7 Feb 2003

Fiji Democratic Party leader says those deposed in the 2000 coup should be compensated

11:43 am on 7 February 2003

The Fiji Democratic Party has called for compensation to be paid to the deposed president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and government members who lost their positions in the May 2000 coup.

The party secretary general, Filipe Bole, says Ratu Mara had contributed greatly to Fiji and its people and the disgrace he suffered at the hands of usurpers who forcefully removed him from the presidency was undeserved and an act of thuggery.

He says Ratu Mara was appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs and it was ironical that the same chiefs endorsed the coup makers' actions by finding his successor.

Mr Bole says compensation to Ratu Mara would not only wipe out the disgraceful, high-handed and illegal abuse of power by those in authority, but would also bring a sense of justice to those who have been wronged.

He says the state should also compensate members of the government deposed in the coup for loss of income, prospects, opportunities and self-respect.

Mr Bole says parliament should take up the case with the aim of returning to people the right to select their government representatives who should never lose power at the hands of usurpers.