16 Jul 2009

Fiji Methodists reluctant to bow to regime's conference ban

11:28 am on 16 July 2009

Fiji's interim regime has restated it will not allow the Methodist Church to hold any more conferences until it removes two senior church ministers accused of political instigation.

The Fiji Times reports the government's spokesman, Neumi Leweni, as saying the interim Prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has informed the church its annual conference, this year or in coming years, would not be allowed if it did not remove the Reverend Manasa Lasaro and former senator the Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi.

The Church president, the Reverend Ame Tugaue, says the church has yet to accept the decision or call off the conference, scheduled for next month.

The standing committee will discuss the issue on Friday.

Mr Leweni says regardless of the number of meetings the church's standing committee has, the decision was final.

He said the state urged the church, Fiji's biggest Christian denomination, to inform its congregation of a cancellation.