18 May 2011

NZ and Australia need to get tough on Fiji says Mara

7:13 am on 18 May 2011

A former Fijian senior officer is urging New Zealand and Australia to get tougher on Fiji, saying it's the only way to bring about change to the regime of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara fled Fiji for Tonga and says he will be speaking out about the growing poverty, unemployment and debt in Fiji.

He says many of the army officers involved in the 2006 coup - which brought Commodore Bainimarama to power - agree with him, but are afraid to speak out.

He says Fiji's people can do nothing, meaning the fate of the country lies in the hands of other governments.

"The regional countries have to take a more harder stance against Fiji, in particular Australia and New Zealand. There has been a lot of talk that they want Fiji to return back to elections in 2014 but no one is really interested in going to see to the ground to see what is happening in Fiji."

Colonel Mara says he hopes publicity about him will prompt more interest in what's happening in Fiji.