or KAISI BOKOLA BOTOBOTOS
There is no denying that since its inception, I have been a persistent critic of the 1997 Constitution of Fiji, and we will reproduce more on our ongoing series on the rise and fall of the Chaudhry government under the 1997 Constitution. Over the past thirty years I had been urging the Great Council of Chiefs to evolve to survive or remain stagnant and die. The abolition of the GCC was a writing on the wall. SODELPA is batting for the GCC and its re-introduction so that the chiefs could hold back the native Fijian commoners and continue to blackmail whatever government is in power and the nation at large. The Ghai Constitution, despite me warning Professor Yash Ghai, wanted the Great Council of Chiefs to be retained (the late Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi's influence and input), and that led to the introduction of 2013 Constitution of Fiji.
13 March 2012
"Good morning to you all.
The President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has approved decrees that formally de-establish the Great Council of the Chiefs an institution created by the British during colonialism, and one that in modern times has become politicized to the detriment of Fiji’s pursuit of a common and equal citizenry.
The Great Council of the Chiefs is a product of our colonial past and Fiji must now focus on a future in which all Fijians are represented on the same basis.
In 1875, the British under colonialism created an elite body of iTaukei Chiefs known as the “Native Council” to directly and indirectly implement its rule over Fiji. The members of this body, which later came to be called the Great Council of Chiefs, held certain privileges.
Over the last 20 years the GCC, including its secretariat, became highly politicised, with its members having political affiliations and membership in political parties.
Unfortunately, this resulted in the GCC and its members unduly involving themselves in national politics and/or taking advantage of the GCC’s traditional role to assert personal or political agenda.
Fiji’s iTaukei heritage is a distinct and fundamental aspect of Fiji—this cannot be denied.
However, as an institution the Great Council of Chiefs perpetuated elitism and fed into the divisive politics which plagued our country. We must now look to our commonalities as citizens of the same nation, not to what separates us as individuals or groups.
In recent years, my government has done much to ensure that many of the challenges facing the iTaukei have been addressed—including equal distribution of land lease monies."