Clear for all to see what a complete nutty fruitcake we’re dealing with here, and why the foundations of this illegal regime, built on sand, will inevitably fail. No way could this guy have planned the coup on his own. With thanks to TVNZ website and FemLink Pacifika.
AUCKLAND (TVNZ Online/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji‘s military leader spoke to TVNZ’s ONE News on Wednesday about his regime’s crackdown in the Pacific nation.
Pacific reporter Adrian Stevanon spoke to Bainimarama:
*ADRIAN STEVANON*: Is this the Commodore?
*FRANK BAINIMARAMA*: Yes.
*AS: It’s Adrian Stevanon here from ONE News. I was just wondering if I could ask you a few questions about what’s happening in Fiji.*
*FB*: What’s happening in Fiji?
*AS*: *Yes. I heard you on the radio this morning and I was just wondering if I could do my own interview with you.*
*AS*: *First of all, how long will this state of emergency be in Fiji?*
*FB*: Well, my understanding is that … the state of emergency has been put for a month.
*AS: Why will it be in for that long?*
*FB:* Well, we’ve been given a fresh mandate by the president in moving Fiji forward and we want everyone to be together, so we don’t want anyone opposing the reforms that we need to come up with. And that is exactly why.
*AS: Isn’t opposition part of what a democratic society is all about?*
*FB*: It is the opposition that has led to the abrogation of the constitution in Fiji, so we want to do away with that kind of opposition. We want to look forward and come up with the reforms that we are going to make.
*AS: Why has the media been censored in Fiji?*
*FB:* Well, that is exactly why.. I thought I answered that question. We really don’t want any negativity around Fiji right now. We want to move forward, take away all the opposition to the reforms that we are going to make.
*AS: What do you think about some of the condemnation that has come internationally about what Fiji’s been doing at the moment or what your regime has done?*
*FB:* Well, I can understand the condemnation about … what’s your name again?
*FB:* Adrian, this is to do with us. This is to do with Fiji and we are doing this for people in Fiji. We want to bring about changes and come up with the reforms that will bring about a better Fiji, so you can go ahead with your condemnation, but we need to do this for Fiji.
*AS: Ok, what is the message that you have for New Zealand and Australia?*
*FB:* Well, my message to the New Zealand and Australian people, Adrian, is there is nothing happening in Fiji that should not stop you as a tourist or a visitor to come and visit. Come and enjoy the facilities that we have and the hospitality that we have. There’s nothing to stop you doing that.
*AS: Do you think you have the support of your people?*
*FB*: I certainly have the support of the people, yes.
*AS: How do you know that?*
*FB:* Well, no one has come up and opposed it, Adrian.
*AS: But there have been people who have been speaking out in the media and they have ended up being locked up.*
*FB:* Adrian. The people who have been speaking out, I can count them on the fingers of one hand, I’m not saying there’s five of them, but there are few of them. But we have banded together on this campaign of change that we need to bring about to Fiji so that we can have a better Fiji.
*AS: What does a better Fiji look like?*
*FB:* Hopefully when we finish this exercise, we would have a Fiji without any racist policies, that’s one thing. The reforms that we are going to come up with, including electoral reform, it will be a non-communal base of voting… so we will get rid of the race issue. And we will try and get rid of the corruption issues that have been rife in Fiji.
*AS: Ok, Commodore, why couldn’t you accept the ruling from the Appeal Court that found your government illegal?*
*FB:* Well, the Excellency has made up his mind. He has abrogated the constitution because the ruling would have forced us to go to elections, elections in the old system, which we don’t like. We don’t want to go down that path again, we don’t want an election based on communal voting.
We don’t want an election based on race. We want to move away from that. I’m sure all the Kiwis wouldn’t want to go down that path too, so and we don’t want to go down that path. If we were to accept the decision, we would have gone down that path.
Adrian, you should do me a favour and find out from the three judges how is that they came up with a 52-page judgment in 24 hours? We thought it was going to take them three weeks to sit together and come up with this judgement. I think it’s quite clear this judgement was written long before they got here. They made up their minds before they got here.
*AS: How would you feel if some of your peacekeepers that are overseas are removed from their missions?*
*FB:* How would the NZ government feel if they were removed from their position?
*AS: Well, I can’t speak for them. But I’m asking you, what would your reaction be?*
*FB:* If the Kiwis were removed from UN peacekeeping, I’m sure the people of NZ would be very disappointed.
*AS: So your response, how would you react to that?*
*FB:* I would be very disappointed. But why would we be removed?
*AS: Are you worried about possibly being expelled from the Pacific Forum and the Commonwealth?*
*FB:* Going back to what you were talking about before, why would we be removed from peacekeeping? Is it because you’ve been told by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr McCully, that he is going to go on an agenda to have us removed?
*AS: Not at all. It was just a question.*
*FB:* Oh good.
*AS: How far away are we from seeing new judges in the judicial system in Fiji?*
*FB:* To tell you the truth, Adrian, maybe 24 hours. I really don’t know at this stage, but what is certain, is that the judges are going to be brought back.
*AS: You spoke this morning about a survey that was done. Can you explain how you know you have the support of the people?*
*FB:* We have the charter process. The charter process came up with a 64% majority for the changes we have put forward to them to endorse. So on that note, we know what they want.
*AS: I understand there is a split in your military camp. How are you dealing with that situation?*
*FB:* Well, we have a rugby match this afternoon, Adrian… if there is a split in the camp, we will find out today who is going to be the winner.
*AS: So a rugby game will heal the wounds of the split?*
*FB:* There is no split in the camp.
*AS: Is there anything else you would like to say to the people of NZ and Australia or Fijians living in NZ?*
*FB:* What I want to tell the people of NZ and Australia is don’t believe everything you hear, especially from people like your Foreign Affairs Minister, McCully.
*AS: Could I come and report there?*
*FB:* It depends what you are going to report on (laughs). I’d rather you just ask me questions from NZ and I’ll answer from here.
*AS: Is there any other reason why the foreign media has been kept out?*
*FB*: It’s exactly why there is emergency regulation on. We don’t want any opposition to the reforms we are bringing about, we don’t want any negativity, spreading any rumours or any lies about what we are doing in Fiji. Let me tell you that I and the military who started this campaign long before 2006 and the government and the people who have endorsed the way forward, have nothing but good for Fiji. All we want is to better Fiji.
*AS: I understand, also, that those who are in the public service who are over 55 without a contract, come April 30, may be out of a job. Is that true?*
*FB:* That is one of the changes we have brought about, yes.
*AS: Why is that?*
*FB:* Well, at 55, if you do not know, they collect their pension.. and they are ready to retire… At any rate, it would free up a lot of vacancies for our school leavers to come in and join.
*AS: Finally, why was the Reserve Bank governor sacked?*
*FB:* If you don’t know, when the constitution was taken out, it removed everyone that was appointed under the constitution, including the governor of the Reserve Bank. It was also an opportune time for us to look at the governor of the Reserve Bank and get a better person in and we did and Mr Reddy, who has been in the Reserve Bank for the last 34 years and was the deputy governor for the last 14 years, he has come in at an opportune time and is ready to salvage the economy…
*AS: What was wrong with the last governor’s process?*
*FB:* There was a lot of recommendations that have just appeared now that did not come before that and we’re taking advantage of Mr Reddy’s wise council.
*AS: Was he not doing his job properly?*
*FB:* I’m not saying that. Stop saying things like that…. You finished, Adrian?
*AS: Yes, I am.*
*FB*: Thank you very much
God bless Fiji