Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori
To claim that the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) should be re-instated because it is the representative of iTaukei landowners is false. A huge number of mataqali who own huge portions of native land in Fiji have no direct representative or voice in the GCC. The three heads of the three confederacies who are supposed to be the three highest ranking chiefs in the GCC have insignificant registered landownership compared to many mataqali who are non-members of the GCC. 1. The Vunivalu na Tui Kaba from the island of Bau (Kubuna); 2. The Roko Tui Dreketi from a portion of the Rewa delta (Burebasaga); and 3. The Tui Cakau from the small island of Taveuni (Tovata). There are bigger landowners from the province of Ba, Nadroga, Naitasiri, Macuata, Bua and Ra who own extensive areas of land registered and demarcated by the Native Land and Fisheries Commission but who were not members of the GCC or were members but of a much lower ranking than the three listed above.
Today, landowners receive a fair share of their lease money and can apply direct to Government for assistance to develop their own land. They now recieve money for any minerals extracted beneath their land which no past governments, GCC or constitutions allowed. Ownership of iTaukei land will now remain forever in the hands of the iTaukei and can never be transferred to freehold like what the SDL government did.
The GCC itself is a symbol of elitism and racism.
It gives the iTaukei people a false belief that this country belongs to us and no other races and we are therefore superior and have more rights than others. This leads some to look down at other races calling them names like “kaisi” or “weed” in Parliament. We have seen how such arrogance triggers the coups of 1987 and 2000 when we forcefully took power after losing the election. We have also seen the path to corruption, greed, bankruptcy and disunity the GCC and previous iTaukei-dominated governments took us to in their aftermath.
Today, the people of Fiji have opened their eyes and given their mandate loud and clear in the last election. Your whole-hearted conviction, faiths, respect and belief in the GCC will not matter if the voters think otherwise. That is democracy.