27 Feb 2008

Beddoes quits new Fiji council in protest at publisher's expulsion

2:36 pm on 27 February 2008

Fiji's former opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has pulled out of the National Council for Building a Better Fiji, citing a lack of transparency and poor governance by the interim Government.

Mr Beddoes says his move is a protest at the expulsion of newspaper publisher, Russell Hunter, which he says is a deliberate attempt to silence debate on allegations of tax evasion by interim Finance Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry.

He says he had seen the Council as a worthwhile exercise in setting guidelines for incoming governments based on good governance, transparency, and accountability.

"And yet the interim Government which is the sponsor is conducting itself in a manner that can be described as anything but showing good governance, being transparent, or showing accountability, in [connection] with the expulsion of Mr Hunter. And I find that the way they went about it was totally unnecessary and an excessive use of force, unnecessarily. So there was a need to protest that sort of action otherwise it will just keep happening again."

Mick Beddoes