The passing of former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase
Wednesday 22nd April 2020
Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s ability to successfully lead a genuine multiparty cabinet after the May 2006 general elections, demonstrated his ability and uniqueness to espouse genuine power-sharing, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Mr Qarase died at the Oceania Private Hospital yesterday morning after a short illness.
Professor Prasad said the formation of the multiparty cabinet with the inclusion of 9 Ministers from his political opponents, who included veteran politician Krishna Datt, showed Mr Qarase’s absolute trust and faith in the 1997 Constitution and the Korolevu Declaration that outlined why a multiparty cabinet was extremely important for Fiji.
“Unfortunately, this genuine power-sharing for the first time in our independent history was tragically cut short after 6 months by the military coup of 5th December, 2006”.
“Mr Qarase will also be remembered for stabilising the economy after the May 2000 coup and maintaining a relatively stable economy during his 6-year term as PM”.
“Under his stewardship of government, the Exim Bank of India agreed to lend $85 million for sugar mills upgrade project at a minimal interest rate of 1.5% to be paid over 15 years. He didn’t get the opportunity to see its proper implementation because of the coup”.
“He had also announced in September 2006, the inflow and implementation of major sugar industry reforms over 7 years of a $350 million grant from the European Union that would have significantly boosted the livelihood of our cane growers and provided them alternative livelihoods through diversification”.
“But that money was withheld by the EU and eventually lost after the coup”.
“Personally, I first came into contact with Mr Qarase during my brief employment with Fiji Development Bank of which he was the Chief Executive”.
“He was always transparent and conducted himself ethically in all his dealings. He accepted constructive criticism and alternative ideas both as a CEO and as PM”.
“The NFP expresses its deepest condolences to Mr Qarase’s wife Leba and their children and family members”.
“May God grant them courage to bear their irreplaceable loss and provide them comfort in their hour of grief”.