The iTaukei Trust Fund has spent FJ$286,000 to prepare for the two-day Great Council of Chiefs meeting which begins in Bau on Wednesday.
Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Ifereimi Vasu, said, “The iTaukei Trust Fund will cover the cost of the two-day meeting with a funding of $189,000, this includes all logistical costs.”
The Minister said the Board has already spent $97,000 to cover preparations for the event, including renovation of the meeting house (Ulunivuaka).
Vasu noted, “I have received nominations from 13 provincial councils and three from the council of Rotuma.”
Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara is listed as one of Lau’s three representatives to the GCC. There has been some confusion over his status, but it is believed he is now back in Fiji.
Meanwhile, Gagaj Manav-Kauata Pat Samuela, Gagaj Maraf-Rupeti Mani, and Gagaj Tuiporotu will be representing the chiefs of Rotuma during the event.
However, the absence of representatives from the province of Namosi has not gone unnoticed.
Vasu clarified that “the people of Namosi have followed protocol; they have visited the Turaga na vunivalu of Namosi, and on their meeting, the discussions were that there would be no representative from Namosi and we respect that..”
The two-day meeting will open with traditional ceremonies, and performances. Multicultural groups across Fiji have also been invited to the ceremony, and performances from the Indo-Fijian and Banaban communities are scheduled.
“The programme for the celebration will be based around the theme of celebrating visionary leadership based on Ratu Sukuna’s legacy,” Vasu said.
Meanwhile, Vasu said planning for Ratu Sukuna Day is also well underway. The newly-reinstated public holiday will be marked on May 29 and a week of events to celebrate and commemorate the stateman’s memory has been planned including public lectures and a march.