Opposition MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau yesterday questioned the government on why State land where the capital city is located hasn’t been reverted to its traditional owners.
Ro Filipe referred to a 2010 Lautoka High Court ruling in favor of the State where the late Tui Suva and others had disputed the ownership of all land in the capital city.
He says this is unfair to the traditional owners of land in Suva.
“Since the FijiFirst coup of 2006, which state lands have been declared native land under Section 8. Hardly or nil. They have gone to sleep or more likely do not want to see the itaukei progress in terms of real development and a greater share of the economic pie.”
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in his response says the 2013 2013 Constitution protects landowners from losing their land.
Sayed-Khaiyum also criticized the Rewa Chief for trying to mislead the Fijian people and says the government has denied any attempts to take advantage of iTaukei landowners or to benefit from their resources.
“This is the only constitution in the history of Fiji, that says the ownership of all itaukei land shall remain with the customary owners of that land and itaukei land shall not be alienated, whether by sale, grant, transfer or exchange.”
Sayed-Khaiyum reminded parliament of instances where past governments converted iTaukei land to State land and then to freehold – alienating landowners and depriving them of revenue and resources.