The President of Sodelpa, Turaga na Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu in responding to the allegation by the Honorable Prime Minister yesterday that Sodelpa continues to lie to the Indigenous people of Fiji that their land was not safe, stated that Sodelpa was not interested in political debate over land, and instead called on both Government and the Opposition to be sensitive to the indigenous owners of land and not to confuse them or draw them away from the truth.
Instead, the Party, Ratu Naiqama said, wanted resolutions and the review of some of the policies that encroach on land matters as well as other indigenous owned resources for example the Land Use Decree, the Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree and the Mahogany Industry Development Decree.
“Sodelpa has always maintained its position that some of the aspects of the mentioned Decrees are not conducive to the true spirit of mutual benefit and enterpreurship. It defeats the normal process of justice for example, the clauses within these Decrees that disallows any attempt by any aggrieved landowner to pursue redress in a Court of Law should they be dissatisfied with any aspect of the use of their resources by the tenant or the governing authorities.
That is the reason why Sodelpa has maintained that the land is neither safe nor secure, under such draconian regulations. We are not interested in lying to the people. It serves us no purpose,” Ratu Naiqama said.
He also further pointed out that land issues must not be grandstanded and said that Sodelpa would instead be keen to dialogue with Government on matters pertaining to land matters that affect our people.
“We must find a common ground for our people and for the nation. In this case, Sodelpa is appreciative to note that some of the land and resource utilization policies that it fought for during the election campaigns were now being implemented and recognized by Government as having merit.
He pointed out the new laws that now require the processing of all Bauxite minerals locally for example, other than having soil carted off to China as was being done in the last couple of years.
“This is progressive and we are appreciative that Government seems to be considering some of the issues Sodelpa is raising in the interest of our people. Whilst we encourage and support investment initiatives, we must however not do so at the expense of our people and our economy, and what we could derive from the proper utilization and maximization of our resources,” Ratu Naiqama concluded.
"I believe development is for everyone. The FijiFirst Government doesn’t discriminate. We don’t pander to vested interests or the elite. We look for areas of need wherever they may be in Fiji and make them the priority. We put our tax dollars where they are needed most. Development based not on who you know or who you voted for but on genuine need." - Frank Bainimarama
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Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says his FijiFirst Government is steadily reversing the neglect of past governments.
“And their failure to properly develop our nation in the four decades since Independence. Wherever you look, we are getting things done,” he said.
He was speaking at the opening of the final stage of the Buca Bay Road in Cakaudrove yesterday. It cost more than $73 million. The first stage cost more than $40 million.
“Our political opponents, of course, continue to spread the lie that we are actually doing little or nothing at all.
“They are blind to everything around them because they need to cover up a basic fact,” he said.
“That when they had the chance to govern, they did little or nothing except for themselves and their supporters. The rest of the nation was left to fend for itself.
“Unlike them, I believe development is for everyone. The FijiFirst Government doesn’t discriminate. We don’t pander to vested interests or the elite. We look for areas of need wherever they may be in Fiji and make them the priority. We put our tax dollars where they are needed most.
“Development based not on who you know or who you voted for but on genuine need.
“One of the biggest lies that SODELPA continues to spread is that we are eroding the rights of the iTaukei when the reverse is true. We have strengthened those rights and ensured that they are protected for all time.
“And I urge every iTaukei to examine the truth for yourself by reading our Constitution that we had translated into iTaukei.
“Not a single inch of iTaukei land has been lost under my Government prior to the election, under the Constitution or under the FijiFirst Government.
“In fact, it is because of this Constitution and my Government that the iTaukei today are more empowered than ever before. And their land is more secure than ever before.
“Always remember that many of these liars were among those who brought the country to its knees in 2000. They have nothing else to offer but more of the same. More fear. More suspicion. More hatred.
“A nation stuck in the past and turning in on itself rather than a nation that is united and outward looking – searching for better opportunities for everyone.
“I have a fundamentally different view of the Fijian people than they do. They think ordinary Fijians are stupid and can be manipulated into supporting them with their pathetic scare campaigns. Whereas I preside over a Government – the FijiFirst Government – that respects the intelligence of the Fijian people and values their common sense.”