QARASE MUST COMPENSATE MONASAVU LANDOWNERS

Editorial

FijiSUN

SUVA, Fiji (Jan. 26) - The buck is now on the Laisenia Qarase-led Fiji government to resolve the dam compensation claim by the Monasavu landowners.’

For over the years landowners’ have been crying to government to compensate them for the usage of their land and water. And they have every right to do so.

The electricity produced from the mountains of Monasavu since 1979 has benefited the country in many ways. And no one argues the huge amount of revenue it has contributed to the country’s economy.

It is indeed sad that while the rest of the country has progressed, the Monasavu landowners’ are still fighting to get their share of the deal. The threats by Monasavu Landowners’ Association that they will go and take back what rightfully belongs to them if nothing is done on their $52.8 million (US$31.5 million) compensation claim by March 8 should be a wake up call for Government.

Ever since the Soqosoqo ni Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party came into power in 2001 they have been championing the cause of the indigenous Fijians.

This saw the implementation of the Fijian Affirmative Action plan with the outlook to encourage more Fijian and Rotuman participation in business along with other benefits. But for the Monasavu landowners the issue here is that they want their money.

The onus is now on Prime Minister Qarase to solve the issue once and for all.

And if he is going to pull it through then surely it will augur well for his party when it comes to next year’s general election.

It is now time for constructive dialogue between Government, landowners, Fiji Electricity Authority and the Native Land Trust Board. A resolution has to be reached for the progress of our beloved Fiji.

January 27, 2005

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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