GCC claim

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

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.

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