NEWS

New Leases Best Xmas Gifts: Group

One hundred and forty-seven Ba families yesterday received their “best Christmas gifts” when they were given their land leases. Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum handed the lease documents
24 Dec 2014 10:52
New Leases Best Xmas Gifts: Group
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (with garland), and happy Clopcott Settlement residents in Ba yesterday. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

One hundred and forty-seven Ba families yesterday received their “best Christmas gifts” when they were given their land leases.

Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum handed the lease documents at the Clopcott Settlement.

The families had earlier been threatened with eviction because they had been squatting on i-Taukei and State land .

Kusma Wati , 60, who has lived in Clopcott for the last 45 years, said receiving a lease under her name was a blessing. She said she was grateful to Government for its assistance to her and others like her who lived in the community.

“My husband is unwell, (stroke), and we did not see how we were going to save our home but this assistance will go a long way for me and my family,” Mrs Wati said.

“My two children can now work and not worry about an issue which had been a big question mark in our lives.”

Bijendra Prasad Sharma, 63, could not hold back his tears. He said: “I have been living in this area since 1971 and did not believe what happened today.”

“I sincerely thank this Government for assisting us and we have seen all the races are benefitting.”

Ram Kishore, 52, said, “I will be retiring in three years time and this is a great help for me and my family.

“I was born here and have my family and now I can proudly boast something, like we have sense of belonging to this community. There is no word under the sun that I could use to thank the government for this.”

Most of those who received their leases yesterday have been living in Clopcott on the outskirts of Ba Town for more than 50 years.

The leases have been made possible by the Government which wants every Fijian to secure roof over their heads and security.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Government was mindful that housing was critical towards ensuring that those living on now leased lands would do so with dignity as human beings.

“If you do not have roof over your house and if you do not have the ability to know that roof won’t be torn down by somebody, it will have a very negative impact on your live,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The FijiFirst Government believes that every Fijian should have access to proper housing.”

He said two years ago the Clopclott Settlement had been brought to his attention.

He said Government paid $300,000 from its coffers to the Itaukei Land Trust Board and the Lands Department.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Parveen Kumar said his ministry would be carrying out similar consultations and action in other parts of Fiji.

“I requested Government for fund to pay TLTB and Lands Department which was given by Government,” Mr Kumar said.

“And we are working towards issuing other squatter settlements in other towns and cities around the country.”

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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