His Excellency the President, Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere, today opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island, bringing to an end 16 years of dissolvent.
“In his remarks, President Katonivere quoted the late Statesman, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, at the opening of the Queen Victoria School where he said, ‘When the Captains and Kings have departed and the scene is again normal, yesterday’s impressive ceremony marks the forward march of the Fijian race!'”
First convened in 1875, the Great Council of Chiefs was established through the vision of the then Governor, Sir Arthur Gordon.
The intent of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) in being established was to bridge relations between the Vanua and the Colonial Government vis a vis’.
The GCC was to be the apex of the iTaukei Administration charged with the responsibilities of Traditional protocols and Provincial and cultural matters of the iTaukei.
“Today we herald in a new dawn, on this new voyage where we have welcomed those who make up our multicultural society that have made Fiji their home,” said President Katonivere.
“As we meet, we bring with us the hopes and the needs of our people and our land that depends on our visions in unifying our wise deliberations that shall lead to inclusive decisions that encompass all that we treasure as a people and a nation.”
“In this new beginning, it is paramount that we reflect on our traditional ties with one another as iTaukei, to the Government of the day, and the church.”
President Katonivere said that the reconvened Great Council of Chiefs must deliver on the very purpose with which it was initially established, for the preservation of our land, our marine and natural ecosystem, guided by relevant legislation.
“The Great Council of Chiefs is duty-bound to safeguard, defend, and liberate all-encompassing matters of all Fijians respecting the rule of law,” he said.
“It is, therefore, crucial that the Great Council of Chiefs establishes and builds on its previous accomplishments and embarks on a new vision and mission to be able to better navigate the new changes/developments as we chart our way forward.”
“Our role as leaders remains to be the fiercest defender of our natural resources both on land and at sea, particularly in protecting our frontier from the current effects and impact of Climate Change,” said the Head of State.
“Should we want a better Fiji, it is pertinent that our younger generations are groomed in iTaukei protocol, leadership, and all mannerisms befitting a servant leader.”
“The Great Council of Chiefs is now challenged more than ever in our decision-making as traditional leaders to safeguard, collaborate, and promote inclusivity in the dynamics of our evolving Fiji.”