back to new archives for 20-26 July, 2000
PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT
Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai'i at Manoa
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COMMENTARY: MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY IN FIJI
July 22, 2000
By Raymond Croxon Q C.

The Government of Fiji must seek help from the United Nations, UK, Australia
and New Zealand indeed all the sympathetic countries of the world to
re-establish the government's right to govern and to establish law and
order.
It is in my view that a concerted effort must be made by Fiji to persuade
these countries to grapple with the need to provide a relatively small
military force to re-establish proper law and order on the island and so
that the Fijian government and the law enforcement facilities of the island
can take back the proper and permanent command of the island.
History shows that this is possible, but the army needs to be given clear
instructions as to what to do and where it's duties lie if another
insurrection were to be attempted. Breach of these instructions should be
clearly defined as being treason the punishment for which is death.
The Government never gave in to Speight and his thugs. The purported
dismissal of the government by the army as decreed by the Chief Justice was
unlawful. The failure of the army to secure the release of the government
was unlawful. One has to ask the question, what on earth did the Chief
Justice of Fiji imagine he was doing when obeying the command of Speight
made through his apparent agent the head of the army and writing an illegal
decree suspending the government.
He was challenged about this by then Fijian Law Society who asked upon what
legal authority he had acted. He did not give a satisfactory answer. The
separation of powers which is the backbone of democracy should have led the
Chief Justice to do the opposite of what he did. He should have ordered or
advised the army to release the government and to arrest Speight.
It was known by everyone on the island that Speight had been charged with
fraud. He was acting against the government and the State of Fiji. He should
not escape this serious crime by mounting an insurrection based upon a
racist creed. The fact that the Chief Justice assisted him in this plan,
beggars belief.
To suggest that he the Chief Justice complied with the request of the army
to write a decree suspending the government because he was asked to do so,
is an excuse he has many times rejected if put forward by a criminal on
appeal seeking to blame others for the crime he committed. To pretend that
the government had ceased operating as though it was their choice to do so,
when it was in fact made impotent by the unlawful and treacherous acts of
Speight, was naive and blatantly dishonest. For the Chief Justice to join in
and give comfort and support to this outrageous racist attack on anyone who
had ancestors who were Indians, is wholly unacceptable. The Chief Justice
asks whether he should resign. The answer is he has no option but to resign
he has in fact given aid and comfort to Speight and his thugs the enemies of
the Fiji State.
Anyone who racially attacks and deprives half of the lawful citizens of a
country of any legal or other rights, and treats them like slaves, is a
serious enemy of the state. It would hardly be surprising if he and his
thugs, who have already committed almost every crime in the book including
the crimes of murder, serious physical assault, pillage and rape against
their fellow Fijians went on to start the genocide of every Fijian who had
an Indian forebear.
The first step of the government must surely be to secure the island from
any further criminal disturbance and ensure that those who are responsible
for what has happened are deprived of all power and command and their
possessions confiscated and brought to justice. Confiscation is necessary in
order to secure money to go towards relieving those seriously physically or
mentally injured by the insurrection. For the Chief Justice to side with
Speight's decision and act to unlawfully imprison members of the previous
government was an incredible misjudgment and can only be rationalized on the
basis that he was prepared and signed the decree of dismissal or suspension
of the government because the Chief Justice approved of the actions and
beliefs of Speight, as did the army.
In other words there was a conspiracy by Speight, the leaders of the army
and the Head of the Judiciary to bring down the elected Government of Fiji
because it had dared to accuse one of their members of committing a crime. A
lot more may yet come to light, but this wicked connivance must be exposed
to the cleansing rays of daylight and those responsible for it brought
firmly to justice.
Only then will the Fijians be able to return to the task of building a new
Fiji where everyone will have equal rights as enshrined in the Bill of Human
Rights the adoption of which (if not already done) should be the first
enactment of the restored government to introduce.
If my writing sounds angry, the answer is that I am! We have been down this
road before, but we are back to where we started. I think this has happened
once too many times. This must not be allowed to happen again. The harm that
has been done this time is far worse than any previous coup, the very fabric
of the island has been damaged and there will be much to do to get the
country back to its pre-coup state.
The sooner the machinations of Speight and those with him are brought to
justice the better it will be for all the fair minded and loyal Fijians who
have supported the establishment and continuation of the government.
QUESTION IS: Are we going to just sit there and allow the rape of our
beautiful country by a few criminal elements with their own ulterior motives
do something before we reach the unfathomable chasm?
CONTACT:
Dr Yusuf Roshan
331 City Road London EC1V 1LJ
Office Tel: +44 (0) 20 7713 7377 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7713 7378
Home Tel: +44 (0) 1474 872 908
Email: yusuf.roshan@which.net

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last revision July 26, 2000