An island of hope

Geography - History - Climate - Culture and People - Land System in Fiji - Political Situation - Fiji at a Glance - Fact for Travellers - What to Do and What to See - Smart Phrases in Fijian - Smart Phrases in Hindi - Did You Know ...?


On October 10,1970, after 96 years of British rule, Fiji ceased to be a British Crown Colony. On that day independence granted and Fiji became a self-governing nation within the Commonwealth. Soon after the 1987 military coups, Fiji was declared a Republic. It re-entered the commonwealth in 1997.

Under the current set up, the President is the Head of State with the Prime Minister as the head of Government. Fiji's constitution provides for a bicameral parliament, comprising the President, an elected House of Representatives with 1 members, and a nominated Senate that has 32 members.

Under the current Government, the country is divided into four districts for administration purposes, Central, based in Nausori, Eastern, based in Levuka, Northern based in Labasa and Western based in Lautoka. Each of these administrative jurisdiction over the various provinces that came within each district division. There are 14 provinces in total, each governed by a council which has an executive head appointed by the Fijian Affairs Board (FAB). City and town councils generally administer urban affairs.

Suva City, the business and political hub

The 20th century brought about important economic changes in Fiji as well as the maturation of its political system. Fiji developed a major sugar industry and established productive copra milling, tourism and secondary industries.

As the country now diversifies into small-scale industries, the economy is strengthened and revenues provide for expanded public works, infrastructure, health, medical services and education.

The countries central position in the region has been strengthened by recent developments in sea and air communication and transport. Today, Fiji plays a major role in regional affairs and is recognized as the focus point of the South Pacific.

Suva City, the business and political hub


The Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) or Great Council of Chiefs is the highest assembly of the traditional chiefs of Fiji, with a small number of specially qualified commoners, who meet at least once a year to discuss matters of concern to the indigenous Fijian people. In earlier days this Council had the power to pass laws and regulations binding Fijians but this was removed towards the end of the colonial era when separate Fijian regulations were abolished.

Despite this, the council's advice is always sought on matters affecting the Fijian people, and it continues to be held in high esteem by all communities in Fiji. The BLV appoints the President of the Republic of the Fiji Islands. Chiefs make decisions at the local level as well as being extremely influential at a national level through the Bose Levu Vakaturaga or the Great Council of Chiefs. The Former prime minister and coup leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, is now a chairman of the council.

The basic unit of Fijian administration is the koro (village) headed by the turaga-ni-koro(a heredity chief), who is appointed by the village elders. Several koro are linked as a tikina, and several form a yasana or province. Fiji is divided into 14 provinces, and each has a high chief.

The Great Council of Chiefs includes members of the lower house as well as nominated chiefs from the provincial councils. The council was originally created to strengthen the position of a ruling Fijian elite, and gained great power after the military coups and the introduction of the 1990 constitution. The council appoints the judges, in consultation with the Judicial & Legal Services Commission. It also has authority over the legislation related to land ownership and common rights.


A high court, a Fiji Court of Appeal, and a Supreme Court administer Justice in Fiji. The Magistrates Court deals with most criminal and civil cases. A small Claims Tribunal has been up to the President in consultation with the Prime Minister appoints eight judges. The Supreme Court is the superior court of record with unlimited criminal jurisdiction to hear any criminal or civil cases involving those interpretation of the constitution.


Fiji has adaptable, disciplined, English speaking and readily available labour. The total labour force in 1996 was estimated at 301,500 of which 35% were in regular and paid employment. This is indicative of labour availability.

The labour force is sufficiently educated as can be noted by the fact that around 77% have had primary and secondary education and with 4% having tertiary education plus the fact that government is conscious of the need to expand skills and develop aptitudes to meet the demands of industrial development. The main training institutes are:
Fiji Institute of Technology
University of the South Pacific
Fiji College of Agriculture
Fiji National Training School
Fiji Garment Training School

University of Central Queensland, Fiji Campus
In addition to the above, there are also private educational and vocational schools that offer various training programs that adequately cater for Fiji's manpower needs, including computer trainings facilities.


The formation, registration and conduct of trade unions and employee/employer associations is dealt with by the Trade Unions is compulsory and organizations registered under the ACT as the corporate bodies.

Most of the labour undertakings are covered by collective bargaining agreements negotiated with the registered trade unions concerned. The government has long encouraged a free Forum consisting of a representative from the employer association , a trade union congress representative and a government representative. This body has not only attempted to provide a forum for an open and full exchange of views but also suggested annual wage income guidelines. In addition, the Trade Union (Recognition) Act, cap.96 A. Sets out the requirements for the union to receive recognition for the purpose of collective bargaining with the employer/employers.

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