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PM says its racial, Gavoka denies

July 23, 2021 7:40 pm
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [left] and SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has urged iTaukei landowners not to listen to fear-mongering politicians.

Bainimarama claims Opposition politicians are fueling a fear of the Kai-India (Indo-Fijian) among the iTaukei, by falsely claiming that land protections are being taken away under the proposed iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill.

He says no Kai-India has ever alienated a single millimeter of land belonging to the indigenous people.

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Bainimarama adds members of SODELPA do not look at the facts and the long term goals.

The Prime Minister goes on to say that the Oppositions attacks on Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are also racially motivated.

“That is why someone like the AG – because he is seen as Kai-India – he is not good. A conniver not to be trusted. Someone who is out there to cheat the iTaukei of their land. It serves the political purpose of what has taken place in this country for a decade now, when all he has advocated for and put in place with my support and endorsement the provisions of the constitution the stepping stone for non-alienation of iTaukei land”.

Bainimarama adds that he and Sayed-Khaiyum have only ever wanted landowners to be empowered and not be afraid.

Bainimarama has assured that landowners will continue to receive market and equal returns from their leased land.

iTaukei Land Trust Amendment Bill helps make that land more attractive for the benefit of landowning communities – increasing the premiums and lease payments they can get.

SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka has denied any racial bias amongst the Party, adding the Attorney General’s race has no bearing on the matter.

“We don’t care if the Attorney-General is a kai-Idia, kai-Viti, kai-Jaina, kai-Loma, or kai-Valagi, SODELPA will scream if anyone touches land issues in a cavalier or casual manner as we see with this Bill 17. Bainimarama says the Bill is to correct some administrative issues. That is very silly, as you don’t destroy a fundamental principle of Law, that of right of ownership, to solve an administrative problem”.

The Bill will be debated when parliament sits next week.

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