An apology by Major General Sitiveni Rabuka for the two military coups he carried out in Fiji almost 25 years ago is “too little, too late”, says a New Zealand based Fiji democracy group.
Rabuka, who went on to serve two terms as Fiji’s Prime Minister, issued a public apology on New Year’s day "for the wrong" he committed in 1987.
Then a Lieutenant-Colonel, Rabuka imposed military rule in Fiji on May 14, 1987, after taking over control of the Indian dominated Labour Government at gunpoint in a bloodless coup.
Auckland based Coalition for Democracy in Fiji spokesman Nik Naidu said it easy was for many offenders to say sorry.
“In Rabuka’s case, sorry is not good enough as he hasn’t told us who was behind the coups,” Naidu told the Indian Weekender.
“We have forgiven him long time ago for destroying our lives, but for him to redeem himself, he needs to publicly tell everyone who was behind the coups.
“If he (Rabuka) really wants forgiveness, he should come out clean, and then we can all move forward,” Naidu said.
"My actions damaged Fiji," Rabuka said in paid statements placed in the Fiji print media published on Monday, January 1, 2012.
"I speak also as Fiji prepares to enter into national dialogue and consultation in readiness for a return to rule by the people in accordance with constitutional law," he said.
Rabuka said his apology was generally directed to Fiji as a whole, and specifically to the innocents who suffered "anguish, torment and hurt as a result of my actions".
He said the victims were individuals, families, communities and ethnic and religious groups; and other countries were also offended by his coups.
"I know that the legacy of my military takeover remains and I am sorry for it. I have made specific and personal presentations of apology to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
"I have made similar presentations of apology to the families and chiefs, and people of the late Dr Timoci Uluivuda Bavadra, the late Ratu Sir Penaia Kanatabatu Ganilau, the former Commander of the then Royal Fiji Military Forces, Brigadier Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and the former Chief of Staff of the then Royal Fiji Military Forces, Lieutenant Colonel James Sanday."
Rabuka said he had previously made general statements of apology to the leaders and members of the National Federation Party, Fiji Labour Party, and members of the community of Indian descent and their religious leaders.
He apologised to all members and officers of Her Majesty's government and Parliament of Fiji of 1987, and all the judges and officers of Her Majesty's Courts of Fiji of that year.
"I apologise to the chiefly households of Fiji for breaking the close and intimate relationship they enjoyed with the Royal Family of England, established by their chiefly ancestors who ceded these islands to Queen Victoria in 1874.
He also apologised to the military, the police and other disciplined Forces."
Rabuka also offered a general apology, particularly for those whose families were torn apart when members were forced to migrate in search of security and conditions elsewhere.