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Fiji regime fumes over Australian TV report

Fiji regime fumes over Australian TV report

Thu, 8 Feb 2001 09:04:32 +1200


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Regime fumes over Australian documentary

The regime is fuming over the production and screening of a documentary on evicted farmers by the SBS TV of Australia. The documentary showed the process of eviction of tenant farmers from land and their fate thereafter. It concluded that the farmers evicted were now landless, penniless and worst of all voiceless.

The regime's interim Information Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola took out full page paid advertisements in today's newspapers denying that the evicted farmers who were the victims of the evictions!!

Kubuabola, however, did not say a single word on the plight of the evicted farmers. Instead he focussed his advertisement on the ALTA legislation.

He stated: "The truth of the matter is that it is the Fijian landowners who are the real victims of exploitation. They are the truly poor of the sugar industry. The farmers have been the winners."

Justifying the evictions and the dispossession of tenant farmers, Kubuabola asserted that the landowners have been exploited for many years through the ALTA legislation because under this, they were receiving "one of the world's lowest agricultural rental incomes." Most of the tenants are of ethnic Indian origin.

Kubuabola did not mention that the ALTA legislation was drawn up by the Alliance Government in 1976 under the leadership of Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. The government then had only 2 ethnic Indian cabinet members. It provides for a land rental of 6% of the unimproved capital value (UCV) of land. The UCV is reassessed every 6 years and is based on the market valuation of land at the time of reassessment.


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