Fiji will become independent on October 10 after 96 years of British rule. The islands?
Fiji will become independent on October 10 after 96 years of British rule. The islands with their golden beaches and peaceful atmosphere, which attract tourists from all over the world, face a future which some Fijian believe may be less idyllic. Fijians of all races discuss their hopes and fears about what independence will bring, against a background of traditional music.
When Fiji become independent she will be faced with similar problems to those of less-idyllic nations entering nationhood. After 96 years of British rule the islanders - a mixture of indigenous people, Asian immigrants and a few Europeans and Chinese - face the prospect with mixed feelings.
Fiji is blessed with a sunny climate and idyllic beaches. As a result the islands have one of the fastest - growing tourist industries in the world. Construction of new hotels is going ahead fast along the coastal strip between the international airport at Nadi and the capital city, Suva.
But there are fears that the existing racial harmony may not continue after independence. The Indians now outnumber the Fijians, and make up more than 50 per cent of the population. The Fijians, already dominated in the commercial and professional fields, are worried that independence could further reduce their status. Many think that the new constitution should carry special safeguards for them. The Indians feel these worries are groundless.
Students at the University of the South Pacific in Suva discuss these fears:-
So the young people seem divided on the issue. But most of the island leaders seem more confident about the future. Here is what a European and an Asian politician had to say:-
Despite this confidence a large number of highly-qualified Europeans and some Asians are leaving. But the majority have faith in the country. They see Fiji developing as a stable and prosperous independent nation with room for everyone, no mater what their race, colour or creed.