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Big-Money, And Loss Of Power And Influence

Big-Money, And Loss Of Power And Influence Behind Terrorists - Vesikula

Issue No: 270 8 December 2000

Big money, power and influence on government decision making were behind the terrorist activities which attempted to bring down the People's Coalition government, says Ratu Meli Vesikula.

In an interview published in today's Fiji Sun, Vesikula called for the reinstatement of the 1997 Constitution, the president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and the People's Coalition Government.

Vesikula, a former British army officer and terrorist Ilisoni Ligairi's mate, was an active right wing Taukei Movement member until he denounced the Movement and apologised for his misdeeds in early 1990's. He was also a minister in the Rabuka cabinet after Rabuka's 1987 coup.

Vesikula stated that he doubted if George Speight and Ilisoni Ligairi were the leaders of the terrorists. He stated:

"I have no doubt they were used. I think the power of big money is involved here and that we haven't seen the last of it yet. Only one thing could have explained why those young soldiers were behaving the way they did all those weeks, and that is the promise of big money. Se we have to be on our guard, all of us".

Vesikula's views are confirmed by hostages who heard the armed terrorists grumbling about not being paid the promised money. During the fourth and fifth weeks, when it was strongly believed by the terrorists that they would get an amnesty and hostages released, some hostages overheard terrorists discussing late at night the impending release and saying that if they were not paid, they will takeover the hostages and not release them.

On the question of who were behind the terrorists, Vesikula stated:

"Some of them have been part of the power structure for a long time before 1987 and they have again been in control for all but 12 months since then. Speight is a businessman interested in winning government's big-money contracts. The stakes are high. People can draw their own conclusions from that".

There have been strong rumours that many prominent businessmen, including ethnic Indian businessmen, funded the terrorists. Police say they are investigation the businessmen.

Vesikula strongly refuted the claim that the terrorist uprising was an indigenous struggle. He stated:

"I don't know why it has been called that! As far as I can see, we elected our MPs to go and speak on our behalf and fight our corner, so to speak, in a mature and responsible way. How they have ended up plotting the overthrow of government and creating fear among us is beyond the ordinary indigenous person's understanding. Indigenous struggle? Never."

Vesikula also criticised the Inquiry Board report on Isikia Savua, saying that the big players were getting away free while ordinary indigenous Fijians were becoming the victims of the judicial processes. On Savua, he endorsed the question: "If the Police Commissioner was innocent what on earth was he doing speaking to Speight on his mobile phone at the height of the rioting and looting?"

Vesikula also stated that the Military commander, Com. Frank Bainimarama was wrongly advised to put aside the President and abrogate the 1997 Constitution. He says now the military should help in their reinstatement.

END 8 December 2000


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