Queen`s head to be deleted from Fiji`s currency

Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:36

London: Fiji has decided to delete the
Queen`s head from all its coins and banknotes, amid diplomatic
row over Britain`s support for the removal of the country from
the Commonwealth.

She will be replaced by engravings of native trees and
animals when a new batch of currency is issued in June, the
Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Fiji has been at loggerheads with Britain since the UK
supported the Commonwealth in removing the group of islands
from its 53-nation membership.

Fiji, a former British colony, gained independence in
1970, continued to feature the Queen on its currency, but
several coups since then have left other Commonwealth nations
questioning whether its instability qualified it to remain a

The final decision to suspend Fiji from the Commonwealth
came in 2009 after the government of military ruler Voreqe
Bainimarama broke a promise to restore democracy following a
bloodless coup in 2006.

Fiji Military commander Bainimarama is angry following
the UK`s decision to support its removal from the Commonwealth
in what is now seen as retaliation to Britain`s support of the
suspension, Bainimarama said that the country`s cabinet had
accepted his recommendations for new designs on the nation`s
ten coin and note denominations - none of them featuring the

"Important and iconic flora and fauna of Fiji has been
selected to replace her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II`s
portrait," said Bainimarama, who holds the titles of Prime
Minister and Finance Minister among a number of other

He gave no reason for the decision but observers said
the rift with the British Government was believed to be behind
the axing of the Queen.

In what was seen as a flexing of muscles in September
last year, Bainimarama told the United Nations that he and his
country demanded `respect, dignity and equality`.

Although he did not mention international sanctions that
had been brought against Fiji since the 2006 coup, he told the
UN General Assembly that foreign policy had been `revamped` as
part of his reforms.

The shift in foreign policy, he said, "heralds the
globalisation and maturity of Fiji".

Announcing the removal of the Queen`s head from the
currency today, Bainimarama did not specify what plants and
animals would replace her image, but tourism officials say the
nation is rich in lush vegetation and birdlife.


First Published: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:36

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