Fiji PM Rebuffs SODELPA President’s Request For Meeting

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Ratu Naiqama calls for talks between Bainimarama, iTaukei

By Mere Naleba And Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug. 27, 2015) – Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has rebuffed SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu's efforts to seek an audience with him saying the Tui Cakau is trying to divert attention from SODELPA's internal strife.

And he has warned that any politician, businessman or any other person aiding and abetting divisive forces will face the full brunt of the law.

The Tui Cakau had yesterday proposed a symposium where representatives of indigenous Fijian interests could meet directly with the Prime Minister to air concerns and grievances they have on various government policies and development issues.

Ratu Naiqama had also linked the need for the symposium to the recent spate of sedition charges laid by the judiciary saying while he did not condone the seditious acts, it was still important to realise there was a deep anxiety among the iTaukei.

He had also made a request for Mr Bainimarama to release the accused persons in remand for charges of sedition and pleaded for calm in the nation.

"I am also calling on all fellow Fijians in the meantime to maintain law and order and to continue to pray for Fiji and her people. I also call on our traditional leaders to instil calm in our communities as we seek the honourable Prime Minister's assistance towards meeting with us to resolve outstanding indigenous Fijian issues," Ratu Naiqama pleaded.

But last night Mr Bainimarama dismissed the symposium invite and prisoner release request saying it would be prudent for a separate symposium to address issues of party solidarity within SODELPA.

Mr Bainimarama said as the elected leader, the Fijian people had mandated him to act on their behalf regarding issues of security and stability of the nation and he would uphold their trust.

"Indeed, the fact that he is asking me to 'release' people who have been charged and are before the courts shows that he does not even have the basic understanding that the judiciary is independent of the executive," Mr Bainimarama said.

"The current security operation led by the police with the assistance of the RFMF is to protect our new democracy from certain forces who do not accept the will of the Fijian people as expressed at the election.

"They must not be allowed to succeed in their attempts to challenge our democracy and enforce their own will on the nation. I also want it known that if we find any politician, businessman or any other person aiding and abetting anyone that wants to create instability, they will also face the full brunt of the law."

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