You must be Chiefs for all - Rabuka
I’m the servant of all communities that call Fiji home - PM

You must be Chiefs for all - Rabuka

I’m the servant of all communities that call Fiji home - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 28/02/2024
Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka

As an elected politician I do not act only for the iTaukei, I’m the servant of all communities that call Fiji home.

That was the message from Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka as he opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting at Yatu Lau Lagoon Resort today, and also stressed the value of our diversity.

Rabuka says it is his honour to head a government that is dedicated to building and strengthening unity and patriotism in this unique mosaic of people.

He says he sees the chiefs as playing a special part in this mission.

The Prime Minister says just short of 30 years ago, the GCC heard what became one of the most famous speeches in Fiji’s history.

He says the late Jai Ram Reddy, then Leader of the Opposition, was the first Indo Fijian to address the Council.

Rabuka says he did so as a dominant figure in a bi-partisan effort to bring the country together and set it on the right course for achieving complete nationhood.

The Prime Minister says he stills recall the memorable, powerful statements he made on that occasion, where Reddy called on the GCC to be a foundation of unity for our nation and he submitted that those listening to him were chiefs, not just of the indigenous Fijians but of all the people of Fiji.

Rabuka told the GCC members that he believes they have a destiny that goes beyond tradition, and that they must be chiefs for all.

The Prime Minister says he understands very clearly that the chiefs have a particular agenda to expedite the progress of the iTaukei, and he very much agrees with that but he also asks the chiefs to use their combined wisdom, knowledge and authority in an inclusive manner that will generate benefits for everyone.

Rabuka says if the chiefs can help the Government with its policies to reduce poverty, and create more opportunity and prosperity across our communities, then they will be models of leadership for a new Fiji.

The Prime Minister says in all humility, he urges the chiefs to join in this great mission of making Fiji once again a symbol of hope for the world.

He says the GCC is a beacon of leadership, guidance, and unity.

Rabuka says it is a symbol of our enduring traditions, and our collective aspirations for the future.

The Prime Minister says the past isn’t dead and buried and the GCC isn’t even a relic of the past as it continues to evolve.

He adds the Government's policy statement on the GCC is clear: while the body is intrinsically linked to the governance and well-being of the iTaukei, it carries a profound obligation to embrace and advocate for every member of our diverse society.

He stresses that peace must be its cornerstone.

Rabuka says the GCC will now be guided by the outcome of the review in 2023. This includes oversight of eight thematic areas covering iTaukei well-being including climate change and ocean.

He further says the GCC was cast aside by the previous Government, and now it has risen again to resume its time-honoured role in the affairs of this land.

Rabuka told the chiefs that their mana is not derived from democracy, and they possess authority and influence inherited from ancient systems of leadership which have had a mighty impact on the history of Fiji.

He says with their chiefly titles, knowledge, and ancestry, they are vital to the indigenous identity and culture, and to the functioning of the vanua.

Rabuka also says he come before the chiefs as a Fijian from the ranks of his own vanua, and he is duty-bound to serve his chiefs and those they lead.

The GCC meeting continues tomorrow.

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