The Fiji Labour Party Leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry says the purpose of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) should be to take people out of the bondage of poverty and to salvage them from any situation that hinders their development.
While commending the Methodist Church of Fiji President Rev Ili Vunisuwai for yet another strong and visionary message, this time to the GCC, Chaudhry said his message to the GCC was that it must find “the solution to address the issue of the iTaukei people living in poverty. The GCC should be the platform where this issue needs to be discussed”.
He said as stated by Rev Vunisuwai, GCC is not about fulfilling their own agendas, it should be about the people under your care.
Chaudhry said this was a very strong social message to the Chiefs’ Council and the Labour Party fully endorses it.
“The statistics about the large numbers of iTaukei living in poverty is both alarming and shocking and must be addressed urgently.”
“The GCC as an indigenous Fijian institution must give this urgent priority and come up with solutions to deal with the problem.”
Chaudhry, however, pointed out that it was incorrect to say that 75 per cent of the iTaukei lived in poverty.
“The latest Household and Income Survey (HIES) revealed that iTaukeis made up 75 per cent of all the people living in poverty in Fiji. This is not the same as saying that 75 per cent of all iTaukeis lived in poverty,” he said.
“Poverty is perhaps the most critical social problem facing our nation today and must be tackled on a holistic basis. Labour looks forward to some tangible policies from the GCC on this.”