Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Chiefs from Tailevu Province have promised to put money into helping their imprisoned sons and daughters start a new life in their villages upon their release.
The ‘vanua’ of Tailevu led by its Provincial Council Chairman Josefa Serulagilagi visited the inmates of the Nasinu Reformative Centre, the Naboro Correctional Centre and the Suva Prison at the Naboro Correctional Academy Mess on Friday.
It was the first ever such visit by the Province of Tailevu.
Chairman Serulagilagi likened the visit to the biblical story of the Good Shepherd going back to look for a single lost sheep.
Serulagilagi told the inmates that from next year onwards the council will be setting aside funds for their rehabilitation.
“The council has decided that next year we will set aside funds to rehabilitate and set you up in the village,” Serulagilagi is quoted by State media.
“Come back to the village. Once you are there, everything will work out, and the vanua will help you.”
Serulagilagi said the committee tasked to work on the rehabilitation of ex-offenders will work closely with the prison authority.
Serulagilagi said that the vanua is ready to give its sons and daughters a second chance, but he cautioned them that there will be no third chance.
Meanwhile, Taito Raiwaqa, who calls himself a “veteran prisoner”, told the delegates from Tailevu that he wants to start a new life upon his release in 2015.
“This the first time for my high chiefs to come and visit us inmates,” he said.
“This visit is truly inspirational, it motivates people like me to rethink about the kind of life we are leading.
“I want to get married, own my own home and have a car.”
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Fiji's native land leases are going to be priced at market rates as part of the government’s ambitious land reform plans.
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said the land reform initiative will be spearheaded by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and should see the unlocking of much of Fiji’s unused land.
“Land reform essentially means making land available for productive use and longer tenure. Under the Agricultural Landlord and Tennant’s Act, you have agricultural land tenure for a very short lease period. The idea is to make that available for a longer period where the landowners themselves actually benefit and would-be investors are able to access that land, pay market rates and get into agriculture,” Sayed-Khaiyum.
Previous governments have tried unsuccessfully to bring about land reforms in Fiji, with their failure being blamed on politics.
One of the main issues that had been thrashed about in the past was the land rental under ALTA, which is said to be among the lowest in the world at six percent of the land’s Unimproved Capital Value.
The ruling Bainimarama government however has put land reform down in its 10-point plan, a schedule of what it wants to achieve by 2020.
Sayed-Khaiyum said consultations with various stakeholders, including native landowners, have already begun.
The communally-owned native land makes up some 80 percent of Fiji’s available land but most of that remains largely unused.