22 Jul 2014

Fiji's Sodelpa would revive Qoliqoli Bill

6:53 am on 22 July 2014

Fiji's Sodelpa Party plans to revive a controversial indigenous rights bill if it gets into power after the September election.

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The Qoliqoli Bill was drafted by Sodelpa's predecessor, the SDL Party, in 2006 and it sought to restore the ownership of the coastal areas known as the qoliqoli to their traditional owners.

The Bainimarama-led regime's opposition to the plan led in part to the 2006 coup.

Sodelpa's leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has dismissed concern that reviving the bill could give rise to another coup.

"I think what we have to do here is to advise people correctly and this will be done mostly through the media and I believe that the 2006 coup took place because the media themselves were not well-informed as to what the Qoliqoli Bill actually meant."

Ro Teimumu says not returning the coastal areas to their traditional owners was a major shortcoming of Fiji's independence from Britain in 1970.