AFBC NEWS : 25th Apr 2016

Fiji parl votes against reinstating Great Council of Chiefs

Radio NZ's Sally Rounds reports on Fiji's parliament voting out a petition seeking to reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs. It was the first test of a new parliamentary rule brought in earlier this year.

— By Sally Rounds, Radio NZ

The Fiji Parliament has rejected a bid to discuss the re-implementation of the Great Council of Chiefs which was dissolved in 2006.

The chiefly body commonly known as the GCC was abolished by the military regime four years ago. The abolishment has long been a bone of contention with Fiji's indigenous or i-Taukei community. The indigenous backed Sodelpa party tabled the petition on Monday with opposition whip Ratu Isoa Tikoca voicing long-held suspicions about the government's motives over i-Taukei land and heritage.

RATU ISOA TIKOCA: "The removal of these great achievements, the imposition of the draconian laws guarded by the military are craftily designed and targeted against indigenous Fijians, including the i-Taukei of our RFMF to deprive them of their rightful ownership, tie them down to bondage and no freedom and relegate us to peasants."

Parliament's new standing orders require the support of 40 percent of MPs before a petition can be considered. The deputy opposition leader Biman Prasad said the Bainimarama regime had abolished the GCC unilaterally and consultation and debate on the petition via a standing committee were needed.

Read the full report from Radio NZ.

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