19 FEB 2008-www.fijilive.com
Fiji’s 222 tribal leaders have been called to a meeting to consider setting up an alternative body to the Great Council of Chiefs.
The meeting is being organized by the Viti Land and Resource owners Association, which also called a similar ‘Bose ni Turaga ni Vanua’ in Suva on February 28, 2006.
VLRA spokesman Ratu Osea Gavidi said the Bose ni Turaga could better address the concerns of indigenous Fijians because the GCC is influenced by the Government.
His comments follows the revelation in a Government gazette dated February 13, 2008 that interim Prime Minister and military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has appointed himself chairman of the soon-to-be convened GCC.
Bainimarama, as interim Indigenous Affairs Minister, has also set out rules that will disqualify some of Fiji’s chiefs from joining the GCC.
Ratu Osea said the GCC will always play to the tune of Government because it is sustained by Government funds.
Traditional heralds have been sent to the leaders of the 222 tribes to inform them of the planned meeting in two months.
Ratu Osea said the key issues to be discussed are land use and fishing rights.
Naitasiri high chief, former Senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata is the president of the VLRA.