Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Royal Commonwealth Society: Announcements

From: Catherine Clark
Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 9:19 PM
Subject: The Royal Commonwealth Society

I hope you do not mind me dropping you a note but my colleague Zoe Ware at the Royal Commonwealth Society said how supportive and helpful you had been during the Commonwealth Conversation project that she was running last year and I wondered if I might mention a couple of our other projects.

As you already know, the RCS is a global education charity which runs, amongst other things, two important international projects for young people every year:


We are thrilled that the Rwandan government have agreed to host the 2010 Nkabom Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme in Kigali, Rwanda between 5th and 15th September.

Through a busy, interactive 10 day programme Nkabom unites 18- to 25-year-olds from across the globe in a different Commonwealth location every two years. Participants explore conflict resolution, build friendships, exchange ideas and foster a network of young leaders who can pioneer peacebuilding initiatives in their communities and beyond.

Applications to the Nkabom programme are now open (deadline 9th May), and we would be very grateful if you could help us to spread the word as widely as possible.


The RCS has a rich history of engaging young people in current affairs through creative expression. For the first time in 2010, our Young Commonwealth Competitions will bring together the world's oldest and largest school's Essay Competition (run by the RCS since 1883), our Vision Awards film competition and the Commonwealth Photographic Awards. Our competitions already attract entries from more than 60,000 young people around the world, and this year we will be actively seeking to engage even more!

Competition deadlines are 1st May (Essay), 1st June (Photography) and 1st July (Film).

In 2010 we are striving to reach even more young people so that as many as possible have the chance to take part in these projects.

To make this happen, we would be really grateful if you could send it around to the schools, teachers, universities, youth groups and other networks that you have in the Fijian community in New Zealand.

I shall very much look forward to hearing from you and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have the slightest query.

Best wishes Catherine

Catherine ClarkCompetitions Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7766 9204Fax: +44 (0)20 7930 9705

Did you know the RCS has just launched the Young Commonwealth Competitions and the Nkabom Youth leadership programme? Visit to find out more about these exciting projects… The Royal Commonwealth Society is a Registered Charity in England and Wales and a Body Incorporated by Royal Charter. Registered Charity No: 226748. Registered office: 25 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5AP.

Over 60,000 young people enter our Competitions every year. But our winners are often those picking up a camera or putting pen to paper for the very first time. Don,t be put off! We,re not looking for perfection. We,re looking for a creative spark, a unique insight, a new idea...

Enter the Royal Commonwealth Society,s
Young Commonwealth Competitions!
These prestigious awards, open to anybody under the age of 30 living in a Commonwealth country, encourage creative responses to global challenges and offer a unique international platform for young talent.

Enter one of our Competitions and you could:

Take part in expert workshops with leading figures in your creative field
Meet famous authors, film directors, and photographers at a Gala
Awards Ceremony held in Central London’s Commonwealth Club
Visit the BBC’s global headquarters, Buckingham Palace, the Commonwealth
Secretariat and other high-profile venues in the UK’s capital city
See your work exhibited in different locations around London and
featured in the press worldwide
Attend a show in London’s West End and take part in drama workshops
Win cash prizes and camera equipment
Meet other young people from around the world who share your interests
Through our Competitions we aim to:
Nurture the creative talent of young people
Encourage young people to respond to current international issues
Enable young people to share their thoughts with peers around the world
Give young people a safe, creative forum for their ideas and a global
platform for their talent
Promote the use of the English language

The Young Commonwealth Competitions take a different theme each year. In 2010, the focus is on Science, Technology and Society. We want to encourage you to think about the role that science and technology can play in helping to tackle challenges faced by your own community, or those living in another part of the world.

Keep reading to find out how you can enter our Essay, Film or Photography Competitions...
Commonwealth Essay Competition
Run by the RCS for over 100 years, this is the world’s oldest and largest schools’ writing competition. Choose from a list of ten topics which all aim to fire your imagination on the theme Science, Technology and Society. Write us an essay or go creative and compose a story, a poem, a film script, a play… the possibilities are endless! We ask only that your entry must be your own original work.

Send us your entry by 1 May 2010.
For full details, please visit:
Commonwealth Photographic Awards
One powerful image can often say more than many pages of writing. If you want to make your response to the Science, Technology and Society theme an image, then start snapping! Whether you use a digital, analogue, or disposable camera – or even a mobile phone – we want to see your pictures. Send them in by 1 June 2010 and you’ll be in line for some fantastic prizes.
For full details, please visit:
Commonwealth Vision Awards
Aspiring young filmmakers are invited to make a 30-90 second film responding to the Science, Technology and Society theme. Submit your storyboard ideas, in written, picture or film format, by 6 April 2010 and you could win a seed grant of up to £1,000. Alternatively, submit your fully-made film via YouTube or post a hard copy before the closing date of 1 July 2010.
For full details, please visit:

Nkabom Flyer
The Commonwealth Leadership Program
Are in your community?
Are you committed to working with others to overcome conflict and injustice?
Do you consider yourself a 'global citizen' and want to learn from, and alongside, other young people from around the world?
If you answered yes to these questions then read on...!

About Nkabom
Nkabom means ‘coming together’ in the Ghanaian language of Twi and is the name for the RCS’s unique Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme.

Building on the success of projects in Malaysia, Ghana, the United Kingdom and Cyprus, Nkabom 2010 will take place in Rwanda.

The busy 10-day programme will bring together around 35 young people from all over the Commonwealth.

The programme will include:
Peacebuilding and leadership skills training;
Workshops and learning journeys to help participants develop an
understanding of the host country, the region and beyond;
Interactive activities with a range of innovative local and international
organisations who use sport, drama, art and the media to help bridge divides;
Meetings with prestigious leaders and local young people;
Peer-led and social sessions to encourage participants to share experiences.
“It was more than just learning... it changed
the way I look at life”
Previous Nkabom delegate from Trinidad and Tobago

Nkabom is unique. It:
Actively engages young people in international issues;
Fosters friendships and encourages the exchange of ideas among people from diverse cultural backgrounds;
Develops a network of young leaders who can pioneer and revitalise
initiatives in their communities, their countries and beyond;
Is directed by young people themselves.
If you are aged 18-25 and are from a commonwealth country, you are eligible to apply for a place in Nkabom 2010!
Find out much more at

Sunday, April 18, 2010

For a Better Fiji Community in Aotearoa.

This image depicts our ideal model to move forward for our various Fiji Communities here in Aotearoa. On 26th March, a task team of combine Fiji leaders hosted a 'round table' forum at Johnsonvill Community Centre in Wellington. A social networking than followed soon after.
This event was our contribution to Race Relations Day 2010 in Aotearoa. We were blessed to be joined by John Hayes MP who gave us some very interesting and thought provoking answers to alot of our questions as Fiji people living in NZ.

Mrs Joe Sinclair & Mr Ieti Tiatia from Statistics NZ gave us an eye opening view on how Fiji people are placed within the New Zealand population.
The task team in putting together this event discovered some interesting elements that pointed towards some questions;

Why are the various Fiji Community here in Wellington & around NZ, elect to stay on their own & not have dotted links to each other?
Why are the two dominant ethnic groups of Fijians & Indians not connecting and are seen to be competing against each other as to who shows Fiji more than the other?
Why are elements of Fijians [within Wellington groups] prefer to only associate within their niche group? eg When the Fiji Rugby Sevens arrived early February 2010, [Well done boys!!] there was a silent 'word by mouth' ads promoting the Fiji Village at Boatshed, downtown Wellywood. Door takings were charged at $10 per head for the final bash night on Saturday when Fiji won. We are told the Fiji team were at this event, nothing given to them for their pain? A bit dodgy!! We are even told the event & takings had only been known to two couples... [ i.e names withhold] Perhaps Fiji Wellingtonians need to be mindful of this when World Cup comes around in 2011 and ask some questions about this so called Fiji Village by the waterfront!!
Fijian Communities Church groups have also withdrawn themselves and so this has a domino effect into their own Provinces or Conferderates. We are compiling a report, as we write which will be made available in the near future.The sad point we note, with the backdrop of Fiji's situation under the Bainimarama's leadership, the Fiji people residing in Aotearoa feels the backlash in a big way.
Each group prefer to stay within their own groupings and do not interact with one another. Those that do inter-mingle are those that just wants to get on with their lives and not become overly involved with the politics of it all but still wants to join in and share what Fiji use to be all about. Smile, friendliness, etc etc
As a point of interest, we also tried to get a snap shot preview of whats happening to Fiji Communities in other big cities around Aotearoa. We note in particular, Auckland which hosted an event early this year and co-sponsored by Fiji's National airline and Fiji Visitors Bureau. Interestingly, it appears this Fiji Festival was almost an all Indian Affair.
[click link to view]
All in all, there are some of us who labour on 'with love for Fiji' and try and extend our hands of Friendship as shown here in this image below. We enjoyed the afternoon and learnt alot from each other.
Luvei Viti Team.
Successful Fiji Community Forum for Celebrating Race Relations Day
Ni sa Bula vinaka & Hello
Just a very short note to thank all those that took time out from their very busy schedules to grace us with your presence at the Fiji Community Forum held on Friday, 26 March, at the Johnsonville Community Centre, Wellington.
A SPECIAL big ‘Vinaka’ to Sai Lealea & Lawrence Nair for facilitating the roundtable forum as well as the Friends of Fiji networking. You both brought ‘great leadership , talents & skills’ to the forum. We are indebted to both of you for steering the dialogue in a way that it maintain a momentum of honesty, integrity and respect for all groups present.
There are a few others we would like to thank here and we will list their names below:

Chief Guest John Hayes – National MP for Wairarapa & Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee for a heads up on NZ & Fiji’s relationship.

Peter Dunne MP – for donating a ’signed bottle of wine’ to be auctioned.

Charles Chauvel MP - also for donating a ’signed bottle of wine’ for auction

Rose Sinclair & Ieti Tiatia – Statistics NZ for giving us such an indepth knowledge of where Fiji people sit in the wider Pasifika Community

Ms Sonja Gulliver – Te Papa for talking to us about ‘Tapa Skin Project’

Mrs Delta Doyle for sharing your family’s journey when your husband worked in Fiji as a lecturer at Nasinu Teachers’ College

Peter & Glenys Wood for your assistance leading up to the forum & sharing the remarkable story about ‘Imam & the Pastor’.

Christine Teiannang & the Fiji Banaban Community for being there and sharing your stories.

Jo [Tanagata Whenua] from Radio NZ International for taking an interest in us.
Special 'vinaka':
Those leaders from various Fiji Community groups who came with such enthusiasm and participated fully;

Sister Sarto from the Fiji Catholic Community.

Sister Josefa Tikomaisolomone for the Wairarapa Fiji Community for giving us an insight in what’s happening in the Wairarapa amongst the Fiji people there.

Rachael Leafe from Massey University for showing us some great plans Massey is doing for Pasifika students.

Dr Teresia Teaiwa from Victoria University for some great feedback on Pacific students progress.

The Task Team for working tirelessly over the last two months to plan the event at zero budget.
Last but not the least, the two bottles of wine donated by our favourite MPs were auctioned at the Friends of Fiji networking social.

We were able to raise approx $100 which we used to pay for the hall hire. Thank you Mike Kilioni for beginning the bid with $25.00. Much appreciated.

A report is being drafted and will be tabled after being vetted by the two facilitators, Sai Lealea & Lawrence Nair. Please feel free to email us if you wish to get a copy of the report.

Task Team for Combine ‘Wellington Fiji Community Groups’

Our facilitators Sai Lealea, Lawrence Nair, Semiti & Sera Leqakowailutu, Peter & Glenys Wood, Valencia Mar-Melesia, Adi Elisapeci Samanunu Waqanivalu
Ana @

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fijians are the Natives of Fiji: Fijiners for Others Perhaps as Citizen of Fiji. Why Have Khaiyum Destructed what Fijians Hold Dear?"[Click 'Avatar']

We have decided to run the article blogged by Na Dina:Fiji Truth as it posit some thought provoking challenges on 'Historical' wounds. Theres has been long drawn out TALKS
In a nutshell, below are few areas which sums up what we think.
  1. Fijians for being shafted-off their 'once-upon a time' home tuft [click header to view: refer Avatar Movie as a model!!]

  2. Europeans/Crown for being the First Contact & introducing Western ideologies at many levels. In December 1959, these Europeans were targetted by thugs and almost faced expulsion due to Trade Unionist Riots alledgedly led by James Anthony, a product of Indian Diaspora. European businesses/cars/houses etc were targetted. After evaluating damages after the Suva Riot, very little damage were done to Indian businesses as reported by Intelligence Unit at the time in Suva, experts said. The irony to this, urbanised Fijian like Apisai Tora jumped on the 'riot-bandwagon' influencing many Fijians who ended up in the Police cell. Who gets to be blamed: Fijians whilst the key perpertrators went home laughing!!
  3. Indian Diaspora Group that were brought in via the Indentured Labour system from their Motherland India. They are probably asking the Brits, 'why on earth were we brought to this little corner of the world so far from our Motherland? The Indians no doubt were targetted post Rabuka coup in 1987. [hey, some of us who were not Indians got our houses thrown, at with bottles & stones by thugs but we did not beg for refugee status overseas.Yet we survived the onslaught just like the Europeans did in the riot of 1959!!]

Banabans for being displaced from Ocean Island

Rotumans - Polynesian by nature, taken under Fiji's wings for its close location.

Others including - Melanesians, Pacific Islanders, Part Europeans etc

Whilst we try and argue the pros & cons of whats best for Fiji, the reality is the answer lies with the people and their values. Fijians, Banabans, Rotumans, Chinese, Europeans, Part Europeans, Melanesians, Pacific Islands, Indians and any other we have missed from the type of people that now make up Fiji's 'melting pot' population.

Certainly not the way Khaiyum et al [his unbalance representations at Council of Fiji Judiciary]. It is noted out of the 10 people [as can be seen in this image] that made the Judiciary in 2009, 05 are Indians, 03 Fijians, one looks Polynesian or Part European & 01 Rotuman or PI. Where then is a balance representation? This must be the biggest joke the regime can give to the people of Fiji.
Luvei Viti Think Tank @VUW. []

Read more;
Population Introduction to Fiji & Its Aftermath: Was it a Good Idea after all or A Bad Call?
Fiji's population has become a topic of interest for some experts/academics writing about Fiji. Here we have decided to run a ships log as captured by wikipedia on the movements of Indentured labourers from Indian betwen 1879 to 1916. It is interesting to note the numbers each trip makes are over the 800 mark with very few below 300.

As a Fijian, upon reflection on these hard facts, a thought that springs to mind, why so many Indians to a little island nation? What about the people that existed there? Who was orchestrating all these movements of people to and from India? Did someone realise that one day, these mix of people from two different end of the spectrum may not get along and clash badly at some point?

Fiji Democracy Now said...
We at Fiji Democracy Now wonder what your point is in this article. Blaming the colonial government for our present problems is the game played by the illegal regime.What we ought to focus our attention on is the damage being done to everyone in Fiji by the current regime. They're destroying the sugar industry and the tourism industry. The hardship they're inflicting is not confined to one race.
April 5, 2010 10:47 PM

Na Dina Fiji said...
The population Introduction and its aftermath to Fiji is a good idea, and anywhere else in the world for that matter. Why? the answer is simple because the new market economy requires customers to be measured by their human values, that is differentiated for their choice, will and satisfaction within a system that is linked by process.

This is done laterally in the population by race, age, religion, location, access to information communication technology (ICT), education level and type, income levels, industry etc and vertically by segments. Then by margins to know you customers and potential new customers for reserach methods, strategy making, policy and management from individual, organizational, national, regional and international levels that are aligned to the World Bank Administrative Structural Reforms in the Pacific Plan 2005, Millenium Development Goals and Paris Declaration 2004, 2005.

So population differentiation or diversity, to answer your question is market information and the ICT are the tools that go with it in the 21st century digital age, making policy or affirmative action, the issue to address needs as suffered by the Girmit Indentured Labour.

But strategic marketing is a recent science that holistically evolved from the sufferings of the people in the old economic order that was controlled by the centralized "eilte' few. Similarly, the Illegal Interim Regime (IIR) is using the same "elite" model to suppress market information based on bias (Samisoni 2008) and hanging onto power away from the people, as required under the Contonou Agreement Articles 8, 25 and 26.

To demonstrate just how inappropriate these policies are by not differentiating the market in the John Samy Military Peoples Charter, I have just returned from my village in Lomaloma, to find the people in my village still had not been given tents for shelter three weeks after Tomas.

Most of them were huddled in overcrowded homes that did have at least three quarters of the roof intact. But the radio message is about Finau Tabakaucoro preaching about Pedophiles.Who is worried about abnormal sex when basic needs of shelter, food, transportation water are the issue at hand.It is no wander that people like me, who speak out against the policies, regulations and governing by decrees are targeted to NOT access the blogs for informed debates on desired change that add value not higher risks and costs.

To conclude, population introduction is a good thing for relevance, accountability and participation which has civil society "checks and balances" for Public good as it is market driven and customized based on the "hearts and minds" of the people. Dr. Mere Tuisalalo Samisoni SDL Member for Lami Open (deposed 2006).
April 6, 2010 12:45 PM

fijikiwigal said...
@Fiji Democracy Now, in response to your query, quote, "what your point is in this article. Blaming the colonial government for our present problems is the game played by the illegal regime.' unquote.

Firstly, many thanks for Dr Samisoni in leading as always, to enlighten us on some very important issues that many lay Fiji people will find hard to get a grip of. Dr Samisoni has articulated those thoughts so well indeed that theres no need to elaborate further. Vinaka Dr Samisoni for heads up on these.

To answer your question FDN, it is simple, both the Fijians & Indians are squabbling for their 'SPACES' in Fiji. Thats the core issue now hence, can be noted by the detailed analysis of population growth as far back as 1881.

The question we therefore ask, where did the extra 'Indians' appear from? Was there 'plane-loads' thereafter after IL stopped in 1920?

Experts writes, it was the 'putsch' by settler society [Indians] during this period for Common-Roll. Indians were already voting and Fijians did not have a clue how to vote until 1963 when first elections happened. Fijians stayed at the village whilst Indians educated their youngs at Community funded schools. Indians brought with them the know how of capitalism whilst Fijians were contented with their subsistence farming lifestyle. Already, we see evidence of 'imbalance' whether it was economic/population/education etc. Thats what we see that this blog is referring to.

Whats happening now is the tip of an iceberg which has been there all along since the 'boat-loads'. You get opportunists like Khaiyum et al who make up the majority of Judiciary as opposed to 3 Fijians in 2009, trying to rwrite Fiji's Rule of Law & Constitution.

Its, 'ooooillleeeiii' for the Fijians as their VOICES HAS BEEN GAGGED IN A BIG WAY here!!! Where are the AUTHENTIC COUNCIL OF CHIEFS that use to speak up and protect the Fijians...DESTRUCTED BY KHAIYUM!!! Where are the seasoned Politicians and its leaders like Elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase who represented the Voice of the Fijians that wanted him and his party to lead Fiji??? Gagged & forbidden to talk by this regime!!! We can write a long list but the fact is Fiji's Problem started with the 'Boat-loads' & the squabble for Power thereafter. Perhaps, in time to come when the opportunity arises, we may just revisit the dynamics of relationship between Fiji/India/Commonwealth.

To recap on what the regime is doing now, it is riding on what historians and Political Analysts & journalists, scholars and the likes have written about Fiji of which most of them are foreigners or settler societies. Very few are written from the lenses of Indigenous Fijians to tell in earnest their side of the story. You get some Fijian scholars like Dr Steve Ratuva,a who appears to sit on the fence in his views or so we think after reading his scholarly takes/pieces and does not help. Dr Samisoni on the other hand has her 'fingers on the pulse' and we applaud her for this. Dr Samisoni, seems to be the only vocal Fijian voice in earnest speaking up and trying to alert all about the ills of whats transpiring in Fiji.
April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

To Remember Hon Edward J. Beddoes, Former Fiji Alliance Minister during Ratu Sir KKT Mara's Government in Fiji.[Click to hear one of his lyrics]

A Tribute to Hon. Edward James Beddoes, A well reknown leader during Ratu Sir KKT Mara's Alliance Governance in Fiji.

We mourn the loss of 'Mr Ted Beddoes' as some of us knew him as.
Mr Beddoes has passed away and will be ever remembered by those that knew him and what he stood for.
He was one of those that helped shaped Fiji after its Independence from Great Britain.
Ni sa moce Mr Beddoes.
Retired Diplomat and Fiji Cabinet Minister. Formerly of Napier and Wellington, on Sunday March 21, 2010, aged 78 years. Peacefully at Cranford Hospice, Hastings. Dearly loved husband of the late Mavis. Read more;
A passion Fijian/English Song Writer
Songs for Fiji
Felix ChaudharySunday, March 28, 2010
EDWARD James Beddoes passed away last week better remembered as a former politician and Cabinet minister in the Ratu Mara government.

Little is known, however, of his titanic influence and service to country - through the prism of his songwriting.

Ted Beddoes, was an accomplished composer and songwriter with an unbridled passion for Fiji.
His compositions - Fascinating Fiji, Tropical Dawn, Stars Over Fiji and Whispering Palms actually kick started the career of Jese Mucunabitu over 15 years ago.

In Jese's own words, the songs turned his life around from a relatively unknown entertainer to a globe-trotting ambassador for our country

Ted's compositions, recorded also by both Jese and crooner Gilman Lasaisuva are all-time favourites and have also found their way into the playlists of former Fiji residents around the world. Even tourists visiting our shores are endeared to these songs.

"Ted Beddoes loved Fiji. The swaying palm trees, tropical dawns, breathtaking sunsets, the natural beauty of her landscapes, the drone of the lali in the early morn, colourful hibiscus and aromatic frangipani were all romanticised in songs that he wrote about his beloved homeland," Jese said.
"Locals who have left Fiji's shores for far off places cherish these tunes and the vivid images of moonlit beaches, star-studded night skies and islands basking in the tropical sun described by Ted's songs."

Ted and Jese are related through the Morell connection to their maternal side - hence the chance discussion about the recordings.

"Ted came up to me while I was entertaining at Tiko's one evening and said that he had some songs and poems about Fiji that he wanted me to look at. So we got together around the grog bowl at his place and picked out a few numbers. After that we began recording at the late Peter Foon's studio in Tamavua and next thing I knew Ted's songs put me on the road, travelling around the world singing songs about Fiji! I've travelled as far as Japan and I'm still travelling today- in May this year I'm going to New Zealand to promote Fiji as a holiday destination and it's all because of Ted's songs, I am deeply saddened by his passing," the singer said.

Jese has travelled to Australia for the past 14 years to perform at the Fiji Day celebrations there and despite the fact that he sings other songs- fans keep asking and insisting for the songs that made him famous.

In March last year, Ted gathered a group of musicians - singer Gilman Lasaisuva, guitarist Simone Rova and producer Bill Beddoes at his nephew, Mick Beddoes residence in Sabeto Nadi for a recording session.

The sessions progressed until October last year, two months prior to Ted Beddoes departure to New Zealand for medical treatment.

"He had composed 30 more songs about Fiji and wanted them recorded as soon as possible - he kept insisting that the songs had to be done quickly. Maybe he knew that he was running out of time and wanted to complete something that was dear to his heart. I'm honoured that such a great songwriter chose me to sing his songs. This is my first recording after 20 years and I only decided to do it because of Ted and his beautiful music," Gilman said.

One of the first songs recorded during this session, Fiji On My Mind, is currently playing on Mix FM and according to station manager Irshad Hussein, requests have been pouring in for more plays.
"Listeners have been calling in and asking that we play Fiji On My Mind over and over again. He was such a great songwriter - and his love for Fiji is clearly shown through his songs. Mix FM will host a tribute to Ted Beddoes tomorrow to highlight the amazing collection of songs composed by this talented son of Fiji," Hussein said.

Ted's nephew - musician, recording engineer and producer - Bill Beddoes said that his uncle had 'written some great stuff' and was 'a prolific songwriter'.

"He will be missed, he was so passionate about Fiji and you can hear it in the words of his songs. Gilman, Simi and I, together with Mick, will grant him his last wish and record his last compositions as a tribute to one of Fiji's greatest songwriters," Bill said.

The late Edward James (Ted) Beddoes leaves behind a legacy of service to the country spanning decades, the musical masterpieces that he penned over four decades will for sure, continue to touch the lives of people for many years to come.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Call for Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to Stand down as ILLEGAL Interim AG in Fiji.

Heres your Panic Button Khaiyum!!
Below we have quoted an excerpt from TVNZ's blurp on what Khaiyum said with regards to a the new decree cracking down Media in Fiji if & when they criticize the current regime. Khiayum has done nothing more than to cover his tracks as he is the brain behind all these legalese thinking .

News will still leak out and Fiji Media will be supported by connections worldwide and news about what this regime is doing to Fiji and its people will surface and the world will get to hear about them one way or another. This is just the beginning and its not the end. We will consoldiate our efforts and expose you Khaiyum, and your inner circle. Time to start thinking of an exit plan if I were you.

Fiji has been under PER since December 2006 whe Bainimarama forcefully took the reign from elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who Khaiyum et al are still working so hard to try and find some loop hole in the law to lay charges. [& which they have'nt yet!! Lol}
Heres our message to Khaiyum et al...
"Shame on you Khaiyum!! You are more of an embarrassment to Fiji than anything else.
Attacking the media and taking away their freedom to report on whats going on in Fiji will not make you any greater. In fact it just reveals to the world how cunning and manipulative you are by using your position of power to articulate & issue decree
as you see fit.
In essence, one wonders how long will the Military Council hold out on your ever chopping & changing of Fiji laws to cover your tracks.. Its time you stop prosecuting Innocent People and return Fiji to Normalcy!! Lets hope you will share this story with your mate FB.
Time will come when we get to see you answering for your follies and likewise your mate Bainimarama. That day of reckoning will come & we will get to have the last laugh.
We also hear you have switched the National Bank of Fiji to be aligned with the PNG Bank instead of the Commonwealth Bank. Fijians are a patient bunch and they will sit it out. Just bear in mind we are watching your moves Khaiyum and we cannot wait to see you take the stand in time to come.

Its time that Khaiyum steps down. We, the people of Fiji wants him out as he is not representing our FIJIAN VOICES. We want to see someone who is a reputable Fijian within the Law Fraternity making judgement calls about what matters to the Indigenous Fijians and those like us. Khaiyum is only interested in the capitali gains he get from all this. How can Khaiyum claim that he is speaking on behalf of the Fijians? His JUDICIARY INNER CIRCLE are made up of a group of likeminded people who does not give two hoots about what matters to the Indigenous Fijians and the likes.
We are here ready to tell the Fiji stories, decree or no decree!!
An Indigenous Fijian.
Fiji media digests tough crackdown

"The emphasis here should be what is good for Fiji. Are we going to have media organisations that have a sense of loyalty to Fiji?" says Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji Attorney General."
'We Say To You Khaiyum- Enough is Enough"
By Gone i Taukei Dina.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Who Stirred the People to Go on Strike Back Then In Suva Pre-Independence? Get a Glimpse of How The Fijian Chiefs Got to the Heart Fijian People.

Deed of Cession "Journal of Pacific History "
`The dark races against the light'?
Official reaction to the 1959 Fiji riots. Author/s: James Heartfield
`For many years various people in Fiji have been spreading a gospel of racial antagonism of which the motto is "the dark races against the light races.'"

(1) IN DECEMBER 1959 OIL WORKERS OF THE SHELL AND VACUUM OIL COMPANIES IN SUVA and nadi took part in a strike called by the Wholesale and Retail General Workers' Union (WRGWU). The strike, led by General Secretary James Anthony, of mixed Indian and Irish descent, and a Fijian, Apisai Tora,

(2) president of the North West Branch, provoked a dispute that rapidly escalated into rioting and the imposition of a military curfew. In the aftermath, an official enquiry concluded that `there was a very pronounced anti-European feeling throughout the disturbances'.

(3)The Suva riots provoked an extensive soul-searching over the future of Empire and the presumed problem of race, which extended way beyond the shores of Fiji. In London, The Times editorial perceived the `Winds of Change blowing over Fiji' and warned that `a strain of anti-European feeling has been detected in the current riot'.

(4) Bertram Jones, of the Daily Express, `flew into riot torn Fiji' to report that `it is against the British Community that the island has turned'.

(5) Jones added that `the easy-going, good-natured Fijians, who only stand to lose if the British brake is taken off Indian ambition, have joined the Indians in howls that the whites should go'. In Sydney the Morning Herald took the view that `the rioting is the symptom of a growing malaise in the colony'. The Morning Herald's editorial writer suggested that `Fijians watching the rapid strides to home rule made by other British dependencies have become dissatisfied with a constitution on traditional Crown Colony lines'.

(6)The Fiji Times was bemused that `last week's events have caused world wide sensation'.

(7) The Hon. R.G. Kermode of the Fiji Legislative Council demanded to know: `In view of the considerable publicity the colony had received in the Autralian and New Zealand Press, both from Fiji correspondents and press association releases since early December 1959, what steps has the government taken to see that any incorrect or misleading reports were corrected?'

(8) The governor, Sir Kenneth Maddocks, an Englishman with a long record of colonial service, most recently as Nigeria's deputy governor, `decided that a Commission [of enquiry] was desirable to put some ill-founded press reports and the events themselves in proper perspective.'

(9) The Suva riots had come to have a symbolic importance beyond their immediate impact. Coming at a time of self-doubt for the imperial project, the events in Suva were made to bear the burden of British imperial angst. In particular, it was the question of race that taxed the distant reflections on the Suva riots. The riots were seen to be racially motivated and anti-European by Fiji Times editor Leonard Usher. Usher, who arrived in Fiji in 1930 to teach at Levuka Public School before serving as a government information officer, protested that the London `Times has undoubtedly erred in judging this week's events at Suva in the light of the post war racial and political upheaval in some of the Empire territories in Africa and Asia'. Usher suggested that `The Times, through the haze of distance, has found explanations too simple and too sweeping to account for the Suva outbreaks'.

(10) (The source for The Times's story, though, was in all likelihood the Fiji Times itself, which first introduced a racial element into the reporting of the riots on 11 December, saying that `gangs of youths threw rocks and stones at European motorists driving along the Rodwell Road'.)
Evidently disturbed by the implications of the presumed racial sentiments expressed in the riots, Usher returned again and again to the issue. On 14 December, he fulminated `to suggest that the mass of the Fijian people ... whose tradition of unswerving loyalty to the Throne is unsurpassed anywhere else in the British Commonwealth have elected to follow the extremist mania long evident in parts of Africa and Asia is utter nonsense'.

(11) On 21 December, though, Usher wrote these `Afterthoughts': The indications are that the hooligan violence which was directed primarily against Europeans and European property is part of a wider pattern. It is probable that the `dark races against the light' talk that has been going
on quietly since the war is part of that pattern.

It was the racial interpretation of the riots that shaped the outcome of Chief Justice A.G. Lowe's report to the Fiji Legislative Council the following April, when it was established beyond doubt that the riots contained an anti-European motive. But was it true?

The initiators of the strike were clear that their goals were far from being racially motivated. The Wholesale and Retail General Workers' Union strike newsletter emphasised that `never before in the history of this country has the need for unity been so great', and `the workers must stand together'.

(12) In January of 1960, B. Lakshman, Indian member of the Legislative Council and strike supporter, told a public meeting: `in Fiji at the moment we have no anti-British movement of any kind. We have an anti-poverty movement. In this movement we have Fijians, Indians, Chinese and Europeans.'

(13) As far as the leaders were concerned, the protests and strike were not racial at all, but the means to advance a legitimate economic demand. The response on the part of the European minority and the authorities, however, tended to reinforce the racial interpretation of the conflict. Before the strike, the authorities had been committed to reducing racial tensions, forcing through the desegregation of the Suva Public Baths, for example. But in the heat of the conflict, they tended to interpret a challenge to the established order as necessarily racial in its motivations. In this, they revealed more of their own fears than anything else.

Justice Lowe, a New Zealander who had previously served in Tanganyika, sought to discredit the strike leaders, and laid the blame squarely on the union for the disturbances: `The basic reason for all the trouble was the methods employed on the part of the union'.

(14) (Though 40 years later, former-Governor Maddocks recalled that `low wages and delays on the part of the employers had contributed to the trouble'.)

(15) By this Lowe meant that the escalation from negotiation to strike action created the conditions for a riot. Lowe repeats the charge that the riots were racially motivated, but shies away from the conclusion that anti-European feeling was widespread. Rather `the expressed anti-European feeling and actions ... were confined to the criminal elements and their supporters' with whom Anthony was accused of associating.

(16) The secret Monthly Intelligence Report to the Governor characterises the Commission's findings, saying they `established a definite link between James Anthony the strike leader and criminal elements. The report is careful to say that there is no evidence to suggest that Anthony actually gave orders which resulted in outbreaks of hooliganism and rioting, but there is an inference that such was in fact the case.'

(17) By restricting the problem to `criminal elements' the Commission of Enquiry was seeking to moderate the view that anti-European sentiment was endemic amongst Fijians and Indians. To say so out loud would be to concede the failure of colonial rule. But nonetheless, the evidence to the Commission from Europeans emphasised again and again the fear that non-whites hated them.

In evidence to the Commission of Enquiry, Sir Reginald Eric Smith gave estimates of the cost of damage to property, differentiated by race: European 14,304 [pounds sterling]-3-5; Indian 1,792 [pounds sterling]-19-0; Chinese 513 [pounds sterling]-6-0.

(18) The greater European loss reflects greater European wealth, with Europeans, though numerically a small minority, still being the majority of those assessed for tax with an income over 5,000 [pounds sterling] in 1960.

(19) Though Smith's estimates never found their way into Justice Lowe's report, they did present something of a difficulty for the racial interpretation of the rioting. If there was damage to Indian and Chinese shops, then that spoke against an anti-European motivation for the attacks on property.
In his report, though, Lowe dismissed `damage to some Indian properties in the back streets. That, I consider was done for the mere excitement of it.'

(20) Lowe quotes Charles Stinson, the Mayor of Suva, making light of damage to the (Indian) Councillor Bidesi's kiosk: `I believe had one small louvre of glass broken, although I personally didn't see any damage'. Similarly the mayor dismissed `the threat of damage to Indian owned buses and taxis which was heard of in evidence' as `quite a different matter from the damaging of European premises. The threat was not made for any racial reason but in order to bring about a stoppage in road transport.'

(21) Indeed, from their comments, the mayor and Justice Lowe both seem positively disappointed that Indians did not suffer more, dwelling on the fact that `many Indians in a substantial way of business in premises in the same vicinity had their premises completely untouched'--a matter of relief, rather than irritation, one might have thought.

In his fictional account of the strike, Horns Faintly Blowing, Mark Sadler, a New Zealander who worked with James Anthony in the WRGWU office, puts these words in the mayor's mouth on the night of the riots: `If you Fijians don't like the wages in Suva, you should go back to your villages'.

(22) To demonstrate the existence of anti-European feeling Justice Lowe and the mayor are forced to minimise the damage to Indian property as merely incidental, without racial motivation. The fact that Indians' shops were damaged is merely `high spirits'. But is there any evidence that the damage done to the shops and cars of Europeans was anything more than high spirits?

The evidence for the anti-European sentiment cited by Lowe, apart from the damage to European shops, was drawn largely from the testimony of Mr Lane, works manager of Union Shops Ltd, who was advised by his staff not to go out as `it was not safe for Europeans on the city streets', and Mr Patton of British Petroleum, who was barracked in his car by `young Fijians' who `used abusive anti-European language directed at him'; also, cars driven by Europeans were stoned.

(23) But both of the gentlemen in question were targets of the strike action and might be expected to perceive the attack on them as an attack on all Europeans. Justice Lowe did entertain the possibility that the reason that Europeans were attacked was related to their greater wealth, rather than their race. `The evidence suggests that the feeling was probably engendered by the fact that the Europeans own the largest shops and have, at least, an appearance of wealth'. The anti-European sentiment was `In other words the attitude of the "have-nots" to the "haves"'.

(24) Lowe continues `the fact that the Police were European-led also had an influence on those who were responsible for the show of anti-European feeling, and it is important to remember that the Oil companies are European owned'. But Lowe is not making the point that the race of the targets of the strikers-cum-rioters was incidental to the fact that they were in positions of authority. On the contrary, he adds that they `were, I consider, deliberately chosen for strike action'. This is a curious statement. Plainly, employees of the oil companies chose to strike against their own employers. In the context, it appears that Lowe means that they were `chosen' as a target for action because they were European-owned, suggesting that the strikes were merely the cover for an underground struggle of the `dark races against the light'. Lowe's somewhat paranoid speculations were shared by the mayor of Suva, Charles Stinson, who told the Commission of Enquiry that the strikes `were an organised attack on Europeans long planned by an organisation that was not the striking oil-workers union'?
Governor Kenneth Maddocks endorsed Justice Lowe's findings in a telegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies: The Commissioner has reinforced my belief that the rioting was directed principally at Europeans and European owned commercial and trading establishments. Whilst this came as a shock to many Europeans, it was certainly no surprise to me because I have been aware in other contexts that anti-European feeling in the colony has been steadily growing.

(26) The authorities' preoccupation with race spilt over into the composition of the enquiry itself. Responding to demands that Indians and Fijians be represented on the Commission of Enquiry, the Chief Justice informed the governor `that if there is any question of adding racial representation he would ask to be relieved of his appointment'.

(27) What did happen during the strike? The strikers numbered between 250 and 300 employed by Shell and Vacuum Oil Ltd, and were demanding a basic wage of 6 [pounds sterling] as opposed to 3 [pounds sterling]-0-6. On 7 December, 50 men met outside the Shell Company's Rodwell Road Depot, at which gathering Anthony insisted that `the law is the law and we must stick to it'.

(28)While the strike was on, the Colony's Legislative Council debated the budget, and in response to questioning from the Indian member Vijay Singh, Labour Commissioner Pearson insisted that wages in the colony had risen faster than prices. The appointed Fijian Member, Mr Ravuama, welcomed wage increases but warned `the leaders of labour groups to exercise reason': `The ignorance of the working classes should not be exploited for the benefit of the few'.

Acting Colonial Secretary J.A.H. Hill issued a statement criticising the strike an action that Justice Lowe considered to be provocative.

On the third day, strikers again gathered to hear Anthony say: `we would like to stress very strongly that this strike is an entirely peaceful one'. The police, however, saw the gathering differently and Superintendent Mersh ordered his men to throw `smoke bombs' (subsequently shown to be tear gas grenades)

(29) at the crowd.

(30) Though Justice Lowe reverses the order of events, so that the alleged use of anti-European language and stoning of cars precedes the use of tear gas, the contemporaneous reports put the police action first: `Men in the crowd retaliated by hurling stones and rocks at the police squads'.

(31) Assistant Superintendent E.R. Smith and Corporal Sunia Ganilau were hit by stones.
Reflecting on the troubles in his memoirs, Governor Maddocks allows that `efforts made by the government to ensure supplies of petrol for essential services inflamed passions'.

(32) In his testimony to the enquiry Apisai Tora insisted that the men `were angry because of what the police had done at Suva'. Contrary to Justice Lowe's conclusions Tora insisted that `the police had caused the trouble that led to the breaking of shop windows'.

(33) The character of subsequent rioting seems closer to this reaction against the use of tear gas by the police than it does to a groundswen to anti-European feeling. Reporting that the `Smoke Bomb Incident had a Brisk Sequel', the Fiji Times describes how `a Fijian and a Fijian detective sergeant had a brief fist-fight in front of Morris Hedstrom's Service Station'; `The crowd booed a policeman'; two Indians and two Fijians, when stopped by police, tried to `wrest the section leaders' rifle from him' and `in the ensuing struggle the man was shot twice in the buttocks'; Corporal Inoke told the courts that `about 100 people at Walu Bay ... were shouting "Kill the Police!"'.

(34) If the Suva crowd's reaction against the police action was intense, so too was the Acting Chief Secretary J.A.H. Hill's reaction to the disorder. On 10 December, the Executive Council put in place Public Safety Regulations that allowed the prohibition of meetings and processions and--indicating a fear of alternative sources of authority--banning the wearing of `uniform, badge, armband or similar means of identification'. Most telling, though, was the regulation `Persons who do not reside in a city, town or township or have not a sufficient reason for remaining in it may be removed from it by the police'.

(35) In 1959, the Native Regulations that restricted indigenous Fijians' movements outside their villages were still in place, and this new regulation shored up those existing limits.

The reaction of the colonial authorities, with its mix of heavy-handed policing and race paranoia raises an interesting question: who were the rioters? The Commission of Enquiry reported `Six or eight people parading through the crowds ... described as "Tongans, Rotumans or Fijians", calling out "Strike, strike strike!"'

(36) The Wholesale and Retail Workers' General Union took for its membership the slowly increasing number of urban labourers in Suva and Nadi. Trade union organisation had been more advanced amongst the Indian cane-growers and mill-workers in the sugar industry, whose militant strikes disturbed the colony in 1921 and 1943.

(37) In 1957 alone there were three strikes against the Colonial Sugar Refinery.

(38) Militancy amongst Fijians, though, such as in the gold mines, or in the sugar mills, was thought to be exceptional. `To Europeans in Fiji ... the fact that Fijians joined in the riot and demonstrated against them came as a painful surprise', according to the leader of the Commission of Enquiry, Sir Alan Burns.

(39) Under the separate Native Administration, indigenous Fijians had largely been excluded from the cash economy, principally cane-farming and shop-keeping. But in the 1950s, the numbers of indigenous Fijian wage-earners was growing, from 8,664 in 1954 to 10,053 in 1957, when, according to Oskar Spate, they made up as much as 43.4% of the total number of wage employees.

(40) Indigenous Fijians were especially well represented amongst gold and manganese miners (900 out of 1,600 and 300 out of 419 respectively) and amongst stevedores.

(41) The growing numbers of Fijians separated from the village-based subsistence economy had been a source of anxiety for the Native Administration under Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, who advised Governor Mitchell on the revision of the native regulations in 1944 to contain the problem of Fijian servicemen returning from the Second World War. In 1959, ex-servicemen--Apisai Tora amongst them--again swelled the numbers of urban Fijians, except this time it was the Malaya emergency that was winding down.
The reports of those arrested and convicted shows that indigenous Fijians were not just a part of the disorder, but perhaps the majority. On 11 December, four Fijians and four Indians were charged with breaking the curfew. Reports of sittings in Suva show a majority of Fijian names amongst the accused.

(42) The colonial authorities, as well as the more privileged amongst the European population, had come to take the loyalty of the indigenous Fijians for granted, as a welcome counterbalance to the Indians' presumed capacity for disloyalty and militancy. Now it appeared that urban Fijians were succumbing to the same faults. More than any supposed `anti-European' sentiment, it was the racial solidarity between Indians and Fijians that was feared. To European eyes, any such collaboration was by definition `anti-European'. Usher's slightly hysterical fears about the `dark races against the white' tell us more about his own preoccupations than they do about the actual course of events in December 1959. There was some basis for Usher's mutterings. Indian leaders had long aspired to appeal to Fijians to unite with them against the colonial authorities--but for the most part these appeals were half-hearted and rebuffed.

During the strike, though, Indians and Fijians readily co-operated in their common struggle to raise their wages. The mixed Indian and Fijian workforce of the oil companies was supported by Indian members of the Legislative Council like B. Lakshman and Suva Councillor C. Bidesi, and by Fijian trades unionists like Ratu Meli Gonewai. Food was collected from Fijian villages

(43) and Indian farmers from the northwest `offered money, rice and sugar to the strikers'. Indian taxi drivers refused fares and displayed `On Strike' notices.

(44) For all that the general response of the colonial authorities, in Fiji and throughout the Empire, is more indicative of their own fears of a revolt of coloured peoples against Europeans than of real-life events. The co-operation between Tora and Anthony seemed to epitomise the colonial authorities' worst fears. What to the strikers and their supporters was an act of mutual solidarity seemed like racial antagonism to the over-sensitive authorities. The racial motivation was not in the actions of the strikers, but in the response of the colonial authorities, as the aftermath would pointedly indicate.

The response of the authorities to the Suva disturbances was to see them in racial terms. At first, opposition to authority was instinctively seen as `anti-European'. But as the authorities reflected on what they imagined to be the problem of race in Fiji, they instinctively anticipated racial divisions between Indians and Fijians. While visiting Auckland, Fiji's governor, Sir Kenneth Maddocks, said that things were back to normal after the Suva riots, and reflected on the presumed problems of Fiji: `we have to find a solution to racial problems that is acceptable to everybody', he said. And, somewhat surprisingly, Maddocks insisted `strife was largely between the two major racial groups Fijians and Indians' (not something that Justice Lowe had uncovered). `The Fijian people did not actually resent the Indians, but they were apprehensive of them', said Maddocks.

(45) Maddocks returned to the theme of the `industrial disputes of the last twelve month' in his address to the Legislative Council on 25 November. As the real events receded into the distance, the governor seemed to think that the lesson to be learnt was this: the fact must squarely be faced that there are great differences of outlook and way of life amongst the different communities ... while avoiding any step which could hinder closer understanding between the main racial groups ... we must avoid the mistake of trying to force the pace, and by doing so,
to increase doubts and fears.

(46) In light of the common cause that Indians and Fijians had made to better themselves, Maddocks's reflections make little sense. In fact, the wish that there might be divisions between Indians and Fijians is father to the thought that such divisions were paramount. What Maddocks was actually talking about was relations between the British-fostered Fijian leadership and the Indians. In his memoirs, Maddocks recalls The Fijian leaders, who greatly valued their traditional alliance with the Europeans, blamed the Indians for starting the trouble and as a result, race relations, which hitherto had been remarkably good, suffered a setback.

(47)Between December 1959 and November 1960 the campaign on the part of the Fijian Association to divide off Fijian workers from Indian union leaders was well under way. Justice Lowe commented that: There was evidence which suggested that the Fijian Chiefs were asked to
speak to their people. Whether or not they chose their own approach to the
matter, I do not know but their words had an excellent effect in restoring
more peaceful conditions.

(48) The Fijian Chiefs were the Fijian appointees on the Legislative Council, for the most part employed as part of the Native Administration by the colonial government. As Noel Rutherford put it, `the most effective action of the Government' in restoring order `was made through the medium of the Fijian Chiefs'.

(49) Laying claim to chiefly authority in the rural setting of village life, their authority over the newly urbanised Fijians had not at that time been tested. The test came with the announced meeting of trade unionists at Albert Park on Thursday 10 December, where 3,000 gathered expecting to hear from Anthony and Tora. `However, when the crowd gathered in Albert Park at 2.00pm they discovered that they were to be addressed not by the strike leaders, but by the highest chief in the land, the Vunivalu Ratu George Cakobau.'

(50) Ratu K.T.T. Mara, Fijian representative on the Legislative Council, recalls that `with other Fijian chiefs and B.D. Lakshman ... I spoke to crowds at Albert Park appealing for calm'.

(51) The chiefs were assisted by the fact that Anthony had been prevented from addressing a public rally the previous day by the authorities,

(52) and grabbed the platform to address the largely Fijian crowd. In the event, the chiefs' intervention was so cautiously cryptic as to go over most people's heads. Ratu George Cakobau told them: `We do not want to stop your meeting. I want to speak of the damage you have done ... remember the name of Fiji. The reputation of the Fijians is up to you. That is all.'

(53) Sadler recalls that the chiefs `adopted a "neither-for-nor-against attitude" which did not arouse much enthusiasm'--but then their purpose was to dampen enthusiasm.

(54) Over the weekend, the chiefs held a number of public meetings of their own to put their arguments more directly to the Fijians of Suva. Judging by the common threads of the arguments put, the chiefs had discussed closely, either amongst themselves or with Governor Maddocks, the line that they should take. A crowd of between 2,000 and 3,000--mainly Fijians--attended a rally called by the Fijian Association in the grounds of the Boys' Grammar School in Suva on Saturday 12 December, which was followed by a further meeting that afternoon at the Native Land Trust Board (NLTB), held for people of Macuata, Cakaudrove and Bua.

(55) The most pointed message was that Fijians should not follow `others', namely Indians. At the NLTB Ratu Penaia warned Fijians `not to follow what others did' and Ratu Tui Macuata, Jesoni B. Takala, warned that `some people have sweet mouths and what they said could rouse others', while Ratu Josefa counselled `don't take the advice of trouble-makers'. At the rally Ratu Edward Cakobau said there `was no intention to "cajole the Fijians away from those who worked with them"', but Semesa Sikivou warned Fijians that `other people might be using them for their own ends'.

The chiefs had little doubt that Fijians had been involved in the disturbances. `Most of those arrested were Fijians', said Ratu Edward Cakobau. Ratu Penaia was blunter, saying `you have brought this on yourselves'. Their attitude to the events was overwhelmingly one of shame. `The people who started this situation are the people who blackened our names', said Ratu Josefa, while Ratu Tui Macuata lectured `the Chiefs and people of our various villages are ashamed of this', adding `the outbreak of violence has made world news'.

Ratu Josefa in particular appealed to Fijians' feelings for their villages: `What you do here will be borne by the people in your villages'.

Ratu Mara lectured that `because of the trouble people in the Western District would not receive their lease money [i.e. the rents paid by Indian farmers on native land, disbursed centrally through the Native Land Trust Board] for Christmas'. Reminding the urban Fijians of traditional village structures was a way of reminding them of obligations and allegiances that would contain them. Ratu Penaia was blunt: `those of you that have no jobs, my advice is go back to your villages'.

Plainly the chiefs felt insecure about the lines of authority over these urban Fijians. Ratu Edward Cakobau said `he had always been against the leaders being too far away from the Fijians in industry'. `Those who lived at Suva', he said, `should use the Fijian Association as a channel through which they could get their leaders to make contact with the government the firms and the city council'.

The intervention by the chiefs was without doubt influential in shaping the outcome of the dispute. Whether it was decisive is less clear. The influence of the strike had already peaked, leaving the field open for more moderate voices. A compromise settlement arranged by Ratu Mara and Ratu Meli Gonewai was struck with the oil companies. And extensive curfews and arrests contained the rioting. The following January an arbitration panel made up of James Anthony and Ratu Meli Gonewai for the Union, J. Falvey for Vacuum Oil and Maurice Scott for Shell, with Ratu Mara as umpire, agreed to an increase in wages, though not to the 6 [pounds sterling] Anthony demanded.

(56) While the Wholsesale and Retail General Workers Union addressed its own members as members of no race, or any, the Fijian Association addressed them as Fijians, first and foremost. It appealed to the emergent Fijian labourer as a product of the village, and in such a way extended the racial division that existed in the countryside, between Indian cash-croppers and Fijian subsistence farmers, into the town. The initial appeal of the chiefs at Albert Park on 10 December was tentative because they did not know what kind of reception they would get, but two days later, they were more confident of their authority. By contrast, meetings held by Anthony and the WRGWU after 12 December gathered mostly Indian crowds.

(57) The chiefs had reasserted a racialised opposition between Fijians and Indians on the new terrain of urban Suva. The effect of this reassertion of racial difference on the part of these colonial representatives was backward-looking and potentially destructive. The colonial authorities were in the process of trying to undo some of the constraints imposed by the Fijian Administration, a process motivated by Sir Alan Burns's commission of enquiry that had been hearing evidence in the summer of 1959. But this attempt to liberalise and modernise Fijian society was set back by the response to the riots.

Maddocks recalls:
It was unfortunate that the excellent and forthright report of the Burns Commission, which had a lot to say about customary practices and racial problems, was published very soon afterwards, when the atmosphere was still very uneasy.

(58) The governor's monthly intelligence briefing records that sales of Justice Lowe's Report into the Suva Disturbances `were higher than those of the Burns Commission report'.

(59) The effect of the disturbances did not just distract attention from the attempted modernisation, they entrenched a degree of racial hostility on the part of the authotities and of the Fijian chiefs.
Fijian representative Semesa Sikivou was forced to backtrack in the Legislative Council when the Pacific Review reported him saying Fijians should attack Indians.

(60) A somewhat melodramatic Ratu Mara shocked the Commission of Enquiry by suggesting that Fijians would lose nothing but the record of their debts if Suva were burned down.

(61) In May 1960, a labour adviser for the Colonial Secretary, E. Parry, protested against Labour Secretary Pearson: `I cannot accept the proposition which he makes that the lack of moral qualifies among Indians is responsible for the confused labour question'.

(62) More problematic was the pressure from the Fijian chiefs to organise separate unions on an ethnic basis. Jacqueline Leckie notes that `the years between 1959 and 1962 saw a steady upsurge in splinter unions for ethnic Fijians such as the Fijian Domestic Restaurant and Allied Workers Union (1960-63) and the Suva or the Lautoka Municipal Council (Fijian) Workers Union (1960-65)'.
(63) Ratu Meli Gonewai left the WRWGU to form the Fiji Oil Workers' Union; the Fiji Stevedores' Union changed its constitution excluding non-Fijians in April 1960.
64 Anthony, Tora, and Lakshman met the governor on 22 April to complain about the `formation of [a] breakaway union', only to be lectured on `the tight of freedom of association of workers'.

(65) Michael Howard records that militants were `expelled from the ... Wholesale and Retail General Workers' Union during 1961 and 1962'.

(66) In practice, employers could scarcely allow the complete segregation of the workforce on racial lines, and in 1962 the Colonial Office sent the Parliamentary Under-Secretary G. Foggon to persuade the authorities in Fiji against support for `Fijians who wanted to form their own racial unions'.

(67) The breakaway Fijian unions, though, were abandoned, and in the 1970s and 1980s unions, especially public sector unions, emerged with a far greater Indian membership.

(68)The actions on the part of the governor and the Fijian representatives were principally taken to limit the militancy on the part of protesters and strikers who were for the most part ethnic Fijians, albeit urban workers outside the rural village structure. The Fijian chiefs proved their worth as a conservative influence on the Fijians to the colonial authorities. Three years later they were put up as candidates in the first Fijian elections. The only serious challenge to these chiefly candidates was Apisai Tora, who stood for the Western seat, but was roundly beaten by Ratu Penaia Ganilau.

(69) It was the test of loyalty that made an orderly withdrawal a possibility for the British colonial authorities. It also consolidated the racial divisions that have continued to dog independent Fiji since. Those pressures divided Tora and Anthony. While Anthony was persuaded that Fiji had no future for him, and left to study in Hawaii, Tora carried on militant trade unionism, and attempted to ride the tiger of Fiji's ethnic politics. For some years Tora worked to win Fijian voters to the largely Indian-backed National Federation Party, but by 1987 he was rallying the ethnic nationalism of the Fijian taukei movement to overthrow the elected Labour government. Anthony, meanwhile, returned from Honolulu to support the radical Labour leader Timoci Bavadra, denouncing his old comrade as a CIA stooge.

(70)Rutherford concluded that `the cooperation between Indian and Fijian workers, which was the most significant aspect of the 1959 strike proved ephemeral'.

(71) But in retrospect, the most significant aspect of the events of 1959 was the official hysteria that the strike provoked. Seeing the conflict in racialised terms of a revolt against Europeans, the colonial administration's subsequent attempts to restore order further entrenched racial divisions between Fijians and Indians.

Bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Warm Greetings, Namaste

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji

Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji
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