10 Aug 2010

A Fiji leader concerned at implications of regime's land bank scheme

1:23 pm on 10 August 2010

A former president of Fiji's Tourism Resource Owners Association says the concept of a land bank could alienate people from their own precious resource.

Landowners of Kia Island are the first to offer the Government unused land for a new land bank to be used for commercial purposes under the Land Use Decree 2010.

A Land Use Unit has been formed to issue leases for up to 99 years to investors but further details about the land bank are yet to be made public.

Ratu Osea Gavidi says he feels uneasy about the implications for landowners in this move, and says future generations could lose their freedom to decide how their land can be used.

"The control and the decision on how to use that land, rests with the state and not in the owner of the land, or the tribe. And that's the reason why I was saying it can be alienation and our people need to be very careful with that."

Ratu Osea Gavidi.

The Fiji Government is interested in developing Kia Island for tourism.