15 Sep 2011

Cook Islands MP lashes out at Fiji's Bainimarama

7:22 pm on 15 September 2011

An outspoken Cook Islands MP has described Fiji's interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama as a despotic tyrant and says there's no way the Cook Islands should accommodate him at next year's Pacific Leaders Forum summit in Rarotonga.

MP Norman George compared Mr Bainimarama to Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein.

His comments follow suggestions by the Cook Islands deputy opposition leader, Wilkie Rasmussen, that there should be more dialogue over Fiji being re-admitted to the Forum.

He says the Cook Islands could benefit from stronger ties with Fiji and, as Forum host, the government should use its own initiative and not be dictated to by Australia and New Zealand.

But Mr George was strongly critical of the regime's abolition of the constitution and the council of chiefs, the refusal to go to elections and the supression of free speech.

He says he hasn't visited Fiji since the 2006 coup and won't return until elections are held.