SODELPA MP, Ro Teimumu Kepa has opposed the Bill to amend the iTaukei Land Trust Act, saying that the Government and the iTaukei Land Trust Board has not consulted with the iTaukei landowners.
Ro Teimumu is calling on the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to withdraw the Bill and to please consult with the indigenous Fijians.
She says this is not a racist concern as they see themselves as guardians and custodians over anything that is indigenous because they have to safeguard it for the future generations.
Ro Teimumu says other groups also have their entitlements and benefits and they as the iTaukei are not here to take over anybody’s rights.
She says the main architect of the principal act was Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna who went throughout Fiji in the 1930s.
Ro Teimumu says Fiji has always had the three legged stool – the vanua, the lotu and the matanitu. She says the vanua is the first people to have arrived here who are the indigenous Fijians which dates back to 3,500 years ago.
She says the lotu arrived in the early 1800s with the Methodists arriving first, and then the Catholics and others.
Ro Teimumu says the Deed of Cession was signed by the chiefs in 1874.
She says from that time onwards, each Government has recognized the importance of the vanua and the lotu and consulted with them on a regular basis. She says from the Alliance, the SVT, Fiji Labour Party, the SDL and all the political parties – they recognize the importance of the vanua, the lotu and matanitu so that it could stand with stability.
Ro Teimumu says each of these legs looked after one another.
She says the Opposition wants consultation with the iTaukei landowners on this Bill and it should be withdrawn for now.
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