15 May 2004

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs apologises to Indians

8:23 am on 15 May 2004

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has publicly apologised to the country's ethnic Indians for the wrongs done to them during the coups of 1987 and 2000.

The Fiji Sun says the apology was issued yesterday at the end of a week of commemorations marking the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the first indentured Indian labourers in 1879.

The chairman of the Great Council, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, said there had been momentary lapses in the chiefs' administration of Fiji as in the coups when they allowed politics to emphasise racial differences, and ill-will and intolerance to cloud their judgement.

Ratu Epeli said he apologised for any action or inaction on the part of the Great Council of Chiefs, which may have caused hardship and strife to the people.

Ratu Epeli said the Great Council of Chiefs will make every effort to vigilantly uphold its commitments to the Indian community for the next 125 years.