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SODELPA: Land Is ‘NOT’ Safe …..a simple majority in parliament could result in loss of lands.

SODELPA: Land Is ‘NOT’ Safe

Pio Tabaiwalu

SODELPA, general secretary
This is in response to Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s statement in the Fiji Sun (Friday 6 June), saying once again that iTaukei land is safe – Part 1

To the iTaukei, land is not just an economic commodity. It is part of culture, kinship and group identity. That is why the iTaukei cling so fiercely to their land ownership. The 2013 Constitution does not reflect this indigenous attachment to their land.
Their claim that Fijian land has greater protection than before is a lie. Its protection has been weakened. In fact there was no reference at all to native land in the first draft of the Constitution.
It was left out completely. This caused great fear and uncertainty among landowners. It was only when supporters of SODELPA began to speak out that Bainimarama-Sayed Khaiyum decided to include specific reference to native land in their constitution. Without the SODELPA protests they would likely have enacted their supreme law with no special reference to native land.
SODELPA’s view that Bainimarama-Sayed Khaiyum have seriously weakened native land ownership is shared by others, including legal analysts. Lawyers for the Citizens Constitutional Forum concluded there is no real protection for Fijian landowners in the 2013 Constitution. This view was also shared by Professor Yash Ghai.
In previous constitutions there were special entrenched provisions, providing extremely strong safeguards for Fijian land ownership and ownership by the Banaban and Rotuman communities.
The 1997 Constitution laid down a very detailed and entrenched procedure for altering the following: Fijian Affairs Act, Fijian Development Fund Act, Native Lands Act, Rotuma Act, Rotuma Lands Act, Banaban Lands Act, Banaban Settlement Act and the Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act.
To change these land laws required a two thirds vote in Parliament and a nine votes of the GCC nominees in the Senate. This was to provide extra safeguard in protecting these laws.
Sayed-Khaiyum and Bainimarama have scrapped this provision which means there just a need to have a simple majority in Parliament to change land laws. This is the crux of the issue which Sayed-Khaiyum is avoiding.
He is lying deliberately to the indigenous people by skirting around this missing “entrenched legislation” as contained in the 1997 Constitution.
The people’s draft constitution by the Yash Ghai Commission, that was scrapped by the Bainimarama-Sayed-Khaiyum regime, also included a listing of protected laws: iTaukei Lands Act (Cap 133), iTaukei Land Trust Act (Cap 134), Rotuma Lands Act (Cap 138), Banaban Lands Act (Cap 124) and Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act (Cap 270).
All these safeguards were thrown out by Bainimarama-Sayed-Khaiyum.
Why? There has never been a proper explanation.
Instead they simply placed Fijian land ownership among a long list of provisions in the Bill of Rights.
However section 6 of the Bill of Rights (5) (a) (b) (c) permits rights to be limited and therefore changed. At least 55 of the rights listed can be subject to limitations.
Clause (c) of section 6 is particularly broad in its application. It allows parliament to pass “necessary” laws limiting rights and freedoms. This could obviously be applied to Fijian land. In our view there would be nothing to stop enactment of a change to Fijian land ownership provisions by a simple majority in Parliament.
Any such changes could further weaken or undermine Fijian land ownership. Even provisions relating to compulsory acquisition of property might be changed by a new law.
We note that the 1997 Constitution also permits limitations of rights. But these have to be “reasonable and justifiable in a free and democratic society”. This important protective condition is missing completely from the 2013 Constitution. Why?

Group ownership
Fijian land does not belong to individuals. It is owned by groups of people. This was clearly recognised in the 1997 Constitution. A full chapter of the document was dedicated to group rights. Much of this focused on Fijian land and protective provisions for it. Group rights are recognised as human rights. But there is no mention at all in the 2013 Constitution of iTaukei group ownership of land. This integral aspect of iTaukei culture has simply been removed. (Continued next week)

n The opinions expressed in this column are those of the Social Democratic Liberal Party. They are published by the Fiji Sun to enhance free and open debate ahead of the General Elections.
Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj


38 thoughts on “SODELPA: Land Is ‘NOT’ Safe …..a simple majority in parliament could result in loss of lands.

  1. The small changes that this government have made in relation to social factors do not outweigh their tyrannical removal of democracy and the rule of law. Nothing will change after the elections. Is life better since 2006 in Fiji? Lets ask those who have profited. The polls are skewed intentionally so the AG and PM can falsify the true election results and point to these polls to claim legality to the international community.

    The stakes are higher than ever. SODELPA have publicly stated that they will restore the 1997 Constitution and the GCC. The PM and the AG cannot let this happen. Their lives, literally depend on it.

    SODELPA are the only party at present who understand the rule of law and democratic principles. The other parties should be adopting this police in relation to the restoration of the 1997 Constitution.

    If Coup perpetrators are allowed to escape justice, if there is immunity, Fiji will be caught in a loop. I hope the youth party and other young politicians understand democratic principles. They have never known anything other than a military dictatorship. I hope they do not take the rule of law and democracy for granted. They are yet to see it in operation.

  2. Look, in Fiji we don’t have oil reserves, our mining industry is a midget compared to Congo or Zimbabwe, our agriculture is dispersed and the Chinese fishing boats don’t have enough turnover make it worthwhile milking them. We have already milked the phone and power companies, but compared with people such as Robert Mugabe our leaders are poor like church mice. Now the only really big cash flow for us is a major land grab. This has been the plan from the very beginning and we are pleased that a large majority of the Taukies support Khaiyum’s party which will implement the great land reform with speed and efficiency. We will take away every single piece of land that is not fully used and even if it is used we take it because we will determine what use means.

  3. The fact is that while land ownership for i taukei is guaranteed in the Constitution the provision for land acquisition by the state is tantamount to land alienation. What is the use of ownership when the government can, at will, lease the same out for 99 or 199 years. If the government can do that to native land why not on free hold land?

  4. Frank Bainimarama, has created history in Fiji by being the first, albeit self-imposed, Prime Minister to murder CRW soldiers, an unborn child, and create the country’s:
    highest ever levels of Unemployment,
    highest levels of Poverty,
    highest cost of living,
    highest levels of corruption and nepotism
    highest levels of crime and rape
    highest levels of suicide,
    highest levels of child deaths from malnutrition
    the nations highest levels of foreign debt with each and very man, woman and child owing over $7,500 each!
    But there is more!

  5. Khayium will take the land and give it to Muslims and chinese and make millions of dollars.He made $ 2 million from the chinese when he gave the land next to Garden City to the chinese. He was paid in Hong Kong and money kept in Hong Kong.

  6. Rajeshwar Singh is only in the acting role for Felix Anthony at FTUC. These two need to be investigated. Rajeshwar Singh and Felix collided when Felix was a board member for FNPF. Rajeshwar Singh ended up buying land at Momi Bay. These two have enjoyed overseas trip every second month carrying huge per diem while their members are struggling.

    What about the chor Rajeshwar Singh of FPSA who is colluding with contractors of FPSA to make money. Every contractor working on the FPSA building for maintenance work is seen working at his home in Vuncakeca Road, Namadhi Heights or at several properties that he owns..
    Extreme Construction – Manoj an Indian national and Rajeswar colluded and made money on several work that was taken by Manoj who has absconded to Vanuatu in fear of investigation. Manoj’s company record at FRCA and FNPF show that no local was employed. How then several work was given to Manoj by Rajeshwar SIngh at FPSA.
    Rajeshwar and Manoj colluded and opened a business in the name of U Tech Institute at level 8 Honson Building to teach I.T. About 90 students were brought from India and US$5700 was charged to every student for tuition fees alone to teach simple courses like Certificate in Computing. This was a major scam where Rajeshwar Singh was a silent partner. The students were mostly from rural Indian who were fooled to come to Fiji.
    The Indian students had complained to the Immigration and Higher Commission but nothing had happened. Even the Indian High Commission is aware but no help was given to the students to recover their money.
    Now the same operation has moved to VANUATU where Rajeshwar Singh had visited last year.
    Last year Rajesh colluded with Nagin from Sherani & Company ( FPSA) lawyer which a conflict of interest to buy a house together at Wilkson Road, Dominion.The FPSA contractors and staff were used to do all the work at the house.
    Nagin also did the transfer of land at Momi Bay for Rajeshwar Singh.
    Rajeshwar Singh was paid $40,000 as commission when FPSA Credit Union bought the building opposite FPSA head office. He made this deal with Rohit of R. Hooker.

    The Bainimarama government must really clean up the unions as some unionists have been with the unions for so long. The way is to investigate their dealings and charge them.
    The AG. Mr Khayium and Fiji Independent Against Corruption should investigate such unionists and charge them. Most of the unionists in Fiji have abused the members money and Rajeshwar Singh is one of them.

  7. Graveyard is open Kyai, “MORE” nd “MORE” in the pocket. Go to India nd subdivide the Land there with Aunty Nur and don’t forget a piece of Land for Bai.

  8. Chaudary won the election in 1999 when the ballot was cast in that year
    1.If their was no takeover, we would have been better off than today
    2. As to who funded the coup, we can only speculate. But what is sure, army personnels were involved under Bainimarama’s watch.

    So if you tell me that Bainimarama is doing a good thing, I would say – in your dreams. Here’s a list of things he has achieved so far:

    1. Took the government by force
    2. Militarised government
    3. Nepotism
    4. Hidden salaries
    5. Lack of auditing accounts
    6. Dropping foreign investments
    7. Dropping retirement age
    8. Increasing debt levels
    9. Deteriorating health system
    10. Abrogated the law of the land
    11. Created his own constitution to give himself immunity
    12.Destroyed Fijian institutions
    13. Manipulated the justice system
    14. Media censorship
    15. Torture of citizens
    16. Lack respect for his own people

  9. t is a high time i taukei get together and vote for SODELPA. We want the GCC and scholarship for our children to be re- instated. The land to be secured and any changes to be made by the GCC.
    How can a Muslim be making all changes to the constitution and all these decrees.
    The problem is the i taukei who value their own pocket rather secure our land.
    Time to secure the 1997 Constitution, scholarship, land etc.
    The Methodist must be free to meet and have conferences like other religious group.
    Time to throw the Muslim – Khayium.

  10. Every coup d’état has strong drivers and compelling reasons for those who take the risk of committing treason and actually get caught doing it. So what were the main drivers for the 2006 coup in Fiji? The answer is actually quite simple: It was a simple confluence of Bainimarama’s desire to avoid prosecution for his role in the torture and slaughter of RFMF mutineers and the immense ambition of a very greedy and arrogant Khaiyum. Khaiyum’s greed for ever more money quickly rubbed off onto Bainimarama who quickly decided to ditch his first big promise that so soldier should benefit from the coup. It was just too good to be true: Get away with murder and get handed a license to steal large amounts of money. Now, the land use decree opens up a whole new dimension for the kleptocrats. They have already milked everybody who shows a bit of a cash flow, but Fiji’s economy is just too small to become seriously rich. Only with major land deals and the kick-backs that come with every Chinese deal, can Bainimarama and Khaiyum fulfil their ambitious plans to join the billionaires club. What is really astonishing in this deal is that a large percentage of indigenous Fijians support these two thieves to take their own land. Really amazing.

  11. SODELPA must work on getting every i taukei votes with polices targeting i taukei.
    FLP must work on getting Indians to vote for FLP with good policies.
    SODELPA and FLP to work later towards forming a coalition.
    People are not fool and Chaudhry will always have the support of grass root Indians particularly farmers and workers.People know Qarase and Chaudhry were taken to court as both are a threat to Khayium. Both were democratically elected Prime Minister unlike Khayium.
    Why Charan Jeet Singh has not been charged on taking money out of Fiji and investing in N.Z.
    Remember the money given to Chaudhry was from India and not from Fiji.
    Every decree made by Khayium must be analysed and exposed to the people as it has brought harm rather than good to the people!
    At the moment, majority Indians plan to vote for Bainimarama due to security of land, free bus fare, free school fees etc. These were only introduced last year to get votes.Why this did not happen since 2006?
    Bainimarma is giving sewing machine, grass cutter , etc to i taukei to win votes.
    Bainimarma is in fore front to campaign with the i taukei and Indians.
    Khayium is not seen campaigning with Bianimarma..
    Khayium is not liked by i taukei and majority Indians.Only Muslims are supporting him which is common amongst Muslims brotherhood. Khayium has done lot for the Muslims as evident all around.
    Khayium knows that Indians and i taukei votes can only be won by Bainimarama.
    Khayium is also working closely with NFP to form a coalition in case FF does not have a majority. The link here is Khayium’s father who was an ex NFP.
    Khayium’s father works for Charan Jeet Singh who is financing FF activities in the north. The recent announcement by FF that Ratu Kotainvere is the vice president of FF was facilitated and financed by Charan Jeet Singh.Ratu is used by Charan.Charan did the same to his father when he opened several businesses with his father and then dumped him.
    Charan Jeet is still to pay his loan to FDB for his failed airline business.
    Charan Jeet has several properties in N.Z. which he has never declared and not charged.
    Charan is protected by Khayium as his father was given job by Charan.
    On the other hand the business community is not very happy with Khayium as he introduces various decrees to increase the cost of doing business. Another issue affecting Indians is Khayium is getting FRCA to collect money from business people who are 95% Indians.
    Khayium has done lot of harm to the Indians which needs to be exposed!He has introduced various decrees targeting mostly Indian businesses to pay like OHS fee, etc etc which should normally be paid by the landlord.
    The landlords are rich and already getting richer like the CJ Patel, Damodar etc etc while small businesses owned by Indians are suffering.
    The recent introduction of a decree is the stamp duty of $1000 to be paid by tenant of commercial properties to FRCA. Why the landlords are not made to pay? There is no control on rental derived by commercial landlords!
    The mostly small businesses ran by Indians are suffering with all costs while the landlords are making money.
    It is interesting majority of the landlords are Guji’s like CJ Patel, Damodar, Tappos etc. In Suva city 90% buildings are owned by Guji’s.
    Khayium has introduced the capital gains tax on sale of property after selling his Berry Road property to Tappos.
    Now houses (90%) are mostly sold by Indians to others so Indians now have to pay 10% capital gains tax to FRCA on the profit derived from the sale.
    This government has targeted Indians through FRCA to collect money.
    Every Muslim is voting for FF.

  12. Haahaha

    FLP sleeping with So-deaf-pee party is an example of fooling the people. Indo fijians now know the real chaudary – finally.

    Indo fijians will v ote for FF and FLP will be wiped out.

  13. Chaudhry has not stolen from the people of Fiji like Bai and Kahyium.
    Cuahdry is the one who can unite the people.
    Bai and Kahyium should declare their salary and asset.
    Why Nur Bano ( Kahyium’s aunty is hiding their salary from the people?
    Is it that civil servants are incompetent to process salary?
    Remember Indians if FF wins there will be blacklash on the Indians.
    Mukesh ka nana you will go into hiding when i taukei will come for revenge.

  14. Annon above

    Your hero Chor was the first to stick his hand out to Bai and Kai. Now you say he can save you from them. Chor is a thief and common criminal. No wonder Chor has such self delusion when small minded fools like you keep licking his balls.

  15. Chaudhry and Qarase were a threat to Khayium and for this reason they were taken to court.
    Chaudhry never stole from the people of Fiji but Khayium has stolen millions from the people.
    Why is Khayium hiding his salary with his aunty Nur Bano???
    Khayium has earned over 5 million in salary from tax payers money over 8 years.
    Indian farmers and labourers will all vote for Chaudhry.
    Time will tell who survives. Indians still supporting FLP and i taukei SODELPA.
    The real chor are Bainmarma and Khayium who have stolen the democratic rights of people and millions in salary and commission.
    No wonder Bainimarma is in Swiss to open his account in the Swiss Bank.
    The two greatest thieves Bai and Khayium who have looted tax payers money and democratic rights of the people.
    Come the election and FLP have victory.

  16. See how Khayium is taking out money from Indians – all different types of taxes been introduced-capital gains tax, stamp duty tax etc etc. all targeting Indians mostly small businesses ran by Indians.
    On the other hand the big businesses are enjoying reduced company tax.

    1- The Dictator is using Government money to bribe voters with gym equipment, brush cutters and sewing machine
    2- Qorvis the American firm of spin doctors has been advising the dictator on his election campaign though funded by Government
    3 Ministry of Information putting all their resources behind promoting Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Kahiyum; leader and General secretary respectively of the Fiji First Party.
    4- Government employees have been collecting signatures for Fiji First party. http://fijilive.com/news/2014/05/pdp-raises-concern-over-abuse-of-office/57816.Fijilive
    5 – ILLEGAL Prime Minister’s and illegal A.G.’S salary remains a secret
    6- No Auditor General Reports published SINCE 2006
    7- Fiji scored ZERO in an international survey on budget transparency. There is no way the people can know how their money was spent by the Dictator and illegal A.G.

  18. @Anonymous 4:47 pm

    Generally you can only take taxes from those that work and earn.

  19. @Anonymous 5.02pm
    You need to do reading then you will understand know before you comment. Go to Wadan or Biman they will tell you.Indians are not fools to vote for FF.

  20. “” You need to do reading “”, obviously you missed that subject at school.

    They are about the last two people anyone needs to take any notice of.

  21. Kemuni na sotia ni vicai ni yadra mada me vesu o bai kei kaiyum……
    se tiko kina palimedi na kaukauwau ni qele sa kau taki main na GCC…..ni viavia vuku qo sa qai sona tu o keda na kai viti

  22. While treasonous Bainimarama and Khaiyum have been STEALING over $1million in salary via Aunty Nur Bano Ali (and now Nazhat Shameem milking Fijian taxpayers by representing the illegal regime in Geneva), the student’s mother, with the little that she earned from selling cakes, jams and other pastries, sometimes earning $80 a week, managed to see all her five children through high school. She said she was relying on Tamanirarama, her eldest, to look after her when he graduates next year.
    “Tamani told me two Sundays ago that his scholarship was terminated. When he told me I was quiet, all I could do was cry. I didn’t know what else to do. I have always encouraged my children to take part in activities such as debates and so on but I didn’t think that being part of a political activity would result in this.”

    The Methodist Church has been persecuted from 2006
    Chiefs have been forced to keep quiet.
    The Muslim League is totally subservient to Khaiyum

  24. @Anonymous 8:15 PM

    In your opinion, which is about as clever as your ability to determine someone’s religion.

  25. And that’s the way it works in most countries. You want infrastructure how’s it going to be done otherwise?

  26. Without military protect khaiyum (and his clan) will be dragged out and given the justice they deserve. It is only a matter of time. Not one square metre of I-Taukei land will be touched. I-Taukei military or I-Taukei GCC – take your pick. I-Taukei rules.


    Khaiyum’s states that ownership of iTaukei land rights is not a problem as it is enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

    Section 28 (Bill of Rights) is vague on processes on native land. Further he should note that native land can also be alienated under long -term leases.

    In any case, what are the effects of placing native land protection under the Bill of Rights? What is the impact on the Native Lands Act, the Native Lands Trust Act and the NLC? What is the effect of the Land Bank Decree? Does it have adequate measures to safeguard and protect native landowner interests and later generations?

    I also recall a decree issued by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum blocking all Deed of Cession claims.

    What is the effect of this on legitimate landowner claims?

    For example, the original Suva people moved to their current location to make way for public state use of their lands.

    Today, these lands are being used for real estate purposes at market rates deviating from the original purpose. Who will correct this on-going injustice?

    These questions need to be asked and addressed.

    Mr Sayed-Khaiyum seems to ignore the fact that section 185 of the 1997 Constitution no longer exists. Why was it removed? That section specifies that any changes to “entrenched legislation” thahis – Native Lands Act, Native Lands Trust Act, Fijians Affairs Act etc – must be approved by 9 of the 14 GCC (Bose Levu Vakaturaga) members of the Senate. The GCC members are nominated from the provinces and represent the native landowners of Fiji.

    By removing Section 185, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s government has effectively rendered we, the native landowners, powerless over our own land.

    This power, under the 2013 Constitution, now rests with the politicians in Parliament.

    All these changes were made without the consent of we, the native landowners, and as such are totally unacceptable.

    Worse, the changes were made by people we do not know or recognise. They were not made by the leaders we elected, nor were they made by our chiefs.

    I urge all native landowners to read the changes carefully yourselves, analyse, discuss, share the knowledge and make a stand.

    Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is not a native landowner, just another politician conducting just another political campaign.

  28. Fiji labour party will not win a single seat in parliament. Convict chor caudhary and Asha lakhan and expecting FLP to win 12 seats but the people of fiji wiLl not support this traitor and thief. And to add insult, the party is sleeping with the enemy, the racist party of sodelpa.

    Sodelpa once thought to win at least 16 to 20 seats will win a max of 9 seats. PDP will not win a single seat and NFP will get around 5 seats.

    Fiji first will get around 36 seats.

  29. Isn’t itaukei luimuri itaukei will land? Why blame others. We have lost christ in our beliefs

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