9 Dec 2003

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs not behind calls for power to be handed to traditional leaders

3:55 pm on 9 December 2003

The Chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, has distanced the body from a call for power in the country to be handed over to traditional leaders.

Ratu George Cakobau, a senator appointed by the Council, said during a Budget debate that Chiefs were the best people to manage the country.

Ratu Epeli said the senators were given a great deal of lee-way to make constructive arguments that might be helpful to Fiji's progress.

But he say comments such as these are not a reflection on the opinions held by the Great Council of Chiefs:

"He is speaking as a senator from the province of Tailevu, where he comes from. So he might be appealing more to the people of his province rather than to the Great Council of Chiefs as a whole or the rest of the country."