Vakaturaga Conference discusses GCC Review Committee Report and development challenges faced by i-Taukei community

Vakaturaga Conference discusses GCC Review Committee Report and development challenges faced by i-Taukei community

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 01/09/2023

Provincial and traditional leaders are currently discussing the development challenges faced by the i-Taukei community as raised by the Provincial Councils and the Great Council of Chiefs Review Committee Report in the Vakaturaga Conference.

The intended outcomes of the conference is for indigenous Fijian chiefs to agree around key issues for ongoing deliberation and consideration by the re-established GCC working collaboratively with the Government and other relevant stakeholders, and also the results of GCC review and a way forward for the Government to consider.

While opening the conference, the Paramount Chief of the Kubuna confederacy, Na Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba Ratu Epenisa Cakobau reminded the leaders about the importance of their roles.

He says being a leader is not about having a higher status, but its the duty they have for the development of people’s lives.

He also says when he was installed as the Vunivalu earlier this year, the President of the Methodist Church in Fiji told him that the bowl he is about to drink, is about sacrifice and pain.

Ratu Epenisa says this symbolises that the role of a leader is not just about being on a higher seat, but it's the challenges and hard decisions they have to make regarding the well-being of their people.

He adds that a new wind of change is heading our way, and only through togetherness, we will find a way through these challenges.

Ratu Epenisa stressed that it is not an easy job being a leader, and there are people out there listening to the decisions this conference will make about the development of the nation and its people.

He also highlighted that we need to protect our God-given resources as we are only custodians of these.

The Vunivalu also reminded the leaders that the 2-day meeting should not be a waste of time and should be a meeting of fruitful discussion.

Permanent Secretary for i-Taukei Affairs, Pita Tagicakirewa says the conference is not a Great Council of Chiefs meeting because it is not gazetted, whereas the GCC is gazetted.

He says the conference will also discuss social issues such as teenage pregnancies, HIV/AIDS and drug use.

He says the last Vakaturaga Conference was held in 2008.

The Vakaturaga Conference is an interim arrangement to enable the convening of Fiji’s indigenous chiefs until such a time as the GCC can be formally reconstituted under law.

The GCC last convened officially in 2006 under the provisions of the Fijian Affairs Regulation 1993.

Attending the conference is the President and Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and the Paramount Chief of Burebasaga confederacy Ro Teimumu Kepa.

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