5 Apr 2006

Fiji's NLTB dismisses land claim of water bottling company site

5:02 pm on 5 April 2006

The Fiji Native Lands Trust Board is dismissing claims by an indigenous Fijian group to return state land to its rightful original owners.

The group says they are the original owners of the land on which the mineral water company, Fiji Water, has its plant.

It is threatening to shut the plant down on the land at Yaqara in north western Viti Levu which is also the site of the proposed 1-billion US dollar Studio City.

One landowners' representative says companies are making millions of dollars in profit from the land while the native owners get nothing from it.

He says the government should return all state land to its rightful original owners.

But the executive officer of the Native Lands Trust Board, Nimilote Naivalumaira, says this can not happen.

"the land is now freehold land and belongs to the government - so end of story - unless the government want to give it back to them. The onus is on the government - its not for them to ask government for the land to be reverted to them because it's freehold land and belongs to the government."

Nimilote Naivalumaira of the Fiji Native Lands Trust Board.