INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fiji PM rules out coup year repeat

Published: Mon 1 May 2000 09:26 AM
SUVA: Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said the Fijian community would not be fooled a second time by unruly elements out to topple the government, the Sunday Times reports.
Chaudhry said ordinary citizens did not want a repeat of 1987 [the year of two military coups against an elected coalition government].
He said the protest marches organised against the government were [the] work of disgruntled politicians who had lost the general elections.
"They will use any excuse to whip up emotions," Chaudhry said.
"We have been through this in 1987 and look where the country had come to after those events.
"The ordinary people paid a heavy price for that and our economy was in tatters.
"It took a long time to rebuild and the economy is now poised to take off.
"And we are having the same sort of thing again."
He said if the economy declined as a result of these anti-government activities, the ordinary people would suffer.
"Investment will flee, there will be no economic growth, thousands of people will lose their jobs, our currency will plummet," he said.
"So what do these people want?
"It is for the the people to decide whether to believe these people who are out there protesting.
"Look at their track record and what they have done for the community."
Chaudhry said the government was serious about protecting [indigenous] Fijian rights.
He said the government was mindful of its obligations to Fijians.
"Their rights, ownership of land, forests and the natural resources are fully protected under the Constitution," he said.
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