Wednesday, March 11, 2009

State of economy result of coup: Qarase

State of economy result of coup: Qarase

The December 2006 coup did not administer a short-term shock to the economy, but a blow that will hurt Fiji for many years, says ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

And in a statement, Qarase has attacked the interim PM Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama saying he is “attempting without success to argue that the coup only created a short term shock and that Fiji’s present woes are caused almost exclusively by the international market upheavals and our recent natural disaster”.

He said Bainimarama and most of his advisers had difficulty understanding that coups and unelected governments were bad for business.

“They do not inspire confidence. It is for this reason that a rapid return to constitutional, parliamentary rule representing the will of the people, is essential for Fiji to start rebuilding its economy and reopening sources of aid now closed to it.”

Qarase said it was time the interim PM took responsibility for the economic disaster that Fiji faces today.

“It has certainly been made worse by the world economic crisis and the floods, but there is no way he can evade the consequences of the coup.”

According to Qarase, the international situation had nothing to do with the contraction of the economy by 6.6 per cent in 2007.

The coup he said, had sent the previously booming construction industry into a tailspin, with thousands of jobs lost.

Tourism had also been badly hit by the coup and had not fully recovered from this when it was hurt by declining overseas markets, he added

Interim PM blasts Qarase
By REIJELI KIKAU - Wednesday, March 11, 2009

INTERIM Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the comment by ousted prime minister Laisenia Qarase on the International Association report on Fiji reeked of hypocrisy. He said Mr Qarase's statement was hypocritical in view of his past record of ignoring and disrespecting the Constitution.

"And the rule of law when he refused to form a government as the law requires, releasing his own ministers who have been sentenced by a court for criminal offences and reappointing them as ministers. Qarase introduced a hypocritically-named Promotion of Tolerance and Reconciliation Bill which was designed to remove the power of the court and was in breach of the Constitution," he said.

Mr Bainimarama said Mr Qarase lied to the Court of Appeal in March 2001 when he promised to implement its judgment but did not.

He said Mr Qarase should not talk about loss of confidence in the law, given his record of undermining the court in Fiji.

"We never heard any expression of concern from leading members of the Fiji Law Society such as Graham Leung or Richard Naidu when the Qarase government breached rule of law left, right and centre.

"Where was the International Bar Association then? Why didn't the Law Society invite the IBA to examine the record of the Qarase government when it was in power? The IBA only became interested in Fiji when a group of Fiji lawyers who could no longer feed from the teats of the corrupt Qarase government decided to seek overseas help."

He said IBA did not have the mandate to pronounce on the situation here, especially when it offered no evidence to support its allegation that the judiciary in Fiji was not independent or the former Chief Justice was not culpable. Mr Bainimarama said his government did not interfere with appointments to the judiciary or work of judges and the judgment and sentences they decide.

"The Qarase government made decisions or tried to pass laws in breach of the Constitution and to undermine the independence of the judiciary. We did not hear a squeak from lawyers behind IBA statements between 2000 and 2006. People are entitled to ask Leung and cohorts why were they silent then but vociferous now." He said the court in Fiji knew the Government respected their independence and did not interfere in their work.

IBA sent a rep to observe the Chandrika Prasad case in 2001.

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