Chiefs commit to racial unity
Fiji Times, Saturday, May 15, 2004
The Great Council of Chiefs is committed to
maintaining a united multiracial Fiji where people of
different races, opinions and cultures can live and work
together for the good of all.
Ratu Epeli Ganilau made this comment during
the launch of the memorial magazine titled Girmits Greatest
Gift - 125 years of service to Fiji and its 125th anniversary
celebrations at the Suva Civic Auditorium last night.
He said contrary to what some people might
wish to make out, the council made every effort to honour its
commitment to act in the best interest of the Fijian and for
Fiji as a whole.
"We fully agree that the Indo-Fijians
came here to increase trade and industry and this has been
done in the best interests of the Fijian and Fiji and so they
deservedly earned the right to be a member of our
nation," said Ratu Epeli.
"The same Deed of Cession afforded
recognition and security of pre-emptive rights of the Taukei
as indigenous inhabitants, also accords prescriptive rights to
the European and all the indentured labourers whether of
Indo-Fijian or from other Pacific island origin."
The Deed of Cession was signed on October
10, 1874, where the high chiefs of Fiji unconditionally ceded
Fiji to her Majesty, Queen Victoria.
"This is what the council endorsed 130
years ago and uncompromisingly honoured for the past 125
years, and this is what we will vigilantly uphold in years to
come," he said.
The first batch of 463 indentured labourers
from India arrived in Fiji in 1879 on board the ship called