Chair labels comments ‘rubbish’

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Great Council of Chiefs Review Committee chairman Dr Jone Baledrokadroka. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Great Council of Chiefs Review Committee chairman Dr Jone Baledrokadroka has labelled social media comments that the reinstatement of the GCC would take Fiji back to the days of ethno-nationalism as “rubbish”.

“It is all dog whistling,” he said.

“There are people who want to perpetrate, to cause ethnic divisions, but I think that is of the past.

“We need to acknowledge that the girmitya have a right and they have a place in Fijian society.

“In fact, when I was in Rewa, the Luvedra na Ratu — the descendants of those who were shipwrecked on Nasilai — made a submission also and they want to see the GCC resurrected or reinstated.

“So this fear-mongering is all a thing of the past.

“You will have people who will want to actually divide us as a nation and I think this effort by this Government now to bring back the Girmitya Day is what has been needed for so long.

“To actually acknowledge the people who have built this nation and so should we, as far as the indigenous community is concerned.

“Give them what they want – if they think their chiefs should be reinstalled in some small way, then so be it.

“That is the voice of the people – at least we are going out and consulting them, whereas the previous government did not consult anyone on anything.”

Dr Baledrokadroka said the consultation process would continue until July 31.

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