Sunday, December 16, 2007

Take the money, give us our land

Last updated 12/17/2007

Twelve of the sixteen tokatokas (clans) of Sanasana Village which own the proposed multi-million-dollar Natadola golf project have refused to take thousands of dollars in lease money paid to them by Native Land Trust Board officials.
The landowners refused to accept the payment from NLTB officials on Friday, saying they were unaware of a lease for Natadola, which is being developed for a world-class golf course resort.
Sanasana Village development committee chairman Korowaiwai Jonetani Doro, a member of the tokatoka Koroiwaiwai, said NLTB officials told villagers that the money was for the new lease.
He said they were shocked by the payment because they had not agreed to one.
“How can we receive lease money on something we are not aware of?” said Mr Doro.
“We told the NLTB officials money is not a priority to us, we need our land for the benefit of our younger generations.”
The total area to be leased out is 1171.24 acres of land, he said.
“If the land is leased, what will our future generations use for farming and other developments. Take your money and give us back our land,” he said, referring to NLTB.
Mr Doro said landowners realised the importance of land and any dealing in relation to it would have to go through them.
“Even though the NLTB has the right to administer our lands as stipulated in the Native Land Trust Act, it should at least consult us,” he said.
“No consultation was done on the issuance of lease by NLTB and we don't know who the new lessee is.”
Mr Doro said the subject land was leased by Natadola Land Holding (owned in partnership of the Fiji National Provident Fund and Hotel Pacific Property). He was informed by NLTB that the lease was terminated.
“NLTB told us that the money that was supposed to be distributed was for the new lease they have issued on this same land whose lease was terminated,” said Mr Doro."They said this money was paid by the four contractors who are working on the land.
"We (landowners) don't know who the four contractors are and how much they were supposed to pay."
Mr Doro said anything to do with the issuance of the new lease the NLTB had to go through their lawyer, Tupou Draunidalo.

Mataca stresses religious unity

Last updated 12/17/2007

The Catholic Church promotes the unity of mankind, said Archbishop Petero Mataca at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Convention at the weekend.
Addressing the subject on unity of mankind from the Christian perspective, Archbishop Mataca said the Catholic Church was promoting the unity of mankind through the restoration of unity among all Christians and giving deeper study to the Catholic Church and its relationships with other non-Christian religions.
An example, he stressed, was the 1962 Pope John XXIII established secretariat for promoting Christian unity also known as Ecumenism.
“Not in order to build a super-church but to accept the fact that they are members of one family and God is their common Father,” said Archbishop Mataca.
“The dialogue, it is hoped, will promote the growth of brotherhood and sisterhood. At present a number of dialogues are going on. They are Anglican and Catholic, Methodist and Catholic, Lutheran and Catholic, to name but three.”

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