Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Chiefs reminded of their role during GCC meet

Head of State, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Dr Ili Vunisuwai did not mince their words at the Opening of the Great Council of Chiefs meeting, reminding chiefs of their responsibility that accompanies the title.

Addressing those gathered on the chiefly island of Bau during devotion, Rev Vunisuwai said the attention of the Bose Levu Turaga needs to zone in the statistics available – that indicated that 75 percent of the i-Taukei population either lived below or on the poverty line.

Rev Vunisuwai stressed the urgency of action; and cautioned that if the chiefs’ intentions for re-establishing the GCC were misguided, they should reconsider their course. Consequently, the onus, he said, fell upon them to act in the best interest of the people.

Speaking in the i-Taukei language, Ratu Wiliame reiterated  Rev Vunisuwai’s sentiments, Ratu Wiliame reiterated the words of the late Fijian statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, stating, “The title of Chief is not an ornament” reminding the chiefs that their role is not merely ceremonial or honorary but carries the duty and responsibility to serve the people of Fiji “with intentional and undivided attention.”

“With this new beginning, it is paramount that we reflect on our traditional ties with one another as i-Taukei, to the Government of the day and to the church. It is crucial that the reconvened Great Council of Chiefs delivers on the very purpose with which it was initially established, for the preservation of our land, our marine and natural ecosystem, guided by relevant legislations. The Great Council of Chiefs is duty-bound to safeguard, defend, liberate all-encompassing matters of all Fijians respecting the rule of law.”

As the Bose Levu Vakaturaga re-establishes itself, Fiji’s President said it was important for the chiefs to make unified decisions that consider the hopes and needs of the people and the land.

“The GCC must focus on two principles – firstly, we need to be conscious of the existence of those who will challenge the status quo; and

Secondly, to encourage our people to work together for our advancement as a people, where no one is left behind.”

The two-day meeting, that started yesterday, marks the Council’s first meeting since its de-establishment in 2012.

The event is attended by 13 out of the 14 paramount chiefs and three representatives from Rotuma.

The solemn ceremony, witnessed by approximately 2,000 attendees, including foreign and local dignitaries, featured the presentation of three matanigasau or traditional apologies.

The meeting continues today.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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