Ro Teimumu: Ministry should take blame

Duke and Dutchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (left) were accorded a full traditional welcome by the vanua o Vuda at Albert Park in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

THE head of the Burebasaga confederacy and Rewa high chief Ro Teimumu Kepa says the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs should have taken the blame for the omission of the mention of the three confederacies during the traditional ceremony of welcome for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex last week.

Taukei Sawaieke, Ratu Tevita Momoedonu headed a 70-member delegation from the vanua o Vuda to perform the traditional welcome ceremony for the royal couple at Albert Park in Suva on Tuesday.

During the ceremony, the vanua o Vuda did not mention the three confederacies.

Ratu Momoedonu earlier apologised for this and said he took ownership of the fact that he was the one who made the decision not to mention the three confederacies.

In a statement issued by Ro Teimumu, she commended the vanua o Vuda for apologising to hundreds of indigenous Fijians, but said, the ministry should have taken the blame for this.

“I think the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs should take the blame and responsibility in regards to this as this is not an issue for the vanua o Vuda.”

She claimed this was not the first time she had heard the mention of the three confederacies namely Kubuna, Burebasaga and Tovata being omitted from a traditional ceremony accorded to dignitaries.

Permanent secretary for iTaukei Affairs Naipote Katonitabua said the approach they took was that they went and requested the vanua o Vuda to perform the traditional ceremony and the vanua had their own way of performing the traditional ceremony.

“We cannot interfere into the vanua’s intent. As part of our traditional empowering for such ceremonies, we have to give them all the necessary details about the purpose of why they need to present it and it’s up to the vanua to use their own. We stand by the explanation by the Taukei Sawaieke on this.”

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