19 Jul 2005

Chaudhry writes another open letter to Fiji Prime Minister criticising controversial bill.

8:15 pm on 19 July 2005

Fiji's opposition leader has written his second open letter to the prime minister following Laisenia Qarase's four-page newspaper advertisement defending his government's controversial Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

Mahendra Chaudhry says Mr Qarase has chosen to depict the coup as arising from ethnic differences and division.

But Mr Chaudhry says the 2000 coup had nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with the greed and hunger for power of political opportunists and unscrupulous businessmen, who came from both the two main ethnic communities.

Mr Chaudhry says the groundswell of public opinion against the Bill has nothing to do with ethnicity and everything to do with law and order.

On Mr Qarase's statement that his government has worked hard at uniting the people and healing the hurt, Mr Chaudhry says the government has done nothing meaningful, and its reconciliation efforts have been a sham.

He says Mr Qarase has never consulted the victims of the coup to ask what they wanted.

Instead, Mr Chaudhry says, the prime minister has allowed his backbenchers, ministers and senators to engage in vitriolic racist attacks in parliament.

Mr Chaudhry says the Reconciliation and Unity Bill has nothing do with reconciliation but is deeply divisive, ethically wrong and unconstitutional, and is a recipe for future coups and terrorism.