22 Aug 2011

Fiji Methodist Church conference reportedly cancelled by interim regime

7:54 pm on 22 August 2011

Fiji media is reporting the Methodist Church annual conference scheduled to start today has been cancelled by the interim Fiji government.

A government spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, is reported as saying that church senior officials have not been abiding by the permit conditions.

Efforts to get confirmation from Colonel Leweni were unsuccessful.

The interim regime had banned the last two annual conferences but gave the go ahead for a three day conference if the church avoided commenting on political issues.

In the lead-up Methodist officials had met several times to consider a directive from Commodore Bainimarama that its leaders not conduct any of the sessions during the conference, but its spokesperson, the Reverend Tevita Banivanua. says the church's constitution is paramount.

He says he's still to hear the government's decision.

"I did not watch the news on TV, but someone just rang to say there was an item in the news about the meeting being cancelled, the conference being cancelled. So I received a call from the military and so I will be going up to see them at eight. That is probably when they will share with me the decision they have made."