Opinion

Fulfilling A Constitutional Provision Of A Right To Housing And Sanitation

One of the biggest achievements in our national efforts to resolve the squatter problem in Fiji is the lease approval notices for those who live in informal settlements. In this
27 Apr 2017 13:05
Fulfilling A Constitutional Provision Of A Right To Housing And Sanitation
Editorial

One of the biggest achievements in our national efforts to resolve the squatter problem in Fiji is the lease approval notices for those who live in informal settlements.

In this current financial year 238 lease approval notices have been issued. An additional 126 will be given in the 2017-2018 financial year.

The leases will not only give the beneficiaries a sense of peace and long term security but also empower them to convert them  for economic benefits. For example they could use the lease documents to secure loans from banks.

The squatter problem has existed since we became independent in 1970 and it has grown beyond our control over the subsequent years. Most squatters live in urban centres for obvious reasons.

They are close to schools, workplaces and they have access to public amenities. As their population grew, so did their social problems. Previous governments had tried to help but they were token assistance.

The squatters, because of their numbers, became figures in a political game.

This is the first time that a Government  has really done something concrete and tangible to address the squatters’ common dream –legal documents to a property they can call their own. It’s another milestone for Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

In 2013, he opened the Lagilagi Housing Project in Raiwasa, formerly Jittu Estate squatter settlement.

The first 33 residential units, initiated by his Government, were launched.

That was another milestone.

The housing and lease projects were part of a commitment that went beyond the empty promises of the politicians of the past. Roofs over people’s heads and land security empower the marginalized of our communities to become active participants in our economic development.

They fulfil a Constitutional provision of a right to housing and sanitation.

 

Logical moves in health sector

A law change to allow private hospitals to set up their pharmacies was long overdue.

When these additional pharmacies become fully operational they will provide an essential service. At the moment, there is only one 24-hour pharmacy in Fiji, which is based in Nadi.

This is ridiculous because patients in other parts of the country have to wait till the morning to buy their medicine and drugs.

The law change was passed by Parliament yesterday.

Another significant law change passed by Parliament will see specialist doctors from overseas no longer be required to work under supervision for four months before they can get registered.

Now they get registered the moment they arrive here. It makes no sense that a specialist would come here and be supervised by a junior doctor.

Both law changes are logical moves.

 

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