Elizabeth, Queen of Fiji? By Graham Davis

On Monday Fiji celebrates the Queen's official birthday with  a holiday. Graham Davis asks whether her status as Queen of Fiji should be considered during the Constitution review process 



International Protection said…
Of course the status and standing of HM Queen Elizabeth must be part of the Constitutional Discussion. She is 'an heir and successor of Queen Victoria'. The British Queen to whom Fiji was ceded in 1874. No one was consulted about the removal of the Queen as Head of State in late 1987. We all held passports clearly offering the protection of the British Government anywhere in the world. That protection was dependent upon a Head of State and her Governor General being 'in situ'. Do we seriously look to North Korea for international protection? Or indeed for passports?
Up the Monarchy said…
@ Graham

This is a lovely idea and one that would appeal to most of the people of Fiji. But alas it will only ever remain an idea as there is not the political will on either the side of Britain or Fiji.

The Queen might want to once again be the queen of Fiji, but I am not sure this would be the case and certainly not under Bainimarama. In the early days of independence the Queen knew the leaders of Fiji well. She had personally knighted them and Ratu Mara was a Privy Councillor. He was a trusted advisor. But the Queen knows no one in Fiji any longer that personal relationship is no longer there. Indeed if anything she might feel animosity towards the present regime because it was Bainimarama who removed Ratu Mara as President.

But at the end of the day it is not the Queen’s decision. The decision as to whether she once again becomes Queen of Fiji would be made by the faceless bureaucrats in the Foreign Office. For them there is very little upside but a whole lot of risk. On the upside is the short term publicity gain of Fiji wanting to become a monarchy in contrast to the republican movement in other countries. But the risk is considerable; Fiji has had 4 coups in 25 years, the military is the preeminent political organization in the country and there is very little guarantee the military will not get involved in politics again. (Assuming the 2014 elections go ahead). Why would they allow the Queen to be closely associated to such a country?

On Fiji’s point of view it is the last thing Bainimarama wants to happen but he cannot say so publicly because of the public support for Fiji to become a monarchy. Before the 2014 elections Bainimarama will become the Head of State. As Head of State he will have some executive powers and the right of Veto. It is in this way he can safe guard the military’s view on how Fiji should be run, without the risk of losing an election.

Bainimarama knows that should Fiji become a monarchy there is not a chance that he would be made Governor General. The Queen cannot be seen to reward a coupster nor would she want to help a man who removed her friend from the presidency.
Wrong boot on wrong foot said…
The idea that Bainimarama becomes head of state in 2014 is way off the mark. It's an open secret in Suva that he will lead his own party to elections with the aim of becoming a democratically elected prime minister. Ratu Epeli Ganilau will remain president.
Apology for foot in mouth said…
Sorry, that should read Ratu Epeli Nailatikau
Apology for foot in mouth said…
Sorry, that should read Ratu Epeli Nailatikau

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