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SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Apr. 1) – The Great Council of Chiefs and provincial councils should be empowered to make decisions at the grassroots level to save time and resources, says the Tailevu Provincial Council.

The call comes after increasing complaints by villagers that matters taken up to the GCC were yet to be addressed.

Yasana committee spokesperson Adi Finau Tabakaucoro said the GCC and ruling bodies like the provincial and tikina councils should have legal powers to make decisions instead of the advisory role that they play.

She said the system was being worn out with the lame excuse that grievances and resolutions were referred to the higher authority. 

And the extended time it took to address motions was another unnecessary drawback that the villagers should not be subjected to, she said.

"It will take away the excuse that whatever matter it is has been taken up, if we can make decisions and laws once and for all at this stage and solve it at early," Adi Finau said.

The judiciary, she said, provided for this, adding that this opportunity should be taken up to empower the traditional bodies to act with legal authority on matters that the judiciary deemed fit.

Adi Finau told the council that the indigenous Fijian mentality was limited to the fact that they owned local resources. 

She said because the indigenous had more than equal rights and majority ownership of local assets, this gave them the impression that they knew everything and could get away with anything.

"We feel that just because we are landowners we know everything is on our side and to our benefit.  This is vei beci (disrespectful)," she said. "Tradition and non-tradition values are always clashing as a result of this and the progress of the i taukei is a hindrance to any development. 

"There is no vision, forecast or foresight to improve our actions and attitude for the sake of economic progress, or for our own personal progress for that matter," Adi Finau said.

The two-day meeting at Verata Village, Wailevu, Tailevu, ends today with the review of the 2005 budget, amendments and changes to the provincial constitution and motions to be tabled.

April 1, 2004



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