By Brij V Lal
A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which happened in Suva and London in addition to the politics and procedures which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after ninety six years of colonial rule. It offers a necessary history to knowing the crises and convulsions that have haunted Fiji ever given that in its look for a constitutional payment for its multiethnic inhabitants.
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Additional info for A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970
Maddocks wanted London to agree that it would not ‘hand over power until a substantial measure of agreement has been reached among the different races’. 23 The first condition was superfluous: Fijians could not be forced into self-government against their wish, H. P. Hall minuted. At the same time, the United Kingdom could ‘not accept a Fijian veto on any changes whatsoever [for example] the introduction of the membership system’. Sir H. Poynton was characteristically blunter: The doctrine of consent is an admirable one if you can get consent; but if you cannot then the Secretary of State cannot escape the responsibility for taking a decision.
Vol. 1: I, The Very Bayonet, Australian National University Press, Canberra. 3 See Legge, J. D. 1958, Britain in Fiji, 1858–1880, Macmillan, London. 4 For an early revisionist account of the Pacific Islands labour trade, which questions this view, see Corris, Peter 1973, Passage, Port and Plantation: A History of Solomon Islands Labour Migration, 1870–1914, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne. 5 See the Hansard of Legislative Council debates for this period. 6 See Tagupa, William E. H. 1991, ‘The Unanticipated Republic of Fiji: Deed of Cession as the Constitutional Basis of Legitimacy’, in W.
C. Reid and R. M. Major, both senior civil servants, and J. N. Falvey, European member of the Legislative Council and the board’s legal advisor. The letter asked for the ‘spirit and substance’ of the Deed of Cession to be strengthened, links between Fiji and the United Kingdom preserved — along the lines enjoyed by the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man — Fijian land rights secured, Fiji to be declared a Christian state and the policy of racial parity in the civil service enforced. Only then would Fijians entertain the possibility of further constitutional change.