Holding the title of chief is not an ornament.
This message by the late Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna to the iTaukei chiefs of his time was echoed by President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere when he opened the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island yesterday.
Ratu Wiliame said the GCC reconvening after a lapse of 16 years marked a new beginning.
“This new beginning, it is paramount that we reflect on our traditional ties with one another as iTaukei, to the government of the day and the church,” the President said.
“It is crucial that the reconvened GCC delivers on the purpose of which it was initially established – the preservation of land, marine and natural ecosystems – guided by relevant legislation.”
Ratu Wiliame said the GCC was duty-bound to safeguard, defend and liberate all encompassing matters of all Fijians, while respecting the rule of law.
He said the GCC must be conscious of those who may challenge the status quo and should encourage people to work together so no one was left behind.
The President said the onus was now on the GCC to make decisions that safeguard, collaborate and promote inclusivity in an evolving Fiji.
While extending his appreciation to the Turaga na Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba Ratu Epenisa Cakobau and the people of Bau for hosting the historic meeting, Ratu Wiliame said he hoped the wind of change that Fiji has embarked on would lead to a better country.