12 Mar 2004

Fiji's Council of Chiefs to tackle lawlessness, but says Government must also act

4:19 pm on 12 March 2004

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs in Fiji says the government should not think the Council can address lawlessness on its own.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau has announced that the Council will target lawlessness among the indigenous population this year.

Ratu Epeli says the Council can use its influence through the Fijian Affairs Board, provincial and village councils and the family to re-teach indigenous people customs and ways which have been used to keep order in the past.

However he says there are still issues for the government to work on.

"There are other factors that have resulted in the outbreak of lawless that is prevalent now, and that needs to be addressed at national level - like unemployment and poverty and so forth, but we are using our traditional structure as a way of curb the lawlessness that is so prevalent now."

Ratu Epeli concedes that many indigenous people growing up in urban areas now have lost touch with their roots and values.