Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Suvavou Landowners want Ownership of Qoliqol

Oct 5, 2006

Suvavou landowners have today put their backing behind the Qoliqoli Bill and the Indigenous Lands Claims Tribunal Bill saying they want their Qoliqoli stretching from Vatuwaqa to Lami handed back to them.

Speaking to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Natural resources today, landowners spokesman Kameli Rokotakala said the government and business people have developed their land and utilised their Qoliqoli for the last decade, without a single cent going to the landowners.

Rokotakala said their Qoliqoli has been used as a dumping ground and they have told their children not to fish from their own Qoliqoli because it is a health hazard

He also told the committee that they have raised their plight with the highest authorities which including the Fijian Affairs Board and the NLTB, but nothing has been done.

The landowners believe it is not appropriate for the Native Land Trust board to manage the Qoliqoli since they have their own Suvavou Trust.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Military Forces has stood by its stance and called on the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Natural resources to withdraw the Qoliqoli and Land Claims Tribunal Bills.

Submitting the RFMF's submission to the committee today Captain Seremaia Tuiteci said that the bill should not be rushed and careful consultations should be carried out within the Fijian community.

However, the Methodist Church of Fiji said those who oppose the Qoliqoli and Land Claims tribunal bills are concerned over their own political and commercial interests.

The Methodist Church called on those against the bills to recognize that Indigenous Fijians are now educated enough to take charge of their Qoliqoli areas.

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