13 Sep 2006

Fiji Lands Board at odds with Denarau landowners

9:59 am on 13 September 2006

Fiji's Native Lands Trust Board says it will not pay a group of landowners threatening the operation of at least 4 major resorts and other tourism developments on Denarau Island near Nadi.

The landowners have threatened to close the road to Denarau this week unless they are paid 3-million US dollars.

The island is host to the world renowned Sheraton Fiji Resort, the Westin Resort, the Trend West Resort, the Sofitel Resort, hundreds of resort type condominiums and a major marina for international cruising yachts.

The disgruntled landowners say the resorts have made goodwill payments to the Native Lands Trust Board which should be passed on to them.

But the acting general manager of the NLTB, Semi Tabakanalagi, has told Radio Legend some elements within the landowning group are trying to get personal benefits but the silent majority of landowners support the present arrangements.

Mr Tabakanalagi says the NLTB is now examining options on how to deal with landowning groups who have internal conflicts and are making separate demands from tenants after the land has been developed.