By Brij V Lal
A Time Bomb Lies Buried discusses the debates which happened in Suva and London in addition to the politics and strategies which led Fiji to independence in 1970 after ninety six years of colonial rule. It offers an important heritage to knowing the crises and convulsions that have haunted Fiji ever when you consider that in its look for a constitutional payment for its multiethnic inhabitants.
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Extra info for A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970
This sentiment, he said, was shared broadly by many in the indigenous community. The reference to Amery’s report in the dispatch gave an insight into the governor’s broad frame of mind and that of his senior officers, many of whom supported the principle of Fijian paramountcy in any case. This 35 A Time Bomb Lies Buried concession, they felt, was necessary to get the Fijians to accept change. The best way forward, Maddocks suggested, was ‘Fijian racial majority on the Legislative and Executive Councils, with the Indo-Fijians next in numbers, and the Europeans combined with the other racial groups, coming last’.
Maddocks was different from Garvey in temperament and experience. Born in 1909, he had joined the colonial service in 1929 after graduating from Wadham College, Oxford, and served in Nigeria before coming to Fiji. Unhappily for him, his tenure in Fiji was punctuated by long periods of illness. While he did not have Garvey’s sure touch, his familiarity with the Pacific or his wide-ranging friendships across Fiji, Maddocks’ Nigerian career provided relevant experience in one important respect. In Northern Nigeria, he had been involved intimately in the process of transforming powerful native authorities into subordinate instruments of local government.
He developed a sympathetic understanding of the problems of the Malays, and there is little doubt that he saw the Fijian dilemma through the lense of his Malayan experience, describing Fijians as a huskier version of non-Muslim Malays. In Fiji, Jakeway was active behind the scenes, advising Mara to form a multiracial political organisation along the lines of the ‘Alliance’ party in Malaya. In the process, Jakeway fell foul of the Indo-Fijian leaders, who petitioned London to recall him. London did not, and a politically damaged Jakeway remained to guide Fiji through its most intense and contested period of constitutional development.
A Time Bomb Lies Buried: Fiji’s Road to Independence, 1960-1970 by Brij V Lal