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Letters

Letters To The Editor, 26th May 2018

Letters To The Editor, 26th May 2018
May 26
12:24 2018

‘Losing our iTaukei land’

Timoci Gaunavinaka , Waila, Nausori

“Losing our iTaukei land” is a statement used for decades by various politicians to instil fear among the iTaukei community, making us feel vulnerable and believe that anything that is non-iTaukei whether it be race, ideology, culture or religion is suspicious.

For more than 33 out of Fiji’s first 36 years of independence (1970 – 2006), we had iTaukei Prime Ministers and were ruled by iTaukei dominated Governments in Ratu Mara’s Alliance, Rabuka’s SVT and Qarase’s SDL.

Although iTaukei Land remained at 87.3 per cent for this 33 years duration, we continue to spiral downwards with our various failures.

We failed in business, we failed in academia and we failed in management etc. Some of us even failed in raising our own children.

So instead of carefully assessing our situation and identifying the root cause, we choose the more easier but inaccurate option and blame the more successful and hardworking Indo-Fijians.

Then Bainimarama came in and converted some Crown Land back to Native and we now have over 91 per cent of Fiji’s landmass belonging to our iTaukei people.

But despite this, a few villages and mataqali hardly has any land left because they lost them many years before independence and they are now freehold.

Today the Banimarama Government is buying some of these freehold land back, sub-leasing them to recover cost of purchase (at zero interest) and will give them back to its original landowners once Government recovers its money.

So far three of such land are now paid off and are in its final stages of processing. They will be held in Trust in an arrangement where majority of the trustees are nominated by the landowners themselves.

In those 33 years of iTaukei rule, landowners have no claim to any minerals extracted under their land whether they are gravel, gold, bauxite or whatever.

The State collected 100 per cent royalty. Today 80 per cent of that royalty goes to landowners and only 20 per cent to the State.

In those 33 years, 25 per cent of the lease money paid to NLTB is deducted by the Board for administration costs.

That is 25c from every dollar. Today under the Bainimarama Government, only 8 per cent is deducted, meaning that landowners are getting 17 per cent more from their lease money.

In addition to this, the TLTB leases are now regularly assessed. If the value of the land goes up due to some developments on the land or surrounding areas, the lease increases accordingly.

Today, Government is also encouraging and assisting landowners to develop their own land and has set aside millions of dollars in the budget for it.

Despite these mountains of solid facts that proves how the current Government cares about iTaukei interest and protects our land, SODELPA, the only Government ever since 1970 to convert Native Land to Freehold (in its SDL days) still cunningly tries to frame Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum for trying to steal our land.

Sadly, some of us iTaukei, blinded by racism and jealousy swallowed this hook, line and sinker.

But this act of deceit is cleverly orchestrated to divert attention away from the only true threat to our “Kawa-i-Taukei” hidden deep inside the SODELPA closet.

In September 2006, the current SODELPA leader, Sitiveni Rabuka criticised the iTaukei chiefly system.

He then stated that some Native Land should be converted to Crown making some of us iTaukei a landless people.

Although the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) which Bainimarama abolished was a non-iTaukei founded institution established by the Colonial Government, the iTaukei chiefly system is the core of our iTaukei culture and tradition.

Without it, we have no culture and that is what Rabuka criticised.

Fijivillage, Fiji TV and the Fiji Sun all covered this story and Rabuka has neither denied nor withdrawn his statement until today.

The late Ratu Ovini Bokini who was then Chairman of the GCC, Ratu Epenisa Cakobau, Ratu Epeli Ganilau and Rev Ame Tugaue (then General Secretary of the Methodist Church) all attacked Rabuka for his comments.

SODELPA was hoping that this skeleton in their closet is never exposed until after all iTaukei voters have cast their votes this year.

Fasting

  1. Shariff Shah , Savusavu

The rule for all Muslims is when they are physically and mentally fit, they are supposed to be fasting during the month of Ramadan.

It comes after 11 months. It’s a pity to see my brothers playing district soccer and not fasting. I guess it’s a personal choice. But there is a religious obligation too….. I guess.

Prosecution

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa , Suva

Does our law allow for the prosecution to be sued after it loses a case?

If we are all Fijians under a level playing field and no one is above the law then I believe the Prosecution should also be taken to task if it lays charges on Fijians but the court rules that those charged are not guilty.

Could someone please answer this question for ease of mind?

Hoodwinked

Amenatave Yaconisau , Delainavesi, Suva

I agree with Nemani Delaibatiki’s analysis about hoodwinking by overseas employers (Fiji Sun 25/5).

He offered some great tips but should have included section 22 and 37(2) of the Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 (ERP 07).

That should prevent any misunderstanding.

Street Hazards

Satish Nakched , Suva

It is noted with great concern that some footpaths in the Capital City have deteriorated which can cause injury to the pedestrians.

There are chamber boxes with a rusted top plate with sharp edges large enough for a foot to go through and these hazards are scattered everywhere notably in Mark Street and Cumming Street within the boundaries of the city area.

At places, the chamber boxes have a drop of about two inches from the surface of the walkway and had caught a lot of unsuspecting people and have caused discomfort.

Suva has a huge working population, and this number swells towards the end of the week with the influx of the shoppers.

On Saturdays along the popular shopping streets, it is almost impossible to walk straight and one has to go through by bumping and colliding while making your way through.

The situation worsens during the wet weather as it becomes very difficult to see a yard in front of you and one has to go with the pedestrian flow.

Due to the poor visibility, the risk of sustaining injuries is high due to the poor condition of the pavements at some locations.

These hazards have been there for some time now and due to the neglect and with no repairs and maintenance the level of risk is escalating.

The undulating street footpaths and the pavement cracks stand out as a sore thumb for the public and it is noticed quickly and gives the city a poor image.

Apart from the locals, there is an influx of the tourist liners visiting the capital city and reflects on the infrastructure of the port of call.

The administrators of the city wish to convert the city into ‘Destination Suva’ theme and a lot of work must go into implementing the improvement process to make the streets of Suva safe again.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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