The response in today’s Fiji Times from Maikeli Drauna argues against Stan Ritova’s feature article in the Fiji Times.
I AM amazed by the special editorial privilege accorded to Stan Ritova, also known as Stan Whippy, in an article he wrote titled 'Defending the Qomate legacy' (ST 20/1).
The author has a direct interest in the Tui Labasa title dispute which is the central issue at stake here.
What Stan has smartly concealed or may have tried or deliberately ignored in his defence of his cousin Salanieta Tuilomaloma as the legitimate claimant to the title, is their Rotuman origin, which is why the latter's contention is being vigorously challenged.
It is a known fact within the yavusa Wasavulu and Caumatalevu that the male bloodline of the Labasa warrior Qomate is extinct.
Native Lands Commission chairman Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua was explicitly explained this by the sauturaga of the Vanua of Labasa, Maika Raiqiso, when an inquiry into the dispute was held at Nasekula in July, 2006.
Stan and Salanieta are from the male bloodline of Rotuman chief Gagaj Varomya of Malhaha who was rescued from sea by Kia people and brought to Vuo. He married a princess from Caumatalevu by the name of Adi Mairara who gave birth to a son named Raobe Lailai. Raobe married a woman from the chiefly clan of Wasavulu known as Adi Losalini Watimasirewa.
They had a son named Viliame Lautiki who married a part-European from Kadavu, Donalesi McGoon, and had two children Ratu Viliame Baleilevuka, who was Salanieta's father, and Adi Salanieta Tuilomaloma, Stan's mother.
This blood connection is well known in Rotuma and I challenge Stan to come forth with the truth.
Comments from Peceli
Interestingly enough the title of Tui Labasa has been made public by both camps, as explained by Stan Ritova in an article in the Fiji Times on 20th January and Maikeli Drauna in a letter to the newspaper today.
I was in Labasa two weeks ago and visited Naseakula as I always do. The people there don’t talk publicly about this subject. They know what was written in the Vola ni Kawa Bula and the Tukutuku Raraba about Labasa.
The entitlement of being a chief is about responsibility and in this case perhaps the families have in mind the financial rewards of lease money as well.
So what do you think?