October 15, 2012

Melanesian community want land security

October 14, 2012 | Filed under: Fiji News | Posted by: newsroom

The Fiji Melanesian Community Development Association (FMCDA), in its submission to the Constitution Committee at Marata, Wailoku, made a proposal to have all parcels of land that they currently occupy legalised.

The association’s spokesman Jo Sanegar said this could be achieved by way of enshrining their plight in the new constitution.

“By reflecting our land issue in the Constitution ensures it is legal and not ad-hoc where government or landowners have the powers to evict us,” Mr Sanegar said.

“This is what we have experienced in Namara, Nabuinikadamu, and Navutu.”

Moreover, he said economic developments, together with the change in outlook of educated young landowners, who appreciate the economic value of their land, was another threat that could be alleviated if the land issue was in the Constitution.

The association had proposed to the Commission that it endorses that all insecure parcels of land they currently occupied be legalised by way of a Perpetual Land Provision. Furthermore, those settlements within a town or city boundaries be exempted from paying municipal rates.

Mr Sanegar also proposed that the new constitution authorises the enacting of a Melanesian Act similar to the Banaban Settlement Act. “The Act should include, amongst others, the legalisation of land parcels that we currently occupy and the setting up of a trust fund.”

The Melanesian community’s vision for Fiji is “for Fiji to be a home for all people irrespective of their origins, culture and religion. A home that is secure and safe.

The Melanesian Community would like Fiji to be a liberal state, but based on values that promote love, peace, justice and harmony.

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