13 Jun 2006

Former Fiji minister Vakatora dies

8:35 pm on 13 June 2006

Longtime Fiji cabinet minister and a member of the Reeves Commission which drew up the 1997 Constitution, Tomasi Vakatora, has died.

Mr Vakatora was 80.

He held several cabinet portfolios in the Ratu Mara-led Alliance governments of the 1970s and 1980s and became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1982.

Mr Vakatora was also a cabinet member in the interim administration formed after the Rabuka coups.

He was appointed one of the three commissioners, the others being Sir Paul Reeves and Dr Brij Lal, who were tasked to hold public consultations and seek expert opinions from around the world before drawing up the 1997 Constitution.

Last year, Mr Vakatora headed a group of prominent indigenous Fijians who were instrumental in forming a Grand Coalition of Indigenous Parties to ensure that Fijians won the general election with the aim of staving off political instability.