Archive for the ‘land issues’ Category

All parties ‘spiked’ on land

June 10, 2014

Prof Spike Boydell, who many will remember from his days as the head of Land Management and Development at USP, has rolled a hand grenade with the pin pulled into the middle of the election campaign.  He’s called on all parties to come clean on land.  He’s told Dr Biman Prasad his simple solution of leases for up to 99 years is a recipe for another coup. But NFP is not alone in this “naivete”.  Spike has drawn on the past wisdom of the late Savenaca Siawtibau whose words 12 years ago are as true today as they were then: “Land tenure, like culture and tradition, stands to evolve organically over time within a society”.  In other words, we don’t need the top-down imposed revolution of Bainimarama, we need a dialogue which allows all parties to travel together.  So far, says prof Spike, none of the parties have stepped up with what is needed to tackle this problem, making access to land more flexible while providing the level of protection landowners have made clear they expect.

Fiji Times June 07, 2014  Time bomb ticks on

 

 

 

More land problems

June 3, 2014

Cane farms are burning and the harvest season hasn’t even started. This is devastating to the farmers concerned who have lost income they rely on to feed their families. Fiji Sun is threatening to bring the law down on all the arsonists but Fiji Times is letting us know what the real problems are. National Farmers Union president Surendra Lal told the Fiji Times what the real problem is – it’s disputes over land. He says “It’s only proper for people to sit and solve their problems in an appropriate manner because burning someone’s cane farm will not bring anything good”. We all know this is the only way land disputes get solved but the Bainimarama way is to use force and it seems that this is catching.

Fiji Times June 03, 2014 Disputes affect farmers

Fiji Sun June 2, 2014 ‘Cowardly Acts’

Can Frank backdown?

June 3, 2014

Lease money distribution was hot on the agenda of Ba Provincial Council meeting in Viseisei, Vuda. It seems some people are not happy with the lease distribution system improsed by Bainimarama without any consultation. Everyone knows the system was the brain child of Khaiyum but Bainimarama has taken responsibility and fears he’ll lose face as the tough guy who calls all the shots if he’s forced to back down. People knew how the old system worked and the change was made without any consultation. Why couldn’t he just leave it as it was until he’d asked landowners what they want?

Fiji Times June 03, 2014 Call to change system

Thank you Sitiveni

May 22, 2014

Sitiveni Raturala of the Office of the Prime Minister has declared that all iTaukei land is safe.  Under the Constitution it cannot be sold to anyone so it must be safe.  What Raturala doesn’t say is that the Constitution allows for iTaukei land to leased for a thousand years at $1 a year if that is what the Government of the day chooses to do.  It cannot be sold, but there are no restrictions on leasing it.  But we should thank Raturala for revealing that the regime is worried about land.  Bainimarama knows that his changes have angered landowners who know they were never consulted.

Fiji Village 21/05/2014 I-Taukei right well protected – Raturala

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=210514a1ab849bd8273787e9db13b0

The Frank Land Bank exposed

May 2, 2014

The Frank Land Bank boss, Permanent Secretary for Lands Tevita Boseiwaqa, has admitted that landowners cannot take their complaints about how their lands are being administered by the Land Bank to court.  Instead Boseiwaqa said landowners can take their complaints up “through mediation and dialogue between stake holders outside the court”.  Only iTaukei landowners are subject to this kind of law.  Owners of freehold land can take their grievances to court, but iTaukei landowners have to settle for “dialogue”, begging for their rights instead of claiming then like other citizens.  We are all Fijians now, with a common and equal citizenry, so why isn’t iTaukei land afforded the same protection as freehold land?

 

Radio Fiji 1 May 2014 Land Use Decree in the interest of the landowners.

Breaking news: landowners receiving rent!

May 1, 2014

What we love about the Bainimarama propaganda machine is the way it always reveals Frank the Fearful’s nightmares.  So when the propaganda machine cranks out a report about landowners receiving rent, we know landowners are asking him about land.  Accoridng to the propaganda, the rent paid to landowners is all down to “the Committee on Better Utilization of Land initiated by Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama”.  The report doesn’t say that the subsidy is temporary or that the Land Bank gives Bainimarama the right, so long as he’s PM, to do whatever he wants about land.  Unlike the NLTA, it doesn’t tell him he’s got to act in the best interests of the landowners.  It says he should act in the interests of the economy.  Up till now, to keep the sugar industry working the regime has been kicking in money to top rents up to reasonably fair levels.  But once he’s confirmed as PM by winning an election, watch out landowners, the subsidy comes to an end.  Bainimarama has eyes on your land, just as he has eyes on every other asset in the country.  And the Land Bank gives him an iron grip over tenants rights as well.

Fiji Village: 30/04/2014 Land owners earn over $33.27 million since 2008

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=300414369b280a645bd0a298611bb7

 

How much for landowners?

April 22, 2014

The Chinese bauxite mine in Bua expects to export 800,000 tonnes of bauxite to China this year. The regime is being careful not to reveal how much this will earn, fearing that landowners will be angered by the small crumbs that are falling their way from this table. Last year the regime let slip that the price per tonne for this ore was US$27.45 a tonne while Indonesia was selling its bauxite to China for US$48.68 a tonne, a price which included an export tax of 20%. So give the landowners some facts. Its their land that’s being ripped up and sent to China.

Fiji Village: 21/04/2014 Shipment of bauxite to China expected at the end of this month

http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=2104147ef8178ed1c9b95c8f3116e8

Land Bank is short on facts

April 14, 2014

Radio Regime has announced that $4.6 million has been paid to indigenous landowners who have deposited their land in the Frank Land Bank.  We are not told who the lessee is (apparently only one) or how much land is involved.  Nor are we told how long the leases run.  Are they 99 year leases?  How much rent is being paid?  What are the provisions for re-assessing rent in line with inflation?  The Land Bank gives total power to the PM to set rents and all conditions for leases, so he should be telling us and the landowners what decisions he’s made.

Radio Fiji 13 April 2014 Land Bank rakes in $4.6 m in lease money.
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/19130/land-bank-rakes-in-4-6-m-in-lease-money

These are the people who will control land for Frank

April 10, 2014

The regime’s propaganda machine is boasting that they have caught more people for illegally sub-dividing land held under crown leases.  We all knew the NLTB was slack – and changing the initials to TLTB hasn’t made it any more efficient – but the Lands Department makes the TLTB look good.  If there was land that could have been sub-divided, why didn’t the Lands Department sub-divide it by reaching some arrangement with the existing lessees?  And this is the institution that Bainimarama has given control of his Land Bank.

Radio Fiji 9 April 2014 Charges over illegal land sales http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/19038/charges-over-illegal-land-sales

Regime pretends to take action on qoliqoli

February 8, 2014

With panic set in about the rape of our fisheries and the election approaching Bainimarama has decided he has to do something about it. So what does he do? He orders 410 qoliqolis to be surveyed. That falls into the category of “the cheque is in the mail” political promises. All it does is advertise seven years of dishonesty. Well done regime propaganda gurus for exposing that Bainimarama is just like all the ‘old politicians’!

Radio Fiji 1 February 2014 410 qoliqolis to be surveyed
http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/17328/410-qoliqolis-to-be-surveyed