Dialogue needed between landowners and tenants to resolve land problems

Postdate: 20/ 12/ 2007

There needs to be dialogue between the landowners and tenants, in an adequate forum, to address the issue of land problems, says the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF).

“It is alarming that landowners are demolishing buildings of tenants and forcing them to move out without notice. It is very worrying that although landowners and chiefs are collecting money from tenants, they still evict the tenants without any explanation or notice,” CCF Chief Executive Officer, Rev Akuila Yabaki said.

Clearly, landowners are not respecting their own lease terms and conditions and are showing a gross disrespect for the dignity and welfare of those, who are poor and don’t own any land.

“The recent events of landowners demolishing temples and houses, shows that the NLTB has been unable to find an acceptable solution to the land problem in Fiji. It also shows that the politicians and former Prime Ministers and governments have been unable to find an acceptable solution,” Rev Yabaki said.

“The reality is that the people who get evicted from expired land leased areas, will have to be resettled somewhere. It is the responsibility of the government and the landowners, to make available a reasonable amount of land, that can be utilised by those that don’t own any land or have access to any land,” Rev Yabaki said.

“The Great Council of Chiefs and the Methodist Church in Fiji, have failed in their duties (as purported guardians of Fijian people) to create an understanding about the national importance of making adequate land available for use by the landless people,” he said.

Everyone suffers when tenants are forced off the land. Past experience has shown that majority of the sugar cane farm land, where leases were not renewed, have in fact reverted back to bush.

For further information, please contact CCF on ph: 3308379, fax: 3308380.

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Rev Akuila Yabaki

Chief Executive Officer

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