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Making History, Becoming History: Reflections on Fijian Coups and Constitutions

Making History, Becoming History: Reflections on Fijian Coups and Constitutions Making History, Becoming Histor y : Reflections on Fijian Coups and C o n s t i t u t i o n s Brij V Lal E arly in March 1995, when the telephone call came from Jai Ram Reddy, Fiji’s leader of the opposition and the long-term leader of the Indo-Fijian c o m m u n i t y, asking met o beh i sn o m i n e e on the ConstitutionR e v i ewC o m- mission, I was naturally overwhelmed. The appointment was not unex- p e c t ed—I had been asked several months earlier about my willingness to s e rve—but the enormity of the task ahead dawned on me at that moment. Many friends in Fiji had cautioned me. The review, they said, was a cha- rade, a cynical exercise in public relations by a coup-tainted government eager to refurbish its image in the eyes of the international community. Rabuka was still Rabuka: leopards do not change their spots. The pres- ence of Tomasi Vakatora—a member of the cabinet subcommittee whose recommendations had formed the basis of the contested 1990 constitu- tion —proclaimed the government’s real intention. But http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Making History, Becoming History: Reflections on Fijian Coups and Constitutions

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 14 (1) – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464

Abstract

Making History, Becoming Histor y : Reflections on Fijian Coups and C o n s t i t u t i o n s Brij V Lal E arly in March 1995, when the telephone call came from Jai Ram Reddy, Fiji’s leader of the opposition and the long-term leader of the Indo-Fijian c o m m u n i t y, asking met o beh i sn o m i n e e on the ConstitutionR e v i ewC o m- mission, I was naturally overwhelmed. The appointment was not unex- p e c t ed—I had been asked several months earlier about my willingness to s e rve—but the enormity of the task ahead dawned on me at that moment. Many friends in Fiji had cautioned me. The review, they said, was a cha- rade, a cynical exercise in public relations by a coup-tainted government eager to refurbish its image in the eyes of the international community. Rabuka was still Rabuka: leopards do not change their spots. The pres- ence of Tomasi Vakatora—a member of the cabinet subcommittee whose recommendations had formed the basis of the contested 1990 constitu- tion —proclaimed the government’s real intention. But

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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