Goff Supports His High Commissioner's Outburst
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Goff Supports His High Commissioner's Outburst Against Fiji
* See this Pacific Journalism Online report for updates: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/usp28awards00.html
WELLINGTON (Pacnews): New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has supported claims by the nation's High Commissioner to Fiji that some people behind Fiji's coup had not yet faced justice, Pacnews reports.
Goff said High Commissioner Tia Barrett had his full backing and support - saying the statement was factual. He said George Speight was not the mastermind of the coup and that "more important people" that have yet to be brought to account - but are unlikely to ever be charged.
Both members of Fiji's interim government and Fijian police officials have said Barrett should refrain from making such comments unless he has hard evidence to support them.
In what's believed to be his strongest criticism ever since Fiji's elected government was ousted in a coup on May 19, the Kiwi envoy said it was "incredible" that the instigators of the overthrow have yet to face justice.
"Those responsible for the upheavals in Fiji are yet to face justice, and it seems incredible that this has not been done, despite the wealth of information available," Barrett told journalism students at the University of the South Pacific in Suva last Friday (November 24).
"More disturbing still and a cause for wide concern is the continued absence of democratic institutions in Fiji to express the will of the people."
"The recent High Court decision is a reminder that there is still time to bring Fiji back on the path of responsible nationhood. We from New Zealand express ourselves in this way, not to browbeat Fiji, but to remind Fiji that the alternatives to democracy are ugly and undesirable."
"Dictatorships, one party states, and other forms of demagogy do not belong in the Pacific. All of us in this part of the world must be concerned if our ocean of peace becomes a sea of turmoil."