22 Jun 2007

Fiji interim sports minister praises December coup and its leader

9:46 am on 22 June 2007

Fiji's interim minister for youth and sport, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, says the December "coup was a godsend" and the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, is "a man of vision".

Mr Vyashnoi made the comments at the military camp in Suva where he was chief guest at a passing out parade of army engineers yesterday.

He said under the previous government the economy was in a state of decline with public debt doubling to 1-point-4 billion US dollars in just five years.

Mr Vyashnoi said during this time there were racist and divisive policies, numerous instances of corruption and little respect for the rule of law.

He said according to an international agency report for 2005, rampant corruption saw 1/3 of every dollar being unaccounted for.

Mr Vyashnoi said for this reason the December military takeover was a godsend for many of Fiji's people.

He said as a result of the actions taken by the military commander, the streets are safer, the economy is being resuscitated by sound economic policies and exports in the first three months of this year were 10% higher than in the same period last year.

Mr Vyashnoi said much of the credit should go the military commander who he described as a man of vision, of steadfast principles and of great integrity and honesty.