23 Aug 2002

Review says Fiji chiefs claim to have sovereign authority is flawed

3:49 pm on 23 August 2002

A review of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has recommended that it cannot exercise sovereign powers and should remain only an advisory body to the President.

It says the view that sovereignty is jointly shared by the President and the Great Council of Chiefs is interesting but legally flawed.

The review says sovereignty lies only in the three arms of government that form the state - the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

The Fiji Times reports the review was commissioned by the government and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers using local consultants, mostly indigenous Fijians.

The team says in its advisory role to the President, the Great Council should not be limited in any way, should be able to act independently of the government and should not simply rubberstamp government policies.

It says the Great Council itself should have a team of advisors comprising competent and qualified experts in various fields.

The review team was also told that the separate indigenous Fijian Adminstration System, formulated in 1944, is inappropriate today.

The team says the Fijian Adminstration uses outdated management systems influenced by tradition and therefore concepts of good governance are absent.

The report also rejects suggestions that the Fijian Court system be reinstated.