8 Sep 2006

Fiji landowners on Denarau Island call for abolition of Native Land Trust Board

9:52 am on 8 September 2006

Landowners of Fiji's biggest tourism development on Denarau Island near Nadi have threatened to close the road leading to it

They also want the Native Land Trust Board abolished because they say it has refused to acknowledge their grievances and they no longer trust the board.

The Fiji Sun quotes their spokesman, Ratu Tiko Dawai, as saying the NLTB had forcefully involved itself in landowners' affairs by going to the extent of depriving them of income sources.

Ratu Tiko says the NLTB has failed to consult them about the development of their land and has told them to stop running their taxi business on Denarau because a foreigner will come and operate a similar business there.

He says the NLTB also owes them close to 3-million US dollars in goodwill payments which they have not received.

Ratu Tiko is also offended by a statement on television by the NLTB's general manager, Kalivati Bakani, that landowners are not educated enough to make decisions about their land.

Ratu Tiko says the statement is degrading as most landowners today are educated and can make their own decisions.

He says "what the NLTB is doing is dictatorship."