25 Sep 2006

Fiji's Bainimarama speaks out after advice from US general

5:05 pm on 25 September 2006

Fiji's military commander says he has begun speaking out on government policies again following advice from a United States army general.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama was referring to his warning that Fiji will return to grass skirts, canoes and cannibalism if divisive Bills like the Qoliqoli and Lands Claims Tribunal legislation continue to be pushed by selfish and greedy politicians.

He has told the Fiji Sun newspaper that that he was motivated to speak out by the challenge issued by the commander of US troops in the Pacific, Lieutenant General John Brown, when he spoke at the Pacific Armies Management Seminar at Nadi this month.

General Brown had told the seminar involving senior military officers from 30 Asian and Pacific countries, that divisive issues "should not be faced with politeness but with honesty."

Commodore Bainimarama says in Fijian there is an expression that in one should address something that is wrong right there and then, rather than holding back or keeping quiet.

He says in the past the military has been targetted for not being polite in terms of Fijian protocol when it spoke of difficult issues that confront Fiji.

Commodore Bainimarama says speaking out is the stand the military will take from now on.