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Konrote Slams Kepa’s Rotuma Petition

Authors of a petition against the Government’s proposals to regulate Rotuman affairs are misguided and politically motivated, says Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konrote. He was responding
14 Jul 2015 09:00
Konrote Slams Kepa’s Rotuma Petition

Authors of a petition against the Government’s proposals to regulate Rotuman affairs are misguided and politically motivated, says Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Jioji Konrote.

He was responding to a petition submitted by Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa in Parliament last week, signed supposedly by 577 Rotumans, protesting the proposed Rotuma Bill and Rotuma Land Bill.

The petitions demands more time for consultation with Rotumans in Fiji and abroad before any laws concerning their community are passed by Parliament.

According to Mr Konrote, the proposed legislation will provide much-needed guidelines for arbitration on chiefly and land disputes and streamline administrative processes concerning Rotumans.

“All those talking against this legislation, should go to the island and see what is being done on the island by this current Government. No other Government has done so much for Rotuma and even the Prime Minister has visited the island twice and personally overseen the development of projects on the island,” Mr Konrote said.

Mr Konrote has a home on the island and spent a considerable amount of time and effort there over the past few years on community development projects.

He questioned whether the instigators of the petition had done anything for the welfare of Rotumans during their lifetime.

Some of the features of the proposed Rotuma Bill 2015 include:

– the establishment of the Council of Rotuma that will among other things, ‘consider matters that effect or likely to affect Rotuma customs, including issues relating to traditional protocols, traditional processes of resolving disputes within the Rotuman community and general matters relating to the role of traditional leaders.’

– the establishment of the Forum of the Rotuman People to help administer the Rotuma Development Fund and assist the Council of Rotuma with its business

-A framework for the election of district chiefs on Rotuma and provisions for the appointment of a Tribunal to settle disputes over chiefly titles

– Provisions for disciplinary measures against district chiefs, including removal from their position, ‘for any action that has brought disrepute to the position of district chief or other acts of impropriety.”

Mr Konrote said the legislation would provided much needed clarity in dealing with disputes, financial management and traditional leadership and that would lead to social cohesion and development of the Rotuman community.

One of the authors of the petition, lawyer Rosie Langi, was in Parliament last week to hear Ro Teimumu present the petition that was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs.

The main author of the petition is believed to be former High Court judge Sosefo Inoke, who now resides in Brisbane and has been vocal on social media sites protesting the presentation of the Bill before Parliament.

 

Feedback:  josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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