23 Sep 2003

Fiji cabinet meets in Levuka

1:20 pm on 23 September 2003

Fiji's cabinet is today holding a special meeting in Levuka to discuss the incorporation of the historical document known as the Deed of Cession into the constitution.

The Deed of Cession was the agreement by which Fiji was handed over to Britain's Queen Victoria in 1874 and was signed at Levuka on the island of Ovalau.

The Fiji Sun newspaper says the move has been strobngly supported by the lands minister and leader of the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua Party, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Ratu Naiqama says the British Crown, as a benevolent ruler, had annexed Fiji primarily to protect the rights and interests of indigenous Fijians.

He says the coups of 1987 and 2000 wrer triggered by a deep sense of suspicion and insecurity among the indigenous that those who managed the country, especially an Indian-dominted party, would auphold the legacy of the British Crown under the Deed of Cession.

Ratu Naiqama says it is the duty of the government to restore that trust.