31 May 2002

Fiji military commander denies plans for Speight role

8:26 am on 31 May 2002

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has denied a report that he wanted George Speight and his rebels included in the post-coup interim administration.

The report was backed by the home affairs secretary, Colonel Jeremaia Waqanisau, who said he and other senior officers persuaded the commander to exclude the coup makers.

But Commodore Bainimarama has told the Daily Post that from the day the military took over control of the government, he had never wanted Speight and his group in the administration.

But he says when the military assumed authority after abrogating the constitution, some senior officers were sitting on the fence.

Commodore Bainimarama says to test their stand on the issue, he had said that Speight might well join the administration if the military was goung to give in and listen to him.

The commander confirm that Colonel Waqanisau and Col Kacisolomone strongly opposed Speight being part of the government.

Commodore Bainimarama says the military had strongly opposed Speight's actions beginning from the day of the coup.