KAREN SEATON – FIJI RESIDENT PERMIT HOLDER, WHO LIVES ON HER PROPERTY IN KORO, DEPORTED OVER LAND RIGHTS
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Bainimarama Coup, Fiji First government Immigration officials broke into Miss Seaton’s room on Friday night, removed her mobile phones, denied her embassy consultation and deported her. This is part of her email I received it at 4.49am this morning.
From: Karen Seaton
Date: Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 11:50 PM
‘Am sitting in the airport, the immigration broke into my hotel room this morning and forcefully removed my phone, refused embassy consult and deported me, as far as L.A., will board in an hour’
I had just met Karen via email a few weeks ago, when she brought to me issues for which she had been seeking redress from Government without even a single response. I recommended she make a submission to the Justice Law and Order & Human Rights Committee which was hearing submissions on the ‘Code of Conduct Bill. She agreed, so traveled from Koro for the presentation on Friday at 12 noon.
It was my opinion that the decision of government officials choosing not to respond to her multiple email pleas and submissions about her plight was inappropriate conduct by a government official and therefore testimony of Karen’s own life experience and the conduct of officials when dealing with her issues was relevant to formulating a Code of Conduct Bill to avoid such conduct occurring in the future.
Essentially Karen Seaton and the many thousands of foreign property holders in Fiji are protesting the unjust nature of the retrospective Land Sales Act, which effectively removed the value of freehold. Not all foreign landowners are wealthy, many have saved up for decades and bought their plots in Fiji to retire to and build a small but comfortable retirement home. To be suddenly saddled with the need to raise $250,000 and build a home in 24 months or be fined 10% of the value of the land you bought and $100,000 if you don’t complete the building on time, would hurt even a wealthy property owner.
The Law was enacted on December 15th 2014 and the 2 year period to build will end on December 31st 2016, so if the thousands of owners have not built their $250,000 homes by then, and many have not, then the penalty of 10% of the price they paid for the property will be applicable and payable at 6 monthly intervals until the home is built And anyone who contravenes this section shall be liable for a fine of $100,000.
Karen Seaton made her submissions to the Committee on Friday. Peter Waqavonovono and I were present as Peter presented our paper on the Public Order Act as well as the Code of Conduct Bill and Information Bill. Karen did well, she was challenged multiple times by the Fiji First members of the committee and at one stage the Police were summoned to take her away. I asked for a 2 minute recess to allow me to speak to Karen/ This was granted and I gave her some suggestions that would help allow her to complete her submissions and table all her documents, she did it.
And for standing up and protesting against the injustice done to her and many thousand others Karen Seaton was deported without being convicted and as far as I know no wrong doing has been proven. She has paid a price for speaking the truth. And we call this democracy?
Idyllic Fiji Transforms Into Nightmarish Trap for Investor Dave Rand and Fiji Land Owners Association Members
International investment risk escalates in Fiji: Piracy is alive and well in the South Pacific
"After commercial property values appreciated towards hundreds of millions of dollars in metropolitan areas, the new Fiji government, in an effort headed by Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, rushed through parliament a piece of legislation in December 2014 known as Act 16 of the Land Sales Act with little debate and no public scrutiny. The law is being applied retrospectively upon non-citizen free-hold landowners by attaching new legal consequences (FJ $50,000 fines and even imprisonment) to events already completed (sales contracts executed under previously existing laws) if they do not build homes at a minimum cost of FJ $250,000 on their lots by the end of this year. The law will disproportionately punish small lot owners - many who wish only to retire in Fiji - by drawing no distinctions between them and speculative commercial real estate investors." -
David Rand, Fiji Land Owners Association, 23371 Mulholland Dr #288
Woodland Hills , CA 91364