Report – By Nanise Loanakadavu in Suva
The isolation of the Pacific Island Forum from Fiji is really a blessing in disguise for Fiji and Fijians, says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
He believes Fiji has become more independent then it has ever been.
Commodore Bainimarama was reacting to claims made on Radio Australia by New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister and chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group, Murray McCully.
McCully had told Radio Australia that Commodore Bainimarama would form a political party.
“I don’t know that it’s going to be simply a military party, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were elements from inside the military and out who end up in such a party,” McCully said.
“But I think they are quite focused on how the new arrangements they’ve put in place are maintained.
“And so it’s correct to then turn your mind to whether the military will respect a new administration, if it’s going to pursue some policies that they don’t like.”
However, the Prime Minister said Fiji should expect to have more criticisms and claims like this as the country moves closer to the 2014 elections and others try to dictate to it.
“Fiji will not bow down to their criticisms. There will be much talk and banter about how we go about doing things. That is all welcomed in the interest of the Fijian people.
“What is more important to us is to see that we achieve everything that the government has mapped out. Our progress to elections is our own plan being implemented. Not that of McCully or the Forum,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
He said it was encouraging to see that the Forum had taken interest in Fiji, adding that they were “irrelevant and were more of an observer from a distance” as Fiji moved forward.
“As we forge ahead towards 2014, I expect more criticism from them towards our internal processes.
“That is alright. They’ve done it since 2006 and we have continued without them. In fact we will continue with or without them to 2014.”
He said Fiji’s new constitution would set out parameters for elections in 2014.
“I trust the Fijian people and the Constitution Commission to deliver a constitution that will be fair and just to all Fijians,” he said.
Nanise Loanakadavu is a Fiji Sun reporter and this interview was first published in that newspaper.