13 May 2008

Cakaudrove opts out of Fiji GCC reform plans

2:17 pm on 13 May 2008

The province of Cakaudrove has become the seventh in Fiji to fail to support proposed changes to the Great Council of Chiefs.

A meeting of chiefs said the 1997 Constitution was still alive and the changes had caused the loss of respect .

The GCC taskforce that planned to make a presentation at the meeting was forced to cancel its trip after being told it was not welcome.

The leader of the taskforce, Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo, says despite opposition, he remains optimistic a quorum will be reached and that the first sittings will be held in June or July:

"Despite some saying the government is an illegal regime, some saying there are court cases in the court lets wait for them, but time has overtaken a lot of these things and yet the interim government is expected to take the country forward to democratic elections in 2009 ."

Ratu Josatakei says they expected at least five provinces to be against the newly regulated GCC because of the political positions of their leaders.

The Paramount chief of Cakaudrove, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, told his chiefs if they accepted appointments by the interim Government to be members of the GCC, as outlined in the new legislation, they would not be representing the vanua, its people or the province.