By Verenaisi RaicolaSunday
www.fijitimes.com - December 21, 2008
CAKAUDROVE'S paramount chief, the Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, said endorsement of President Ratu Josefa Iloilo on the People's Charter should be a lesson to chiefs that attended the Bose ni Turaga.
Ratu Naiqama, who declined the invite to attend the meeting at the army camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, said despite the vanua's decisions not to attend the BNT, 125 chiefs out of the 225 invited attended.
"This is the implication of their attendance, the President endorsed the People's Charter and it should serve as a lesson for those people," he said.
Ratu Naiqama said it was disappointing and he would not accept any traditional approach by interim Minister Indigenous Affairs Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
Ratu Epeli said he planned to visit paramount chiefs who did not attend the meeting to seek their support.
Ratu Epeli said he would use his traditional ties to visit Ratu Naiqama, the Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa, Tui Namosi Ratu Suliano Matanitobua and others who failed to turn up at the BNT last week.
The Qaranivalu, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, and Ro Teimumu declined to comment on the issue yesterday.
Ratu Epeli, at a press conference on Friday, said he would approach the chiefs in their domain.
"I will go and visit them in their headquarters and at their home. This is all part of the process and if they are in Suva and want to come and see me the door is open," he said.
"In my program, there are plans to visit the chiefs and there is no hard feelings. They have the right to make their statement."
Ratu Epeli said the paramount chiefs should have said they were not attending the meeting because of their own reasons and allow other chiefs to decide on their attendance.
He said the invitation went personally to the chiefs and now they needed to go back to the vanua to haul them in to support the charter as they had done.
On how that would work, considering the chiefs had breached the stand taken by attending the BNT, he said: "It would have to be discussed at village level."
He said there was nothing bad in the charter as it had principles about good governance.
"It could be improved on and this is what the chiefs will do with the people.
"They will have a hard time but this is what they will have to do to convey the need to support the charter."
On whether the members of the BNT were disappointed that the election would not be held in March, Ratu Epeli said the election will be decided by the interim Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, and it was not a cause for disappointment at all.
He said Commodore Bainimarama said six months ago that sthere would be no election in March.
"There were concerns as usually the case but the PM has made a decision for the betterment of Fiji and no one else." Ratu Epeli said.
Ratu Naiqama said Cakaudrove would not entertain any such delegation.