17 Nov 2003

Fiji Labour Party leader criticises Fiji Indian approaches to the Great Council of Chiefs

9:13 am on 17 November 2003

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has dismissed a delegation of Fiji Indians who have pledged their support for the Great Council of Chiefs as a way of building bridges between the two communities.

The 66 member delegation from the Fiji Girmit Council and the Sugar Cane Growers Council made traditional presentations to the Great Council and sought its help in solving the country's land lease problems.

The Chief Executive of the Growers Council, Jaganath Sami, said they had turned to the chiefs because the political leaders could not solve the problems.

But the Sunday Times quotes Mr Chaudhry as saying they were a group of self speaking individuals who did not represent the Indian community.

The Girmit Council Secretary, Dijendra Singh, said they were not worried about criticism of what they did because it was all political.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, said the gesture of friendship and appreciation could result in some chiefs who have refused to renew leases, changing their minds