FLP had advised dialogue and mediation to resolve the army/government stand off in 2006 rather than taking unconstitutional means of resolving the crisis.
Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said there was no truth to allegations that FLP had complicity in the 2006 army takeover of power. In the days before the takeover the Party had issued at least two statements calling on the army and the government to talk over their differences.
After the takeover, FLP issued a statement calling for a quick return to constitutional governance.
The three FLP statement’s are reproduced here for the sake of public information:
- 3 November, 2006
The Fiji Labour Party has called on the Prime Minister and the Army Commander to settle their differences through dialogue.
The FLP caucus which met today in Suva, discussed the current stand-off between the government and the military and decided that the Party not get involved in the dispute but urge that both the PM and the Commander should seriously consider resolving their differences through dialogue and mediation, if necessary.
The Fiji Labour Party, which has itself been a victim of two coups, advises against any extra-constitutional means to remove an elected government.
The Party appreciates that the issues involved here are not as straight forward and easy as some would like to make it. It concerns upholding democracy on the one hand while ensuring that the principles of good governance which are fundamental to the success of a democratic state are fully observed by all concerned.
The Constitution of Fiji is the supreme law of the land and it must be observed, respected and honoured by all citizens including the State. The Party notes that a number of significant constitutional obligations remain unfulfilled to this day, principal among them being the enactment of a code of conduct legislation for holders of high public office.
The Fiji Labour Party stands ready to assist in resolving the current impasse if called upon to do so.
- 28 November 2006
The Fiji Labour Party believes the escalating political impasse between the government, the army and the Police can be resolved through dialogue and mediation, and a national crisis averted.
The FLP’s stand on the worsening political crisis is categorically clear. Itself a victim of two coups in the recent past, the Labour Party advises against any extra constitutional means of taking over the government.
“Violence and a coup d’etat should not be the answer to problems surmounting the nation,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
The FLP is mindful of, and has drawn attention to, the steadily worsening plight of the nation. The government’s current policies are creating deep divisions within society and its misrule and lack of good governance over the past six years has brought the national economy and State finances to a highly critical state.
“The unilateral imposition of an intolerable 15% VAT and substantial hikes in Customs and Excise Duty on a variety of consumer items in Budget 2007, will further aggravate the situation by inflicting greater hardship on our poor who now constitute well over 40% of our people,” Mr Chaudhry said.
“Fiji can no longer continue to tread this path of self destruction. We have to change direction and ensure a clean, competent and caring government, sensitive to the needs and aspirations of all our citizens,” he said.
The Labour Party has repeatedly called on the government not to go ahead with contentious and unconstitutional legislation without referring them for inter-party talks.
Our law and order situation has deteriorated so markedly in recent months that ordinary citizens no longer feel safe in their homes. Almost every day we hear of families, innocent women and children, being terrorised in their homes at nights.
People have lost confidence in the ability of the State to provide protection and contain crime. The safety and security of the ordinary citizen should be the first priority of the Police.
“The government must take heed of the deepening social unrest in the country and take steps now to arrest the situation.
“We have a multi-party Cabinet arrangement in place but so far the Labour Party has not been invited to help in formulating policy or resolving major national issues.
“We stand ready to serve in every way possible to avoid a national crisis,” said Mr Chaudhry.
- 6 December 2006
FLP Calls for quick return to constitutional rule
The Fiji Labour Party (FLP) has called for the restoration of democratic rule as soon as possible.
FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the party’s Management Board met this morning and discussed the current constitutional crisis and its effect on the nation. The Board called on the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) to hand over executive authority to H.E. the President, as soon as possible, in order to facilitate a prompt return to democratic rule.
The FLP noted that the root cause of the standoff between the military and the government related to issues of goods governance.
The endemic corruption and scams in government, fuelled by a powerful alliance between corrupt politicians, civil servants and unscrupulous businesspersons, further aggravated the already strained relations between the military and the government.
The government’s incompetent management of the economy and its recklessness with public finances had also become issues of serious concern as it saw poverty levels escalating and public services deteriorating beyond limits of tolerance.
‘The current crisis has its roots in the aftermath of the May 2000 coup and the appointment of the Qarase interim administration which had terrorist elements of the pro George Speight group – persons who actively supported Speight and who subsequently became members of the Qarase Government after the 2001 general elections.
Some of these terrorists elements were charged, convicted and jailed, but were allowed to retain their parliamentary seats in clear defiance of the most rudimentary tenets of good governance.
‘Another bone of contention relates to the controversial Bills on traditional fishing grounds, land claims and the grant of am0nesty to terrorists implicated in the events of May 2000 and the mutiny at the Army Barracks in November 2000.
‘Again, these Bills were objected to by the FLP as well as numerous other organizations, including the Police Force, but were not heeded by Mr Qarase in time.
Notwithstanding all these, the FLP leader urged Commodore Bainimarama to expedite efforts to restore democratic and constitutional rule.
‘Quite simply, we cannot condone coups as each coup sets the country back at least 20 years. We still haven’t recovered from the events of May 2000. The economy is at a standstill, employment is declining, poverty is on the rise, with hardly any prospect for the 17,000 school leavers each year. Serious crime is on the rise and our dollar is under pressure as a result of our poor performing export sector.
The suspension of foreign aid will also heavily impact on the less privileged and the needy and we should be mindful of the threats of donor countries to suspend aid to Fiji,’ said Mr. Chaudhry.
The FLP leader said there was still time to salvage the situation but this would require commitment, concessions and a genuine desire by those concerned to act in the best interest of the nation and her people.