28 Feb 2006

Fiji military frustrated over top-level talks

4:22 pm on 28 February 2006

Fiji's military says the public has a right to know that government officials are obstructing its progress.

The military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is briefing the acting president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, today about the difficulties the military has faced in dealing with government officials.

A military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa, says senior military officers have advised Commodore Bainimarama to stop his fortnightly meetings with the Prime Minister.

"The meetings appear to be an exercise in futility because the issues that had caused the initial meeting to be brokered by his excellency, hadn't even be resolved. Or if they have been resolved or at least worked on, we haven't been advised on what the decisions are."

Lt Col Rabukawaqa says the military's job evaluation and increases in ration allowances have all been budgeted for in this year's budget.

But he says the ministry of finance is not releasing the funds because the minister of home affairs, Josefa Vosanibola, has not signed the necessary paperwork.