GCC meeting: Vunisuwai lays down the challenge

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President of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Rev Ili Vunisuwai with vice president Joji Qaranivalu before the official opening of the Great Council of Chiefs meeting on Bau Island on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Picture: ELENA VUCUKULA

It is no use to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) if the chiefs do not understand their role and purpose and cannot find solutions for the 75 per cent of iTaukei people living in poverty.

The head of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Reverend Ili Vunisuwai laid down the challenge while conducting a service at the GCC meeting on Bau Island yesterday.

He shared that he received a letter from religious organisations following the reconciliation church service held at the Vodafone Arena in Suva two weeks ago between the church, descendants of the girmitya and the vanua.

Mr Vunisuwai said the authors of the letter said they were concerned about the poverty rate among the iTaukei community – allegedly 75 per cent – and said they were willing to assist the church in addressing the issue.

“It is a good thing to reinstate the GCC, but what we need to ask – why do we need to reinstate it, what is the purpose of the GCC, what is the role of GCC and what should we achieve out of this gathering?” he said.

“If we aren’t able to find the purpose of reinstating the GCC, there is no need to revive it, just take it away for good.

“You need to find the solution, to address the issue of iTaukei people living in poverty, the GCC should be the platform where this issue needs to be discussed.”

He urged chiefs to make it their priority to discuss ways to address the 75 per cent of iTaukei living in poverty issue.

“It is your responsibility to take them out of this bondage.

“Do not be comfortable that you forget the purpose of why the GCC was reinstated and just as Christ loved the church and people, do your service with love.

“The purpose of the GCC should be to take people out of the bondage of poverty and to salvage them from any situation that hinders their development.”

He said the priority of any government was the welfare of the people.

“The GCC is not about fulfilling your own agendas, it should be about the people under your care.”

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