The 11th anniversary of the 2000 coup today serves as a stark reminder of the heavy price our nation has paid in terms of the suffering, and the social and economic degradation that coups and political instability have inflicted on us. Four coups within a span of 19 years have given us the ignominious tag “Coup Coup Land”. Three of these coups (1987 and 2000) were carried out under the pretext of protecting indigenous rights when the perpetrators well knew that Fijian rights and interests were well entrenched under the country’s 1970 and 1997 Constitutions.
Events since then have showed us that greed, power and vested interests played a more significant role in these coups than any threat to indigenous rights and interests.
Neither in 1987 nor in 1999 was the Labour Government given the opportunity to serve its people for the full five year term. In just one year the Labour-led government revived the economy posting a 10% growth, following two years of negative performance under the previous government, restored much needed investor confidence, reduced inflation to 0.2% and initiated a series of social reforms to bring relief to the struggling and needy.
But Fiji’s stride towards prosperity in the 21st century was cruelly cut short by the George Speight led coup on 19th May 2000. The demons unleashed by that coup eventually culminated in the Army takeover of December 2006.
Today, the FLP pays tribute to those Parliamentarians and activists who were held hostage in Parliament for varying periods up to 56 days - some of them have since passed on but have not been forgotten.
We remember especially the unfortunate people who lost their lives in the political mayhem that followed the takeover in Parliament and others who suffered torture and violence, lost their homes, properties, crops and livestock and the many who lost their jobs in the resultant economic recession. -- MP Chaudhry.