Vil­lage By­laws: Only 52 Vil­lages Not Marked

Fiji Sun - - North News - JOSAIA RALAGO LABASA Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika Feed­back: josaia.ralago@fi­

The Min­istry of iTaukei Af­fairs have re­vealed that only 52 out of 1171 vil­lages in the coun­try were left to have their bound­aries marked.

In an in­ter­view with the min­istry’s per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, Naipote Ka­tonitabua said this process was im­por­tant be­cause in or­der for vil­lage by­laws to be put in place, they needed to as­cer­tain the vil­lage bound­aries. “When this is done, the landowner has no au­thor­ity over it any­more. This is where the by­laws will be fol­lowed and it in­volves ac­tual map­ping, tech­ni­cal bound­ary mark­ings and maps,” Mr Ka­tonitabua said. “A vil­lage, once marked and mapped, would not be able to ex­tend any fur­ther un­less landown­ers agree to give up their por­tion of land for ex­ten­sion.

“Out of the 1171 vil­lages only 52 is left, for in­stance the is­land of Ciko­bia here in Macu­ata, our of­fi­cials have not been able to travel be­cause of the weather con­di­tions. We are tar­get­ing a trip by the end of this year.” He said while this was true in some cases, in other ar­eas chiefs and tra­di­tional lead­ers did not per­mit this process to be car­ried out be­cause of their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions. “A cause of this is be­cause some of the landown­ers do not agree to get this process done in their vil­lages,” Mr Ka­tonitabua said.

“Some is be­cause of po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, the po­lit­i­cal po­si­tion of some chiefs and lead­ers who do not (wish to see this through). “An­other ma­jor chal­lenge is that landown­ers are not within the lo­cal area, maybe in other places, and we need them for their con­sent.” Mr Ka­tonitabua said the vil­lage by­laws had been passed by the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral’s of­fice and is be­ing dis­trib­uted to dif­fer­ent pro­vin­cial of­fices, dis­tricts and vil­lages.

In or­der for vil­lage by­laws to be put in place, they needed to as­cer­tain the vil­lage bound­aries

Photo: Josaia Ralago

Min­istry of iTaukei Af­fairs Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary Naipote Ka­tonitabua.

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