6 Aug 2003

Fiji's Great Council of chiefs chairman rejects GCC replacing senate

3:44 pm on 6 August 2003

The chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, is rejecting a call for the GCC to replace the senate.

Ratu Epeli says the proposal, made by Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, is not new but he doesn't believe there's a need for either the senate to be replaced or the constitution to be amended.

Ratu Epeli says the constitution is the supreme law of the land and it protects the role of the Great Council of Chiefs.

"I am of the view that the status quo should remain, mainly because under the Constitution it does establish the right of the Fijian people to have their own seperate administrative systems, so when we have that in the Constitution, the GCC is the apex of that Fijian administrative system."

Ratu Epeli says a review of the Fijian administration system is close to being completed.

He says there is a suggestion within the review that the role of the GCC be formally legalised but that will be debated at the appropriate time.