Qereqeretabua: TLTB Board silent on proposed amendment

MP Lenora Qereqeretabua in Parliament. Picture: FIJI PARLIAMENT/FILE

National Federation Party MP Lenora Qereqeretabua told Parliament she was amazed by the silence of the board of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) in relation to the proposed amendment to the iTaukei Land Trust Act.

During debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament this week, she said she was also amazed that TLTB chief executive officer Tevita Kuruvakadua consulted with the Solicitor-General’s Office on the proposed Bill without the knowledge of the TLTB board.

“It amazes me that the CEO can be part of a ploy to amend such an important legislation and not even have the gumption to advise his whole board who, by the way, are the lawful trustees of the landowners,” Ms Qereqeretabua said.

“It amazes me further that a week after that so-called Budget consequential Bill was tabled, the board was still in the dark about it, by which time public debate was already stirring.

“As far as I can tell, all the members of the board are still members and no one has resigned in protest, so it stands to reason that there is an element of complicity in this whole exercise with the board.

“It also amazes me that apart from the incompetent way this TLTB Bill is coming to this House, the TLTB itself is coming to ask for about $5million for its operating expenses in the Budget.

“Yet this House is not up to speed with the status of its latest annual reports, a key KPI, one would think, for the TLTB CEO and, yes, the board.”

Ms Qereqeretabua urged Government to have respect for traditional landowners by consulting with them before moving ahead with the proposed Bill.

She also called on FijiFirst party members who were members of landowning units to “think very, very carefully” about what they would be voting for.

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