The Fiji Labour Party categorically rejects wild allegations made by Krishna Datt in the week-end that FLP leadership had a hand in the plotting of the 2006 military takeover.
“Krishna Datt himself admitted that he had no evidence of any complicity by the FLP in the coup. It was a totally baseless allegation made two years after the event,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
“ I have asked my lawyers to initiate legal action in the matter,” he said.
Mr Datt’s comments on Fiji TV, following statements by USP academics Biman Prasad and Mahendra Reddy the day before, are clearly orchestrated moves to discredit and vilify the Labour Party leadership.
The truth is that the 2006 takeover by the military was no surprise. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase had been warned months ahead by the Army Commander that he would depose the government should Qarase not withdraw the contentious PRTU, Qoliqoli and the Indigenous Land Claims Tribunal Bills. There were also serious concerns with the deteriorating state of the national economy and rising corruption.
The FLP itself had repeatedly advised the government against pushing ahead with the unconstitutional Bills and the precarious State of the economy.
In terms of the escalating political crisis, the FLP had issued two statements on the 3rd and 28th of November calling on the government and the military to resolve their differences through dialogue and mediation.
“We offered to assist the two parties and in fact, advised the army against any unconstitutional means of resolving the crisis,” Mr Chaudhry said.
A Party statement on 6 December 2006 denounced the unconstitutional takeover of power and called for a quick return to constitutional rule.
Biman Prasad and Mahendra Reddy were in fact, not telling us anything we had not already done. FLP had taken the initiative to mount a campaign both internationally and at home against the three unconstitutional legislative measures, and we had vehemently opposed the increase in VAT to 15% in SDL’s Budget 2007.
Indeed, the FLP had given a directive to all its Ministers in the multi-party Cabinet to vote against 2007 Budget. Krishna Datt went against this Party directive and indicated his full support for the Budget.
In doing so, he stabbed in the back thousands of poor electorates in Nasinu who had voted him into Parliament. No wonder they burnt his effigy in protest!