‘WE'VE GOT A UNITY GOVERNMENT,’ SAYS FIJI’S RATU INOKE

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‘WE'VE GOT A UNITY GOVERNMENT,’ SAYS FIJI’S RATU INOKE

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 11, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---A Fiji Government of National Unity already exists in the present Interim Administration, Minister for Information Ratu Inoke Kubuabola said.

"As far as the Government of National Unity is concerned, that already exists in the present administration.

"We have in it members of all major political parties that were in government, including two former Coalition Ministers, who are Marieta Rigamoto and Tevita Momoedonu, six elected MPs and seven Senators plus qualified and experienced professionals from both the public and private sectors."

Ratu Inoke said there are also five women in the interim administration; four of them are parliamentarians.

Ratu Inoke was reacting to a call by the trade union movement for the resignation of the Interim Administration to make way for the formation of a Government of National Unity.

The Fiji Trades Union Congress believes that people must have the right to decide who governs, through the ballot box, and their decision must be respected.

Congress secretary Felix Anthony yesterday said the Interim Administration is executing George Speight's agendas because it is a beneficiary of the coup leader's actions.

"The administration's resignation is the only way to `right the wrong' that George Speight and his followers have done to the nation," Mr. Anthony said.

He said more than 8,000 workers have become jobless and 5,000 children have dropped out of schools as a direct result of the coup of May 19, and these adverse conditions will continue if the political instability remains.

"Return to democracy, rule of law and a constitutional movement immediately is essential to reverse these disturbing trends," Mr. Anthony explained.

"Should the administration choose to continue to impose itself, it will have to take full responsibility for the continued hardship and pain on the country and take further responsibility for the consequences of its decision to remain in power unconstitutionally."

But Ratu Inoke said the Interim Administration was established by the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, on the advice of the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV), the indigenous Fijian Great Council of Chiefs. The BLV has the authority and legal standing to create such an administration, he said.

"We derive our legitimacy from the BLV and not FTUC," Ratu Inoke said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anthony said the military and police should stop intimidating trade union movements after the National Fire Authority administrator, Sher Bahadur, was arrested by the military for conducting a union meeting.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama should caution his officers to exercise their authority judiciously, Mr. Anthony said. "The army must not in any way intimidate the trade union movement from carrying out its responsibility to its membership," Mr. Anthony said.

He pointed out that the arrest of Mr. Bahadur was a second incident where the military had attempted to muzzle the trade union movement.

"The first being an attempt to stop the Fiji Public Service Association Executive meeting a few weeks ago," he said.

"We have noted with concern that a large number of people gather near the court house in Suva each time George Speight an his group are brought to court.

"The army and the police do nothing to disperse these gatherings, yet, the military disallows law-abiding citizens from carrying out their normal duties."

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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