13 Jul 2005

Fiji Times says government bowing to public pressure

7:06 pm on 13 July 2005

The Fiji Times says the government is finally bowing to public pressure over the contentious Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

A spokesman for the newspaper, Steve McCully, made the comment after the government ran a four-page advertisement about the bill in the country's daily newspapers.

Mr McCully says that in the advertisement the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has given the first indication that the bill could be amended before it becomes law.

"The government has been fairly rigid up to this point saying that the bill would go through parliament unchanged. The Attorney General who's been a very strong supporter of it has been saying they haven't received any suggested amendments to the bill that were satisfactory. This is the first hint that the government is starting to react to public pressure over here."

Mr McCully says Mr Qarase promises that the police and the prosecutions office will be consulted before cases relating to the coup are dealt with.

He says he further claims that advice is being sought from legal experts to ensure that the integrity and independence of the two institutions are maintained.