This month has seen three key decisions take effect - Rabuka

This month has seen three key decisions take effect - Rabuka

By Alipate Narawa
Monday 29/05/2023
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

This month has seen three key decisions take effect, for the first time an annual holiday to honour the early Girmitiyas, the Great Council of Chiefs was reborn and the revival of the annual celebration to mark the life and achievements of Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka highlighted this adding many things in our country had to be changed, corrected and restored after 16 years of authoritarian rule and decision-making by the last government.

Rabuka says they have started to address and implement a large number of these since the People’s Coalition government came to office in late December.

He also says in Ratu Sukuna’s case his inherent intelligence and abilities came with all the mana and authority of those born into the ranks of chiefly leadership. The Prime Minister further says through his patient application of chiefly persuasion, the indigenous people agreed to relinquish control of their land to a special board set up by the government.

He adds the Girmitiya descendants had provided a “striking demonstration” of what individual effort in agriculture could achieve in the face of many obstacles.

Rabuka adds the Indian community was undoubtedly a great economic asset to the colony and their aspirations and interests were of vast importance to all.

He further adds Ratu Sukuna then began what was to become a mighty effort to achieve community-wide agreement on a critical national issue.

The Prime Minister says the high chief embarked on a campaign to visit all the Fijian provinces, convening meetings in village after village about surrendering control of their land to a new board to be formed by the government.

He also says it would take responsibility, on their behalf, for leasing and managing the land.

Rabuka further says in 1940 the Legislative Council approved the Native Land Trust Board Act for dealing with native land was to be vested in the new Native Land Trust Board (NLTB).

He adds that Governor Sir Phillip Mitchell hailed the decision of the indigenous people to give up direct control of their land as “one of the greatest acts of faith and trust in colonial history”.

The Prime Minister adds Ratu Sukuna spoke of unmatched acts of goodwill and cooperation.

He says Fiji’s progress into one of the most economically-developed countries among the Pacific Islands is underpinned by what Ratu Sukuna put in place all those years ago.

The NLTB (now iTaukei Land Trust Board) is presently going through a process of reform and improvement.

The objective is to further lift its efficiency, especially in services to landowners, tenants and investors.

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