Fiji Coup Supplement
(Ministry of Information, Suva)
7 September, 2000
RESPONSE TO HARDTALK
PUTTING IT STRAIGHT WITH STRAIGHTALK
CHAUDHRY: I sustained FRACTURED RIBS
STRAIGHTALK: There is a vast difference between fractured ribs and bruised ones. Never at any time, did Mr Chaudhryıs doctors who frequently attended to him, say that he had sustained fractured ribs. It is common knowledge that had he sustained such serious injuries and so diagnosed by the doctors, an urgent request would have been made by them to evacuate him to the hospital for urgent medical treatment. This was never the case. Mr Chaudhry would not have been able to stand upright throughout his days as hostage had he indeed fractured his ribs. Although this does not take away the fact that he was assaulted as he said, Mr Chaudhry must stick to facts; his ribs were bruised not fractured.
CHAUDHRY: We were completely cut off from the world.
STRAIGHTALK: A complete lie. Mr Chaudhry and his colleagues were not completely cut off from the world. The Fiji Red Cross will testify that they were the link between the hostages, their families, friends and in fact the world.
CHAUDHRY: I thought it was for the Home Affairs Minister and others in Government to take care of these things"it was a question of getting advice from my own Fijian counterparts in government"
STRAIGHTALK: The Minister for Home Affairs, (indigenous Fijian) based on information he received which threatened the security of government, directed that no further march permits were granted. Mr Chaudhry undermined this directive, overruled it and decided otherwise.
CHAUDHRY: As you know now the Commissioner of Police is under investigation for the role he played "so you are quite right in saying somebody was sleeping on the job"
STRAIGHTALK: After the second Taukei march held on April 28th, Commissioner of Police, Mr Isikia Savua warned that government should take heed of the sentiments and concerns of the indigenous Fijians evident in the marches and demonstrations. He added that should government ignore these concerns, future demonstrations would result in violence. Mr Chaudhry in response condemned the Commissioner of Police by warning him to refrain from making political comments. He ordered him to stick to police work. As Head of the Police Force, Mr Savua had carried out his civil duty. He advised government of security issues that he was well versed with and aware of. Mr Chaudhry failed to take heed of his advice. It was not a question of someone sleeping on the job; it was more the sheer arrogance of Mr Chaudhry not wanting to listen to advice.
CHAUDHRY: "definitely" I delegated too much.
STRAIGHTALK: Mr Chaudhry knew very well this was a straightout lie. Apart from the Prime Ministership he held in the Peopleıs Coalition Government, he also held the following portfolios; Finance & Public Enterprise, Sugar & Information.
What Mr Chaudhry did not reveal on Hardtalk was that empowerment for Board Appointments to companies that Government had shares in (wholly or in part) and which were given to the various ministers was changed so that he as Prime Minister and Minister for Finance & Public Enterprise would hold those powers.
Delegated too much? On the contrary he hoarded too much!!
CHAUDHRY: "I think this is where fair criticism should be levelled at the military"
STRAIGHTALK: The Peopleıs Coalition Government failed to implement the Defence White Paper that was to give powers to the military to be responsive in times of crisis. Chaudhryıs own laxity of ignoring such a significant paper as this led to his own demise. His criticism of the army cannot be fair at all.
CHAUDHRY: George Speight didnıt have a lot of support "he had support only in two or three out of fourteen provinces.
STRAIGHTALK: Mr Chaudhry in all his years in Fiji has not learnt anything about indigenous Fijian culture. Support is not necessarily shown by visible presence or public assertions and declarations. In Fijian culture, silence can mean total support; it is not a sign of weakness or stupidity. In this context therefore, many indigenous Fijians supported the cause, which he stood for.
As for Chaudhry, the result of the poll indicated his Fijian support to be less than two percent of the population.
CHAUDHRY: "the Government was doing fine"it was not a protest"
STRAIGHTALK: Another lie, the Government couldnıt be doing fine, if the electorate were up in arms about specific issues, resulting in protest marches.
Mr Chaudhry didnıt think the demonstrations were a protest. If they were not protests, what were they, festivals?
CHAUDHRY: Personally I have forgiven George Speight"but I cannot forgive him to what he did to other innocent people"that cannot be forgiven or forgotten.
STRAIGHTALK: If Mr Chaudhryıs answer to the question of forgiveness served to impress those who sympathised with him, surely he cannot be taken seriously for the second part of his response. One cannot be selective about forgiveness on certain issues. It is either you forgive the man or you donıt. What else is he hiding apart from his honest feelings about the man who held him hostage for fifty-six days?
Just for the record lets reveal Chaudhry for the chameleon that he really is:
In Fiji: "I have no ill-feeling towards anybody. I have no animosity for George Speight"I have forgotten about him"I think Iım a very forgiving person."
In India: I will not forgive nor forget"
In Hardtalk: Personally I have forgiven George Speight"but I cannot forgive him for what he did to other innocent people"that cannot be forgiven or forgotten.
In the USA: (Straightalk speculates) We must forgive those who have wronged us"we must forget the past"
In Fiji: (Straightalk speculates) Only time will allow us to forgive and to forget all that has happened in the past"
CHAUDHRY: "yes one can say that it was nepotism"he wasnıt appointed after I became Prime Minister, he simply carried on as Secretary"how could I have moved him out of his job after seven years"
STRAIGHTALK: So at last Mr Chaudhry has admitted that it was nepotism. Mr Chaudhryıs answer that he simply carried on as Secretary which was at the (AD03) level, implied that the same level was retained on his sonıs appointment after he became Prime Minister. What is the truth Mr Chaudhry? Rajendra was appointed Private Secretary on (US04) level; in fact a position that is three levels higher than he would like to have us think.
CHAUDHRY: "reports saying that my government wanted land leases to be extended are wrong"land and rights of the indigenous people were entrenched in the Constitution.
STRAIGHTALK: Mr Chaudhry himself admitted that he was someone who stood his ground. It actually applied in the ALTA issue, he remained adamant that land leases be extended upon expiry, even after indigenous landowners had expressed their wish to have their land returned and resolutions of provincial meetings had indicated that a majority of the provinces wanted ALTA scrapped.
If indigenous Fijian land and rights were entrenched why didnıt he explain on Hardtalk how his government rushed fourty two bills into parliament within months of their assumption of government, without wide consultations; more than half of these aimed at weakening Fijian institutions. One of the most important of these being the constitutional amendment that would see the President acting on the advice of Cabinet and disregarding the Native Land Trust Board and the Great Council of Chiefs.
CHAUDHRY: "an independent inquiry needed of the army"it needs to redeem itself"needs supervision of outside forces.
STRAIGHTALK: Mr Chaudhry is calling on everyone other than himself to redeem themselves. He further wants some kind of supervision from outside forces is this what he wants; to have the Indian government come in to redeem the Fiji military that he no longer trusts and has never trusted.
CHAUDHRY: "something to be done about those politicians who lose power and resort to criminality"
STRAIGHTALK: It still hasnıt sunk home to Mr Chaudhry that the events of May 19th were not a result of the "government not doing fine for the Fijian politician" as he put it and "resorting to criminality" as he has alleged. This is an insult to the intelligence of the ordinary indigenous Fijian who is capable of thinking for himself. On seeing the anti-Fijian policies of the Chaudhry government he chose to convey and translate this frustration in a way that would get the attention of the stubborn, unmoving Chaudhry.