Friends in Fiji
Subject: We are Safe...
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 22:42:33 +1200
From: Durf Boglharp

Yes we are safe but we now are under martial law with the Commander of the
FMF as Prime Minister and a 48 hour curfew in place - can't even have a
game of golf tomorrow....

Firstly we are totally safe in (Suva suburb), in fact even if we were in
Suva, the situation would be much the same, and unless you were one of the
curious and in the wrong place in the wrong time, life would continue as

With one exception - the numbing awareness of the irreparable damage that
is being inflicted to Fiji whose motto used to be "Fiji - the way the world
should be."

The ease that the "civilian takeover" of the democratically elected
government occurred, the organised disregard for law and order, and the way
in which Speight, a man with a dubious background and questionable morals
and ethics, has held the country to ransom and blackmailed all authorities
by holding members of cabinet at gunpoint as hostages.

The main reason that situation has not been resolved so far, is an
overwhelming desire, by the President, Police and the Army to avoid
bloodshed, and this commendable attitude has enabled Speight to reject all
proposals including a 10 point plan from the Great Council of Chiefs, the
highest council of the indigenous peoples, whose rights, Speight claims to
be representing.

Speight basically wants the President, Ratu Mara removed, the constitution
abrogated and total amnesty for all those involved. As he has already
overthrown a democratically elected Government in an act of terrorism, if
he gets his way, the repercussions for Fiji will be disastrous, with
international trade and aid boycotts, severance of sporting ties, much like
South Africa experienced during the apartheid period.

Whilst one could continue to enjoy living in Fiji after being returned to
the "dark ages", it his amnesty request that is of most concern. Unless
Speight and his band of thugs are arrested and charged with treason, there
will be no warning to those in the future who are unhappy with whatever and
wish to change whatever by criminal means. Law and order has already taken
a huge dive, with national honour and integrity has been savagely eroded.

We are not convinced that the championing of indigenous peoples rights is
the reason for the civilian coupe, but moreso that Speight is being used
by a group made up of politicians who lost the last election, greedy
businessmen and an assembly of disgruntled, trouble-making, bankrupt,
drunken, loser riff raff, further description eludes me but IÕm sure the
picture I paint will not escape you!!!!!!

Police in Fiji do not have guns, this is one of the attractions or should I
say, maybe, was one of the attractions of living here. As a result they
have been unable to control the armed dissidents who walk through
checkpoints and roadblocks with impunity.As the impasse continues and
dialogue wears thin, it would appear that other solutions will have to be
attempted with the consequent risk to the lives of the captors and the
captives. Obviously the situation is extremely complex, but sometimes the
risk of immediate peril has to be risked to maintain a more secure
governableable future.

Fiji was a safe proud country, which I fear will never recover from this
unprecedented blatant act of terrorism.

Hopefully our next email will include some good news.

Best wishes




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