Rotuman Chief Calls For Govt Land Commission On Island

‘We want the locals who are with us to have a say and not those who are overseas.'
19 Sep 2022 17:12
Rotuman Chief Calls For Govt Land Commission On Island
Women of Rotuma tune into a talanoa session. Photo: Josefa Babitu

People on the island of Rotuma are calling for a Land Commission to be set up by the Government so disputes can be handled accordingly.

Paramount chief, Gagaj Maraf, said land disputes were a big issue on the island. He said the Government’s Lands Commission would have more knowledge regarding land and its ways of handling without causing any harm to anyone.

Under the Rotuma Lands Act 1959, the Rotuma Lands Commission is in charge of dealing with land disputes.


In his opinion, Itumuta district chief, Mr Manav, said it was important for the Government to take its services to the island so that any issue regarding the island could be handled fairly.

He said they wanted landowners on the island to be decision makers for anything regarding land.

“We want the locals who are with us to have a say and not those who are overseas,” he said.


“Most of them do not know the legality surrounding land and how disputes should be handled.”

Permanent Secretary for Lands and Minerals Resources Raijeli Taga said they were open for discussions with the people of Rotuma.
Currently, the ministry does not have a say in any land disputes.

“The ministry has always directed any grieving party to refer their land disputes to the District Officer Rotuma for further liaisons with the Rotuma Lands Commission,” she said.


“The ministry is only liable for the leases secured on the island and will be accountable should there be any breaches of lease conditions or other estate matters relating to the lease.”

There are nine leases on the island that are issued to the state.

Ms Taga said the ministry was responsible for the reassessment of these leases and ensuring that lease conditions were not breached.

“The trustees of the leases can also request that the reassessments are done by the Valuation Division and this work is done without any charge,” she said.


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