16 Mar 2005

Australian academic says Fiji Chief's Council lacks qualifications and capacity

11:10 am on 16 March 2005

A peace consultation in Suva has been told that most members of the Great Council of Chiefs lack the qualifications and capacity to fulfill their role in modern day Fiji.

The Fiji Times reports that the comment has come from a senior research fellow at McQuarrie University in Australia, Dr Robert Norton.

Dr Norton says only a few members of the Great Council of Chiefs have tertiary education or had careers as bureaucrats and politicians.

He says despite the lack of educational qualifications, the council is a powerful pressure group that must be accommodated.

Dr Norton says while some members of the Great Council have progressive views on the sharing of power and resources, others have highly ethnocentric outlooks.

He says this has enhanced the image of the Great Council of Chiefs as a "college of backward looking hereditary elites."

Dr Norton says it is impossible to view the council in anything other than negative terms.