You are here for your people, says Fiji President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere.
While addressing the members of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), Ratu Wiliame says that, as chiefs, the council should provide the best service to our people and help address the issues they face daily.
Ratu Wiliame says being a chief is not only a title, it has roles and responsibilities for our people.
He said the two-day meeting was long overdue to address a lot of issues faced by the iTaukei in the last 16 years.
The president commended the efforts of the coalition government for reviving Great Council of Chefs and called on the Review Committee to be diligent with what they do as Fiji moves forward with the GCC. He also commended the Vunivalu na Turaga na Tui Kaba Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and his people for hosting the two-day meeting.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Itaukei Affairs presented the government’s Matanigasau, or traditional apology, to the Vanua and chiefs of the 13 provinces.
While presenting the Matanigasau, Native Land Commission Acting Chairman Apimeleki Tola said the government had oppressed the Vanua and its people over the last 16 years.
Tola said some decisions made by the government went against the will of the Vanua and its people – thus the decision by the Ministry to seek the Vanua’s forgiveness.
Tola said the previous government had created a division between the government and the Vanua.
While receiving the tabua, Na Marama Bale Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa said the vanua accepted and thanked the government for the public apology. Ro Teimumu, the head of the Burebasaga confederacy said with the Great Council of Chiefs first sitting today after 16 years, the forgiveness was timely.