SUVA, Fiji (Jan. 30) - Yesterday’s confirmation of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as the commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces will come as a welcome relief for many in Fiji.

The announcement ends months of uncertainty during which the Government and the armed forces seemed perilously close to open dispute.

The war of words between the commander and sections of the Government and the civil service made for a populace fearful of what might eventuate.

The uncertainty and apprehension had the potential to spill into every aspect of national life, including business and investment.

Now, thankfully, the wounds appear to be healed.

The commander has, significantly, pledged allegiance not only to his commander-in-chief, the president, and the country, but also to the Government.

Now, perhaps, Commodore Bainimarama can, as it were, return to barracks and carry on with his normal duties away from the glare of the political spotlight.

At the same time, he has pledged to see through to conclusion all inquiries into the events of May and November 2000 and it is important that he be given every assistance and encouragement to do this.

There remains in the public mind a very deep suspicion that all that needs to be told about those happenings has not been revealed.

It is a suspicion that will not go away until the truth is known and the commander may well be the public’s last hope of seeing justice done.

Another subject of intense public debate that was not resolved by yesterday’s announcement concerns the time it has taken to arrive at this decision.

The Government allowed the public bickering to go on unchecked until it became so troublesome that the Prime Minister himself felt obliged to make a reassuring statement to the nation.

The public fear could have been allayed long before then, and there is still no adequate explanation as to why it was not.

January 30, 2004



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