18 Aug 2007

Fiji's ousted PM says interim administration's review of GG membership is bad

10:38 am on 18 August 2007

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the decision by Fiji's interim Government to review the membership of the Great Council of Chiefs is a very bad one.

Mr Qarase told Fijilive that first of all there is nothing wrong with the membership of the GCC.

He said most of the members of the GCC are elected by their respective provincial councils.

Mr Qarase said a democratisation of the GCC is good, but he says he thinks what the interim Government wants to do is to remove the freedom of choosing our own representatives.

Meanwhile, all chiefs who were members of the council, including the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo and chairman Ratu Ovini Bokini, have been informed that they are no longer members of the chiefly body.

The interim Fijian Affairs minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau said this is part of a review of the GCC and "major changes" are being looked at including the process of selection of members, which will now include a stringent screening process and a background check on all nominees.