Pacific Scoop

Bainimarama accuses NZ media of ‘spreading lies’ about Fiji presidency

Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama ... potshots at the NZ media. Photo: Fiji Times

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Stanley Simpson in Suva

Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has rejected claims that President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau would be removed from his position – and says he is fed up with telling the media that elections will be held in 2014.

Bainimarama said he was committed to having elections in 2014, but people seem to want him to change the date by continuing to ask him about it.

“I don’t know what else to tell you media outlets about elections in 2014, if you want me to change it, you all get together and tell me,” he said.

“But I’m tired of telling you people about 2014, seriously I am.”

Bainimarama also accused the NZ media of spreading lies about the president being removed from power last week for allegedly helping the fugitive colonel Ratu Tevita Mara escape to Tonga.

“I don’t know where you people got that story from but that is a whole lot of rubbish from the NZ media.”

Bainimarama also warned NZ Prime Minister John Key to stay out of Fiji’s “business with Tonga” as it had nothing to do with him.

‘Racist attacks’
Bainimarama also said Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had been strongly attacked by those working against the current government because they were “racist by nature”.

He was referring to Ratu Mara who has been waging a series of attacks on the regime from the safety of Tonga through YouTube videos and statements.

Bainimarama said the people of Fiji now knew the calibre of people who had been removed from government – as these were the people who were calling for sanctions against Fiji as well as bringing back racist politics for their own self-interest.

He said there were a lot of professionals in the public service who ran the government – but Sayed-Khaiyum had been singled out because he was Indo-Fijian.

“Everyone blames the AG because he is one of the two Indo-Fijians in cabinet. It is more racial than anything else.”

He also attacked statements by Ratu Mara that his advice was not heeded – saying Mara was “immature”.

“If his views are not accepted it is because his views are not professional, if his advice is not taken on board it is because it is not constructive, but we, the senior military officers, know Roko Ului and his advice very well,” he said.

‘Shallow advice’
“It is mostly shallow and backed with a lot of emotions.”

Bainimarama says Mara was not going against the government due to alleged corruption but due to his own personal actions which led to his removal.

“It’s not because of the allegations he is talking about, he was removed for things that he did that was not supposed to be done, and it started from there and he talked against the government and went against the government.

“And he has now gone to Tonga and that’s the end of the story for him.”

Mara fled the country two weeks ago while out on bail after being charged with sedition on May 4 and has been declared a fugitive.

Stanley Simpson is news director of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.