NEWS

Evicted: Church, Acting On Court Order, Dismantles Houses At Tamavua-i-Wai

Mr Kori, 69, who lives with his 92-year-old mother said they did not know where to go. But the church said for many years had extended hospitality to those who had illegally established dwellings on its freehold land.
12 Dec 2019 11:13
Evicted: Church, Acting On Court Order, Dismantles Houses At Tamavua-i-Wai
Viliame Koroi 69 walk in the ruins of house with children after his house was dismantled and they were given eviction notice in Tamavua on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Tension was high yesterday when the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church began evicting people from its land at Tamavua-i- Wai, Wairua Settlement, in Suva.

The church said in a statement last night: “We are particularly concerned that threats of violence have been made against those who have been tasked with carrying out the legally enforceable orders of the High Court of Fiji from as long ago as October 7, 2016.”

The church called upon those people to respect the court’s findings and directions, and to recognise that the church had allowed them over three years to make other arrangements.

As a group of men under Police guard entered the settlement to dismantle the houses, one of the occupants said this was the first time that a church was evicting people when it should be looking after their welfare.

Viliame Kori claimed they were not given enough notice that the men were coming to dismantle their houses.

Viliame Koroi 69, of Wairua Settlement after he evicted on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Viliame Koroi 69, of Wairua Settlement after he evicted on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

He watched helplessly as the men pulled down the structures.

Mr Kori, 69, who lives with his 92-year-old mother said they did not know where to go.

But the church said for many years had extended hospitality to those who had illegally established dwellings on its freehold land.

Ten houses were dismantled and families evicted at Wairua Settlement in Tamavua on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Ten houses were dismantled and families evicted at Wairua Settlement in Tamavua on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

“The church now needs for the property to be vacated, with the exception of those who have been allowed by the High Court to remain,” the SDA church said.

The church said the High Court of Fiji on October 7, 2016 held that 26 named defendants occupying the church’s land at Tamavua-i-Wai were to “give up occupation immediately”.

On two separate occasions since that time, the church had requested that the named defendants in the case vacate the land but the church’s requests had been ignored.

The church therefore had been forced to take the regrettable action of requesting the High Court of Fiji to issue Writs of Possession against those who unlawfully remain on church land.

The church said the decision to take this step had not been an easy one to make, but the Church felt that it had no alternative.

Bale Fane, 25 and Josua Vere, 27, who were also victims of the eviction said this was the first time for the houses to be dismantled.

“We have been staying here for 20 years,” the couple said.

Mrs Fane said this was the time to celebrate Christmas with family but they had to see this happening and they felt very helpless.

Wairua Settlement residents, Bale Fane 25, Viliame Koroi 69 and Josua Vere 27 watch helplessly as their home been dismantled and they were evicted by land owners, The SDA church in Tamavua on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Wairua Settlement residents, Bale Fane 25, Viliame Koroi 69 and Josua Vere, 27 watch helplessly as their home been dismantled and they were evicted by land owners, The SDA church in Tamavua on December 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

She also said this was a hard time for them as they were nine of them staying under one roof.

“They did not give a warning before dismantling our house and we have nowhere to go to.”

Mr Vere said they were staying in one of their neighbour’s houses for the time being.

10 x Wairua Settlement Evictions from SDA Church Land.

“We requested the group of men to dismantle the house carefully, without damaging any house materials so that we could use those materials to rebuild the house elsewhere,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj




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