Former Fiji Labour man says Fiji reaping rewards of 2006 coup
A former Fiji Labour Party senator says the 2006 coup was a blessing in disguise and is glad to be part of the proposed Fiji First party headed by the regime leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.
A former Fiji Labour Party senator says the 2006 coup was a blessing in disguise and he is glad to be a part of the proposed Fiji First party headed by the regime leader Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama.
Bijai Prasad, who had a falling out with the Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry in 2007, has been named in the new party line-up as a vice president.
Mr Prasad says at first he was not in favour of Mr Bainimarama because he led the removal of a democratically elected government.
But he told Bridget Tunnicliffe he's seen the prime minister bring about positive change.
BIJAI PRASAD: In the last six years this man has done what other governments could not do in the last 30 - 35 years. And I've been a politician since 1977, I think this is the best party, the best leader, so I said well this is an opportunity for me to offer my services, so I joined Mr Bainimarama.
BRIDGET TUNICLIFFE: He also led a coup in 2006, how comfortable are you being associated with someone who did that?
BP: Well I'll tell you what, I think that was a blessing in disguise. At the time, if he hadn't done that then our lives here would have been different. Maybe our tourism industry would not have come to this height and the sugar industry would have been dead and buried by now. Because the land leases would not have been renewed, the farmers would have exited and there would have been tension between the two races. And there was a bill that the previous government was going to introduce which would have restricted us access to the ocean and you know lakes and rivers and all that. There was a bill that they were going to introduce in the parliament, that was one of the main reasons why Mr Bainimarama staged a coup. And today we are reaping the benefits of the action that he took in 2006.
BT: A lot of criticism has been directed the way of Admiral Frank Bainimarama and his regime in terms of restrictions on people, media freedom, decrees that are described as draconian; can the elections in September really be considered free and fair?
BP: Absolutely. In fact if he had not done all that, there's quite a lot of mischievous people you know, like there were hate speeches that were being published. And comments and questions like unfounded allegations that were rousing people's you know emotions and all that. The media has not been gagged but there is a slight response like the censorship which is kind of you know like restrict publication of material that would create problems within the groups of people within Fiji.
BT: The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has been listed as the General Secretary of the proposed new party. He is also the current Election Minister. How impartial can the election process be if it is run a proposed Secretary of Fiji First?
BP: Well he has been appointed later. The whole process has been in action for some years. Out here everything is open to scrutiny. Everything that he has done is published where people have access. So I don't think there can be any you know risk of rigging or or any foul play.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: