FIJI REGIME REASSURES GREAT COUNCIL OF CHIEFS

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Daily Post, Dec. 18) - After its suspension by the Interim Government early this year, hope still remains for the Great Council of Chiefs says Interim Minister for Fijian Affairs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Ratu Epeli said with the economy and national structures getting back to normality the reinstatement of the council was still high on the regime’s agenda.

He said the ministry was in the process of changing some GCC regulations.

"The GCC will be sitting by next year but we have some things to look at before the first sitting takes place," he said.

"Right now the regulations of the council are still under review and we are taking a look at that first before taking the next step."

He added the regulations would ensure all the chiefs get their fair share of recognition in the council.

Meanwhile, Ratu Epeli has brushed aside earlier reports that chiefs wishing to be members of the council would have to apply for a seat.

"There will no such thing as applying for a seat in the council by chiefs and this will be looked into," Ratu Epeli said.

He added one of the major issues being looked at was the speaking rights of the individual chiefs during the discussion of issues of national importance.

"When people refer to the GCC they think all the chiefs have agreed to a decision but really only some chiefs are running the show and this will see to it that all chiefs talk during discussion times before the final decisions are made," he added.

Suspended GCC chairman, Ratu Ovini Bokini said he would not comment on the issue until everything was made public.

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