Regime Continues With Moves To Transfer State Land
Regime Continues With Moves To Transfer State Land To NLTB
Issue No: 240 30 November 2000
The interim regime today announced that it will promulgate, through decrees, the transfer of over 300,000ha of state land to the Native Lands trust Board tomorrow.
In a press conference today, interim regime Lands Minister, Mitieli Bulanauca stated that the interim regime was doing what no previous governments had done. He rejected the High Court declaration that the 1997 Constitution was still valid, and asserted that the regime was legitimate. He stated that the transfer was a part of the Blueprint for Fijian Development. (see the Blueprint at http://www.pcgov.org.fj/docs_o/blueprint_000713.htm)
The elected Prime Minister today stated that the move to transfer the land was illegal.
The transfer of the land would mean that the NLTB would not control over 90% of all land in Fiji. The NLTB has come under heavy criticism in recent months for its blatant racism. Hundreds of farming families have been evicted from their farms so far. By end of December about 800 more farmers will be evicted. In most cases the evictions have been carried out despite the landowners consent to the farmers to continue lesing the land.
Bulanauca is a former NLTB employee who was made redundant some years ago. He won the 1999 national elections under the Christian Democratic Party, and later joined the terrorists. When the terrorists entered the Parliament on 19 May, Bulanauca was heard by parliamentarians sitting close to him as calling someone on his mobile phone and telling the other party "They are already here". He was made the Minister for Lands by Laisenia Qarase.