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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 30, 1999 – Fiji Daily Post)---Race should not be taken into consideration when making decisions here in Fiji.

This was the Prime Minister's reaction to a motion referred to the provincial councils in reference to a non-indigenous Fijian being a member of the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC).

He said that was really sickening to hear of such moves, as it had been manipulated by only a few.

"I think it's the duty and responsibility of right thinking leaders to put a stop to such matters," the Prime Minister said.

During the first day of the last council meeting, on September 16, council deputy chairperson Adi Litia Cakobau queried the PM's membership.

The Fijian Affairs Act clearly states that the Prime Minister is an ex-officio member of the council.

When Adi Litia brought up the issue, the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in his capacity as a member for Lau province, said that the provinces should discuss such a motion.

Ratu Sir Kamisese also told the meeting why it is very important to have the leader of Government as a member of the council.

The Prime Minister, during a press conference yesterday, said that here in Fiji race is a non-issue, adding that he is very concerned about recent racial outbursts.

He said that he was aware of a group of defeated elements who were trying to destabilize Government, but he was not worried about them. Mr. Chaudhry said that they should do away with their racial remarks and join hands with Government to work for the betterment of the people.

The Prime Minister said that his government was constitutionally elected to office and it had a mandate to follow.

For additional reports from The Fiji Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live

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