Thursday, November 26, 2015

Two different land leases

from w
It's rather important for the Fijian landowners to really know the difference between the Land Bank and the TLTB (formerly called NLTB Native Land Trust Board) and which one is the safest option to secure long-term ownership and control over the use of their own land.  Signing away land for 99 year leases also needs to be thought out very carefully - that's three generations where the landowner can't touch their own land. A meeting held in Labasa tired to tease out the information for the landowners who rightfully so are concerned about the Land Bank.

Confusion over roles

Serafina Silaitoga
Friday, November 27, 2015
CONFUSION of roles and differences between the Land Bank Unit and the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) is rife among landowners and in iTaukei communities.
This issue was discussed at great length at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs workshop for provincial council heads held in Labasa yesterday.
The different provincial council heads shared how the landowners have raised concerns in not fully understanding the roles of the Land Bank.
Some provincial council heads told the meeting that landowners in their various provinces failed to understand the difference between the Land Bank and the TLTB.
Roko Tui Ra Mosese Rakoroi told the meeting that landowners should decide which land institutions to sign up with.
He said landowners should be assisted firstly, with increased awareness of the roles of the two land institutions.
Mr Rakoroi also said landowners had become more confused with the different messages made known to them through various social sites or from friends.
Roko Tui Bua Rupeni Kunaturaga said the officers of Land Bank Unit should be invited to villages to educate landowners about their roles.
He said with the bauxite mining in Bua, landowners had been informed of the details of leasing with the Land Bank Unit.
A blogger argues that landowners should not use the Land Bank as it does not give them control.

Native Lands Trust Act versus Land Use Decree

The Native Land Trust Act was created by Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna to assist Fijian landowners to lease their land. His aim was to ensure that landowners benefited from leasing and retained land for their future needs. The NLTB was to have the professional expertise in accounting, surveying, valuation and land management to ensure that landowners were not cheated.
The NLTA said clearly: “all such land shall be administered by the Board for the benefit of the Fijian owners.” There is no qualification to this. Landowners interests are all that matter under the NLTA.
In Bainimarama’s Land Use Decree the PM has to consider the landowners interests AND the economy. If the PM thinks it would be better for the economy to offer land at low rent to a Chinese company who want to build a factory to process cassava, he can do it. The landowners cannot stop him and they cannot go to a court and ask the court to over-rule the lease on the grounds that it’s against their interests.
It goes without saying that chiefs have been cut right out of the process by Bainimarama and ASK. Five landowners have to be appointed as Trustees for landowning group. They are elected by 60% of the landowners but the PM can refuse any elected landowner he doesn’t like (say because he’s a Methodist or a member of the FLP or SODELPA). If at any time the PM doesn’t like one of the trustees, he can also remove him.
None of the key rules governing rent paid, terms of leases, are in the Decree. They are hidden in Regulations which means the Minister can change them without approval by Parliament. Land has been taken out of the hands of the Parliament and courts and handed straight to Bainimarama.
At the moment Bainimarama is letting landowners choose between his Land Bank and the TLTB, but he doesn’t have to do this and once elected he will no longer let landowners have this choice. The Land Use Decree gives him unlimited power.
The Native Lands Trust Act, which was created by Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, was one of the main targets of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in the mission of cultural genocide he mapped out in 2002 in Hong Kong. By delivering personal power into the office of PM he was able to persuade Bainimarama to support his war on Fijian cultural institutions.
The Land Use Decree creates a dangerous concentration of power, regardless of who the PM is. Its aim is to rob iTaukei of any say over their land and make everyone who wants land dependent on the whims of an all powerful PM. That’s bad for everyone.

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