Despite a landslide election win and claims of nationwide popularity, the security cordon around Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has not weakened. In fact, once it became obvious that he had won the election, troops guarding his residence stepped up their alert levels. For several months they had stood at the gates to his Ratu Sukuna home with sidearms only. Now they maintain their posts in full battle gear. His retinue of six to eight armed gurads continues to travel with Bainimarama as he remains Fiji’s most heavily guarded leader in history. A similar human cordon surrounds Bainimarama’s closest ally, Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Tight security was in place as Bainimarama was sworn in at Government Houselast month with armed soldiers patrolling the gardens and manning the three gates to the Presidential residence on Suva’s Queen Elizabeth Drive. The usual single army sentry and orderly at the main gate were supported on the day by four police officers and three soldiers in full combat gear including helmets and live ammunition. There have been no public threats to the safety of the two men or the government after the election. No reason has been given for the high level of security.
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