Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Bill 17 repealed in Parliament

The i-Taukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Act, formerly known as BILL17 has been repealed by Parliament unanimously.

Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu, told Parliament that Opposition MP will not participate in the debate, as there is a pending matter in Court relating to Bill 17.

During the debate, Ministry for i-Taukei Affairs, Ifereimi Vasu said today is a day of celebrations for the i-Taukei landowners.

Speaking in the i-Taukei language in Parliament, Vasu said prior to the enactment of the Budget Amendment Act, no consultations with the landowning units, stakeholders, or the banks and others were conducted by the previous Government on the matter.

Vasu said that landowning units has welcomed the decision by Government to repeal the i-Taukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Act.

“The Ministry of the i-Taukei Affairs were not given the opportunity to express their views on Bill 17. A lot has been against Bill 17, this would not have happened if proper consultations were conducted.”

Vasu added the all the 14 provinces are for the repeal and Banks have welcomed this as well.

Also, the Deputy Prime Minister Prof Biman Prasad said that the previous Government railroaded this amendment under the Standing Order 51 – with no consultation whatsoever, with the Act’s primary stakeholders who are our i-Taukei customary landowners.

“How could we forget yet another dark stain of draconian political intimidation and persecution of dissenting voices such as many of our now sitting on this side of the House, when we were hauled by the CID police officers for repeated questioning about this law when we made statements against it.”

Prof Prasad said the other side who were there that day, all said in many different ways, that the intention for the law change was to improve business efficiency by eliminating delays in getting TLTB consent for mortgages.

He added, the previous Government disrespectfully crushed any opportunity for process of consultation with owners of the asset, which the TLTB is merely a custodian of.

The Attorney-General said the Government’s priority to review and repeal i-Taukei related laws that marginalize i-Taukei rights.

“Proper consultations with the Land Owning Units were not consulted properly in 2021 and the iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Act 2021 was rushed through during the last parliamentary process.”

“Those who were most affected by Act No. 22 of 2021 were the landowners who allowed the facilitation of the processing of mortgages, charges, caveats and pledges without the consent of the iTaukei Land Trust Board,” Turaga added.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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