11 Jul 2005

Fiji political leader says the Prime Minister has revealed the real intent of the Reconciliation Bil

10:25 am on 11 July 2005

The former chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has finally revealed his real intention for the Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau, who now heads the National Alliance Party of Fiji, has told the Fiji Sun newspaper Mr Qarase has admitted the real purpose of the Bill is to end all coup investigations.

Ratu Epeli says Mr Qarase has told the people of Kubulau in Bua that the Bill was the way to do this legally, otherwise the investigations would continue for a long time into the future.

Ratu Epeli says after the rushed first and second readings of the Bill, the government denied that it had any intention to frustrate coup investigations.

Ratu Epeli says Mr Qarase has used a Fijian "talanoa" session to reveal his real intention for the Bill to a largely uninformed rural population, making it clear that the objectors to the Bill had been right all along.

He says the prime minister should understand that the real concern of the people of Fiji is that those who commit treason, murder, arson, rape and so on should do time for their crimes whether their motive was political or otherwise.

Ratu Epeli says bringing an end to the investigations and prosecutions will abruptly curtail justice and encourage the growth of a coup culture in Fiji.