Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natives warn on land leases

Natives warn on land leases - By SERAFINA SILAITOGA-Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MORE than 100 landowning units in a northern province have called on the State to sort out outstanding land issues or face the risk of failure in development projects.
One hundred and seven landowning units from Bua believe their cries over the past two decades to return reserve land, which Fiji Pine has used since the 1970s, have not been heard.
Bua Landowners Association spokesman Tevita Raiova said nothing had been done since their grievances were first raised in the 1990s. "We are tired of crying for our reserve land and it's time that the matter be straightened out," he said. "If nothing is done, then development projects for Bua will not prosper."
On September 12 last year, the Native Land Trust Board, through a Fiji Times article, admitted that landowners of Bua were not consulted when the Government started planting pine in the division 26 years ago.
NLTB spokesman Nimilote Naivalumaira said in the article that mistakes must be corrected and that the problems identified by the landowners were caused by acts of omission in the early years of pine planting.
Efforts to get comments from Fiji Pine chief executive Alec Chang proved futile.

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