9 Nov 2006

Fiji military chief won't attend GCC meeting

9:47 am on 9 November 2006

The Fiji military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama says he will not attend today's special session of the Great Council of Chiefs, called to discuss the standoff between the military and the government.

Commodore Bainimarama, says he will not attend because many of its members were part and parcel of the events of 2000 and have already made up their minds.

The decision not to show up follows his bitter criticism of the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who he accused of lacking integrity and judgement.

Commodore Bainimarama is also unhappy about government moves to oust him as the military commander.

"Let me say that the manner in which the government attempted to remove me as head of the military forces continues to show a lack of integrity, moral courage and sound judgement which has been the hallmark of Qarase's leadership in the last six years."

Commodore Bainimarama also defended the military speaking out about issues affecting the country.

There has been great debate about the role of the military in a democratic country and that it should be subservient to political masters. The military understands this better than most people think we do. However, it would be wrong to believe that democracy is well and alive.

The military commander adds that the current problem is not for the Great Council of Chiefs to resolve.

He says it is for the prime minister and the government of the day to tackle.