The immediate south pacific flashpoints are Fiji and the Solomons Islands. On May 19, George Speight, a Fijian businessperson with a colourful past, staged a coup which resulted in the internment in the Parliament building of the Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudry – the first Fijian-Indian to hold that office. He was detained along with his government colleagues. Over the ensuing weeks, the coup evolved.
Originally, Mr Speight said that he wanted the Fijian- Indian Prime Minister to go and to be replaced by a Fijian. When the Great Council of Chiefs – the meeting place of the country’s traditional rulers – agreed, Speight then said he wanted the Great Council to have less power as well.
His views were now closer to those of the indigenous Taukei movement, which sees itself as the Fijian underclass. Commodore Frank Bainimarama, of the defence force, then moved against Mr Speight and claimed to run the country.