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FIJI CHIEFS WON’T SUPPORT REFORMED COUNCIL Government efforts to modify GCC rejected

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, June 10, 2008) - Rewa high chief Ro Teimumu Kepa is adamant that the new-look Great Council of Chiefs proposed by the interim Government will not get the mandate of the chiefs.

The GCC taskforce, which is consulting the 14 provinces and Rotuma have so far only got the support of the Macuata Provincial Council.

Kepa suggests that the high chiefs are unhappy about the tactics employed by the interim Government.

"It’s inevitable that the taskforce and the interim Government are trying to force these changes and sweet talk us through," she said.

"Burebasaga has made it clear that we will not be part of this new changes to the GCC and if they want our support then reinstate those who were in the council before.

"By moulding and bringing in new changes to the council will not change the way we feel."

Kepa and other high chiefs who were members of the former GCC prior to its suspension last year will not qualify to sit in the reconstituted GCC.

The interim Government has set new rules to prevent the politicization of the august body.

However, Kepa said the taskforce will not succeed in their mission to reconvene the GCC if chiefs are not automatically reinstalled in the council.

Taskforce chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo maintains that the council will sit in two months time even if it does not have the support of the disgruntled chiefs.

"It is evident that some chiefs are trying to sabotage this meeting by influencing others not to join but let me make it clear that this meeting will go on."

Ratu Josateki said some chiefs have declared their interest in joining the council.

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