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Don’t vote for liars: Bainimarama

 

Apr 09, 2014 04:01:52 PM

Don’t vote for liars: Bainimarama Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called on the public not to vote for "liars" in the upcoming general elections on September 17.

He made the comments while opening a new nursing station at Yakete in Ba today during which he told the people that “liars” were spreading untruths about what is in the 2013 Constitution regarding iTaukei land.

“If anyone tells you that your land is threatened in any way, do not believe them. They are trying to stir up trouble for their own political ends. They are trying to instill fear in you. They are lying,” Bainimarama said.

He maintained there was no threat to iTaukei land or to its ownership and that his government has strengthened the protection of these lands.

“In the past, some unscrupulous politicians used a loophole in the law to sell off portions of iTaukei land. They got around the ban on native title being converted to freehold with a fancy legal sidestep. What they did was to first convert native title into Crown land, which  the law allowed. Then they converted that same piece of land from Crown to freehold, which the law also allowed. The result was that some very valuable native title –iTaukei land - was sold off and lost forever.

“So the truth is that more land is now protected than ever before because we ended this practice. But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself in our Constitution – the first Constitution in Fiji’s history ever to be translated into iTaukei. It’s all there in black and white in the Bill of Rights – an absolute guarantee of the protection of I’Taukei land for you, your children and the generations to come.”

He told villagers their land was not going to be lost forever and that landowners will benefit greatly.

“And there are other benefits to landowners that have never existed before, such as the right to a fair share of royalties for any minerals found under their land or under the seabed in waters where they have customary fishing rights. Also, for the first time in any of our constitutions, the Bill of Rights says that any land leased by landowners must provide them with a fair and equitable return.

 “So there it is – the truth as outlined in our constitution. It is the Supreme Law of our country and the law from which all other laws flow. And it gives landowners a fairer deal than they have ever received before.”

He said whoever said otherwise was a liar.

“There is no threat to iTaukei land and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. And I ask you not to vote for liars when it comes to the election, for your sake and the sake of our beloved nation.”

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

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