Ratuva: ‘iTaukei youths should be part of GCC’

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Prof. Steve Ratuva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Renowned academic Professor Steven Ratuva believes that iTaukei youths should be part of Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) meetings because most of the social issues in Fiji directly affects them.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, the University of Canterbury pro-vice chancellor said gender inclusion and the participation of youths needed to be part of the GCC’s discussion as highlighted by the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa.

“I think it’s important to listen to those voices, or the Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi’s suggestion, more generally, inclusion is certainly to be part of that,” Prof Ratuva said.

“Gender inclusion is one, regional inclusion, intergenerational inclusion, and cultural inclusion as well so this can all be brought to the table for discussions.

“Gender inclusion and the youth have to be included as well in the discussions because a lot of the problems that we’re facing here are by the youth.

“And, we also have to make sure that the voices of some iTaukei communities, who are often marginalised, should be heard as well, and of course the other ethnic groups.”

He said most youths had no knowledge of what the GCC was about, the significance of the institution and the role it could play — and the onus was on the GCC to become relevant to the Fiji of today.

“For instance, the fishermen in Vanua Levu, or the farmer in Lau, the shoeshine boys over here in Suva — how do they connect? What kind of transformational impact can they make?

“Otherwise, like the shoeshine boy that I talked to, they will just wonder what’s all these meetings for?”

Prof Ratuva said youths being oblivious to the importance of an institution like the GCC was a direct result of years of neglect.

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