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PM Warns Landowners About People Spreading Lies

PM Warns Landowners About People Spreading Lies
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (middle), is given an explanation on the new water treatment plant at the Tropik Wood Industries Drasa Mill Complex in Lautoka with Fiji Pine Group of Companies executive chairman Faiz Khan (right), on August 4, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers
August 05
11:00 2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the same people who dissuade landowners not to renew cane leases have tried to do the same in the pine industry.

He warned landowners to beware of such people.

“We are empowering our landowners so they can get the most out of their land and from their resources,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said now those people were trying to discourage some of the landowners from renewing their leases by lying again about the pine industry’s prospects.

“But the facts, again, are clear and that is no landowner is better off sitting on the side-lines while this industry continues to do exceptionally well,” he said.

He was speaking at the distribution of Fiji Pine Lease Security Bonus payment of $1.5 million to pine landowning units at the Tropik Wood Complex at Drasa in Lautoka on Friday.

The $1.5m was distributed to 40 landowning units (mataqali). Close to 3000 people attended.

“Time and time again we’ve heard them claim that iTaukei land in Fiji is at-risk – that our landowners aren’t secure.

“But the facts on that are clear and that is, we have a Constitution that enshrines the ownership and protection of iTaukei land.

“They claim my Government was going to take land away from landowners if they didn’t renew their leases.

“But the facts are clear there as well and that is we haven’t taken anyone’s land by force, and we never will.”

Not one inch of land has been lost, he added.

“They don’t genuinely care about you or the Industry or your future generations or our country. They only care about their political fortunes,” he said.

“The Opposition has dug themselves into a very deep hole with the lies they’ve already told. But instead of coming to terms with reality, they’ve chosen to keep digging.”

Mr Bainimarama said while his Government was busy working to improve the lives of ordinary people by bringing as many Fijians as possible into the fold of economic prosperity, the Opposition was doing the exact opposite.

He labelled them negative, politicians who did not have any original ideas, and did not genuinely believe in nation building.

“They are unpatriotic,” he said.

“So to all 20,000 Fijians in our landowning communities who depend on our Pine Industry, whether you lease two hectares or 2000, I assure you our commitment to your success is unwavering. This industry isn’t just surviving, it is doing extremely well, and we want each of you to play an equal part in its continuing success.

“Not one inch of iTaukei land has been lost under my Government.

“Our landowners are renewing their leases because they are choosing to do so, because they see the potential in this industry that we are all working to realise.

“To dissuade them from being a part of this progress is irresponsible and is an insult to the intelligence of the landowners.

“Time and time again we’ve heard them claim that iTaukei land in Fiji is at-risk – that our landowners aren’t secure.” Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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