The two-day Vakaturaga conference started today in Suva with the head of the Kubuna confederacy the Turaga Na Vunivalu Na Tui Kaba Ratu Epenisa Cakobau reminding traditional leaders of their role as custodians to ensure the wellbeing of their people, and not the other way around.
Opening the two-day forum to facilitate the meeting of Fiji’s indigenous chiefs, in the absence of the Great Council of Chiefs which is still to be legally reconstituted, Ratu Epenisa reminded the chiefs of the oath they took when they were traditionally installed with responsibilities they have to fulfill for the betterment of their people.
As such he appealed for unity and thoughtful deliberations, urging the chiefs to prioritise the welfare of the people they represent during the discussions.
One of the main objectives of the two-day conference is the economic empowerment of indigenous Fijians. This includes a presentation by the Yatu Lau company, aimed at inspiring and instilling business ideas among provincial council members for their consideration.
“The GCC review team will also present its report, and also some of the issues [with] Economic empowerment is foremost. We are hoping that one of the successful provincial council companies, the Yatu Lau company will come and share the success of the company at this conference to inspire all those other provinces on what they can do,” PS ITaukei Affairs Ministry Pita Tagicakirewa said.
The conference will also address various topics brought up in the various provincial council meetings held this year which include social matters, management of natural resources, and HIV.
In attendance are chiefs who participated in the GCC meeting in Bau in May, along with the respective chairpersons of each provincial council. The results of the two-day meeting will be channeled for subsequent deliberation through established pathways, which involve the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, the cabinet, and ultimately, parliament.
Fiji Coalition Government anticipates that the legal reconstitution of the GCC will be completed by the year’s end.