4 Jul 2005

Former Fiji GCC chairman re-states criticism of reconciliation bill

4:09 pm on 4 July 2005

The former chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs says the Reconciliation and Unity Bill is aimed at freeing law breakers of the country.

The Fiji Times quotes Ratu Epeli Ganilau as saying this is obvious because the Bill is applicable only from the day of the coup on May 19th, 2000 to March 13th the following year.

Ratu Epeli, who now heads the National Alliance Party, says the Bill turns a blind eye to breaches of the law including treason to wipe out legal memories of the offence.

He says the prime minister, the attorney general and the government should be honest with people of Fiji and admit that this Bill has little to do with reconciliation and unity but more to do with ulterior motives.

Ratu Epeli says the SDL government should remember that the May 2000 coup happened because amnesty or immunity was legalised after the 1987 coup.

Meanwhile, the leader of that coup and former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says endorsement of the Bill by some indigenous provincial councils does not mean they have consulted their village and district councils first.