a grave development that does not bode well for the nation.
The response of Fiji Prime Minister, on the Army's Truth Campaign is simply a case of sour grapes. Messr Qarase and company easily cling to democratic rules, only when it serves their despicable purposes. Unfortunately due to their history of half truths and un-ethical behavior which, has resulted in a serious erosion of beliefs; of the people of Fiji.
Tebutt poll defines the crucial issues for the majority of Fiji voters, which are social concerns and services.
The plans for the new GCC building to be opened by the Queen (FT10/3) should be thought over carefully. Our nation is in debt to the tune of more than $2billion, unemployment is high and thousands live below the poverty line. Recently the Government said it could not increase its funding towards poverty alleviation because it lacked the funds.
The Government spent $90,000 for Benny Hinn's security. We are now talking about the Queen. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be involved.
The public would love to see Her Majesty. Schools would be disrupted. Most probably the day would be announced a public holiday.
With all due respect to the GCC, the welfare of its people should be its top priority.
The current Chairman of Native Lands Trust Board, Messr Kalivati Bakani was fired, from his former position at Carpenters Fiji Group.
This dismissal speaks volumes on the character at the helm of the entrenched organization.
NLTB's board directors are selected from the Great Council of Chiefs. Most of whom, have an axe to grind or have conflicts of interests in one form or another. Here's re-look at an People's Coalition website article post 2000 coup highlighting the politicization of Native Lands Trust Board.
PCG Issue No: 667; 10 April 2001
The demand by the Native Lands Trust Board that tenants on native land can not belong to unions or political parties has been widely condemned.
The demand, which is contained in letters which the NLTB has been sending tenants, has been defended by the NLTB. A media report states that the NLTB claims that "[ethnic] Fijian land was used to hold the country to ransom despite the fact that the lease was issued for the sole purpose of agricultural development".
The NLTB also stated: "Political wannabes have continuously used indigenous land that are subject to agricultural leases to wreak havoc on the country's economy".
The demands have been condemned by the Fiji Labour Party, the Fiji Trades Union Congress, and the media.
Today the Fiji Times gave a biting rebuke to the demands by the NLTB. It stated:
"The latest demand by the Native Land Trust Board is ridiculous. In what is nothing short of holding farmers to ransom, the board wants an undertaking that they will not participate in political activities. For this promise the farmers will be allowed new leases and a secure future."
The paper said that the demand "places restrictions on the farmers' constitutional right to take part in protests or political activities. Because the demand is not specific it remains open to interpretation. And this is where the problem lies. A landowner can run crying to the board over trumped up allegations that the tenant is involved in destabilising activities.
Such activities could range from attending a political meeting or hosting discussions about the next harvest. This can not be allowed to happen. As a responsible tenant the farmer must ensure that his lease is paid on time and the land is properly maintained. That, really, us where his responsibility ends."
The paper also writes: "The [NLTB] does not appear to have demanded that the landowners refrain from disturbing the tenants. It has not compelled villagers to stay of leased land, refrain from inciting violence and tension that could cause ill-feelings and address all grievances to the board. The Native Land Trust Board has the responsibility of ensuring that the interests of the landowners are protected."
The Times echoed the views of most people in Fiji who believe that the NLTB has become politicised. The paper stated that the NLTB's role has "become increasingly politicised since May last year. This latest demand is evidence of that fact. The board must move away from politics. If it continues down the present track it is the landowners who will suffer."
The NLTB is led by ethnic Fijians who were active supporters of the terrorists last year.