Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has applauded the people of the Yavusa Nasuva of Welagi in Taveuni for buying back 623 hectares of land which was once called, home by their ancestors.
The Yavusa Nasuva will take ownership over four parcels of land which are part of the Tuvumaca Estate and Bainimarama says that these parcels have been bought back by the community at a cost price with no interest charged.
The land was lost 140 years ago and Bainimarama says that what is more shocking, and most disgraceful, is that past, post‑independent governments had every opportunity to put those protections in place, and they failed to do it.
The Prime Minister says that while the past cannot be changed when it comes to the history of the 623 hectares of land, the story begins long before any of us were ever born.
Bainimarama says the time of European settlement and the colonial government in Fiji were afflicted by a number of bad land deals, where landowning units were taken advantage of and manipulated.
He says that large tracts of iTaukei land in Fiji were sold off or exchanged for amounts far below their true value adding this was a tactic used by European settlers and colonial powers all over the world and Fiji was not spared.
The Prime Minister also says these land sales occurred under an older system, a system where the voices of the many were outweighed by the voices of a few.
He adds there was a system where certain chiefs made every big decisions, including giving away iTaukei land, without any consent from those who would be most affected and as they have seen those decisions could hold consequences for generations.
The Prime Minister highlighted that if those past politicians in the Opposition were ever to run Fiji again, iTaukei land would be under serious threat.
He says that this is what the Opposition’s record tells us and still, they show up in communities selling lies about threats to land, even distributing DVDs that give false information and fake news.
He urged people not to buy those lies and instead, use their own eyes, see the sweeping protections the government have put in place to level the playing field in iTaukei society.
The Prime Minister told the people of Welagi that it is a good thing that they are righting the historic wrongs of the past with this handover.
He adds that because of the current constitution no member of an elite class can use legal loop holes to alienate or take away any of your land.ADVERTISEMENT Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.