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EDITORIAL: Battle Royale For Vanua Levu Over The Next Three Years

The Prime Minister has made his intentions clear. His first official domestic trip to Taveuni, shows he intends to make the Northern Division a top priority for development. The Social
07 Jan 2015 11:35

The Prime Minister has made his intentions clear. His first official domestic trip to Taveuni, shows he intends to make the Northern Division a top priority for development.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) proved in the last election, that nothing should be taken for granted. Even though the Constitution and new electoral system emphasise one constituency, politicians will still play to their strengths. Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Mosese Bulitavu and Niko Nawaikula were a strong unit up North and hit the ground running.

The challenge for SODELPA is not just to be antagonistic towards the Bainimarama Government, but to provide substantive development alternatives. They will need to prove that in just over three years time, Vanua Levu would have progressed, in every possible way if they had been on the Government benches.

The reality is political allegiances are only surface deep in Fiji. Voters just want the party that can best deliver on national security, basic utilities and infrastructure and employment. The FijiFirst party would have taken stock of their North vote and look to deliver on their election promises over the next three years.

Here’s what we think will be some of the key issues for the Northern Division over the next three years.

 

  1. Land security: The Suva-Nausori corridor is literally packed with families, mainly from the sugarcane belt, who have given up at least two generations of work, because of land insecurity. A large number come from areas around Labasa and Seaqaqa. The recent decision to secure land for squatters at the Clopcott settlement in Ba, by the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum shows how serious the Bainimarama Government is about dealing with this land security issue.Despite the contention over the amendments to the Land Sales Act, land speculation in Savusavu is expected to decrease. The future of the sugar industry in the North and indeed in the Western Division depends on farming families being given long-term extensions to their land leases.
  2. Investment: There are tangible signs that the economic activity in Labasa Town, for example, is picking up with new businesses opening. This is a sign of confidence in the Northern economy. All stakeholders should continue to promote Labasa and Savusavu, in particular, as the hub for manufacturing, agro-industries, finance and sports and recreation in the North.

 

3.  Infrastructure: The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Engineers have made massive inroads into Vanua Levu with various projects. Tbe Government is also pouring in millions to improve roads, sanitation, water supply, village relocation because of the effects of climate change. The Prime Minister’s coming visit to open a water desalination plant is part of this long-term strategy to improve the lives of all Fijians.

 

From all signs, the Prime Minister certainly has the bar set high for the North. He certainly wants to turn promises into deeds. The people of the North can only benefit, in a big way, from this.

 

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 




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