SODELPA Leader Viliame Gavoka says they have gathered 15,000 signatures for their petition so far to be presented to the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of Parliament to remove the Bill to amend the iTaukei Land Trust Act.
While opposing the 2021/2022 National Budget, Gavoka says there are other ways to fix the administrative issues in iTaukei Land Trust Board rather than removing the requirement of obtaining the consent of the iTaukei Land Trust Board for any mortgage, charge, pledge or caveat on a lease under the Act or for any such lease to be dealt with by any court of law or under the process of any court of law.
He says they have already received many letters from chiefs.
Gavoka says this has nothing to do with race, and SODELPA will scream if the landowners are not consulted.
He says 91 percent of the land in Fiji is iTaukei land and it is well known that for the iTaukei, land is generally seen as an ancestral trust which the person’s generations have to pass over to future generations.
Gavoka says they have a very strong cultural link with land which is their most valuable cultural heritage. He says there is disbelief within the iTaukei community that this is happening. Gavoka went on to say that a SODELPA Government will remove the change if this Bill is passed.
Meanwhile Gavoka also said that the FijiFirst should give SODELPA MP, Mosese Bulitavu a spare ticket for the 2022 general election.
Bulitavu has supported the 2021/2022 National Budget and the Bill to amend the iTaukei Land Trust Act.
According to the bill, Section 12 of the iTaukei Land Trust Act states that it is unlawful for a lessee under the Act to alienate or deal with the land comprised in the lease, whether by sale, transfer or sublease or in any other manner without the consent of the iTaukei Land Trust Board.
The iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Bill 2021 seeks to amend the Act to remove the requirement of obtaining the consent of the iTaukei Land Trust Board for any mortgage, charge, pledge or caveat on a lease under the Act or for any such lease to be dealt with by any court of law or under the process of any court of law.
If passed by Parliament this week, the amending legislation will come into force on 1st August 2021.
The Act comes under the responsibility of the Minister responsible for iTaukei Affairs.
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