From FijiTV news:
One National News
Taskforce surprised at new legislation
19 Feb 2008 00:54:09
The taskforce which carried out a review of the Great Council of Chiefs has expressed surprise at the new legislation that has been gazetted by the interim government. The chair of the taskforce says it didn't recommend that the minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs become the chair of the G-C-C. Instead the team had recommended the President, Vice President and Prime Minister NOT be part of the G-C-C.. The Taskforce commissioned by the interim government to review the Great Council of Chiefs is surprised by the new legislation gazetted last Wednesday..
Amongst the new changes is that the minister responsible for Indigenous Fijian is to be the chair of the GCC..In this case - its Frank Bainimarama..
The chair of the review team Ratu Tua'kitau Cokanauto today admitted this wasn't part of their recommendations. Ratu Tua'kitau stressed the independence of the Great Council is paramount ....and this was clearly reflected in their recommendations...
Ratu Tua'kitau hopes the new Gazette will be reviewed..
While the Committee says the consultation was the most rewarding they had with the chiefs, Ratu Tuakitau admits this new changes will certainly upset them. Ratu Tuakitau says they will meet the interim Prime Minister to discuss their concerns.
from Fiji Times this afternoon:
Cabinet appointed Bainimarama chair of GCC says NailatikauWednesday, February 20, 2008
Update: 5.35pm Acting interim Prime Minister Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said Cabinet deviated from the recommendation of the GCC Task Force. Ratu Epeli said Cabinet made the decision because it felt that the Minister for Fijian Affairs Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama should not only be a member but also Chair the GCC.
"The new Fijian Affairs (Great Council of Chiefs) Regulation 2008 which governs the administration of the GCC is clear on the issue," said Ratu Epeli.
Regulation 3 (5) clearly stipulates that the Minister shall be Chairperson of the Council, Ratu Epeli said.He said Cabinet made this decision to ensure a direct link between the GCC and the Government through the Office of the Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs."Therefore, Commodore Bainimarama as Prime Minister and as Minister for Indigenous Affairs in this case chairs the GCC under the regulations," said Ratu Epeli.
He said Commodore Bainimarama did not directly appoint himself as GCC Chairperson.
The move has shocked many chiefs in the country.
My comments: Let it speak for itself.