5 Sep 2011

Wikileaks report Bainimarama's 2000 coup thoughts

5:42 am on 5 September 2011

A leaked diplomatic cable says Fiji's interim Prime Minister told officials he should never have handed back power after the 2000 coup, and should have ruled for as long as 40 years.

The cable, released by the organisation Wikileaks, details a conversation between the then Police Commissioner, Australian Andrew Hughes, and Commodore Frank Bainimarama in February 2006.

Megan Whelan reports.

"The cable, written by then ambassador, Larry Dinger, quotes Andrew Hughes as saying Commodore Bainimarama signalled his willingness to remove Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and place himself in power, if the SDL won the election. It says the Commodore railed against what he called the evil, corrupt, cannibalistic Qarase government and expressed regret for putting Mr Qarase in power during the events of 2000. He said he should have retained power himself, for five, 10 or even 40 years. Commissioner Hughes noted that the Commander's views varied from benign to a sense that military intervention was nearly inevitable. He commented that the Commodore did not care about a possible loss of aid from Australia, the United States and New Zealand."