Khaiyum thinks admitting that some lease payments made in the past were too low gives him a right to speak on native land. It’s true some lease arrangements allowed people to pay as little as $2 a year but does he think landowners didn’t know that? He’s saying he’ll increase rents and give tenants much greater security, in other words 99 year leases, but no-one gave him permission to deal in native land. When our dollar crashed in 2009 after the constitution was trashed did he make sure that rent payments were adjusted for inflation? No he did not. Rents stayed the same and they are almost impossible for landowners to adjust. Many tenants don’t even bother to pay their rents. If anyone owes the government money, Khaiyum comes after them with threats, but money owed to landowners is just their bad luck. Khaiyum has no credibility on land. He thinks his decree giving total power to Bainimarama is the answer to our problems. All landowners want is to be consulted, not told that Bainimarama has all the power and will make all the decisions about what’s fair.
Fiji Village: 17/12/2013 Landowners should get fair return – AG