23 Jan 2004

SVT calls on Fiji chiefs to intervene in commander dispute

8:27 am on 23 January 2004

The Fijian Political Party, the SVT, has called on the Great Council of Chiefs to intervene in the current standoff between the government and the military.

The Fiji Sun quotes the party spokesperson , Ema Druavesi, as saying the verbal war between the two sides is uncalled for and is the fault of the government.

Ms Druavesi says people fear another coup because of the standoff, which is the last thing they want after the turmoil of 2000.

She says the SVT would like the government to come clean on why it does not want Commodore Bainimarama to remain as military commander.

Ms Druavesi says it was the leadership of Commodore Bainimarama which brought stability back to the country after the coup and created confidence among investors.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says the chiefs are powerless in the matter.

Ratu Epeli says the Council only appoints the top two positions, but has no power to advise the president on military or other matters.