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Another Threat Of Uprising From Qarase

Issue No: 189; 9 November 2000

Interim regime Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase has again threatened Fiji with violence much worse than that around 19 May if democracy was restored in Fiji.

According to Malcolm Brown of Sydney Morning Herald, Qarase stated: "If the Chaudhry Government was reinstated, I think what would follow would be worse than what happened on May 19".

Qarase's continuous threat of uprising is clear indication that he wants to cling to power at any cost.

The Fiji Labour Party has called for the prosecution of Qarase as well as his Information Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola for violating the Public Order Act.

Labour President, Mrs Jokapeci Koroi stated: "Qarase has a track record of constantly talking about an indigenous Fijian backlash whenever he is cornered". She stated: "He resorts to politics of fear and uses the race card to intimidate Indians in particular. His statements are equivalent to those from the late Sakeasi Butadroka who was jailed for inciting racial hatred."

Koroi also stated: "Not so long ago Ratu Inoke warned of instability should people's coalition leader Mahendra Chaudhry be allowed to appear on the Fiji TV Close Up programme."

Koroi called on the police to charge the two for inciting disaffection. She said. "Both openly resort to anti-Indian rhetoric contrary to the Public Order Act and should be prosecuted immediately."

Many people who were once sympathetic to Qarase because of his purported financial expertise have now begun to question his integrity and sincerity. Qarase was implicated in less than transparent activities in accepting a salary from a private commercial bank when he became the interim PM. He also had decided to stay in the private bank provided house. Only public pressure forced him to abandon these gifts.

Soon after was caught in a new-vehicle buying fiasco. Lately it has been revealed that his office not only granted a massive salary increase to himself and his ministers when the civil servants' wages were reduced by 12.5%, but it has also been found that his office wanted to get his ministers a constituency allowance as well.

Allegations of Qarase's involvement in the Fijian Holdings scheme of enriching, through taxpayer funds, a select group of indigenous Fijians at the expense of the ordinary indigenous Fijians have also come to light. Qarase then headed the Fiji Development Bank.

The People's Coalition Government had initiated a review of the Development Bank activities. The review was being conducted by the Asian Development Bank. Some now attribute Qarase's attempt to cling to power to the motivation to prevent any possible review report which would have exposed the irregular and financially imprudent conduct in the Bank during Qarase's term. Qarase was on the cabinet list of terrorist George Speight.

END 9 November 2000


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