Villagers still ‘in the dark’ about changes

Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee chairman Josefa Tauleka. Picture: SUPPLIED/FACEBOOK

Members of the Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee say landowners need to be consulted on any matters relating to their land, whether the developments benefited them or not.

Villagers affiliated with the committee said they were observing a peaceful protest and called on Government to consult with them about the intentions of Bill No.17 because they were still “in the dark” about the amendments.

Committee chairman Josefa Tauleka said they were confused about the proposed Bill and needed clarity.

“On one side, we have the Opposition saying that the Bill is not good for landowners and then we have Government in the other corner saying these are all lies,” he said.

“The landowners are left in the middle, confused, relying on information from every corner, that is the sad situation right now.

“We, the owners of the land, have not been consulted and are left in the dark and we plead to Government to at least consult with us and enlighten us on the purpose of this amendment, that is all we ask.

“Government needs to review the Bill, bring it down to landowners for consultation and enlightenment and in this process, include legal people to explain in layman’s terms the purpose of the Bill.

“Since mineral exploration began on our lands 52 years ago, we have been consulting with past governments, including this one, about any issues concerning mining and we don’t see any reason why this can’t be done with this Bill.”

Mr Tauleka also appealed to landowners to follow the law.

“We have seen the outcomes of upheavals in the past and we don’t want to resort to it any more so we are pleading with landowners not to take matters into their own hands because it has never benefited anyone.

“Here in the village, we have individuals that have set up placards outside their homes and farms in the hope of getting Government to hear our pleas.”

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