The island of Bau will host the first session of the Great Council of Chiefs.
This has been confirmed by the Minister for i-Taukei Affairs, Ifereimi Vasu in Parliament today who said the meeting is scheduled for May this year.
Vasu said a request from the newly installed high chief of Kubuna, Na Turaga Bale Na Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba, Ratu Epenisa Seru Cakobau, who had requested the Government that the Vanua o Bau host the first session of the Great Council of Chiefs.
“The Government delegation returned with the request, it was discussed, approved and the message has been communicated back to the Turaga Bale Na Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba, government’s approval on the matter.”
“This, however, is to coincide with his installation and the first session of the Great Council of Chiefs, which is a good start,” Vasu said.
The Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs have also indicated that preparatory works into holding the first GCC meeting is going according to plan.
Vasu said a Working Committee is in place and is coordinating with the Vanua o Bau.
Also, Cabinet has endorsed that the iTaukei Land Trust Act 1940 be reviewed to remove certain amendments made to the Act.
Cabinet indicated that this is in relation to the iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Act 2021 (Act No. 22 of 2021).
According to Cabinet, Act No. 22 of 2021 amended section 12 of the iTaukei Land Trust Act by inserting new subsections (1A) and (3).
Cabinet indicated that the amendment allowed lessees to go directly to banks to use a lease as security for borrowing without obtaining consent from TLTB.
It said the lack of consultation with the relevant stakeholders prior to the rushed amendment, remains unresolved and continues to be a point of contention, especially with landowners.
Cabinet said it is important that any attempt to amend the principal iTaukei laws, such as the iTaukei Land Trust Act, must go through the proper consultation process.
The review of the iTaukei Land Trust Act to remove the amendments made to the Act by the iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Announcement) Act 2021 will be overseen by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and brought back to Cabinet for its consideration.