The proposed Amnesty Bill was a deliberate strategy by the Prime Minister to derail the successful land consultations at the Talanoa level, says Krishna Datt.
He was responding to criticisms levelled against the Opposition Leader by the government side blaming him for lack of dialogue on the Land, constitution and sugar reforms.
“The Hon Prime Minister knows very well that the Talanoa talks had broken the ice on all these issues. The Talanoa subcommittee had first cleared the path on land issues and showed the direction towards a solution,” he said.
“Those talks formed the basis of the parliamentary resolution for the aD Hoc Select committee to deal with those matters. The committees had begun work and were doing so very, very amicably.”
This is when the alarm bells began to ring for the Prime Minister, Datt said. “He sensed , I suspect, that the land solution was not going to go his way. There were clear indications of a new direction coming up in the Committee.
“The PM had to do something to get back on track and put the blame on the Leader of the Opposition… this is a very subtle job.”
Qarase’s solution was the Amnesty Bill which had been conceived much earlier and prepared elsewhere. Datt said Qarase knew that the Opposition would not take part if the Amnesty Bill was introduced. He would then effectively halt the direction of land resolution.
He shut the door from inside and bolted it, Datt charged.