20 Feb 2004

Fiji's NLTB warns rogue landowners over cemetery fencing

9:08 am on 20 February 2004

Fiji's Native Lands Trust Board has warned rogue landowners to stop their illegal activities.

The Fiji Times reports that the warning comes after landowners at Tova and Barotu in Ba fenced off a cemetery which is not on native land and demanded money for its use.

An NLTB spokesman, Nimi-lote Naivalu-mai-ra, says the site of the Barotu Crematorium and cemetery was acquired by the government in 1962 and licensed as a public burial ground.

He says any attempt to close the cemetery is not only illegal but may also lead to prosecutions under Fiji law.

But the residents of Tova and Barotu have not filed a complaint with the police for fear of repercussions from the landowners.

Instead, they have been forced to take their dead to an alternative cemetery about 40 kilometres away.

A local advisory councillor, Kuldip Singh, says he had raised the issue with the Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, duiring a visit last year but nothing has been done.

In an ediotrial today, the Fiji Times says blatant disregard of the law is a growing disease in the country and can be traced back to the Rabuka Coup of 1987 which took Fiji down a path of anarchy and lawlessness.