the iTaukei, the ability to focus on development, improve our living standards and have more prosperity in our beloved Fiji.

Ratu Naiqama called on fellow Fijians  to maintain law and order and to continue to pray for Fiji and her people.

He also called on traditional leaders to instill calm in our communities as “we seek the Honorable Prime Minister’s assistance towards meeting with us to resolve outstanding Indigenous Fijian issues,” Ratu Naiqama pleaded.

Ratu Naiqama in a statement has stated that it would be ideal for a symposium to be held where representatives of Indigenous Fijian interests could meet directly with the PM to air concerns and grievances they had on various government policies and development issues.

“I am optimistic the Honorable Prime Minister will be able to agree to a symposium where invited representatives of Indigenous Fijian groups and people could be present so that we may offer directly to the Honorable Prime Minister issues of concerns we may have.” Ratu Naiqama said.

“We have a responsibility to ensure we maintain peace in our nation that has already been torn apart by political differences for far too long and we must not encourage this any further,” he said

“The indigenous peoples do feel threatened by such insecurity over their land and other resources and such fear is well grounded given the sort of experiences now confirmed through the Nawailevu Bauxite issues that have been prominently highlighted to the Committee on Natural Resources ranging from insufficient and no proper consultation on the use of their land and compensation to it to the arrangements of lease payments that are still outstanding.”




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