12 Oct 2004

Former Fiji chiefs chairman backs strengthening of Fijian language

1:13 pm on 12 October 2004

The former chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says race relations could be improved if the government makes Fijian an official language.

The proposal was made by the minister for lands on a radio talkback show, following reconciliation week celebrations.

Ratu Epeli says that if the government is committed to bringing together cultural groups, this is a good way to do it.

"I'm of the view that we should still maintain English as the official language and have Fijian and Hindi taught at schools where both races can learn the language of each other and in the process help in reconciliation, help in race relations et cetera."

Ratu Epeli says he feels the Fijian language has been neglected over the years and he is encouraged by the idea.