15 Aug 2006

Gavidi says peace in Fiji depends on landowners getting compensated

12:52 pm on 15 August 2006

The president of the Viti Land and Resource Owners Association says Fiji will only have peace and prosperity if indigenous landowners are compensated for the land they lost in colonial and pre-colonial times.

Radio Legend reports that Ratu Osea Gavidi made the comment in relation to the Land Claims Tribunal Bill which was tabled in parliament this month.

Once established, the tribunal will hear claims of loss of land by indigenous landowning units and determine the compensation to be paid.

Ratu Osea says it is time that the wrongs of the past are put right.

Asked whether present day taxpayers should be made to pay, Ratu Osea says the current generation has to take on this responsibility, otherwise it will bother the next generation.

Only seven percent of Fiji's land area is freehold and can be bought and sold, while 90 percent is owned communally by indigenous Fijian land owning units and three percent by the state.