24 Jun 2004

Fiji chiefs to discuss top level row

3:53 pm on 24 June 2004

The public row between Fiji's information minister, Simione Kaitani, and the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, is to be discussed at a meeting of the full council.

Mr Kaitani has told Radio Legend that Ratu Epeli's criticisms of government policy on the affirmative action programmes for indigenous Fijians and land leases have become "unbearable".

He says cabinet has discussed the issue and the government will now make representations directly to the Great Council of Chiefs.

Ratu Epeli says he also wants the issue to go before the chiefs who represent all 14 of Fiji's indigenous provinces.

Ratu Epeli says Mr Kaitani's claim that as chairman he does not have the mandate of the Great Council to speak on its behalf should be decided by the chiefly body.

The next meeting of the Great Council begins in Suva on July the 21st.