16 Apr 2007

Fiji's GCC role needs to be revisited says academic

2:02 pm on 16 April 2007

One of the authors of Fiji's 1997 Constitution, Doctor Brij Lal, says the role of the Great Council of Chiefs needs to be revisited following the stand-off between the council and Fiji's interim government.

Last week, Fiji's interim administration withdrew its recognition of the GCC under its current membership and suspended all further GCC meetings.

Brij Lal says the chiefs' role in national politics as well as in modern day Fiji needs to be addressed.

"If it does not sing the tune that the interim administration wants it to sing, what happens then? Is the Great Council of Chiefs merely a rubber stamp for decisions handed down by the government? Fiji has changed enormously in the past three or four decades. There is a need to rethink the question of the role of chiefs in modern day Fiji."

Brij Lal says the Great Council of Chiefs has an ceremonial relevance in Fijian society but he questions whether it affects the lives of ordinary Fijians beyond that.