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House, Plantation Condition For Marriage: Draft Village By-Law

This will ensure that the couple can be independent and support their family, the document adds.   ITaukei villagers cannot marry unless they have a house and a plantation of
28 Oct 2016 12:00
House, Plantation Condition For Marriage: Draft Village By-Law
Ratu Tu’uakitau Cokanauto (left), with other delegates of the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting in Nausori yesterday. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua

This will ensure that the couple can be independent and support their family, the document adds.

 

ITaukei villagers cannot marry unless they have a house and a plantation of their own, says a draft village by-law.

The draft, cited by the Fiji Sun yesterday, says this will ensure that the couple are independent and can support their own family.

The provision is among wide-ranging measures in the draft designed to lift village life and improve living standards.

The draft, released for the first time yesterday to delegates of the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting in Nausori, is central to a new vision for iTaukei drawn up by the ministry.

In the following eight months the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs will hold consultations with villagers to discuss the draft before it is introduced.

The draft is also big on measures to counter anti-social behaviour and criminal activities. It says:

             Anger cannot be used as an excuse to break the by-law

             Being drunk from alcohol cannot also be used as an excuse to break the by-law

             Drinking alcohol is prohibited unless consent has been granted by the Chief

             Home brew is banned

             Cultivation of marijuana, smoking and selling it, are banned

             Stealing and home invasion are unlawful. Taking an item without permission from a home is a crime. Stealing from plantations and failure to return items borrowed from villagers and village assets is a crime.

             A visitor cannot enter a village without a letter from the provincial office, or knowledge of the turaga-ni-koro (village headman).

             The visitor cannot enter a house without the permission of the owner

             Village cannot be used to harbour prison escapees. Villagers must report to the turaga-ni-koro any fugitive in the village.

             The villagers and visitors should follow the dress code to respect the Vanua leadership, protect family relations and uphold religious standards.

             No caps/hats or head gear.

             Rowdy behaviour is not allowed. Loud music, movie and bands that destroy the peace and quiet in the village are banned unless prior permission is sought from village chief.

 

Offenders can be involved in community service like planting crops and cleaning up in the village.

For those who fail to attend village meetings, they will be fined.

Serious crimes should be reported to the Police.

Ignorance of the by-law will not be an excuse for violating them, the draft says.

The by-law will respect the Vanua meeting and its practices.

It supports the Bose Vanua to:

             discuss openly the solutions to problems arising from developments, church and the Vanua

             Resolve land disputes, fisheries and culture and traditions

             Build and preserve spiritual development

             To oversee development from yavusa, mataqali, youth, women’s groups, in a bid to improve living standards.

             To prepare strategies to deal with climate change, disasters and food shortage

 

The draft says the by-law is only applicable within the village boundary.

It says it is aimed at:

             protecting and preserving vanua leadership

             uphold the rule of law and promote respect and dignity of life, peace and stability

             promoting healthy living and conserving natural resources and protecting the environment

             supporting leadership, traditions and cultural practices and take ownership of village

 

The by-law applies to those who live in the village and those who are on the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB).

The draft says in the village, turaga-ni-yavusa chairs the Bose Vanua, members are leaders of mataqali.

The role of turaga-ni-yavusa is to regularly call the Bose Vanua. His role is to:

             To encourage the preservation of culture, customary and spiritual practices

             Rise above disputes and seek for resolution

             Monitor villagers’ wellbeing and listen to them

             Represent Yavusa in the Bose Vanua ni Tikina.

 

Vacant chiefly positions

By-law recognises the importance of chiefly positions in the vanua and supports the filling of these positions in the appropriate way.

The bylaw does not compel villagers to participate in all social and traditional obligations. It gives each person the freedom to choose whether to participate based on their financial status.

All iTaukei have basic responsibility to fulfill for the vanua.

 

Turaga-ni-koro

He should follow the procedures in organising Bose Vakoro (village meeting)

             Record minutes of the meeting

             Supervise the implementation of meeting resolutions

             Prepare the annual reports up to December 31 to be discussed at the Tikina (district) meeting or Bose ni Tikina. Deadline for report is January 15 the following year.

             Record the minutes of the meeting.

             Keep village wealth

             Provide information to the iTaukei Affairs Ministry on developments.

             Inform all turaga-ni-yavusa of all meeting resolutions

             Look after Government officials and protect visitors and boats that seek shelter.

             Encourage all villagers to participate in village projects

It’s the responsibility of the villagers to report any breach of the village by-laws to the turaga-ni-koro

If they fail to do it, they are also liable

 

Vola ni Kawa Bula

It’s the responsibility of villagers to update the VKB on births and deaths

 

New churches

An application to set up a new church in the village must be sent to the turaga-ni-koro. It is discussed in the Bose Vanua. The religious principles should be consistent with iTaukei cultural practices and uphold the rule of law.

 

Protection of the vulnerable

Victims of alleged abuse should report to the turaga-ni-koro or the Police.

Villagers who know about the alleged abuse should also report the case.

 

Education

All school-age children should be at school. Parents and guardians are responsible.

No one is allowed to enter the school compound without the permission of the head teacher and school committee.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

 

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