NATION

Methodist Church Bazaar Row A Non-Issue Says Reverend Regunamada

Methodist Church’s Secretary for Communications and Overseas Mission, Reverend Wilfred Regunamada, says it’s not an issue. He adds it is not really part of an invitation ‘to say that this person is closing an event and you open.’
30 Jul 2019 17:05
Methodist Church Bazaar Row A Non-Issue Says Reverend Regunamada
Reverend Wilfred Regunamada. Photo:Simione Haravanua.

The controversy over the Methodist Church’s invitation to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to open the church’s annual bazaar took a new twist yesterday.

While Mr Bainimarama was not told the whole story about the bazaar programme,  the church’s Secretary for Communications and Overseas Mission, Reverend Wilfred Regunamada, said yesterday it was not an issue.

He said the church had invited Mr Bainimarama to open the bazaar next month and Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka to close the event.

But Fiji Corrections Services chaplain Reverend Josefa Tikoinatabua, who arranged the meeting with PM and was part of the delegation, said both he and the PM were not told that Mr Rabuka would close the bazaar.

He added that when the PM found out the truth, he changed his mind because he did not want to see politicians and political parties competing in a church forum. He said he agreed with the PM because he would have done the same thing.

He said Mr Bainimarama had committed himself on the basis of what he was told and was going to help the church to raise $100,000 to develop the frontage for Lelean Memorial School.

However, Reverend Regunamada said the delegation that was sent to invite the PM returned and said he could not come because he was busy.

“Every invitation goes through a meeting, everyone said yes let’s invite the PM and so the delegation went and when they came back, they came through the meeting.”

“I am the Secretary of that and I have never heard that it was reported, he turned down the invitation because of the Opposition.

“It was said he turned it down because he was busy.”

Asked about whether the PM was made aware that the Opposition leader would be closing the event, Reverend Regunamada said: “We were concentrating on the PM, we really wanted him to open the bazaar.”

He added it was not really part of an invitation “to say that this person is closing an event and you open.”

On whether the Church would be apologising to the PM for what had happened, the Reverend said the matter was not an issue.

“It’s a non-issue thing. We invited the PM, we invited the Opposition, PM turned it down and we respect his reasons.

“We do not have any issue and we have also no right to come into that. That is none of our business, that is his personal reason,” he said.

“The church will continue to engage with Government.”

He added Reverend Tikoinatabua speaking to the media, was not an issue either and will not be the basis for any action to be taken against him.

Reverend Regunamada said after the PM turned down the invitation it was too late to invite anybody else so the Opposition Leader would now open the event and they had invited all the 15 divisions to do a ‘soli’ at the closing.

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