TuisawauI REFER to Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s letter (FT 3/3) where he states that ownership of iTaukei land rights is not a problem as it is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

Section 28 (Bill of Rights) is vague on processes on native land. Further he should note that native land can also be alienated under long -term leases.

In any case, what are the effects of placing native land protection under the Bill of Rights? What is the impact on the Native Lands Act, the Native Lands Trust Act and the NLC? What is the effect of the Land Bank Decree? Does it have adequate measures to safeguard and protect native landowner interests and later generations?

I also recall a decree issued by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum blocking all Deed of Cession claims.

What is the effect of this on legitimate landowner claims?

For example, the original Suva people moved to their current location to make way for public state use of their lands.

Today, these lands are being used for real estate purposes at market rates deviating from the original purpose. Who will correct this on-going injustice?

These questions need to be asked and addressed.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum seems to ignore the fact that section 185 of the 1997 Constitution no longer exists. Why was it removed? That section specifies that any changes to “entrenched legislation” thahis – Native Lands Act, Native Lands Trust Act, Fijians Affairs Act etc – must be approved by 9 of the 14 GCC (Bose Levu Vakaturaga) members of the Senate. The GCC members are nominated from the provinces and represent the native landowners of Fiji.

By removing Section 185, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s government has effectively rendered we, the native landowners, powerless over our own land.

This power, under the 2013 Constitution, now rests with the politicians in Parliament.

All these changes were made without the consent of we, the native landowners, and as such are totally unacceptable.

Worse, the changes were made by people we do not know or recognise. They were not made by the leaders we elected, nor were they made by our chiefs.

I urge all native landowners to read the changes carefully yourselves, analyse, discuss, share the knowledge and make a stand.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is not a native landowner, just another politician conducting just another political campaign.

FILIPE TUISAWAU
Rewa

Advertisements