28 Aug 2002

Former Fiji church leader and new senator under attack for racist statements

4:38 pm on 28 August 2002

The former head of the Methodist Church in Fiji and government senator, Tomasi Kanailagi, has received a dressing down in the Upper House.

It comes after remarks by Senator Kanailagi that the Fiji Times newspaper and Fiji One Television were "agents of evil, planning against Christanity and the indigenous people of the country"

Senator Kanailagi also told the country's non-indigenous people to go and live elsewhere if they are against the indigenous community who have been forced into poverty because they have given everything away to other races.

Labour senator Ponipate Lesavua told the Rev Kanailagi that as a former head of the Methodist Church who claims to be a Christian, he should act like one.

Senator Lesavua says the Rev Kanailagi's outburst was not surprising, adding that he was only towing the line of his political masters - the SDL Government.

Senator Lesavua says by choosing to be a torch bearer of the divisive and racist machinery of the SDL party, the government senator has forfeited a golden opportunity to speak like a true man of God.

Seantor Lesavua says the church should be speaking out against racism and on behalf of all citizens irrespective of race, creed or gender who have been displaced, marginalised and continue to suffer injustices.

He describes the Rev Kanailagi as a force of evil masquerading as a man of God.