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More Fijians will get the opportunity to raise their concerns with the acting Local Government Minister, the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, in the coming days.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday met in Ba with the residents of Ba, who told their concerns to him and the newly appointed special administrator of Ba and Tavua, Praveen Bala.
Close to a hundred people turned up at the meeting and thanked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum
for actively looking into their grievances.
Such meetings are not the last of its kind.
During the discussions Mr Sayed-Khaiyum assured them that a follow-up meeting would be held where the special administrator would provide the residents with an update on their complaints.
Ba meeting During the meeting, concerns were raised with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that the previous special administrator and some staff of the council had covered their actions by stating that certain orders had been made by the Government.
“We are aware of this and let me inform everyone that these issues are being looked into.
“A series of such meetings would be held around the country where people from other municipalities will be able to discuss their grievances with us,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
“At the meeting we had, there were indeed complaints about the conduct of the municipal administrators. There are a number of issues that should have been addressed some time ago. When the municipal officials and other officials do not carry out their duties. It would appear that there had been a certain level of disconnectivity between the municipalility officials and the rate payers. It is essential that all rate payers are treated equally, justly.
“The meetings with other municipalities will give the rate payers the opportunity to make their concerns known.”
While providing an update on the Clopcott Settlement issue, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said a check with the Department of Environment revealed that no proper authorisation and assessment had been done.
Ba for the people of Ba Ba residents informed Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that there had been several instances where large sums of money had been invested in various projects around the town, without any discussion with the people of Ba.
One resident- Janemaan Farooq, speaking on behalf of those present, said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s timely intervention in stopping the Clopcott eviction saved hundreds of Fijians from losing all that they owned.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he was aware that there had been instances in the past when people’s voices had not been heard, but the Bainimarama Government’s policy in serving Fijians was clear.
Ba Chamber of Commerce president Dinesh Patel said some core functions of the council had been overlooked.
“The residents of Ba are free to raise questions if they feel that their rates money is not being put to good use. There have been some developments around town and we are glad that we have been able to highlight these issues with Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.
Bala speaks The newly-appointed Ba and Tavua special administrator, Praveen Bala, said the Clopcott subdivision would go on, but it would be done with proper planning.
“I am very confident that all issues that have been raised, can be and will be resolved. For example, the Clopcott subdivision is one such issue. That sub-division must happen, but there is a way of doing it.
“I am going to suggest to the Minister that we revisit the Clopcott subdivision from the initial survey,” Mr Bala said.
He said he was amazed with the number of complaints that had been raised and assured Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and Ba residents that all will be looked into.
A follow-up meeting will be held later in the month.