18 May 2009

Fiji threatens to cancel Methodists' August conference

3:34 pm on 18 May 2009

The interim government in Fiji says it will not hesitate to defer indefinitely the annual conference of the Methodist Church if security forces suspect any motive to cause instability.

That follows the detention of Methodist minister, the Reverend Manasa Lasaro, who was questioned for two days by police about the church's propositions to discuss issues including the legitimacy of the military-led regime at the conference.

Government spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni has appealed to church members not to be misled by a few people and asked the public to refrain from instigating or participating in action that will destabilise the peace.

He says members of the Methodist Church were misled by political opportunists in 2000, with many people turning up to parliament under the misguided notion they were fighting for indigenous rights.

He says the government and security forces will be more proactive in their efforts to keep the peace this time.

The Reverend Lasaro says the church will not be deterred from discussing the propositions.