PM on the roll as he brings good tidings to members of Yavusa Waidau in Ovalau
Members of the Yavusa Waidau woke up yesterday to the beginning of a historic chapter in their lives. The bearer of good tidings was the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who was on the island to celebrate an important milestone in history.
The Yavusa Waidau has become one of the four successful landowning units in Fiji to receive full freehold title under the Freehold Buy-back Scheme that Government instituted many years ago.
The British colonisers had alienated this land. Under the Buy-back Scheme, the land has now been returned to the original landowners. Mr Bainimarama says now it is theirs again and by law it cannot be alienated again.
The 473 acres of two freehold titles were among a number of land parcels in Fiji acquired by the colonisers.
The desire to get the land back came from the Yavusa members and they sought Government assistance to buy it. Mr Bainimarama describes it as a serious commitment to secure the future of their children. As a result they received the title 11 years early – in 19 years instead of 30 years.
They have set a new benchmark for other iTaukei
landowners who want their land back under this scheme.
It’s great to have a desire to achieve something positive but it must be accompanied by hard work, commitment and sacrifice.
The Yavusa members are fine examples. Mr Bainimarama and his FijiFirst Government must be commended for creating this initiative and empowering iTaukei landowners to get back their land.
We can argue about the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of this land but it won’t get us any where. These are now titled pieces of land that are legal. That’s what the landowners have got and that’s what counts.
Land is one of the country’s most valuable resources. Yavusa members are leaving behind a legacy for their children and the future generation. The land opens up a whole range of opportunities for them. Mr Bainimarama notes that the landowners have started the process of building their wealth by increasing the size of their Yavusa allotment
The focus now is to develop the land for economic benefits.
The PM says land is a scarce commodity, and our Constitution and our laws now protect the Fijian communal lands more strongly than ever.
“This land can never be taken from you. It is yours forever. So use it well, as our ancestors have taught us and as modern knowledge reveals new truths,” he adds.
These are words of wisdom from a leader who had worked so hard to improve the living standards of
iTaukei and other races, contrary to what some politicians claim. In the past weeks he has been to the Yasawas and Vanua Levu. This week he is in Ovalau. He is on the roll.
His message of hard work and commitment applies to all of us.