12 Aug 2003

Fiji parliament discusses alleged ethnic cleansing of public service

7:33 am on 12 August 2003

Fiji's parliament has heard a sharp exchange on ethnic cleansing of Indo-Fijians in the public service after the 1987 coups.

The Daily Post reports that it came after the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, accused the Labour Party MP, Poseci Bune, of being responsible for the highest degree of ethnic cleansing when he was secretary of the public service after the Rabuka coups.

Mr Qarase described Mr Bune as being anti-graduate and anti-intellectual.

But Mr Bune said he was ordered by the military to sack all senior Indo-Fijians after the second military coup in the 1987 and stop the promotion of others.

Mr Bune said although he became secretary of the PSC at a time when Fiji was in one of its most difficult times, during his stay six Indo-Fijians were promoted to permanent secretary level.

He says a person who is now one of Mr Qarase's most trusted advisors had wanted all Indo-Fijian heads of departments to be sacked but he had successfully resisted it.