Thursday, June 17, 2010

Owners Want Land Back


by Theresa Ralogaivau

Fiji Times - Friday, June 18, 2010
BUA pine landowners have asked Fiji Pine Limited to return all native reserved land under pine cultivation.
At a meeting with the company board at Votua Village in Lekutu, Bua, landowner Tevita Raiova from the mataqali Naita of the Burenitu clan, who spoke on behalf Lekutu and Navakasiga districts, said that landowners wanted reserve land back because they had not been consulted about it being leased.
In 2008, Native Land Trust Board official Nimilote Naivalumaira confirmed Bua landowners were not consulted when the government began planting pine on their land 27 years ago.
Mr Naivalumaira said the problems identified by landowning units were caused by acts of omission during the early years of pine planting when the Government acquired the land through the Lands Department.
"The concerns raised by the Bua Landowners Association are understandable," he had said.
"This is indisputable.
"What is needed is a sustainable solution and resolution of issues which must aim for stability for the long term benefit to the nation and landowners alike.
"Fiji Pine must cooperate and assist in the process of rectifying mistakes and regularising their interest."
Landowners basing their arguments on that NLTB admission said they rightfully need to get their land back so that they can use it for planting.
Fiji Pine Board chairman Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba said they would look into the issue.
Deputy chair Ratu Jolame Lewanavanua, who met the landowners, said the issue was one that would be cleared before harvesting of pine plantations in Bua could proceed. "We went to meet them because we want to hear their issues and resolve them according to a pillar of the People's Charter," he said.
"We want to commence a new dawn in the company's relationship with landowners."

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