Saturday, April 14, 2007

We're only doing our job, say chiefs

www.fijitimes.com -Friday, April 13, 2007

REWA chief Ro Epeli Mataitini says while they have great respect for interim Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, the chiefs must ensure their decisions are always within the law.

Ro Epeli was commenting on the Great Council of Chiefs rejecting Ratu Epeli as the President's nominee for Vice President.

Speaking outside the Great Council of Chiefs meeting in Suva yesterday, Ro Epeli said they had worked within the framework of the council and what was discussed at their meeting in December.

"We did not say that we did not like Ratu Epeli but only because he was part of the interim administration and that was not in the framework that we are following," he said.

Another Rewa chief Ro Teimumu Kepa said there was nothing personal about the Burebasaga confederacy rejecting Ratu Epeli's name.

She said they were just maintaining the integrity of the council by working within the law.

On Wednesday, council chairman Ratu Ovini Bokini said the council had always provided insight, wisdom and sound judgement for the nation for years.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day meeting at the Tradewinds Convention Centre in Lami, he said members of the council had met for 123 times since 1875.

He said the high powered and revered council acted as an advisory and the wisdom of the chiefs was always recognised in resolving conflicting issues in the country.

Ratu Ovini said this kind of advice from the council had allowed the country to move forward during critical and depressing periods.

He asked the members to use their wisdom and good judgement in seriously looking at the nomination tabled by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo for the Vice President's position.

He said the chiefs should bear in mind their traditional links to the vanua in making decisions because it was also a way of safeguarding reverence for chiefly leadership.

Ratu Ovini said when chiefly leadership was well coordinated and looked into by the chiefs it was easier for government officials to work with the people because everything had been made possible since there was good chiefly leadership.

He said this contributed to the chiefs being known as the "Fathers of the nation" because of their sound leadership and wisdom that allowed the country to move forward.

He said the council had acted in uniting the leadership between the Government and the vanua and vice-versa.

Ratu Ovini said the role played by the council had allowed for good governance to prevail. He said this had led to improved social amenities and the strengthening of the country's economic base.

He said the chiefs had been blessed with wisdom to lead the people and to face difficulties because the end result would be for the betterment of the people.

He also warned the chiefs to use their wisdom wisely so that there was good governance and prosperity in the country.

Ratu Ovini said there would always be other influences in making decisions but these were some of the things that the chiefs needed to be careful about all the time.

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