20 Aug 2013

Fiji's Beddoes says Forum needs rules to deal with coups

8:04 pm on 20 August 2013

Fiji's main opposition grouping says the Pacific Islands Forum needs a set of rules to deal with coup-makers.

A spokesman for the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, Mick Beddoes, says the Forum is still relevant but the lack of a regional response to the overthrow of Fiji's elected government is what has caused it many problems.

And Mr Beddoes says Pacific Island leaders should have known better than to attend the recent Fiji-led Pacific Islands Development Forum, the PIDF.

He told Sally Round longer established regional fora like the Pacific Islands Forum need to be smarter.

MICK BEDDOES: If it was already pre-determined that if a country would lose its democratically elected government through military coups or any other means then the following steps should be taken by all member nations so then the regime can't finger point and put pressure on any individual nation like it obviously has been doing. We should have pretty set standard rules all of which should include the following: Any citizens from any Pacific Island country that accept jobs and positions after an elected government has been removed will face the same charges of treason back in their own home countries. They should not be allowed to come in and work in and support an un-elected government; we should have all countries stopping the movement of any members of the regime in or out of the country; we should have a total ban on activities with the affected country and so on and so forth. This should automatically be put in place so that whoever is going to have this problem they become well aware of the fact that once it's happened the Pacific Island Forum method of dealing with coups, will be put in place so they can't point the finger at any one nation. I think that's part of the problem that our Pacific Island countries have had and therefore individually they're trying to deal with it the best they can and we looking at the way they've been dealing with it they seem to be embracing the regime as opposed to engaging constructively with it and using their influence to get them to return the country to democratic rule. If they don't do this then what they're saying to us is that they support the use of force as a means for us to change our political direction in the future if we don't like it.

SALLY ROUND: What are your views on the PIDF that's just taken place?

MB: I think it's just a waste of time and basically it's just another administrative cost to all of the bodies that participated and I think it's part and parcel of Fiji's ongoing agenda to seek as many internationally involved functions or meetings whereby they can project themselves as a legitimate government when the reality is they are not. They are the usurpers of our democracy, they are illegal, they are the dictatorship and so I don't think this will amount to much it's just another duplication of the Pacific Island Forum or the Pacific Commission.

SR: The Prime Minister of East Timor was there, there was some democrats from other regions, they were there representing their countries, they are obviously in line with this.

MB: Either these people are naive or they have no idea about what's going on in Fiji or they haven't got a conscience sufficiently strong to realise that every time they participate in something whereby the dictatorship of Fiji is involved they are siding with the usurpers of our democracy against the wishes and the well-being of the people in the country of Fiji, that's a very short-lived kind of a notion by which to go.