|Khaiyum: Caught on the hop and not happy with today's meeting with Carr and McCully. pics MINFO|
Not quite a tantrum but pretty close.
Fiji's acting prime minister was clearly not happy today with the way his meeting went with the Pacific Forum's Ministerial Contact Group, led by Australia's Bob Carr and New Zealand's Murray McCully.
Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has accused the group of being too narrow in its approach saying it's not meeting a wide range of people. How so? He says of the 74 trade unions and other organisations the MCG could've met with, it chose 'those who are against the government'.
"This afternoon they are meeting the trade unions and they are only meeting Pramod Rae, Rajeshwar Singh, Attar Singh and Felix Anthony. Felix Anthony we will turn around and say – well, he represents FTUC - but the point is there are many other organisations that do not actively participate in FTUC, so I don’t think it’s a very inclusive process on their part.”
Sayed-Khaiyum complained to local media the Contact Group only met with him for about 20 minutes and 'they seemed to be in a rush.' He said they also interrupted him during his briefing, saying he needs to be brief because they had more questions.
And he was huffy about being asked about the role of the army in the future, especially after the planned 2014 elections.
“They asked me if there is any reserve seats for the military, I don’t know where they got the idea from – Bob Carr asked that question and as all of you know, you live in Fiji .... nothing like that has ever been mentioned, nobody has ever said that."
But Carr was right to zoom in on the all important issue of military representation: it continues to be a major worry for many and is nowhere near being resolved, with even Constitution Commission chair Yash Ghai steering clear of it.
A rather smarmy Khaiyum was all false outrage. “I was amused with Carr’s question. There has been no proposal saying that there will be seats reserved for the military because no seats will be reserved for anyone."
Khaiyum was happier with safer subjects. McCully asked how New Zealand could be useful with voter registration and Khaiyum replied: “One way they can help us is to provide the technical support we need."
The Contact Group has also today met with SDL leader Laisenia Qarase, the Fiji Labour party leader Mahendra Chaudhry and the Opposition leader, Mick Beddoes. Tonight, they talk to media.