6 Nov 2013

Fiji regime leader again tries to assure safety of land ownership

3:12 pm on 6 November 2013

The Fiji regime leader has again tried to assure that under the new constitution indigenous land ownership will be safe.

The Fiji Times says Commodore Frank Bainimamara made the comment at the iTaukei Land Trust Board annual strategic corporation planning workshop on the Coral Coast.

It quotes him as saying that under the constitution, land of customary owners can under no circumstances be permanently alienated, whether by sale, grant, transfer or exchange.

Commodore Bainimarama has also warned the iTaukei Land Trust Board not to be politicised or play politics.

His comment comes just days after the head of the now disbanded Constitution Commission, Yash Ghai, said there is no constitutional security for indigenous owners and communities over their land.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Professor Ghai said land was safeguarded in the draft presented by the Commission last year, but in January the regime dumped the document.

He says with a sleight of hand, the provisions have been changed.