When I read this item in the Fijilive news I wondered first of all, does an interim government have the authority to make changes in land laws or should they wait until there is an elected government?
Secondly I wondered about the implications of extending a lease from 50 to 99 years. Already it means two generations of landowning Fijians will not have access to that piece of land? Okay they get financial rewards in lease money, but access to land for the children and their children is a factor that must be considered. Will all the nice beaches be taken away from the indigenous people and leased for four or five generations to hotel developers?
In my opinion lease money is a lucky bonus to Fijian families as a reward for allowing strangers to use their land - short-term or long-term. Not all Fijians have land anyway so some will reap great rewards from the chance of owning a particular piece of land and others may only have rough mountainous terrain without any infrastructure, and others no land at all.
Land lease changes approved
Thursday November 01, 2007
Changes to Fiji's land law that will allow for 99-year leases on isolated areas currently leased for 50 years has been approved by the interim Cabinet. The changes will soon be gazetted as the Native Land Trust (Leases and Licenses) (Amendment) Regulations 2006.
Interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau explains that the land concerned include areas that are "isolated, unplanned or un-surveyed" as in mahogany and pine plantations, tourism leases, development leases, commercial agriculture and leases issued for public purposes.
Ratu Epeli said that the amendment will provide much needed stability in the production and processing activities not only within the mahogany and tourism sectors, but also in development leases for land subdivisions.