Reflections on the Political Crisis in Fiji

Edited by: Brij V. Lal, Michael Pretes

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May 19, 2000. Fiji’s democratically elected multiracial government is hijacked by a group of armed gunmen led by George Speight, and held hostage for fifty days. Suva, the capital, is torched and looted as Speight’s supporters gather on the lawns of the parliamentary complex, dancing, cooking food, celebrating the purported abrogation of the constitution that brought the People’s Coalition government to power. The country is plunged into darkness yet again, enduring the pain of three coups in a period of just thirteen years. The process of healing and reconciliation, symbolised by the enactment of a new Constitution, unanimously approved by Parliament and blessed by the powerful Great Council of Chiefs, lies discarded, as winds of ethnic chauvinism sweep through the countryside, damaging the fragile fabric of multiculturalism that was carefully constructed by so many over many years. The economy is on the brink of collapse, investor confidence has vanished, and the best and the brightest are seeking succour on other shores. Fiji falls victim, yet again, to the prejudice and greed of a section of its people.

This book gathers together a handful of memoirs of those tragic events in Fiji. They were written while the gun was still smoking; personal, anguished reactions of people from all walks of life, concerned about a country they all love but deeply distressed by the developments there. They are first reactions. They will in time become essential building blocks for a larger interpretive framework of academic analysis about origins, processes and impacts. Straight from the heart, these memoirs will be remembered as the people of Fiji and their friends elsewhere contemplate the wreckage and ruin brought about by that act of madness in the month of May 2000.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Dec 2008
First edition © 2001 Pandanus Books
ANU Press
Law; Social Sciences: Politics & International Studies
Pacific: Fiji

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  1. (PDF, 56KB)Brij V. Lal doi
  2. The Sun Set at Noon Today (PDF, 70KB)Brij V. Lal doi
  3. An Historic View of Fiji (PDF, 53KB)Hugh Laracy doi
  4. Refections on the Civilian Coup in Fiji (PDF, 53KB)Tevita Baleiwaqa doi
  5. An Analysis of the Current Political Crisis in Fiji (PDF, 43KB)Teresia Teaiwa doi
  6. Constitutional Order in Multi-Ethnic Societies (PDF, 41KB)Yash Ghai doi
  7. Thoughts on Fiji’s Third Coup D’Etat (PDF, 57KB)Mere Tuisalalo Samisoni doi
  8. On Being Fijian (PDF, 61KB)Taina Woodward doi
  9. Outcasts of the Pacific (PDF, 42KB)Usha Sundar Harris doi
  10. Race, Speight and the Crisis in Fiji (PDF, 47KB)Vijay Mishra doi
  11. Peace in Fiji (PDF, 44KB)John D. Kelly and Martha Kaplan doi
  12. On Reconciliation (PDF, 37KB)Christine Weir doi
  13. Two Countries Called Fiji (PDF, 66KB)Bruce Connew doi
  14. Living in Unusual Times (PDF, 62KB)Sir Vijay R. Singh doi
  15. Who Will Pick up the Pieces? (PDF, 39KB)Daryl Tarte doi
  16. Fiji Villagers’ Bus Trip to Freedom (PDF, 43KB)Phil Thornton doi
  17. Guns and Money (PDF, 47KB)Mark Revington doi
  18. Conversations at Mahendra Chaudhry’s Home (PDF, 42KB)Jone Dakuvula doi
  19. Fiji’s New Western Confederacy (PDF, 51KB)Roderick Ewins doi
  20. The ‘Ghostly Smell’ of Indian Coolies too Strong for Speight (PDF, 43KB)Victor Lal doi
  21. The Race Bandwagon (PDF, 62KB)Sanjay Ramesh doi
  22. The Strange Saga of Speight’s Siege in Suva (PDF, 75KB)Graeme Dobell doi
  23. Chaudhry’s Last Public Address before He Was Made Hostage (PDF, 63KB)Mahendra Chaudhry doi
  24. Confidential Draft and Statement of 22 May 2000 (PDF, 48KB)George Speight doi
  25. Statement to the Commonwealth by the Fiji People’s Coalition Government (PDF, 52KB)Hon. Pratap Chand and Hon. Jokapeci Koroi doi
  26. Statement to the Members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group (PDF, 53KB)Felix Anthony doi
  27. Statement of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma on the Armed Seizure of Government (PDF, 55KB)Iliatia Sevati Tuwere doi
  28. A Public Statement by the President of the Methodist Church in Fiji (PDF, 49KB)Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi doi

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