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Analysis: Law allowed it! Not now

Analysis: Law allowed it! Not now
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu
July 10
12:24 2018

SODELPA Member of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is correct, the land swap he initiated while in Government as the Lands Minister was done within the bounds of law.

That is the whole point.

Our previous laws allowed for permanent alienation of iTaukei land. It allowed for prime land to be taken away from landowning units. It allowed for iTaukei land to be converted to state land.

The laws allowed that same land to be then converted to freehold land therefore permanently taking away land from the mataqali.

This can no longer happen and this is the whole point of doing away with the law which allowed it to happen. Imagine this scenario, any Government could have taken any prime iTaukei land, converted it to State and then to freehold. It could have happened to any mataqali. The land which is being negotiated for the extension of Nausori Airport could very easily be taken away if the old laws were still in place.

Who did away with the old laws? The Bainimarama-Government.

They put an end to this practice where the goodwill of native landowners could be taken advantage of. Now this can no longer happen, Ratu Naiqama.

Now, if any iTaukei land is taken for state use, it has to be reverted once it is no longer used for the purpose it was taken for. We had similar laws before, but it has been made harder for iTaukei land to be taken away and not reverted to the mataqali.

Ratu Naiqama is correct. The law allowed him to take away prime iTaukei land.

He is wrong because he did not stop this from happening.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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