Police criticisms of Australian trade unionist Tony Sheldon have been described as nonsensical by the Fiji Labour Party. Mr Sheldon, who is also a vice president of the NSW Branch of the Australian Labour Party, issued a statement last week calling on the Australian authorities to extradite Australian nationals who had supported and funded the activities of George Speight during the terrorist takeover of Fiji’s parliament for eight weeks from May 19 – July 13, 2000.
FLP parliamentary leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, said police criticisms of Mr Sheldon were nonsensical. The police here have been too slack in investigating the involvement of local and Australian businessmen in the coup of May 19, 2000.
“I gave them both oral and written statements more than two years ago naming the businessmen concerned but nothing has eventuated so far,” said Mr Chaudhry.
Former police commissioner, Isikia Savua, was also named as an accomplice of the coup plotters in my statement and that was the end of any serious police action in investigating the businessmen and, indeed, Isikia Savua himself.
“If Mr Sheldon and others do not have confidence in the Fiji police, then the police must accept the blame and responsibility for it,” said Mr Chaudhry.
There is also the statement of Lt Colonel Viliame Serevakula about the involvement of businessmen in the coup. His statement was published in a local magazine some eighteen months ago but the police appear to have ignored it.
The hands of the Fiji police are not clean in this matter. I urge the new police commissioner to reopen the files and seek explanations from the investigating officers as to their failure to conduct their investigations with due diligence, said Mr Chaudhry.
Mahendra P Chaudhry