#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Two powerful chiefs tell dictator to leave Khaiyum’s anti-Fijian Land Use Decree alone

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two powerful chiefs tell dictator to leave Khaiyum’s anti-Fijian Land Use Decree alone

By Victor Lal

Two of the highest chiefs in the country have told the puppeteer dictator and self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama they will not stand by and see their ancestral lands given away on 99-year leases through the illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum’s Land Use Decree (LUD) No 36 of 2010. The chiefs have called on Bainimarama to remove the objectionable Decree with immediate effect.

The author of the infamous “Sunset Clause” on how to snuff out time immemorial Fijian cultural autonomy has cynically delegated power to  Bainimarama in his LUD, for the dictator to parcel out i-taukei lands on whatever terms the deranged leader thinks fit.

The letter, according to sources in the Prime Ministerial Office, was hand-delivered to ensure that Bainimarama could not deny having not received it, like the $1million notes, which was stolen under the nose of his own Military selected company.
The letter, written on 1 September 2010, is signed by the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa, and the Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

The two have also copied the letter to members of the Military Council, the High Commissions, the US Ambassador to Fiji, the UN Secretary-General, and Regional Managers of NLTB, Suva, Labasa, Lautoka, and Nadi.

The two high chiefs begin the letter by informing Bainimarama: “We write to raise with you our uttermost concern on the above Decree (Re: Land use Decree No 36 of 2010). We do this as individuals and with the mandate of the position we hold for those we represent. It is impossible, given the extraordinary state of affairs and the restrictions imposed on us to raise our concern in any manner other than by way of this plea, which we make directly to you.”

The LUD No 36 came into being on Friday 25th July 2010. Its purpose, so far as it concerns native landowners, is purportedly, to utilize designated native land. This to be achieved by the establishment of the Land Use Unit within the Ministry of Lands, by the provision of longer tenure and by ensuring that all available lands are leased.

The critical feature of the decree, the two chiefs’ point out, is the designation, which is to be done by the dictator (although they politely use the term Prime Minister).

They continue: “There are no pre-conditions required for this, not the least consultation or consent of either the native land owner or its statutory trustee NLTB. But one’s designated all personal rights of the native landowner and NLTB’s duty to administer those rights is removed, the Courts have no power to question or litigate on it. This is achieved by the act of designation and by the Decree expressly saying that is it so.”

Once designated, the power of the Land Use Unit (LUU) to direct the issue of lease, the NLTB or Lands Department in accordance with the objective of the Decree, falls into place. In this regard, the Unit not only duplicates but also extends the comparative powers vested in NLTB by its Acts, by the additional requirement that leasing is to be done for the purported well-being of the economy (but with no guarantee that economic benefits actually accrue to anyone) in terms of longer tenure and ensure that all vacant native land is leased.

The two chiefs told Bainimarama to remove the Decree with immediate effect. As they put it:

a)Firstly, because it is in breach of our Human rights to property and our Group Rights as native Fijians as it affects our right to enjoy our land in the way we choose and the restitution of those rights by ownership, control and self-determination;

b) Secondly, it duplicates the role of NLTB beyond the powers that our Chiefs and the owners of native land have appropriated to it by their expressed consent through the establishment of the Native Land Trust Board;

c)Thirdly, it is not consistent with current international practice, policies, laws and conventions that champion self-determination by indigenous peoples in the exercise of their land rights as opposed to government control;

d)Fourthly, there is no way to guarantee that any economic project undertaken on designated native land, will actually succeed and benefit the nation, the project-undertakers, or the landowners, in any way.

“What will be guaranteed though is 100 years of leasing opportunity to fail in trying. The vast majority of commercial projects on native land fail today not because of unwieldy lease conditions or lack of finance. Rather they often fall simply due to poor commercial foundations and preconceptions,” Ro Kepa and Ratu Naiqama told Bainimarama.

The two chiefs also remind Bainimarama, and indirectly his crafty and cocky master henchman Khaiyum, that the Decree violates many of the UN conventions etc, etc, etc.

Unlike the cold-hearted and careless master and his puppeteer, the two chiefs remind Bainimarama: “What is more hurting to us is the manner in which the Decree has duplicated and usurped the power that our forefathers have, by consent, invested upon NLTB. NLTB is a government agent and no matter the extent of our complaints on its neglect, it holds special significance to use because our forefathers expressly consented to place their trust upon it for the better administration of their land. This Decree has replaced NLTB with the Land Use Unit, investing with it the power to administer native land for purposes beyond what our forefathers agreed to invest on NLTB.”

In a very serious sense, the Decree runs against the grain of current practice amongst nation states. For whilst nations everywhere are acknowledging the right of native people to take control of their land and their own affairs, this Decree is doing the exact opposite.

“We dare say that Native Fijians have never complained about making their land available. What they have complained about is the return on investment on leasing, something that NLTB, as the agent of government has miserably failed them,” the two chiefs told Bainimarama.

They also asked the self-appointed dictator: “For how can you explain to native Fijians that they own 90% of the land but only receive 5% of the wealth of this nation? How can you explain to them that the return on investment for them on the leasing of their land for sugar cane is $2 in every $100, whilst the tenant makes $78 and the State $20?”

How could Bainimarma explain, they asked, to the i-taukei that the NLTB in all these years have not collected for them the fair market value of their land upon leasing, allowing tenants to accrue much of that benefit just for leasing that land? In the tourism sector (of which the master draftsman Khaiyum is Tourism Minister), this amount is in millions and tens of millions.

The solution, the two proud Fijian chiefs tell the dictator, does not lie in the passing of the Land Use Decree to further remove native rights and control, but in seeking better leasing conditions and better return on their investment, their land.

The Land Use Decree was signed into force on 1 July 2010 by the illegal President of the Republic of Fiji, Epeli Nailatikau.

I share the sentiments of the two chiefs, and would call upon all Fijians who passionately care about their cultural heritage, identity, and their land, including those in the Military Council, to resist this obnoxious Decree, to the bitter end.

Remember the immortal words of another Cakaudrove chief, the late Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, who once remarked: “If you break up the land, you break up the Fijian people.”

No self-respecting i-taukei must allow the deranged dictator and his master henchman and author of the genocidal “Sunset Clause” to see the Land Use Decree see the Fijian sunlight. If it does, the i-taukei as a race will become a wandering people in their own God-given land.

Pictured: Powerful chiefs Ro Kepa and Ratu Naiqama


Liu Muri said...

Victor, what Chiefs you talking about? The two so called high chiefs are not chiefs but politicians. They are the biggest cause of political strife in Fiji. Chiefs are for all the people but these were for themselves. The best way British could manipulate Fijians was through a Great Council of Chiefs, so instead of dealing with all and sundry, they will manipulate the people through chiefs. GCC has not been around for some years now. Has it made an iota of a difference to the common kai colo, who are better off now, away from the shackles and sham of chiefly domination?
Most chiefs in Fiji have abuses their positions, robbed their people and ate all the NLTB money, leaving the common Fijian poor and destitute, which is much cause of conflict in Fiji, as they perceive Indians to be rich. But for Indo Fijians, they do not have a chief to rob them, so they keep what they earn for themselves and their families.
Please stop talking about high chiefs. They descended so low in politics that they are a shame to the only high chief, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, who realised that there are others , apart from i-Taukei in Fiji. The chiefs you talk about are my relations – just as Liu Muri as me

Radiolucas said...

"GCC has not been around for some years now. Has it made an iota of a difference to the common kai colo, who are better off now, away from the shackles and sham of chiefly domination?" - A good point. The removal of the GCC - purportedly to "help" the people of Fiji has made no difference at all.

The only difference now is that we get one "high" chief - the Emperor Bainimarama who will decide anything and everything according to whatever he has eaten in the last hour.

Not particularly appealing to me and I prefer a chief any day to the bunch of criminals that we have now. At least chiefs can be held accountable by their own people - who holds the military regime accountable?

Anonymous said...

Better the chiefs than these thiefs. These two chiefs serve their people well.

They have raised very valid points here.

mark manning said...

These Chiefs are courageous and honourable, Something Frank Bainimarama and his supporters could never be.

Perhaps the Sunset Clause of Sayed's, should be displayed here and on other blog sites again and a comparison done with Mein Kampf and its history etc. I don't think many Fijians really get the connection or know just where and what it is and what it stands for.

The Jackal said...

@ Liu Muri

Maimuri I agree with you but on Ratu Sukuna being the only real chief. Nah you are wrong...he was the biggest pretender of them all. Educated all right but one who lived the full meaning of your name.

Now there is only one chief and that is the Vore himself...Da Pig.

Anonymous said...

I share the sentiments against continuation in our upholding chiefly institution as we have been practicing. These days are very different from when Rt Sukuna was alive and we should accordingly adjust the place of chiefes in our society. They should no longer parasitise on us as they continue to do.

But i fully support Victor's arguments against the current illegal regime with regards to its attemps to rob the Fijians of the control of their land. Vinaka Victor.

Hopefully the two chiefs' move against Bainivore will galvanise the Fijians to unite actively against the current dictatorship..the only language Bainivore understands is uprising and physical resistence....lets sock it to them. Long live FIJI.

Anonymous said...

Khaiyum you are the Man. Continue what you are doing as these 2 Chiefs and all Indegenous Fijians like the Military Council, Voreqe, Driti and all members of the Fiji Military are shit scared of you.

Fiji Indians will never forget your sacrifice as you are doing this for the love of Fiji and you could be earning more money in the private sector like you were earning at Colonial.

I do not know why people are jealous of you when you are trying to improve the lives of the poor and down trodden.

Do not be afraid as Fiji Indians are ready to stand up and defend you and your family = May God bless you and your family richly for al your sacrifices.

Jekesoni Saumaki said...

@ liu muri, you have the right name but put up your photo and be man enough to say what you just posted infront of the two High Chiefs.
Maybe you are an indian, doing a good job in inciting hate, if you are a Fijian you are doing an even better job thus your name. Tamata liu muri ga vataki tamamu kei ira kece na nomu kawa, you kawa ca.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Jekesoni, Fijians are increasing questioning the long held values in maintaining chiefs in positions they have traditionally held. Some are now raising other options of leadership models for our society. This is natural and a universal phenomena ie debate and questioning of traditional leadership structure with a view to modernising society. It is in fact vitally necessary if we are to advance with time. If this means modifying or getting rid of chiefs, so be it. What is more important is good for the majority and less of what is good for the chiefly families.

Each Fijian has every right to question the integrity of chiefs if they think the chiefs are not measuring up to expectations.

This is Fiji in 2010....not pre-1874. Those who want to be chiefs must now accept the possibility of public scrutiny and criticism...comes with the position.