11 Feb 2005

Fiji's PM's Office says they've reached point of no return in an ongoing dispute with the military

4:19 pm on 11 February 2005

The chief executive of the Fiji Prime Minister's Office says they have reached the point of no return with the military on the provision of security for Laisenia Qarase.

Jioji Kotobalavu has told Radio Legend they are not turning back to the military for security because they don't want to be subjected any further to the kind of disrespectful, discourteous treatment it has shown to the prime minister.

Mr Kotobalavu says police have now taken over the prime minister's security and Mr Qarase is very happy with that.

Mr Kotobalavu's comments came after Commodore Bainimarama withdrew troops who were guarding the prime minister when the ministry of finance rejected his appeal against a 12-million US dollar surcharge for exceeding the 2003 budget.

Commodore Bainimarama today questioned why the government did not pay for the provision of military security for the prime minister.

But Mr Kotobalavu says Commodore Bainimarama does not understand the budget because the cost of soldiers in the prime minister's security detail is included in the military's annual allocation.