A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, by Brij V Lal

By Brij V Lal

A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which came about in Suva and London in addition to the politics and methods which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after ninety six years of colonial rule. It offers a vital history to figuring out the crises and convulsions that have haunted Fiji ever due to the fact that in its look for a constitutional cost for its multiethnic inhabitants.

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Additional info for A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970

Sample text

He had been chief secretary in British Guiana in 1956 when Cheddi Jagan’s Peoples Progressive Party had accused the government of gerrymandering the division of constituencies to favour its opponent, Forbes Burnham. Surviving the controversy, Jakeway left to serve as chief secretary in the former British protectorate of Sarawak, which became part of the Malaysian Federation in 1963. In Sarawak, he came to know first hand the service of Fijian soldiers fighting the Chinese communist insurgency in the 1950s.

12 If Amery’s view were accepted, Poynton went on: 29 A Time Bomb Lies Buried We should be left perpetually holding the ring between what in effect amounted to two separate administrations and communities in Fiji. This might be all right for a time and might get us out of some immediate political difficulties. But the time is bound to come when there is a demand for at least full internal self-government in Fiji and possibly even national independence — especially when New Zealand grants Western Samoa independence next year.

Nor did it appreciate that not all Indo-Fijians wanted multiracial self-government; many had a prudent and pragmatic appreciation of the Fijian position. Of course, Britain could not be expected to hold on to Fiji indefinitely, but it was too soon to announce that policy publicly. Nor was it wise of London to be preoccupied with long-term goals. The best way forward was to prepare the ground for internal self-government, and acknowledge the special position of the Fijians, perhaps through a Treaty of Friendship similar to the one enjoyed by Tonga.

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