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Opposition trying to create ethnic divide: PM

July 23, 2021 4:41 pm
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama believes the Opposition’s stand on the iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill is racially motivated.

The Social Democratic Liberal Party has mounted strong public opposition to the proposed Bill claiming it takes away the protection of iTaukei landowners.

Bainimarama says this is nothing but an attempt to divide Fijians among racial lines because SODELPA has distrust with the indo-Fijian community.

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“If these people ever, ever, ever – god forbid – win any election, god help Fiji…seriously. They have a one-track mind that the Kai-India is not good for this place. That’s basically what’s coming out of these attacks against these amendments. Under the Fijian Constitution, the iTaukei land will always remain iTaukei land. They have many other protections and benefits, landowners will continue to receive market and equal returns from their lease. That never happened before”.

The Prime Minister claims SODELPA is ignorant of provisions in the 2013 Constitution that enshrine the protection of iTaukei land.

“It’s funny because these Opposition members and their supporters, mostly the elite – don’t even seem to understand the Constitution. Section 28, 29 and 30 of the Fijian Constitution talks about ownership and the protection of iTaukei land. They don’t seem to understand that. For the number of lawyers that they have and the number of lawyers that support them, I can’t seem to understand”.

As members of SODELPA call for Bill 17 of 2021 to be withdrawn, Bainimarama says the Opposition stand has always been to resist anything that his government does.

“This group of Opposition with a lack of intellect and understanding of what needs to be done to move us forward, they attack everything that the government puts forward. This has nothing to do with the removal of land from the iTaukei for Pete’s sake. They’re even planning on having a march, just unbelievable”.

The iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill is due to be debated in parliament when the House sits from Monday to debate the new budget.

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