NADI AIRPORT LAND BATTLE CONTINUES

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NADI, Fiji Islands (September 2, 1999 - Daily Post)---The fight for control over land at Nadi International Airport has taken an interesting twist, with the revelation that some landowning units may not be able to claim compensation after all.

The revelation comes in the wake of claims, by the Tokatoka Vunamasei of Navoci in Nadi, on land formerly known as Cawa.

The former cabinet minister of the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa Ni Taukei (SVT) government decided on March 30 and April 27 of this year that parts of the area originally bought from Tokatoka Nadaru are to be reverted to them under provisions of Section 8 of the Crown Lands Act, Cap 132.

Landowners of the Tokatoka Vunamasei, Navoci in Nadi claim that part of the land on which the airport sits, belongs to them.

They claim their land is under a Crown Grant, and should be released. They want compensation.

The call for compensation comes in the wake of claims by Yavusa Tukani, Botiluvuka, and Noi Neiqoro, and by Saunaka landowners.

Landowners of Saunaka met with the government twice earlier this year, claiming the land belongs to them.

Saunaka landowners believe the Board of Directors of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) and the Minister responsible for Civil Aviation have breached lease agreements that state the usage of their land is for public purposes (and not commercial enterprises).

According to Reserves Commissioner Ilaitia Caginavanua, the Native Lands Commission inquiry held in Navoci in 1913 that determined native land ownership for Tokatoka Nadrau and the various yavusas of Tukani, Botiluvuka, and Noi Neiqoro, had already declared Cawa freehold land.

According to Mr. Caganavanua, "Therefore, being alienated land belonging to Europeans, it could not be claimed again by Fijians because of the decision of the Lands Claims Commission in 1881."

For additional reports from The Fiji Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fiji Live

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