16 Nov 2006

Fiji home affairs blames stand-off on bad advice

5:18 pm on 16 November 2006

Fiji's minister for home affairs has blamed bad advice being provided to Commodore Frank Bainimarama for the continuing stand off between the government and the military.

Josefa Vosanibola says the assertion by Commodore Bainimarama that the military has a role to play in the political life of the country is threatening to undermine the rule of law in Fiji.

Among other things Commodore Bainimarama wants the prime minister to order police to suspend all investigations into his recent public statements, remove the Australian police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, and disband the Police Tactical Response Unit.

He has accused Mr Hughes of being involved in the government's failed attempt to remove him as commander two weeks ago.

But Mr Vosanibola told parliament today that he will ensure that police investigations continue.

The home affairs minister said if the former vice president Seniloli and the former prime minister Rabuka can front up in court, there is no reason for anyone else not to.

Mr Vosanibola has called on Commodore Bainimarama to await the Supreme Court ruling on the military's proper role under the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Commodore Bainimarama has cancelled a news conference he had scheduled for today on the advice of his senior officers who have told him not to speak publicly while important examinations for school children are under way.