The villagers raised one third towards the $300,000 vessel
The vessel will service routes to four villages in Yasawa Group.
The $300,000 vessel was officially handed over by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to the Yavusa o Bouwaqa of Teci Village at the Lautoka wharf on Friday.
Mr Bainimarama said outlying areas of Yasawa faced a huge challenge when it came to access.
"Since the demise of the Ba Holdings Western Shipping Company, the people of the island of Yasawa have been deprived of a safe, reliable and affordable service," he said.
"There's been a steep increase in the boat fare from the Lautoka Jetty to Yasawa-i-Rara.
"In the case of the people of Teci, they've had to travel by boat to Tamusua to catch a vessel to Lautoka. It has been costing them an extra $70 per trip and around $120 if they opt to travel on a faster vessel like the Yasawa Flyer."
He said the purchase of the passenger vessel was made possible through the collaboration of Government and the community, which managed to raise $55,000 for the boat.
Bouwaqa Development Committee chairman Sitiveni Raturala said three years of sacrifice by the people of Teci and Dalomo villages had finally paid off.
"This new vessel will sustain the development that we need in our villages," he said.
"It will be used not only as a passenger boat, but can be hired to charter tourists around some of the beautiful islands of Yasawas and it can also be used to supply agricultural produce to nearby resorts."
Four fibreglass vessels were also handed by the Prime Minister for the mataqali Nalimai in Tamusua Village, Bukama Village, Ratu Apenisa Memorial School, Soso Village and Somosomo Village School. Source: Fiji Times, 1 August 2015
I-Taukei right well protected - Raturala
I-Taukei rights are intact and well protected under the 2013 constitution and there is no erosion of rights after the decision to have the common name “Fijian” for every Fiji citizen.
Sitiveni Raturala of the Office of the Prime Minister said some people have been spreading misleading information during the political campaigns.
He said their job is to clear any doubts that people have.
Section 28 of the constitution clearly states that the ownership of all i-Taukei land shall remain with the customary owners of that land and i-Taukei land shall not be permanently alienated, whether by sale, grant, transfer or exchange.
It also said that any i-Taukei land acquired by the state for a public purpose after the commencement of the constitution or under any written law shall revert to customary owners if the land is no longer required by the state. Meanwhile Raturala said the Office of the Prime Minister is also addressing issues relating to scholarships.