Deputy Prime Minister Prof Biman Prasad says many could learn from the life of Fiji’s statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna – without a doubt, the embodiment of chiefly authority and wisdom.
Reflecting on the life of the late Ratu Sukuna, Prof Prasad said that it was this that moulded him into the statesman that Fiji heralds him as, this week.
Prof Prasad said Ratu Sukuna’s most prized possession were his people, and thus with history as our witness – we can confirm that from Ratu Sukuna’s life of selflessness, to be absolutely true.
“His selfless service is illustrated even then as – a chief, statesman and a decorated solider – walked the length and breadth of Fiji especially Fijian or i-Taukei villages, convincing customary landowners that they needed an institution to protect their land from being exploited.”
The Minister for Finance said this resulted in the establishment of the Native Land Trust Board – the trustee authority of all native land in Fiji.
Prof Prasad said If Ratu Sukuna did not have the foresight and did not sacrifice his time and energy towards setting up the system of i-Taukei registration that is the Vola Ni Kawa Bula, which was closely aligned to i-Taukei land custodianship records, there would not have been a space in later years to then consider how to then give effect to land legislation that would develop our then fledging economy for the benefit of everyone, through the i-Taukei Lands Trust Board.
Prof Prasad added that this was how Ratu Sukuna won the trust of the people and ensured that their trust and faith in him was not misplaced.
“… All this was built on trust, consensus building, dialogue, painstaking negotiations, perseverance and above all selfless service for the greater good. These are the principles of a national leader and a statesman. These principles, together with chiefly authority and wisdom, formed the formidable character of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna,” he said.