‘Please listen to our plea’

Opposition member of Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu during the Budget debate 2021.Picture:Parliament Of Fiji/FILE

All Opposition parliamentarians who objected to the iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill 2021 in Parliament yesterday said they were concerned Government did not consult landowners before seeking to amend the law on native land.

Opposition Leader Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu pleaded with Government to hold thorough discussions with landowners on the Bill.

“Please just listen to the plea,” pleaded Ratu Naiqama.

“All we need is just to be able to go back and consult with them, even though you have the power.

“Just inform them so they can be updated as to, this is where we are and this is where are we going to go.”

SODELPA MP Ro Teimumu Kepa told Parliament that more than 30,000 landowners have signed petitions calling on the Government to withdraw the Bill and do consultations.

“Their concern, their apprehension is that there was no consultation whatever with landowners, either by Government or by TLTB to protect and safeguard our rights and our interests,” said Ro Teimumu.

“FijiFirst government usually do their bulldozing tactics and this is what they’ve done with this particular Bill.

“We need the consent, because we are the landowners.

“You can’t just go over and take over something that does not belong to you.”

Opposition MP, Mikaele Leawere said “the Bill is not good.

It’s not good for Fiji and iTaukei”.

He told Parliament that the chiefs were requesting for consultation.

“Our chiefs in Fiji and 26 villages in Serua are asking that this Bill be removed and consult us in terms of these amendments.

“This is all what we are asking.”

More Stories