1 Apr 2004

Fiji opposition leader criticises PMs comments about "liberal democracy"

10:23 am on 1 April 2004

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has strongly attacked the prime minister Laisenia Qarase's comments in New Zealand that the coups of 1987 and 2000 were a tragedy but there was a context to them which indigenous Fijians understood.

Mr Qarase also said that Fiji is not a liberal democracy and may never be.

Mr Beddoes says Mr Qarase showed his true colours by suggeating there was a context to the coups.

He says that may be why the people implicated in the coups have been rewarded by the SDL government instead of being punished.

Mr Beddoes says it is tacit support for the acts of treason in 2000 and explains why the government went soft on the perpetrators of the coup.

He says Mr Qarase's comments also explain why his government and the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, were at loggerheads.

Mr Beddoes says nations which were quick to normalise relations with Fiji should accept that their reading of the situation on the ground was wrong and that the assurances given about the restoration of democratic rule were a whitewash to gain financial support.