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Fiji Time: 2:26 PM on Wednesday 24 September

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Call to redefine role

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, August 28, 2014

THE role of the Great Council of Chiefs should be redefined to serve the needs of the iTaukei people, says Catholic head Archbishop Peter Loy Chong.

So he believes it is not a matter of bringing back the GCC or removing it, but rather a matter of redefining its purpose.

In an interview with this newspaper, Archbishop Chong said the GCC was introduced by the colonial government to serve the interest of the colonial era.

"First, we need to understand the history of the GCC and why it was brought in.

"So when we do that, then it will help us redefine its purpose to ensure that it is relevant to the needs of the iTaukei people today," he said.

"The GCC was brought in to serve the interest of the colonial administration.

"Now, if it was set up by the colonial government, then we should be able to redefine and review the role of the GCC to serve the needs of the iTaukei people."

Archbishop Chong said it was impossible for the two systems — chiefs and politics — to work together because chiefs were by virtue of birth and politicians were elected.

"One is customary and one is political so customary leadership is that you are born into that and die into that.

"So if you don't do your job, no one can sack you from that position because it is your traditional birth right.

"But as an elected leader, like politicians, you are accountable and can get voted out if you don't do your job well and that is why these two things cannot match up.

"The symbolism is also different and as a chief, you are to serve and be served by your people but as a politician, you have to serve because you promised to serve.

"In customary and traditional leadership, people serve their chiefs so you cannot be served and serve just like the Bible states that you cannot serve God and man."





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